Rockingham - 26 May 2002
|6||39||C||Simon Orebi Gann||+8||1:30.140||8||5.54||104.12||64.70|
Rockingham - 26 May 2002
|6||39||C||Simon Orebi Gann||+8||13:47.211||9||33.41||63.45||1:30.227||64.64|
|14||71||D||Kelvin Laidlaw||+8||13:21.215||8||1 lap||58.23||1:38.244||59.36|
|15||11||E||David James||+4||13:24.755||8||1 lap||57.98||1:38.849||59.00|
|16||55||A||Philip McKelvey||+8||13:25.056||8||1 lap||57.95||1:37.498||59.82|
Rockingham - 26 May 2002
|A||Keith Ahlers||+8||1:27.043||107.83||67.00||Lap record*|
|B||Peter Horsman||+8||1:26.210||108.87||67.65||Lap record*|
|C||Paul Burry||+8||1:29.034||105.42||65.50||Lap record*|
|D||Rob Wells||+8||1:32.716||101.23||62.90||Lap record*|
|E||David James||+4||1:38.849||94.95||59.00||Lap record*|
Rockingham in the Rain
Rockingham Motor Speedway 25th May 2002
The first official MMCC race at the new all-singing all-dancing track at Rockingham proved to be a weekend to remember. It started badly when at least half of our allotted parking space in a very crowded paddock, was squatted on by a collection of very unfriendly Jaguar drivers. A left bank situation was narrowly averted when our spokesmen in the shape of Keith wisely chose to ignore the rather rude response to his request for them to move. Fortunately the garages at Rockingham are capacious enough to contain at least thirteen Morgans parked snugly together out of the rain.
Saturday morning was wild and windswept with the threat of rain a constant worry to the Morgans whose practice session was scheduled directly before the lunch break. Eventually they were called and lined up obediently in the holding area under ever darkening skies while our paddock neighbours had their qualifying session. The Morgan entourage such as it was, watched with increasing amazement as the XJSs spun, hit the walls and demolished the marker posts one by one. One of our new friends deposited most of the contents of his oil tank all over the track. Still the Morgans waited patiently, but after the clean up task and the breakdown lorries had collected the beached Jags, the Clerk of the Course felt a little peckish and declared an immediate lunch break, summoning the by now rather disgruntled Morgan drivers back in three quarters of an hour’s time.
As they drove back to the garage the inevitable rain began to pour in torrents from the sky nicely mixing the engine oil all over the track.
The torrential rain subsided into a fine drizzle for the start of qualifying and virtually stopped by the time the drivers were allowed out. The track was described by all to be greasy and slippery and several found racing anti-clockwise rather odd. Indeed the left hand bends so near to the concrete walls were rather awe-inspiring. Chris A found that his rear view mirror obscured his view as he manoeuvred around them. Chris W had a fuel starvation problem on every corner but was cheered by his performance when he experienced some understeer. Tim Bryan came off once; Phil McK had a lonely little spin in the furthest reaches of the track, Chris A returned briefly to the pits to do up his bonnet clips, Rick and Simon OG slipped all over the place at the Esses and Peter H went off at the first hairpin, but Andy G who approached the first right hander a tad too fast and ended up on the grass twice was called to the Clerk of the Course to have his wrist slapped.
Kelvin probably had the best idea when he qualified earlier out of session, due to a prior afternoon engagement. The MMCC session was barely ten minutes long, probably timed at 15 minutes on the sheet from the all clear in the holding area, so the drivers felt even more fed up and cheated of track time. All except Rob Wells who had been lent 123 WAR and so felt that any time behind the wheel was a bonus. However after he had cleaned the aforementioned beast he started to be concerned that it might be underweight when Mark appeared with the scales the following day.
Keith was on pole with Peter H 2nd and three seconds behind him and leading Class B (despite having his wheels on the wrong way round!). James P was half a second behind in third place and Paul B in 4th to lead class C (he had been second fastest until virtually the end of the session when the track dried out and Peter and James clocked a quick lap) Rick was 5th and Simon OG 6th. Rob led class D from 11th and David headed up himself in class E from 15th, but Phil McK who hasn’t quite got the hang of Class A yet brought up the rear. Phil was consoled by the thought that Kelvin would start behind him in the race on Sunday.
Unfortunately Sunday dawned gloomy and overcast and once again the rain fell in torrents, so the timing and the length of the race was altered, from 15 minutes plus one lap to 10 minutes. While the Morgans waited patiently in the holding area once again, our friends the XJSs went out to race and provided much interest and lots of jobs for the marshals, road sweepers, dumper trucks and recovery vehicles. A whole tyre wall was even repositioned from the outside to the inside of the track. As every moment passed the sky seemed to darken, but although damp, the rain held off as the drivers set off for their pace car lap.
As the pace car went in the drivers roared around the bend at the top of the pit straight and headed down towards the start finish line in a very exciting manner for the rolling start, then the lights changed and racing began. Keith led, but Rick found some power and sped into second place almost as the lights changed. Tim B also took full advantage of his power and the rolling start to make up four places. Kelvin made up two places and Phil McK and David changed places. Leigh lost some places as he was in 4th gear at the start and Mary got ahead of both Leigh and Rob. As the first corner approached the Morgan supporters held their collective breath until each car turned uneventfully in.
The race was then on and proved most exciting to watch. Keith led but the three cars behind him were engaged in a game of cat and mouse. Rick was finding the corners very slippery and so slowed down for each one allowing Peter to get closer and closer behind him until he seemed in danger of giving Rick a helping shunt. Behind Peter, James P in his altogether better car for the damp conditions was also getting closer to Peter and looking for any opportunity to whiz past them both. Then there was also Paul B decidedly enjoying himself putting his tail out every time Liz was looking and ready to move in if the chance arose.
Further back Chris Williams was firing on all cylinders and had overtaken Simon OG but Simon was determined to get past him again as the class A car was slowing right down at the bends and slowing up the class D car. Eventually Simon retook him but then as Chris overtake again as they prepared to turn into the back field his brakes locked up and although Chris’s wheels were pointing right he went straight on at Andy Green’s corner where he beached.
Mary and Chris A had a little encounter which left Chris’s rear wing dented but inspired him to pull away from her and start to make up some places. Mary and Rob were then left to spar for much of the race and got rather too close in the Esses when Mary’s other side was damaged and 123 WAR may have been slightly damaged but Jack won’t know as he will be so amazed to see its true colour that he won’t notice any running repairs which may have been undertaken by Libra.
On the seventh lap the tension between Rick, Peter and James was growing and as they went onto the banking Peter held back in order to get an unhindered exit speed out of the chicane to take Rick in the drag down to the hairpin. Rick looked as though he was having a go at Peter all through the twiddly bits and again as they went out onto the banking but Peter pulled away leaving Rick to fend off James’s attentions at all the corners.
Time was up on the ninth lap and Keith drove to glory but although he was awarded fastest lap for class A fastest lap of the day went to Peter H by eight tenths of a second. Peter H came second, winning class B, and Rick came third in the race and second in the winner’s class. James was fourth and Paul B fifth winning his class and fastest lap. Chris A and Tim B came down the pit straight alongside each other wheel to wheel but Chris pushed his accelerator down that little bit harder to finish a bumper ahead of Tim. Rob, in eleventh place, won class D and took fastest lap. He was also awarded driver of the day to encourage him to return more often. David, in fifteenth place, obviously won his class, but he too had a little victory. He had been at the rear for the entire race, but just at the end Phil McK went wide at the banking to let the fast lads pass and David sneaked into their slipstream and was past before Phil realised. David was later accused by Phil of watching too much Nascar racing in his retirement and learning sneaky tips from them. Your scribe did wonder why if Phil was watching this programme he too didn’t take some tips from them.
Anyway despite the weather, parking arrangements, time changes and foreshortened qualifying and racing, the drivers declared themselves satisfied with the actual race. All enjoyed the racing and the track, and are looking forward to their outing to the seaside if not the journey.