Donington Park GP - 5 May 2001
|11||39||C||Simon Orebi Gann||+8||1:58.499||9||12.080||122.23||75.95|
|15||41||E||Adrian van der Kroft||+8||2:00.835||7||14.416||119.87||74.48|
Donington Park GP - 5 May 2001
|7||39||C||Simon Orebi Gann||+8||16:05.858||8||1.21.907||74.55||1:59.066||75.59|
|15||41||E||Adrian van der Kroft||+4||16:47.369||8||2:03.418||71.47||2:01.951||73.80|
|16||17||D||Jack Bellinger||+8||14:52.245||7||1 lap||70.61||2:04.631||72.21|
|17||71||D||Kelvin Laidlaw||+8||15:03.566||7||1 lap||69.72||2:07.103||70.81|
|18||31||C||Leigh Sebba||+8||15:03.954||7||1 lap||69.69||2:06.889||70.93|
|19||57||B||James Bellinger||4/4||15:04.294||7||1 lap||69.67||2:06.805||70.98|
|20||7||D||Mary Lindsay||+8||15:06.992||7||1 lap||69.46||2:06.365||71.22|
|21||20||C||Robin Pearce||+8||15:07.844||7||1 lap||69.40||2:06.879||70.93|
|22||11||E||David James||+4||16:04.878||7||1 lap||65.29||2:09.767||69.36|
|23||24||B||Phil Brown||+8||16:12.856||7||1 lap||64.76||2:13.708||67.31|
Donington Park GP - 5 May 2001
|Lap record*||A||Keith Ahlers||+8||1:48.403||3||133.61||83.02|
|Lap record*||B||Peter Horsman||+8||1:56.802||4||124.01||77.05|
|Lap record*||C||James Paterson||+8||1:55.790||8||125.09||77.73|
|Lap record*||D||Jack Bellinger||+8||2:04.631||6||116.22||72.21|
|Lap record*||E||Alan Wickenden||4/4||2:01.537||2||119.17||74.05|
Keith dedicates third victory in a row to Chas
Donington Park 5 May 2001
(Very) early morning members of the MMCC supporters club found an apprehensive band of racers moving unobtrusively around the Donington paddock. Uppermost in everyone’s mind was the previous week’s debacle at Brands which resulted in the Morgan withdrawal from racing. Serena and Mark arrived for scrutineering armed with a large black folder containing the fruit of Serena’s labours during the intervening week. Fortunately scrutineering passed off smoothly with the scrutineers proving helpful and pleasant, enabling Serena to breathe again while life in the paddock returned to normal with the usual pre-practice chat, cups of coffee, visits to the loo and the odd essential rebuild or two.
For the first time this season, the Morgans left for practice in welcome sunshine. Twenty seven cars poured out onto the grand prix circuit behind Keith Ahlers. Simon McDermott was again unable to join in as he still had a black hole where his engine was supposed to go. One of these days he will be there in overalls rather than as a spectator. Andy Green was also spectating but it is he rather than his car which is awaiting an essential rebuild as he was nursing a damaged knee ligament.
The sunshine seemed to act as an encouragement to most drivers who all enjoyed practice but with varying degrees of enthusiasm for the full circuit. A number complained of overuse of their brake pedals and 90 degree turning points into blind bends (whatever that means). Alan Wickenden found his brakes binding and ended up on the grass a few times. (See www.brakehorsepower.net for a fuller explanation of this.) Billy loved the Craner Curves whilst Robin Pearce, a newcomer to the Series, decided that discretion was the better part of valour and braked upon entry while deciding that he needed the grip of different tyres. David James, an experienced (to say the least) driver, decided to spin (anticlockwise, of course) at the curves and took out two plastic bollards while he was at it - maybe he had some new and hitherto untried plumbing use for them. David’s car returned a bit dented and nobody noticed. Keith, who had been zooming along in the same proximity at the time, came across the whirling plumber, returned a little shaken. He had aimed for David’s back end while deciding where the pirouetting might stop and fortunately negotiated the bends without further mishap. Plumbers. Never there when you want them, but........
Several drivers reported that the track was a bit slippery and it is here that I should remain quiet but showing impeccable impartiality will report instead that a certain class B car driven by one Peter Horsman had a problem with his engine blowing oil into an eventually overflowing catch tank as well as the footwells. Keith and Matthew reported traction problems which Matthew compounded with a drooping near side brake duct (sounds nasty, that). Rick didn’t want to talk about his engine which seemed ok, but handling problems provided a different paddock challenge to the usual sending out for bits from John Eales. Alas, this relatively happy state was not to last into Sunday.
Philip McKelvey was delighted to find that his massive financial outlay in paying Donington’s outrageous fee for testing the previous day had paid off as he qualified in front of Paul Burry, in whose wake he has been following for years. Paul himself blamed his poor times on playing with tyre pressures and learning the circuit. Phil Brown, a returning racer, had a good time until he saw Jack’s formidable car looming in his rear-view mirrors and in moving over found himself on the grass. Billy outqualified Jack who immediately blamed this inevitability on new tyres, shocks out of balance, wrong tyre pressures etc. However, on finding these all to be perfect in tip-top condition, well relatively anyway, he resorted to that old excuse of letting Billy win. Adrian Van der Kroft outqualified Alan and, much to his delight, Kelvin Laidlaw outqualified Jack. James Paterson, class C, enjoyed himself so much that he was faster than seven cars in class B and found himself sixth on the grid.
Keith’s time was amazing so he was on pole yet again, leaving Matthew to play his trump card. But his new V8 supercharged race suit was successful only in wowing the paddock .
Leigh Sebba was overjoyed to find himself quicker Mary Lindsay and Stephen Wheatley was probably disappointed to be last on the grid but had had a nasty fright when spinning and seeing Peter H. looming at the same time ( and I can vouch that a looming Peter H is not at all a pretty sight) so had driven circumspectly for the remaining practice time.
Simon OG spent the interval between practice and race wondering where he was to find four seconds to give James any sort of run for his money. Paul Chauveau was just pleased to be there in his silver duck-taped car and drying off his hands in the slipstream. Dan Ward nearly experienced the ignominy of being towed off the track as he wondered why his car would go well around two bends and then limp around the next two until he checked his instruments and discovered that he was very low on fuel.
Amazingly, the sun still continued to shine into the afternoon reflecting satisfyingly on all those well-polished Morgan bonnets as they awaited patiently in the assembly area. It was then that disaster was averted by Chas, in his new role as mechanic to the nobility, when he spotted that all was not well with the car destined for pole and set about putting the fan belt pulley back into place. This potentially serious state of affairs didn’t seem to affect Keith outwardly as he led the field out onto the track. Matthew Wurr was second with Rick Lloyd and his take away engine third, Peter Horsman and his dripping engine fourth, Chris Williams and his seemingly ok engine fifth and the potato fuelled engine of James Paterson on sixth.
The start was well disciplined as the first four all contested for first place as they approached Redgate. Keith and Matthew both made hesitant starts but Matthew recovered in time to `shut the door` on Rick while Keith powered into the lead, a position in which he remained unassailable for the entire race, leaving the scrapping to those following in his train. Rick kept up a relentless pressure on Matthew so that they enjoyed a good scrap but Keith and his car outclassed the field.
Behind the immediate leaders an almighty battle was looming On the second lap our flying farmer overtook Peter Horsman who was visibly slowing as more and more oil leaked across the engine and into the footwell and onto the manifold as pre-race modifications proved not to be entirely successful. He slowed (he said, anyway) to minimise the problem and not provoke the man with the black flag. Grahame Walker and Chris Acklam were constantly swapping places for sixth and seventh places until lap five when Grahame lost all brakes under the Dunlop bridge, passing everyone quicker than had ever passed them before, but unfortunately whilst he was going in the right direction, he was not necessarily going in a totally forwards direction, and was destined once more to watch the remainder of the race from behind the crash barrier.
Once Grahame had dispatched himself, Chris began to make up time on Peter and overtook him in the Melbourne Loop on the penultimate lap. Peter got the power down earlier entering the pit straight and they were side by side down the straight and into and out of Redgate. Peter kept his foot submerged in the oilslick and outran Chris into the Craners and thence all the way to the flag.
Closely behind, Simon OG, Paul Burry and Philip McKelvey were engaging in a fine battle with Philip getting between the first two on lap two until Philip lost it on the exit to the chicane, spun, controlled the car and rejoined behind Paul, a place he kept until the flag. Paul also had a grandstand view of Chris Williams spinning on the first lap. Unlike Philip, Chris came to an untimely stop as once his car stops it won’t restart so he was forced to watch the fun from the sidelines. Simon OG and Paul B travelled nose to tail for the rest of the race as they vied for second in class, finishing within a second of one another but fourteen seconds behind James who drove a splendid race to finish fourth overall and first in class.
Without Andy Green to play with, Dan Ward had a lonely race behind OG, Burry and McKelvey until Phil Hollins overtook him on lap six and Paul Chauveau on the final lap. Sarge and Paul Chauveau had spent much of the race ducking and diving with each other, but Paul managed to finish 11th, overtaking Sarge on lap four and Daniel in 12th on the final lap. Dan had a bad last lap as he lost two places. As unruffled as always, Sarge kept 13th place from the beginning of the second lap despite the constant rearrangements in position made by those around him.
Adrian Van der Kroft and Alan Wickenden maintained the excitement farther down the field Alan made the better start putting Phil Hollins between himself and Adrian. After Phil made up four places on lap two Alan and Adrian were left to fight it out alone, both overtaking Jack on the third lap and fighting for 14th place for the next four laps until Alan managed to pull away for the final two laps and cross the line nearly ten seconds ahead of Adrian.
Jack had a storming start making up three places and most importantly overtaking Billy and Kelvin in the process. Once he in turn had been dispatched by Phil Hollins, Adrian and Alan, Jack held on to 16th place leaving Kelvin to keep Leigh, Mary and Billy back. Robin Pearce set about catching Mary up overtaking firstly Phil Brown and then David James until only John Clarke remained between them. John was determined to keep ahead but unfortunately as he quietly coasted past the supporters at Redgate on lap three, they immediately realised that he had done a Dan big time and was left ruing not putting any petrol in his car. He had to sit out the race in disgrace (that is what comes of buying cheap American import gauges over the net methinks). Anyway, this left the coast clear for Robin to attempt an assault on Mary who, as they had only met previously the once, managed to keep him at bay although she did report that he had come rather close.
It seemed to be a day for self inflicted embarrassments. David James was determined to improve on his pirouetting style from the morning but this time he, or perhaps more accurately, his car, chose Copse on lap three, with only Phil Brown available to award points for style. On regaining the track at the back of the field, David eventually managed to regain his place in front of Phil on lap five. Poor Stephen Wheatley was unable to show any driving skills at all as his car embarrassed itself by emitting a loud bang on the line so he had to pull off with his ‘diff’ gone.
Anyway, in a win dedicated to Chas, Keith (class A) roared to victory 14 seconds ahead of Matthew in 2nd, closely followed by Rick in 3rd, James (class C) in 4th and Peter (class B) in 5th with Chris closely tagging him into 6th. Alan in 14th took class E and Jack in 17th place took class D.
With the exception of Stephen Wheatley, the trackside casualties drove or were towed off the track none the worse for wear, so it is off to Castle Combe next for another exciting race thanks to Serena’s persistent campaigning on our behalf.