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Race Report-Lydden Hill 3rd September 2005
By Tony Webb

As I was trying crew for our Ginetta I perhaps was not concentrating on what was happening elsewhere on the track all the time, but here is what I remember.
Tony Webb.

Because the morning was taken up by a sprint session it gave us all a lazy start to the day as scrutineering did not start until 11.15am, the sun was shining and it was also beginning to get hot. Lydden being in a bowl like an amphitheatre there was little wind and as the day wore on it got very hot, heating the track surface considerably. This problem at Lydden was emphasized by the lady Clerk of the Course who was at great pains to warn drivers to take on plenty of fluid.

Qualifying saw 14 cars take to the track with an expectation that the smaller cars may spring some surprises. In the event it was Clint who got the measure of the circuit to take pole with Mike Walker second and Cheng with some spirited driving taking third. Ken Paton was trying to adapt to some new tyres he was running and put up a good time to take fourth. The sound of Henry Lawson’s Lister left the crowd in no doubt where he was on the circuit as the sound seemed to hang in the air of the closed environs of the circuit.

The field sorted itself out until it was spread all around the circuit so that no matter where you were there was something passing in front of the small but appreciative crowd. Despite having toured the paddock asking everybody and anybody for spare parts, Barry Sheppard overcame a fuelling problem with the Nomad to qualify seventh. Our own Ginetta came in ninth which pleased David as he had never been to Lydden before and was learning both car and circuit.

Drama hit qualifying in two ways, first of all Myles Castaldini was called before the Clerk of the Course (although I am not sure what was wrong). Certainly he entertained round Devil’s Elbow and North Bend with the tail hanging out each time, but he was getting quite exuberant!

The second drama involved Michael Shoobridge in the Elan, having completed a number of laps he exited Paddock Bend at the bottom of Hairy Hill and found himself traveling along the edge of the grass. This appeared to cause him to lose control and the car started to spin the back end lifting off the ground in the process and dumped him virtually in front of the commentary position. From where I stood I saw him get out of the car and start to assess the damage, when all of a sudden flames started coming from under the bonnet. He had the presence of mind to grab a fire marshals extinguisher that was luckily close by and fire it under the bonnet, rather than use the one in the car, which would have prevented him taking part later.

Jon Jeffrey went well in the other Davrian in 10th, Roger Dewen 11th in the D Type, the Elan 12th, Andrew Chalmers in the black 911 and Myles relegated to back of the grid for whatever his misdemeanours were.

In the increased heat of the afternoon, the lineup for the race saw the absence of the Nomad which had shed a drive shaft in another race leaving a gap in the mid field. The start is on a slight downward gradient which helped the leading cars get away at a furious pace, coming around Chessons for the first time the field was relatively well together with the leading grid positions remaining the same, further back the Ginetta had made a good start and gained a couple of places and Myles was starting to make up for being at the back at the start. Around Devils Elbow for the first time and up the hill everyone was starting to jostle for position hoping to make a good exit at the top hairpin for the fast drop into Paddock Bend.

The first lap saw the leading cars start to open up a gap to those following with Mike Walker harrying Clint and Cheng trying to not let them get away. As the cars came round for the second time they came up to the hairpin and John Dickson in the Cobra came through with a lot of power on. The car started to go sideways and ended up flying heavily into the tyre wall on the outside of the track a short distance down Hairy Hill. Having hit the tyres the car bounced back and started across the circuit just as the Kougar, Ginetta and Myles Castaldini were starting down the hill. The drivers all took action to avoid the slithering Cobra and the field threaded their way past the debris. Within moments this brought out the red flag and the cars were collected up and formed back up on the grid.

Fortunately John was ok although the Cobra was looking very bent at the front end. The cars were formed back up on the grid and there the drivers sat for 20 minutes in the blazing heat (90+ degrees) whilst the track was cleared and the tyre wall remade.

The restart became shambolic as the start marshals began holding boards up one after another with little delay, the 2 and 1 minute boards and then the 30 and 5 second boards. As you might imagine given the speed of the showing of these boards the drivers were anticipating that the lights would also quickly follow and then off, but no. There was a long delay between the last board and the lights during which given the sloping start line many of the cars started to creep, when one started they all followed and I think it was Ken‘s D type that had to be quickly reversed to get it back behind the line when all of a sudden the lights were on and the field stuttered into action. This caused the cars to be closely bunched as they sped down and into the start of Chessons.

It looked as though there was not much room as I lost sight of them behind the trees when I heard the commentator shouting that the Ginetta was spinning in the midst of the pack. The car span out and into the tyre wall but not too heavily and David Stafford emerged unscathed. The position of the car gave concern initially to the possibility of another red flag, but in the event the marshals kept the field advised with other flags for the shortened duration of the race.

It’s at this point that my observations ceased, as our car was out I made my way back to await the cars arrival on the tow truck. However not before I saw the cars come flying past for the first time, with Mike Walker glued to Clint and Cheng getting the tail out as they came through the top hairpin to start the drop to Paddock Bend.

The race finished in the order of qualifying with Myles and Roger Dewen making up places to finish a creditable seventh and eighth in front of Andrew Chalmers Michael Shoobridge and Jon Jeffery.


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