Graham Coles Brands Diary
Friday 4th May
Testing on Friday disastrous again as my fuel woes continued with blocked filters. Turned out to be dirt in the tank. When it got going in the afternoon it promptly stripped top gear which as it turns out was faulty. Shame, as the disappointment had been softened with me thinking it was the engine's power! Anyway, we had to frantically search for another top gear which Mark Bailey kindly supplied at very short notice and Adrian (Chapman) even more kindly picked up for me in Chippenham.
Saturday 5th May
Adrian, Paula, and son arrived in the small hours, so an early race day start enabled us to drop it in the box and turn up just in time for scrutineering joining an immense queue with little time to our quali session.
That was very crowded but I think I wasone of the very few class A people to be lucky enough to find a gap and grab pole from Alexis and Peter. The other SEMSEC Jade of Mark Burton was between us.
My race start was a disaster but could have been so much worse. Thanks to all my fellow competitors for their alertness! Doug B in particular had a section of my rear wing embedded in his wing mirror at the finish! The engine finally restarted when the entire field had passed, but thank goodness it's a lot easier to pass on Brands Indy than in Pembrey. I was able to pass quite a few cars early on to get after the other Nemesis of Leigh Parkes, Peter W, and Alexis. I don't think Peter or Leigh were expecting me as I was able to pass both near Clark curve, but by then I'd noticed the other Jade parked up near Paddock Hill bend so the chase to Alexis was for the lead.
A few laps later I was close enough to have a dip up the inside on the approach to the Druids hairpin. I thought Alexis hadn't seen me coming but his swift jab to the right saw me grass-tracking to avoid an embarassing incident. How it stopped in time for the hairpin right I'll never know. Any way Alexis was on my tail for the next lap and re-passed me on the inside on the way down Paddock Hill bend. I then repassed him up Coopers straight while we were both getting tangled up with a couple of Westfields around Graham Hill bend. I thought I was clear but Alexis again re-passed, this time around the outside of Druids ! A lap later though and it was obvious he was struggling as I again re-passed, and this time making it stick became easier as it turns out the brakes on the Nemesis had boiled.
Alexis dropped back quite a lot - to around 5 seconds a few laps later, as my engine gremlins re-appreared and I had an intermittent misfire, though luckily short shifting seemed to help it clear just enough. I'm pretty convinced that if his brakes hadn't boiled, Alexis would have won, or Peter might have passed us both if there'd have been more laps !
Really exiting race for me, although I have a few days reserved, to mend my undertray, and a trip to the Garden Centre to buy Alexis some more brake fluid !!
Special thanks to Adrian for his help in getting us to the start line at all ! And to Ben Gunn for keeping the wheels turning !