Tel’s Tales – Blyton 15th & 16th May 2021
Well what a relief it was for most of us as we got back on track sprinting following the long layoff due to the Covid Virus lockdown. My last event was at the start of October 2019 so I was glad to meet up with 10 Westfields on Sat and 11 on Sun plus 3 speed series drivers in class G single seaters. A few drivers had to withdraw including Adam and Charlotte Phelps plus Dave Cleaver. So we had a good turnout but the bad thing was that the weather was forecast heavy rain and thunderstorms plus cold temperatures for both days. Luckily the only rain was overnight on Saturday so that did not give us any problems. I must thank our friends at Longton and District Motor Club (LDMC) for making the weekend run efficiently despite the Covid issues.
The first strange thing on Saturday was the relaxed start with no signing on or scrutineering as we had completed all that stuff online prior to the event. There were some things that had to be checked by the Scrutineer such as new gloves, overalls etc as well as sound testing but it was minimal. It was good to see some new faces joining us and that included Jon Ison in his turbo busa and Peter O’Connor in John Loudon’s old car. Both these guys have lots of experience so there was going to be some close competition not just in the Westfield classes but in the other classes on the day. Andy Hargreaves was back out after a bit of a break and I nearly didn’t recognise his car as it looked very smart with a new paint job. Team Everall was looking very smart including me with new carbon fibre helmet, overalls and gloves whilst Steve had new overall and the most startling fluorescent bright green logos on his new race boots. Saturday saw a lot of mechanical problems and track stoppages on track as drivers hit things and visited the scenery at inappropriate moments. As a result we got 2 practice and 3 timed runs on the Eastern circuit which is technically challenging. The Friday night track walk had allowed us to take note of the altered parts of the track at the Wriggler and Bishops where extra tarmac width was, in theory, going to permit higher entry speeds and better exit speed out of the corners.
Steve was trying so hard in P1 that on the 3rd corner his rear arch had an argument with a large cone and he came back into the paddock not even knowing he had lost it. It was quite funny really as he had been heard telling someone in the paddock to remember that the back end of the car is wider than the front and that can cause problems! Eventually the wing parts got back to him in the paddock and consisted of 7 pieces of ripped fibreglass. It was a bit like a complicated 3D puzzle to put back together but we did it . Due to using plastic bolts to attach the wing to the tub damage was minimal and we reinforced the wing parts with ally strips pop rivetted in place before the whole lot was wrapped in black Duct tape. The result was a magnificent structure and solid as a rock and was admired by many and even the scrutineer called it a work of art. With me on alloy strip fabrication and matching jigsaw pieces , Mick Skidmore on pop riveting, Ron Siddle wielding copious amounts of duct tape and Steve supplying the tools it only took about 25 minutes to complete. The saying goes that things come in threes and on the next run Steve reported that his neutral light was not working. As we checked out the electrics we forgot to switch off the electric water pump and then found that his new Powerlite battery had gone flat. We put a spare battery on but in the haste connected the earth wire of the powercommander to the battery positive rather than negative so it would not start ! (We refixed the wire at the end of the afternoon and all was well for Sunday). As there was no time left before the timed runs Steve decided to double drive my car and I was a bit worried that he would like it too much or it might hit something like a cone but he looked after it well. I must remember to charge him for the petrol and tyre rubber he used ! Later we found a loose terminal on the wire to the neutral switch so that was an easy fix. Sometimes I don’t know how we find time to get on track. Jon Ison was making his power tell and Richard Houlgate was trying hard to stay with him. In W3 Peter O Connor had high hopes of getting a good result and had done a bit of testing and competed at Goodwood plus we had good drivers in the class on the day so it was game on. I just managed to win after a close battle. In W4 John Hoyle was out on slicks for the first time and was fastest Westfield all weekend but he could not match the pace of Alan and Nick Mugglestone in their Raw Fulcum much to his annoyance so I think he will make some changes to his springs and ARB to improve handling. Mick Dent and Harry Moody were going well but Mick Skidmore appeared to experiencing electrical problems with an intermittent misfire which might take a bit of curing. Andy Hargreaves was having a look at the wiring and relays as the ignition would go on and off when he moved stuff around. After a bit of testing with the multimeter I found that the voltage everywhere had dropped to 11.5v and that was the problem. Testing with a jump battery proved that the alternator was b*****red as we were not getting any charge voltage. Mick was lucky enough to borrow some batteries for Sunday and ran by recharging and changing batteries between runs and parking close to the start line so he did not waste battery power. Pete Goulding ran second fastest overall (I think) and John Loudon won the battle between him and Mark Anson who had a spin in P1 and missed the top 12 run off.
Saturday night would normally see us having a few beers and natter but with social distancing and very cold weather it was not happening. Overnight we had heavy rain but it passed quickly and all was well by morning. Today it was the outer circuit and we were joined by Simon Waterfall in his ex Mark Anson blade car which he has tested mainly on trackdays. The same battles took place as yesterday and again there were some engine issues. I had noted a change in acceleration off the line which was a bit like going onto 3 cylinders but cleared before the first corner. We got 1 practice and 5 timed runs and by the end of run 3, I decided to change the cam sensor and a set of plugs which cured the problem which was good as Peter O ‘Connor was putting in some fast times as was Simon Waterfall. Steve Everall had a few missed gear shifts in T1, T2 and that was found to be a loose mounting bolt on his paddle shift system. On his last run T4 Mick Skidmore tried too hard and spun at the first corner to end his weekend trying to catch John Hoyle who was flying. Mick Dent in his busa had a Kamikaze moment approaching Bishops a little fast on T3 and as he locked up the front wheels the car veered left and hit he tyre wall hard. Damage to the nearside was not as bad as it could have been but he needs a repaired upright, steering arm, straightened rim, cycle wing bracket, straightened oil cooler and radiator brackets etc. but the chassis looked fine. At lunchtime we had a group photograph near the start line and this should be in the magazine. On my last run I managed to put in a good run and just won class W3.
So it was a great weekend which brought back the buzz and excitement we had been missing. We were lucky that the thunder and lightning as well as torrential rain only started just as we left the paddock.