Mallory Park made a welcome return to the Avon Intermarque Championship calendar as it hosted round three of this year’s competition last weekend. We last raced at Mallory back in 2012 when we had a rather dramatic meeting which ended in Brian needing a trip to Leicester Hospital after Ross’ 206 fell off the jack in the pits and crushed Brians arm in the process! Thankfully no major damage was done but we were still hoping for a quieter meeting this time when we arrived in the paddock on Friday evening.
What a lovely place
We were a little later than most of the other teams in arriving as we’d paid a flying visit to our friend Pauls wedding on Friday afternoon. Paul, or PC as he’s known to us, used to come racing with us during Brians days of hotrod racing in the southwest so congratulations to him on his big day. Back at the track and we still managed to arrive in the glorious sunshine by 8pm, we even had a space saved for us in the paddock so thank you very much Simon!
Brian neglected to do a complete track walk with the rest of us as he ‘already knows the oval’ so instead he took our repaired pitbike for a quick scope of the hairpin end of the circuit. With the daylight now fading we enjoyed some food before pitching the tents by the lake. How many other circuits can you visit and say that?
Brian powers past the pits in qualifying
Raceday morning dawned dry but colder than expected as everyone searched for jumpers, fleeces, or for the drivers the best option, three layers of fireproof overalls! After a rather picky scrutineering it was time for qualifying with the cars looking particularly quick at this circuit from the pitwall vantage point most of the teams were watching from! Brian looked immediately comfortable as he completed his first laps, eventually pitting just before the end of the session after completing 15 laps. The best lap time of 50.9 came on lap eight and would place Brian 16th on the 18 car grid, just ahead of Philip Young and John Steward who was back out in the ex-Paul Adams Mercedes SLK.
Lap one drama!
With Brian feeling very happy with the balance of the car, we only had to clean the tyres and refuel before race one. It seems cleaning the tyres was a bit of a waste of time however as an incident further up the grid as the cars piled into turn one of lap one, sent cars flying off the track and onto the grass in avoidance. Brian was one of those cars but despite avoiding everything solid and re-joining the track, the high speed trip across the freshly cut grass had completely blocked all the air intakes with huge amounts of grass. This led to rapidly increasing engine temperatures and an early finish to race one. We weren’t the only ones to suffer this problem…if only the grass hadn’t have just been cut we’d have gotten away with it! You can watch race one here.
There’s the problem!
Malcolm Blackman powered to the win with Chris Brockhurst taking second while pole sitter Lewis Smith dropped out on lap one with mechanical problems. Mike Thurley beat Steve Burrows to the final podium spot after a very entertaining and close race.
Back in the pits and we spent a great deal of time removing all the grass which had managed to get just about everywhere! Elsewhere there was plenty of drama going on further down the pits as Richard Smith’s SLK caught fire. Fortunately nobody was hurt and the fire was quickly out but it still ruled the car out for the rest of the day.
Race two and everyone got through turn one safely this time, although we did sadly lose Chris Brockhurst with an engine problem. Brian was going well in the Tigra and enjoying some good racing with Philip Blackford, Philip Young and Mick Robertson.
It all went wrong on lap 13 though, as the back end of the car escaped as Brian turned into Gerards. Brian nearly got away with it but ended up sliding off backwards onto that damned grass again. As before no damage was done but again the intakes were jammed with grass which resulted in a DNF. Watch race 2 on Youtube here.
Congrats to Malcolm Blackman who made it two wins for the day and commiserations to Lewis Smith who charged through from the back to take the fight to Malcolm early on before again falling by the wayside with mechanical problems. Simon Smith took a very well deserved 2nd place after being robbed of a possible podium in the first race with a blocked fuel pump / lines. Completing the podium was Reuben Taylor who looked competitive all day and just finished ahead of Daniel Smith and Steve Burrows.
That’s it for this this meeting, we encountered plenty of greenery without getting the rub of the green (sorry, couldn’t help myself) but we’re hoping for better next time. We haven’t got long to wait either with the next meeting at Brands Hatch less than two weeks away on June 11th / 12th. With it being the ‘American Speedfest’ meeting it’s sure to be a good well supported weekend too, plus we’ve got a surprise lined up for you.
Finally this week a big thanks to Karl for all the great photos in this update. Cheers!