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Belfast Flyers at the Snetterton 4 Hour Relay 7th October 2007.
Report by Gwyn Pollard

The Belfast Flyers entered a new event on 7 October, the MGCC's Birkett-alike 4 Hour Relay, at Snetterton. The team comprised Mike, Andy, Nick and Gwyn with their Crossles, Cheng, Jane and Penny dealing with tactics, timing and catering, and Peter Cook wielding the spanners.

The competition consisted mainly of MG Rover saloons and hordes of MGBs and Midgets, some deceptively quick, plus teams of Caterhams and M3s. Graham Turner's GT40 was there too, looking and sounding good. Andy's car arrived at the circuit with ride height settings suitable for the Paris-Dakar, but not ideal for Snetterton. However with some help from Peter and a helpful MG racer with some scales, he had it ready for his first session.

The race was fairly uneventful, except for Mike, who hogged all the team's quota of drama but without causing much in the way of delay. After making a good start from 5th on the grid, he found a corner of the car detaching itself from the rest, and a worrying oil circulation problem arose at the end of his second stint. Having finished the instalation of a newly rebuilt engine, with Graham's help, only the day before, the lubrication problem wasn't exactly welcome. However Paul Dunnell dropped everything on Monday to check his engine, fixed the problem and thankfully confirmed that no major damage had been done.

The only glitch in the organisers' smooth running of the event was the technical problem with the timing that led to Mike being credited with a frankly ridiculous 1:18.995 best lap. The extent of the fault can best be understood by considering that Nick and Andy's bests were down as 1:20.181 and 1:20.563 respectively, whereas Gwyn's was 1:21.531. Preposterous, clearly. The overall result was 6th, which was a little disappointing, but where you'd expect in view of the times of the cars making up the quicker teams.

The handicapping process was the traditional mystery, and for all we know was based on the drivers' star signs and their cars' colour, so nobody was surprised or bothered when the results declared us to be 14th or 15th, or something, out of 21. The MGCC are hoping to run the event again next year, and to avoid the clash with the Spa 6 hour weekend, so anyone who fancies a go at a relay event should pencil it in. Many thanks to Penny, Cheng, Jane and Peter for keeping the drivers informed, fed and mobile.


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