27, Jul, 2017
Two meetings, three wins and two seconds: not bad for a month’s work.
The bare statistics tell the story in a nutshell but can’t hope to convey the full nail-biting drama of our racing in June and the background to it.
You can read more elsewhere about the American SpeedFest at Brands Hatch and the preparations for our annual outing to Spa. So I’ll pick up the story at the start of the 30-minute qualifying session at the super-fast Belgian track.
Over this week-end of 23-25 June we were running in the two Gold Arts Magnificent Seven races at the Classic and Sports Car Club’s Spa Summer Classic. We had taken five cars, the newly-acquired C400 of Tim Davis, the Superlights of Graham Charman and Peter French and Richard Carter’s C400. Colin Watson and I were sharing the newly rebuilt and upgraded Boss Racing C400 that was still being completed on the morning of our departure from Longfield two days earlier.
Testing Thursday morning brought out the vast array of competitors from near and far. We were sharing the track with 60-odd cars ranging from Caterham Sevens and BMW M3s to MG Midgets and Sprites – lap times varied by more than half a minute!
Qualifying Friday and Tim put up the third fastest time with Graham fourth, Richard 16th and Peter 47th. Colin and I were 7th, our car showing no signs of the oil leak which had affected it the day before and which we had burned the midnight, um, oil working to cure.
Saturday, by now the fourth day of our trip and we were racing at last. Colin took the first stint and from seventh on the grid he was soon battling for the lead. By the end of the first lap he was second and in front the next time around. Then Tim took the lead only to lose it to Colin on the fourth. Along with arch rival Gary Bate the racing was epic.
By the time of the driver change on lap 6 we decided that as we had a genuine chance of winning Colin should stay in the car. I was disappointed but realised that we couldn’t spare the time it would take me to play myself in.
We finished second on the road but Gary Bate who took the flag first – as he so often does – was disqualified for passing another competitor under a yellow flag. So we won! And we set fastest lap.
Tim was second, just three-tenths adrift, Richard was 21st but Peter wasn’t classified and Graham was forced out on the seventh lap after a collision with another car holed his radiator.
That evening in true Boss Racing fashion, we prepared the cars for Sunday’s race. And went down the pub. For a while….
Sunday dawned and Colin started the second race from pole, while from second spot, Tim went wide on Turn 1 on the opening lap and lost a lot of time. Then, in his attempts to improve his position he tagged the back of Dean Cook’s car. Dean, an old TVR sparring partner of Tim’s, is also running a Caterham Seven but Tim now had a damaged radiator to contend with. He was classified 20th.
This was to be another race in which I didn’t get to drive. On the ninth lap, while fighting for the lead once again, Colin came on the radio to report an ominous vibration. We soon found out the cause, a broken drive shaft. So we were out, leaving the field clear for Gary Bate. All was far from lost, though. Graham finished fourth and set the fastest lap with his recently upgraded Boss Racing K-series engine! Who says the K-series is dead?
As I write this, our cars are in the workshop in various stages of disassembly being prepared for our next outing, five days at Croft racing over the weekend of 22-23rd July. As someone said, “a mini Spa!” but more about that next time…