An autumnal switch had definitely been flicked – and wearing shorts was probably a stupid option, but on mornings such as this you don’t really notice. Clear skies, roof down, cabin heater set to toast, sun rising approximately over Snetterton, Fleet Foxes and assorted slices of prog rock drifting through the speaker system… It would have been a splendid start to the day even without a Cadwell Park sausage bap at the journey’s end.
My car more or less knows its own way to Cadwell, but was deflected on this occasion by the roadworks-enforced closure of the B1192 – an opportunity to explore hitherto unknown roads that are in reality little more than farm tracks. The diversion ended in Tumby, another charming village name in a county rich with such quaintness.
The Wolds Trophy meeting is a popular HSCC staple, but science is powerless to explain why only nine historic touring cars materialised when there were 39 at Brands Hatch in July and 21 at Oulton Park in August. Answers on an entry form, please.
It was easier to understand that there were but three takers – Vauxhall Nova, Jaguar XJ-S and Audi Quattro – for the 1980s Production Car Challenge, which ran concurrently with the HTCC. This was the first event for a fresh initiative that has been launched during a period of economic uncertainty, but the concept has potential and must be allowed to evolve. The Classic Clubmans field was low on numbers, too – possibly not helped by a clashing Clubmans Register fixture at Brands Hatch, where HSCC regular Mark Charteris pitched up and won two of the three races. Once David Bain’s gorgeously presented Mallock U2 Mk11B had packed up after a sprinkling of practice laps, the Cadwell field was reduced to just six.
Compensation came in the form of packed entries for both road sports divisions, FF1600 (Historic and Classic) and FF2000, so big in the case of the latter that qualifying races were required. Callum Grant (Delta T78) took a brace of wins in the FF2000 feature races, which isn’t unknown; Pierre Livingston (Merlyn Mk20A) likewise took a clean sweep in HFF1600, which is starting to become a habit.
British Racing & Sports Car Club
Brands Hatch, September 26
The original Lotus 7 – progenitor of the modern-day Caterham of the same name – entered production in 1957. Formula Ford 1600 was launched 10 years later. Both are paragons of simplicity – yet, despite their collective conceptual antiquity, continue to generate some of the finest racing in the UK today.
Caterham 7s might lose a little of their elegance when smothered in protective scaffolding, but few things come close in terms of competitive proximity. Except, of course, for Formula Ford, for which there were three races over the course of the weekend. The average winning margin? Just 0.148sec…
Over in Russia, the international sporting community was all a fluster about penalties imposed upon Lewis Hamilton for executing practice starts in the wrong part of the F1 pit lane.
It’s much more edifying, surely, when the ancient art of racing remains the centre of attention?