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
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.