Knockhill Speedfair

Historic Racing

After working out that we could do quite a large number of races in Britain, and indeed buy a new car for the same price as the Le Mans Classic, it was decided that our first outing in the MGB would be at the Knockhill Classic Speedfair.

With my brother and I doing a race each, it became clear early on that we would get minimal track time before our races. My brother Will had spent many a year lapping the Scottish circuit in possibly the most violent and hard-fought series in the country in the shape of the Fiesta XR2s and I had done a couple of seasons in a different MGB so luckily not too many ‘reconnaissance laps’ were needed.

Practice went well, apart from me doing two 360s down Duffer’s Dip through the gravel trap, coming into the pits late and my brother then forgetting to put his gloves on when he took to the wheel. We certainly weren’t the most professional team on the grid.

Having had a chat with the race organiser, it appeared that there was no way I could get a place on the grid and whatever happened I would have to start from the back. Why? Well, if my brother went out and did the three mandatory qualifying laps in, there would then be no time for me to complete 3 laps in the designated 10 minutes of the session. As my father said, “it’s much more fun starting from the back of the grid anyway, at least then you think you’re doing quite well as you get to overtake someone.”

Almost as if he wanted to make things fairer, Will didn’t realise that there wasn’t a form up lap, all the cars disappeared and as he was trying to get the car in gear and the handbrake off, he was even overtaken by the ambulance. He returned at the end of the race cross but pleased he managed to re-take the medical car at the first corner. A strong drive and 2 seconds off our qualifying time meant that Will set the bar pretty high, climbing 8 places and finishing well out of 25-30 odd cars.

The next day and I managed to fluff the start again, too few revs and not enough concentration meant that I went from last to very last. However, the car really was a delight to drive – it was so well setup that if it over steered or under steered you knew it was your fault. With such a predictable car, even my ham-fisted driving managed to get us up to 14th on the 7th out of 15 laps. At that point a Renault Gordini parked on the exit of McIntyre with mechanical problems and the race was red flagged. As much as I’d like to say I would have kept on making my way up the field and finished on the podium, that was about as likely as Takuma Sato winning the 2008 World Championship.

It was another great weekend at Knockhill; with weather more akin to the South of France and a guy near us chain-sawing a sculpture of a motorbike, life couldn’t really get much better. Oh yes, the other races were quite fun as well.

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