Round 25 - Prescott, Saturday 30th September
A Bit of Racing and a Whole Heap of Fun
This sprinting lark is tremendous fun. Sure, we only get four minutes of exhilaration in a day, but the paddock banter and camaraderie is without equal. 13 of us arrived at Prescott for the last round of our 2017 Championship. With limited opportunity to make a difference to the overall standings, the emphasis was on fun. Well, except Moggy and Chaos who cannot go to any event without trying their hardest.
Early arrivers walked the track to find out/remember which way it went. It’s easy to forget how steep (Ettores)/scary (Semi Circle)/challenging (Orchard/Pardon/Esses) some of the sections are. Layout committed to memory, attention turned variously to erecting the gazebo to ward off the forecasted showers, acquiring coffee to shake off the early start, and bacon baps to increase the ballast.
As normal, we were running at the end of the programme. Some think this is to persuade the spectators to stay until the end of the day to revel in the noise and spectacle of the TVRs going up the hill. Others, boringly, suspect it is because we are alphabetically last of the invited clubs (there’s not a lot of demand for a Vauxhall speed championship!). Either way, we had plenty of time to engage in cheerful, encouraging and supportive discussion. Not! Plenty of mickey taking, teasing and sandbagging ensued prior to our damp first practice at about 11am.
Mostly tentative trips up the hill finding the grip levels to be as low as expected, although Champion-elect Chaos didn’t seem to notice, and Paul Moakes put in a sensational time to sit 3rd on the leaderboard. Second practice at lunchtime was a lot drier and everyone else went significantly quicker. Shelagh got within the proverbial gnat’s whisker of her PB and was what can only be described as “cock-a-hoop”.
Moggy had arrived shod in wet weather tyres, based upon one of the varied forecasts the night before. This, and the gazebo, could be why we eventually had dry weather. But it still wasn’t certain at lunchtime. So he and pit-crew-Rob decided to hedge their bets, and changed two wheels to semi-slicks, with the idea they would only have to change two wheels when they had to make a decision moments before the first timed run.
At this point, someone challenged Rob P’s son, Dan, to sit on one of Moggy’s spare tyres, and not to move under any circumstances. The phrase “nothing less than a tenner” was also bandied around. When the call was made, dry tyres were chosen and Dan looked like he would be in profit. However, Moggy’s desire to win clearly clouds his generosity, and Dan was “removed” from said tyre with much hilarity. Next time Dan…
Moggy converted the tyre change into points, and got a time that would (sand)bag the win for the day. Chaos was a smidge behind, not bad considering he was filling his helmet with phlegm. Rob was intent on keeping Shunter behind as he was the only person who could challenge his 2nd place in the Championship. GetCarter peaked on his first run, and moved to 4th. Others who peaked here included StevieD, Harry (with a PB by a whopping 0.07s), Jo and Pete A. Hank had “a moment” in the Esses and took a while to regain his composure.
Second timed runs started just after 5pm. Several made improvements in every round – Pete W making the biggest gains from first practice to final timed runs; Rob to keep Shunter at bay; and Shunter, who PB’d by 1.5s and still didn’t gain enough points to make a difference to his position in the Championship. Shelagh put in a huge effort at the last, and got even closer to her PB. Paul improved over T1, but wasn’t quite as quick as practice – clearly enjoying himself too much.
“Competition” out of the way, half the competitors joined up for the evening for beers and curry and a very late night. More mickey taking, hilarity and enjoyment ensued, with only passing mentions of the racing. Newbies and oldies are all welcome, and we look forward to another thoroughly entertaining (and occasionally competitive) season in 2018.