“How much longer is this right hander?!? We’ve been on it for about 15 minutes haven’t we?!?”
The wonderings of the team as we walked the Thruxton circuit on Friday evening at the lastest Quaife Intermarque meeting. Despite watching many Touring car meetings from Thruxton over the years and watching some videos on Youtube before making the trip it still takes you by surprise when you walk the track and get to take in just how fast it is. Raceday was sure to be interesting, we just had to try and not ‘do a Plato’ and disappear off the track into the surrounding hedges!
Thanks to Kevin McGarey, our friendly dentist, for sponsoring us, dazzling smiles now everyone!
Mistake number one of the meeting was pitching the tents too close to the toilets which we came to realise as a constant stream of people from one of the other series (who seemed much more interested in their Friday night than their Saturdays racing!) came trudging past the tents. Still, we got some sleep eventually and we awoke to warm and sunny conditions which was a relief as nobody much fancied Thruxton in the wet! The clouds did come overhead a few times throughout the day but luckily we got away with it and avoided the rain, in fact it was a pretty hot day with the racecar doing its best impression of a sauna after a few laps!
‘Oi! Bugger off with that camera, i’m trying to get changed here!’
And Philip Young wins the ‘how fast can you change into your overalls race!’
After passing through signing on and scrutineering we made our way to the assembly area for the noise test (which nearly caught out a few of the other cars but thankfully everyone did just about squeeze through in the end. It seems the limits are more rigorously enforced here, although quite how some of the mega loud bikes and classic touring cars in the other series made it through is anyones guess)
Ross has added some funky graphics to his helmet since the last meeting….the team estimate they’re worth at least half a second a lap 😉
In the assembly area before qualifying
Once out on track for qualifying that right hander seemed as long as ever but after a slow lap to have ‘a bit of a look’ Ross was soon finding the limits of this awesome track and passing quite a few cars in doing so!
Gliding through the chicane in qualifying – Thanks to Keith Duke for the photo, click here to view his Thruxton album
It’s incredible how many of the corners at Thruxton are taken almost flat out, culminating in the awesome near flat out Church corner where you glide through at 120mph on an absolute knife edge, brilliant brilliant stuff. You can watch Ross’ fastest lap from qualifying, a 1:23.9 on the video below.
That lap was good enough for 5th overall which we were incredibly happy with. In truth we didn’t (or at least Ross didn’t) expect to do very well here so 5th overall from over 20 cars and 3rd in class was absolutely mega. The car was bang on and in all honesty we don’t think there was a lot more to come from it.
Ross looking warm but pleased in parc ferme after qualifying
Race 1 and the rolling start wasn’t the neatest we’ve ever done as the tight chicane leading onto the start/finish straight makes it difficult to keep in formation but we got underway. Steve Halls Duratec powered class A Audi showed it’s horsepower as it drove past Ross on the run upto turn 2 but then unfortunately it nearly stopped right in front of Ross in the complex for some reason and gave the leading HR’s of Matt Simpson, Simon Smith and Jeff Simpson a big jump and left Ross fending off Matt Moore, Lewis Smith and Armiger as the cars headed out onto the back of the circuit for the first time. Sure enough once the track straightened up a little Moore’s class A Escort stretched its legs and came flying past, although over a lap it’s no faster so it’s a bit frustrating when you arrive at the next corner and it’s full of orange Escort 😉
The cars line up on the grid for race 1
Still, a lap later and Ross had reeled in Simpson and Smith who were fighting with Moore’s Escort. Ross had a run down the outside of Simpson into the chicane and then everything really bunched up at the complex behind the Escort with Ross almost tripping over Simpson while Lewis Smith was similarly having a great race and was all over the back of Ross!
It wasn’t to last though. Just as Ross was thinking ‘If I can get past this lot, I’ve got some more here, I can actually be 2nd!’ the gearbox stuck itself in 3rd on the way into the chicane. A bit of an awkward 3rd gear run through the chicane followed but it was all over as the car still refused to come out of 3rd so that was it, game over for the day. Absolutely gutted. To be right up at the front in amongst all those brand new cars in our 14 year old 206 with it’s struts and all its height was amazing but these things happen. We’ll fix it and try again at Rockingham in October!
Game over folks 🙁
We would like to say thanks very much though to everyone that offered us the use of spare gearboxes / diffs etc. Much appreciated, but we really can’t be affording to break two gearboxes in the same day! lol
Until next time then dear readers!