13, Nov, 2020
ROB’S BLOG – AUGUST 2020
Classic and Sports Car Club’s Thruxton Thriller meeting, 25/26 July
Pit lane entry strictly controlled, a requirement to wear face coverings and longer pit stops to enable cars to be thoroughly sanitised: welcome to British motor racing 2020-style.
Our first taste of the changes brought by the Covid 19 pandemic came at the CCSS’s Thruxton meeting, halfway through the season, but at least we were racing again.
Other changes have been made to the format of some of the races. The all-comers’ events are no longer open to Caterhams or Caterham-style cars so to make up for this, the Gold Arts Magnificent Seven Series now offers two races per meeting.
At Thruxton Boss Racing was supporting a number of cars and drivers, most of whom were familiar from previous seasons. Jonny Pittard had his supercharged 2.5 litre Caterham CSR, Tim Davis and Colin Watson were in their familiar 2.4 C400s while Richard Carter was at the wheel of his 2-litre R300 with Hugh Coulter in his C400. A newcomer this year was George Ralph making his race debut with his R400.
As usual there was a test day on the Friday preceding the meeting which enabled competitors to run their cars in a more relaxed atmosphere – or not if you were Tim Davis. He encountered problems with his car which ensured the Boss team had an active evening to get him on the grid for the next day’s racing.
We were also able to test new compound tyres which Avon had produced. As they enabled us to knock 2.5 secs off our lap times we decided that Jonathan, Tim and Colin would race them instead of the normal Kumho rubber.
We also decided to save the Avons for the race which meant that the trio was generally slower than some of the other runners in qualifying. As a result, Colin lined up third on the grid for the first 40-minute race with Jonathan fourth. Tim was ninth, Hugh 11th and Richard 13th. George was a creditable 34th.
Because of the new pit-stop arrangements we decided to bring our cars in early to avoid the inevitable rush. But a safety car interlude meant we were unable to capitalise on any advantage the earlier stops might have given us.
The safety car came out but didn’t pick up the leader but instead was ahead of Colin and he was forced to run at a slower pace while other runners made their pit stops. The result was that both Colin and Tim lost a lap. Jonny had stalled at the start – it had been a long time since anyone had tried a race start – dropping him down the field. This enabled John Cutmore in his 1600 Spire to build up an impressive lead. Colin, Tim and Jonny fought a race long battle as they made up places but at the finish they had to be content with eighth, ninth and tenth places.
Richard was 12th having incurred a 10-sec penalty for a pit stop which was too short, while Hugh retired after just eight laps. He experienced vibration with his car which couldn’t be cured even after several pitstops. George was delighted to be 24th and second in his class.
These results determined the starting order for the second, 30-minute race but in between came something with which we were familiar – rain, torrential rain. It was so heavy that for a while it seemed as if the organisers might be obliged to cancel some of the races.
But the rain stopped as competitors were assembling for the second Mag Sevens race. The track surface was still very wet and this enabled Colin to demonstrate his mastery of such conditions. Arch rival Stephen Nuttall made a good start – a mite too good as things turned out – but Colin got his head down and reeled him in. He led for most of the race with Nuttall in close attendance but on the last lap Colin out braked himself, at the chicane allowing his rival to sneak past.
But as Nuttall had been awarded a 10-sec penalty for jumping the start Colin was the winner. Jonny meanwhile engaged in a race-long duel with his brother Christian but was denied a podium position on the last lap, while Tim finished fifth. Richard and Hugh enjoyed better luck for this race, coming home eighth and tenth respectively, Hugh’s vibration having been cured by a new propshaft fitted betwen the races.
For highlights of the race see here: Thruxton highlights
It was a good start to the season but it might have been even better had it not been for the deployment of the safety car in the first race. But, hey, that’s motor racing and it’s good to be back on track.
Our next outing was the CSCC meeting at Snetterton on 15/16 August and we were looking forward to some warm, dry weather. How wrong we would be!