On Saturday I got up at some unseemly hour and braved rain, hail and sunshine on my way over to Castle Combe for the Williams Automobiles Motorsport Specialists Great Western Sprint organised by the Bristol Motor Club.
For my sins I volunteered to be a marshal and found myself rather busier than expected by being assigned the paddock gate where my duties included checking competitors competition numbers were visible and that they were wearing mandatory seat belts, gloves and helmet, I was also instructed to make sure each car that passed me had the correct scrutineering sticker attached.
Before the action started and during the lunch break I’m managed to take a few snaps, above David Jameson’s 1968 Volvo Amazon basks in the mid day sun.
Looking mean at dawn above is Neville Breach’s 1972 Sunbeam Avenger Tiger Mk II which unfortunately retired early when the motor started seizing up.
Bristol Pegasus Motor Club’s Pete Goodman only took delivery of his Ford Fiesta ST a couple of weeks ago, but had already put sufficient miles on it for a first service before Saturday, he told me the car was still so new he was circumspect of “really thrashing it”.
Among the open wheelers present was the Formula Ford spec 1980 Zeus ZR 163 shared by Russell and Mark Haynes. Up close the body work bears some resemblance to the 1981 Lotus 88. Little remembered Zeus fact; well known scribe for Motoring News, Autosport and more recently MotorSport, Simon Arron once drove a Zeus into the sleepers at Silverstone.
The 1993 Ralt RT37 was originally built for 2 litre / 122 cui Formula 3 racing, Peter Howgate’s example above is fitted with a 3.2 litre / 195 cui Judd V8.
Slightly older is the 1990 Lola Tegra T90/50 built for the 3 litre / 183 cui Formula 3000 series. The car shared by Graham Porret and Terry Holmes is now fitted with a 3.5 litre / 213 cui V8. On it’s last run the electrics cut out leaving Terry Holmes stranded in gear just short of the finish line.
Running a top sprint car is fraught with difficulties if the motor gets too warm the electronics take over and cut the motor and will not let it start again until the engine has dropped well below operating temperature, if the engine temperature gets too low damage is guaranteed when the motor is run at maximum revs hence Terry Graves Gould GR55 has a blanket wrapped over it in the near freezing conditions as he waited to go out in the top twelve run offs. Terry who has just acquired this car, still fitted with short hill climb gear ratio’s finished the day with a respectable if breathless 8th fastest time.
With the cars all assembled for the top 12 run offs my enjoyable if a little hectic contribution to the day was over and I had time to watch some of the track action from the pit wall. Above Craig Sampson in the unusual if not unique Reynard DB Mk1 managed forth fastest time while his partner driver Mark Smith recorded the 3rd fastest time of the day.
The top two spots on the ‘podium’ were reserved for the Calder clan Gould GR55 which had made a 15 hour one way trip from Scotland to Castle Combe. Dad Colin is seen above grinding out the fastest time of the day pipping his daughter Heather by just by a smidgeon over a tenth of a second.
Below father and daughter give each other a hug after the final run’s, to make up for Heather’s disappointment she at least knew the 15 hour journey would be marginally more tolerable than if she had not let her father win.
Thanks for joining me on this “Great Western Sprint” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at the last in the present series of vintage American vehicles. Don’t forget to come back now !