Brands Hatch - 25 March 2001
|7||39||C||Simon Orebi Gann||+8||56.113||15||3.198||126.60||78.66|
|16||41||E||Adrian van der Kroft||+4||59.827||10||6.912||118.74||73.78|
Brands Hatch - 25 March 2001
|6||39||C||Simon Orebi Gann||+8||11:36.832||12||45.918||76.01||56.310||78.39|
|10||69||B||Phil Hollins||+8||11:01.937||12||1 lap||80.02||58.597||75.33|
|11||17||D||Jack Bellinger||+8||11:02.830||12||1 lap||79.91||58.926||74.91|
|12||1||E||Alan Wickenden||4/4||11:05.852||12||1 lap||79.55||58.569||75.36|
|13||41||E||Adrian van der Kroft||+4||11:06.690||11||1 lap||72.83||58.888||74.96|
|14||55||B||Phillip McKelvey||+8||11:07.122||11||1 lap||72.78||58.001||76.10|
|15||31||C||Leigh Sebba||+8||11:30.069||11||1 lap||70.36||59.276||74.47|
|16||57||B||Bill Bellinger||4/4||11:37.061||11||1 lap||69.66||1:00.163||73.37|
|17||71||D||Kelvin Laidlaw||+8||11:42.419||11||1 lap||69.12||1:02.120||71.06|
|18||7||D||Mary Lindsay||+8||11:42.545||11||1 lap||69.11||1:00.661||72.77|
|19||11||E||David James||+4||10:54.818||10||2 laps||67.41||1:02.976||70.09|
|20||48||D||Philip Goddard||+8||11:14.777||10||2 laps||65.41||1:04.722||68.20|
|21||44||E||Stephen Wheatley||4/4||11:21.291||10||2 laps||64.79||1:01.933||71.27|
Brands Hatch - 25 March 2001
|Lap record||E||Alan Wickenden||58.569||121.30||75.37|
Keith warms to the task
Brands Hatch - 25 March 2001
A hardy group of drivers and supporters assembled on a bitterly cold morning to start the new season and try out new toys, replacement lorries and accessories for real. Two new drivers, Philip Goddard in an ivory Plus 8 and Phil Hollins in a stunning red Plus 8 soon got the hang of the proceedings and were seen huddling in corners talking gear selections and watching as Mary’s car was pounced on in the paddock and hoses replaced before she even had time to park.
It was a case of deja vu as Keith led the pack out for practice and Brands was filled with the throaty roar of Morgans. Unfortunately Rick Lloyd’s engine (which in any case was a very late replacement) decided to sing from a different hymn sheet and was heard popping and complaining so he wisely withdrew to the paddock where Chas decided to pack it up and return the engine to its creator for further comment.
Kelvin Laidlaw’s car tried to enliven the session by adding some oil to the track, but with the exception of minor irritations everyone felt that practice went tolerably well despite the cold which reduced lap times generally. Keith took pole with Matthew second and Peter Horsman third in his rejuvenated ex-Andrew Jenkins car. Chris Acklam came in fourth and James Paterson sixth. The unfortunate Rick ended up fifth but packed up fearing that to continue would do even more terminal damage.
The mechanics then reached for their trusty spanners while Mark Aston went around looking under cars and bonnets and used his steel rule and steely eyes to measure critical bits. Keith debued some impressive hydraulic jacks much to the envy of a rather sad paddock and Matthew quietly gave the appearance of rebuilding his car. No change there, then. Except for the quietly bit. Kelvin mopped the oil from his front wing while everyone else fiddled with various bits of their car’s anatomies so that seasoned race supporters knew that a new season was well underway.
After the prerequisite number of hours of numbing cold, the drivers donned their suits and headed off in the time honoured fashion. After having relieved themselves, they then donned their helmets and drove off, leaving the supporters to waddle in their many layers of clothing to a good vantage point to view the race.
The race began in a suitably exciting manner with James Patterson, 6th on the grid and in a car he assures us is green, sprinting off the line overtaking both Chris Acklam in 4th place and Peter Horsman in 3rd place. Keith Ahlers hung onto his pole position while Matthew Wurr looked poised to make a move. Peter had a dreadful start in his ‘new’ car but impressed with his ability to utilise his new-found power to lay rubber. He lost two places but outbraked Chris into Paddock and James into Druids.
Meanwhile all eyes were on Paddock as Philip McKelvey, who had had a storming start, was hit in his very pert and shapely rear end by Andy Green, and spun dramatically down the hill. He fortunately ended up on the grass on the inside of the track rather than in the never-to-be-escaped-from gravel trap on the outside. Brett was heard to say afterwards that the new-found rear grip afforded by Philip’s rear end undoubtedly contributed to this.
The rest of the field, still all close together from the start, managed to avoid the spinning cars leaving Philip to rejoin the fray in last place and behind the first three Morgans as they sped into their second lap.
As seasoned race goers might expect, Jack took full advantage of the situation and made up five places as he passed the melee without slowing down. Maybe he just had his eyes closed still from the start. He then spent the rest of the race hounding Phil Hollins, giving him a first race to remember but lacking the extra power to overtake Phil’s red beauty.
Meanwhile, another Bellinger, honourably upholding the family tradition (if not honour) was left to intimidate Mary as Billy drifted sideways into her nearside front wing leaving a long blue stripe in his wake. Afterwards he claimed not to have seen her (another family tradition) but he was clearly the intimidated one as he was last seen with T Cut and a rag furiously attempting to remove all evidence of the alleged encounter. There was something very alluring about Mary’s car as Leigh Sebba’s car also attempted a meeting, resulting not in any bizarre mating but rather in Mary putting all four wheels on the grass. Kelvin Laidlaw, not to be outdone in this new take on race etiquette, also decided to mount Mary’s car but this time from the rear, just touching her rear bumper, enough to feel a satisfying ping before driving off into the pack with Mary in hot pursuit. They were cruelly separated for five laps by Leigh and Bill until those two overtook Kelvin’s mobile oil leak, leaving Mary to follow Kelvin to the chequered flag in 17th and 18th places.
It seemed that cars were determined to remind their drivers that the winter had been rather long as Stephen Wheatley spun on lap 3 after being overtaken (or should that read unceremoniously bundled out of the way?) by Philip McK and was thereafter condemned to hold last place. This was rather sad since he had genuine hopes after practice of not bringing up the rear.
Perhaps the spinning cars was why Matthew never really mounted a serious assault on Keith as he had rather ignominiously sat out in the gravel trap the previous day during testing and probably didn’t relish picking all those stones out again two days in a row.
Keith continued to storm around the track competently with Matthew constantly chasing, poised to make a move should Keith falter or get held up in traffic. On lap four, Matthew seemed to be closing at Paddock Hill Bend but Keith was determined to hang onto his lead and powered up Hailwood Hill and to his fastest lap on lap five.
Simon OG and Andy Green looked as though they too were wanting to mate during lap two as they came down Graham Hill Bend with armfuls of opposite lock with Simon eventually “letting” Andy through while Daniel Ward wisely kept a watching brief, concentrating instead on nursing an oil leak from his axle, wondering just how long he would be able to postpone the expensive day when he changed the offending beam. Two laps later Simon retook Andy to hold onto 6th place for the remainder of the race.
Paul Chauveau lost three places at the start but was pleased to have managed to make up two by the end of the race. David James, a welcome returnee, also made a poor start but caught up in the first lap melee at Paddock to keep a serene pace and hold onto his place third from the back of the pack.
By lap six, Keith had established a clear advantage to eventually claim a deserved first place in the race with Matthew coming second, seven odd seconds behind. A satisfied Peter came in a comfortable third after a potential challenge by Chris Acklam had faded by the fourth lap, followed by Chris and James P fifth.
What of our new champion Alan Wickenden? Well, after making a good start he was overtaken by Adrian V.D.K. as he avoided the pirouetting aerofoil and Adrian took full advantage to get in front. The heat was on as the two class E cars fought for position until Alan retook Adrian on lap two, but instead of his by now customary position, well in front of the others in his class, Alan had to spend the rest of the race with Adrian nipping at his heels so that less than a second separated them at the finish and their fastest laps were less than three hundredths of a second apart. Looked a great battle.
Philip Goddard, our other first-time racer, reported that he was pleased to have kept out of trouble, especially as two people spun in front of him, and was only sorry to have let Paul Chauveau lap him. He was clearly enjoying himself and thought that a further lap at the end of the race may be in order, by way of a little celebration. Unfortunately the Clerk Of The Course did not share this view when he spotted the hapless vet passing the chequered flag for the second time and hauled him in for a nerve racking interview.(he probably felt like us poor dog owners when awaiting the latest vet’s bill for pooch maintenance, although that in itself pales into insignificance when opening Morgan bills, but I digress and apologise for momentarily letting my personal feelings get in the way of my brain and pen!). Anyway, Philip returned to the fold provisional licence still intact and with a firm resolve to scour the pit wall for flags in future races.
Hours of freezing pleasure then came to a close after 11:21:291 minutes leaving only the postmortems and packing up to be done. Keith’s car was resplendent in its garland while cups and glass tankards went to Keith (class A), Peter (class B), James (class C), Jack (class D) and Alan (class E). They all took their class’ fastest laps with Alan’s class E time faster than Jack’s class D time.
All (?) that was left was the team race, and your scribe is very confident that a very full report indeed will appear elsewhere in this esteemed journal of which Mr Acklam is editor.
Hopefully the show will move on to Oulton Park on April 7, foot and mouth allowing, with everything to play for, so see you there!