Donington - a close race! Practice On the track it was uneventful but Peter Williams blew his engine after qualifying 2nd and sadly missed the race. Dave Krayem was on pole in his new Radical as the Stealth still being repaired. Clive Hayes came in with the body work rubbing on the tyre only to find a bracket holding the suspension had fractured, unable to source welding equipment, he rang the car builders who brought one up from Silverstone, which was fitted just in time for the race. At the start of the race Dave Krayem made an awful start (not used to so little power??) Graham Booth guesting in a Caterham r400 leapt into the lead, followed by Clive but after about 4 mins oil was put down, and with several cars spinning the race was red flagged. At the restart Dave went into the lead followed by Clive, a Ferrari and Martin Davies. After 2 laps Clive took the lead and for the rest of the race there was a good scrap between Dave and Clive with Martin joning in. It was an excellent race 0.3 secs covering 1st to 3rd. Clives car must have adjustable width, as he tried to go on the inside of Martin at the flag and the gap looked to me to be smaller than his car! Dave was on the outside of Martin and his words at the end were "Where did that bloody saloon come from!" Thanks to Alan Jenkins for the report
(Narrow margin- Dave picks up his awards
Donington report 2 Graham Cole gives us some words from Donnington and it's well worth reading!
We raced an Immaculate road going Radical SR3 complete with tax disk and claxon horn (!) kindly loaned to us by Richard McVein. Richard is the guy whos fitting my championship winning 2.5Litre Millington Engine to a Westfield ! brave guy! Suprisingly I wasnt the only one WRDA contender new to the circuit and Anthony Allit, Dave Woods, Andrew Williams, Lee David, etc. were all to be seen listening intently to the new drivers brief in the plush Donnington Race Control Tower. The Clerk of the Course also scared the hell out of us all by forecasting monsoon conditions for the race which thankfully didnt materialize. This was our first visit to Donnington, and despite the road going ride height of the SR3 handling was good enough to give us 4th on the grid, which soon became 3rd when Peter Williams was seen at the side of the track muttering obscenities! ..something about a blown engine !! The Radical was vastly different to the Jade a real buzz box but with six gears it was very easy to drive in the right rev-range.
"BEST TILL LAST .."
The race commentator was sounding a little weary as we were the last race of the day and the glorious summer day held on for our race. He soon perked though as an almighty scrap had him bellowing that this was the best race of the day by far !!
At the start I found a clear track ahead as Peters slot was unoccupied effectively promoting me to third with the rapid Caterham of Graham Booth alongside.
When the flag dropped Dave Krayem got bogged down while Graham Booth powered ahead and I was out-dragged by a recovering Dave K. Into Redgate then I held third narrowly avoiding being smothered by a couple of Ferrari 355s. Also right up there were Martin Davies in the 4x4 Cossie Sierra Turbo and Clive who managed to make the grid despite creaking suspension mounts which were replaced just in time by former WRDA contender Mathew Manderson. I managed to hold third for about 4 laps before waving past a rapid Clive who was clearly on a charge. If it had my own car Clive would have had to work a lot harder for that; so he shouldnt count on that in the future! I followed in a trailing 4th for a while before a massive car of some description decided to deposit the contents of its sump right in front of me on the very fast uphill left hander out of the old hairpin. Not suprisingly the Radical spun like a top and I explored the green-baize-like-lawn that surrounded the track.!
While stuck in the car, the next two following cars ..a Ferrari and a Jag . flew off the track on the same oil and headed straight for me at undiminished speed.! Luckily one went spinning away one side of me and the other flew backwards the other.! .I now need new nomex long johns. Inevitably the race was stopped while my stranded Radical and one of the other fellow victims were recovered. I could have driven off but the Radical wouldnt start as the battery was flat courtesy of a broken charge connection.
Meanwhile, with our Saloons all bar Martin Davies (More on him later) were closely battling with a few similar speed guest cars from the Sports and Saloon Challenge who had joined our race for the day. Come to think of it, Bar was probably the right choice of words for Martin as he certainly seemed to have a few of those piling into his motor for this race ! However, the race was not all plain sailing for Lee David as his turbo pipe popped off at the manifold having been repaired when it came off the Plenum in qualifying. Lee thanked me after for stopping the race, as before the ensuing re-start he just had enough time to pop it back on for the race proper. Mike Woods in his Honda, Mark Nicholson in the Rover 216 and Peter Crews in the (immaculate) Britax Mini Cooper were also mixing it with the guests all seeming to take great care to not damage any of the exotic race machinery which included the Ferrari 355s (Which reminds me we must try and get from Lampter who drives an immaculate Ferrari Testarossa to join us for at least one race !)
Having made my exit from the event the consolation for me though was a brilliant view of the re-started race from Redgate corner and what a race it was!
From the re-start Dave K had obviously learned from his lousy first race start and launched into the lead accompanied by a hard charging Graham B in the Westfield . Within a couple of laps though Clive had closed on Graham and muscled his way past and a few laps later dispatched Dave on the approach to Redgate!
Meanwhile Greg Wood in the super light weight Mallock was also adapting the machine to the vagaries of Donnington circuit and seemed to be having a trouble free run especially compared with the first run for the car in Pembrey when gremlins had to be shook from the car.
In class C Andy Williams was not his usual dominant self as he fought to adapt the relatively heavy Sierra to Donningtons tricky dips and bends. Lucky for Andy, class rival Anthony Allit was also a Donnington newcomer and both gradually began to lower their laps times as both cars and drivers adapted to the circuit.
Back at the front things were getting hotter as almost out of nowhere Martin Davies suddenly began to make progress. Martin was driving the race of his life, harrying the smaller animals in the pack like a man on a mission! I seem to recall the commentator going nuts at this point, as for the next couple of laps the front runners were inseparable.
Martin made his move on lap 10 again on the approach to Redgate, taking the lead from Clive in the diminutive MCR sports car. Clive wasnt giving up though and clung on doggedly going into the latter stages for the race. Several attempts by Clive were thwarted by the wily old campaigner Davies, while unseen young David Krayem was also there around the edges waiting for an opening. So it was that 3 cars were now within a whisker of each other going into the final lap! Martin seemed to be on for an unexpected and well deserved victory, but on the exit from the final chicane a slower guest car joined the mix and it was Dave Krayem, sniffing an opening, who wriggled the tiny Radical through the mix to take the win by the tiniest of margins! O.3 seconds parted the first three cars and the PA commentators excitement was shared by the crowd who were all on their feet (mainly because there were no chairs) to give a standing ovation ..!.
In Class C normal service was resumed with Andrew Williams taking another classy win finishing 6th in his Sierra from Anthony Allits lovely Renault 21 seconds behind in 9th. Peter Crewes in the Britax Mini took class B in 8th place from Mike Woods followed by Mark Nicholson, while Class Ds Geraint Rees will look to fight another day after non-finishing in his Westfield.
Well done to all WRDA Crews and guests who made the journey and provided a fantastic spectacle we certainly woke up Donnington!
Results and times www.msttiming.com