Snetterton April 21st 22nd 2007
A report by Tony Webb
This meeting was to be spread out over two days with races on Saturday and Sunday although both races were virtually at the end of each day's program, giving drivers a lot of spare time and an opportunity to watch some of the other racing for a change. This event is part of a double headed each year, where although a car meeting there is one race for motorcycles and towards the end of the season there is a bike meeting with one car race. This mix gives a nice feel to the day with some very nice bikes being given an airing, one or two so nice that if I could have found a little hidey hole in the transporter...........................

Saturday morning and for the first time in a long time our Practice was not until nearly mid day which gave most people a chance to have a leisurely build up towards signing on and scrutineering. From what I gather most of us went through without a hitch and it was good to see some more familiar faces and a couple of new cars. Although we managed finally to muster 20 cars for the grid, we had already been merged with the JEC guys with their BIG Jaguars, which gave rise to one or two ribald comments as they went through scrutineering.

It must have warmed Nigel's heart to see so many cars as the late entries showed that drivers had rallied to his call for a bigger grid, so well done everyone.

First casualty of the day before we got out was Nick Taylor with the TART Cobra, Ian who runs the car told me that they had been having concerns for a little while about a head problem they suspected, this finally manifested itself here at Snetterton and the wise decision was to withdraw the entry. Although they were not going to be racing, the team decided that they had to stay and support the rest of us, which confirms the bonding within the SRGT Series. The bigger disappointment had to be for our man Cheng who was down to race the Cobra in Nick's absence on the Sunday.

Cheng and Nick usually go head to head and so I guess Cheng was relishing the thought of getting behind the wheel of the Tart Cobra to see if he could filch one or two tweaks for the new car he is hoping to have out in the series soon. What a bummer eh !! Mark Jordan having pulled out at Donington when he suffered disappearing brakes was back at Snetterton hoping that he had found a cure for the problem with a change of fluid, as was John Suckling with the Taydec having sorted the electrical gremlins.

The cars all went through the 'noise test' without a problem as far as I am aware, although one or two drivers were looking a little nervous, especially after the discussions with the sound marshals last year. We were one of these as we were over the limit last year but were well inside this year much to our amazement, as the only change from then is the replacement engine block that was forced on us last year. For some reason unbeknown to us this block is noticeably quieter.

Our cars interspersed with the Jaguars set off in practice and it soon became apparent that John Dickson had not only sorted his car out from Donington but was really starting to fly, subsequently picking up pole with a time that would not have disgraced him had he been out with the Porsche GT3s. Mark Jordan also seemed to back on the pace just piping Clint to the second slot on the grid. So with the Cobras taking the first three positions it was the Crossles that took the next three led by Nigel Edwards. Next on the grid was Ken Culverwell in the Mamba, Ken having only just come out of hospital from a relatively major op, but got bored sitting around the house and thought he would test the doctor's advice about 'taking it easy'.

The rest of the grid was then made up of a mix of our Challenge and the Jaguars, although a strange looking device called a Luengo Viento which looked just like a Lotus Seven on steroids rather upset the applecart being the fastest of all the Jaguars to end up 11th on the grid. Snetterton also saw Myles Castaldini on the back end of the grid in the ex Richard Wos Marcos GT that he was to share later in the weekend with Nigel Edwards. Being new to the car Myles was trying to get a measure of his new steed despite a problem with the either the clutch or the gear change and it emitting a blue haze from underneath, which was eventually traced to a faulty breather on the cam cover. Graham Paddick was to bring the Kougar in after a few laps to investigate poor running.

And so to the race which being late in the afternoon was inevitably subject to the usual problem of the meeting running late due to accidents and delays. In fact it is surprising we got to race at all as we did not start until after 6.00pm with following bike race cancelled as the meeting was so far past its deadline. In the event our race curtailed to 12 minutes.

Watching from the pit wall is a problem for the start as the marshals clear the wall until the cars are clear and away, this means that you cannot always see who gets away clean and who makes up the places. Also when you are looking out for your own driver amongst the pack you again can miss some of the action, but here is what I did manage to see.

The grid formed up and as the lights turned green it appeared that Mark Jordan led the field away with the rest of the pack in hot pursuit. At Snetterton once the cars disappear towards Riches corner they are lost until they reappear at Coram, so immediately they disappear everyone’s eyes are glued to the other end of the track waiting to see who is first into the line of vision.

As they came into sight it was the unmistakable new colour scheme of John Dickson's Cobra with Mark Jordan, Nigel Edwards' Crossle and Clint in the Cobra heading the field. Next Mike Walker had moved up to fifth where he was to remain for the rest of the race with Ken Culverwell hanging on in sixth. Gary Wilson had made a good start from 11th to move up into eighth where he also remained to the flag in the Crossle that he prepares with his son.

From Coram it's a short run to Russell Bend and the leading four were close together as they braked for the much slower corner and then they were away thundering up the Pit Straight, John Dickson you could see was not going to give up the lead easily, but the noise as they all come past together is quite deafening. This was the order they stayed in until lap five when Clint got past the Crossle and set out after Mark Jordan to then pass into second place on lap six. The chase was on but despite setting fastest lap Clint could not quite make up the distance to John Dickson who won by less than a second and a half. Mark Jordan meantime was putting up a great fight despite having more brake problems which was later thought to boiling of the fluid. Given the way he was chasing the other two Cobras it's hardly surprising that the fluid was getting hot!!

In the mid field the order chopped and changed a little with the Crossles of Gary Wilson, David Hughes, Nick Ledger and Andy Todd holding their places in the centre of the field. Richard Abels E Type also put in some very consistent laps to finish eleventh and the Taydec of John Suckling despite losing a number of places at the start of the race, managed to climb back up to twelfth by the finish.

Further down the field there were many tussles going on with the XJ12 of Rick Walker and the Luego Viento of Alan Glover showing that the big cars are not so slow, holding their positions mid field of 13th and 14th with a bit of swapping to the end of the race. The Jaguars provided a big of excitement for the crowd as they thunder down from Coram and then swing them through Russell with the inevitable rush over the rumble strips. The only problem being that at this corner the rumble strips are like upturned house bricks which can easily upset the balance of the car. For those following this can translate into a large metal object suddenly filling your windscreen as this horrifying two ton ballerina scrabbles to regain its posture, throwing clouds of dust into the air in the process. Hearing the oohs and aahs of the crowd at Russell once or twice as the cars circulated, I guess they were being treated to the manic dance as cars tried to avoid one another. However as I walked back through the paddock later there were no funny smells so I take it no one had a brown trouser day!

Further still down the field the Westfield of Adam Wilkinson dropped a couple of places to 18th and finally retired after six laps, the Crossle of Gwyn Pollard joining Adam and Graham Paddick who had retired after three laps with the recurrence of a cylinder head problem that they thought had been resolved.

The Marcos of Myles Castaldini was having a bit of a scrap with the Ginetta of David Stafford and the XJ6 of Richard Dorling. The little Ginetta at 1300cc giving away quite a capacity difference to the 3 litre Marcos and the XJ6, but the three cars stayed together right to the flag despite swapping places several times, although the blue haze from the Marcos was I understand giving concern to the following drivers as to exactly what was being ejected from the engine!

It was also good to see that we had Jeremy Knight and Norman Davidson out in the Revival D type and E type respectively, although the last eight finishers were lapped by the leaders which is hardly surprising as Snetterton suits the big Cobras allowing them to stretch their legs down each of the long fast straights.

When the flag finally fell it was a jubilant John Dickson that crossed the line in what was to be the first of two wins over the weekend. Just to keep the drivers on their toes they were also subject to a weight check when they returned to the pit lane, that is their cars were weighed as I am sure there are one or two drivers that really don't want to know how much extra weight their cars are having to carry this season.

The day ended very satisfactorily with no major incidents as far as I am aware, obviously as I am unable to see all of the track and so if you were the 'spinner' or the one who 'nudged' someone else out of my sight providing a bit of spectacle for the crowd, I will leave you to own up and put an additional observation on the end of this report.

Not being there for the Sunday race I am unable to add comment, but I am sure that a review of both races from the driver's cockpit would be welcome and add a different perspective to those who read the site. So come on guys let us know which bits of the races you enjoyed most.
Tony Webb

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