Our thanks once more to Alan Patterson, as we have the pleasure of including one of his race reports. Allan drives a race car in the 'The ACEquip Championship' and gives us his account from the drivers seat.
I was told Croft was two and a half hours minimum from Sale but clearly the
person who talked to me does not tow at the speed I do, evening officer! In
fact despite a small detour at the end I was safely at the circuit in two
hours ten minutes. Once they finish the link between the M62 and the A1(M)
that should knock another fifteen minutes off the journey. Still at just
over two hours Croft is the second nearest circuit, after Oulton, one good
reason for having more rounds of the Championship there next year. Another
good (better) reason is that it is such a great circuit. I had never been
to Croft but since the infield section built earlier this year was new to
all of our drivers I was feeling reasonably comfortable that we were all
starting from an equal footing. I arrived about eight thirty and was able
to borrow a bike from Jeff Culkin and rode round the circuit twice to get a
feel for it.
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This meeting was our first "double header" of the year. One practice session and two races each starting with the practice session grid results, therefore it was going to be vital to make a good practice. Each race counted for half championship points.
After practice which I felt had gone quite well, despite being unable to pass Andy Bentley, the grid (in Standard Class) turned out to be an MGB lockout. Bill Hewitt fastest, your scribe second fasted and Andy Bentley third fastest. Andy was quite frustrated that despite keeping me behind I had actually gone faster than him but I had done my fastest lap in catching him up. John Hewitt was comfortably on pole ahead of Jon-Paul Ivey with Mark Ashworth just ahead of Ian Alexander in the Road Going Modified Class.
Croft really is a nice circuit with plenty of testing corners and a very smooth surface. It is too early for me to say quite how good as I would like to have another go at it first but it certainly ranks close to Oulton Park (Long) and Cadwell as a driving test.
"Croft really is a nice circuit with plenty of testing corners"
Mayhem is probably a good description of our first race, with eight cars either DNS or DNF (Did not start/Did not finish), additionally at the barbecue in the evening we did a count up and only four cars did not have some sort of problem/incident to tell from the whole grid!
It was a blistering hot day and many engines suffered in the heat.
In the race itself I had a fantastic start, not losing a place and then had a real ding dong with Jeff Culkin throughout. Unfortunately during this ding dong I conspired to give him a nice tap up the rear, stoving in his rear boot panel just as I had done two races ago. This was Jeff's first race back since repairing the car so to say I was unpopular would be an understatement!
Fortunately he did accept that indeed this was another racing incident, about two hours later! So I came third, Bill Hewitt had walked away in front to score a first win of the season. Peter Harrison was fourth after a coming together with Andy Bentley who had to stop with bodywork fouling a rear wheel.
John Hewitt continued his dismal season by pulling off with a water pump/electrical problem and for the first time this year Mark Ashworth was beaten by Ian Alexander, officially by 0.15 seconds, about one and a half feet at the line. Ian has been over from Australia for about four months, competing in as many races as possible.
This victory really made his trip.
The second race on the Sunday was much less hectic and for me quite boring really. A reasonable start saw me drop to fourth but a demon out braking manoeuvre on Jeff Culkin at Sunny saw me into third. That though was as exciting as it got, try as I might I could not make an impression on Bill or Peter up front and with Jeff pulling off at the end of lap one I had a comfortable lead over Peter Toes and Andy Bentley. Sunday was cooler than Saturday and all the Lap Records from the previous day were beaten by a second or more. John Hewitt survived to win but quite closely followed by Jon-Paul Ivey who is becoming a genuine threat to John even on his good days. Mark Ashworth made amends for, as he said "driving like a plonker", the previous day, by blitzing Ian Alexander to win the Road Going Modified Class and the ACEquip Championship overall for 1997. This will be the sixth year since 1984 that the Cockshoot Cup has found a home in the Ashworth residence not bad considering Mark had four years away racing in the national BCV8 Championship from '91 to '95. Well done Mark. The Standard Class looks like heading to Peter Harrison, although both Ian Wright and Bill Hewitt could win in theory. It's cudgels off in the Modified Class in a straight fight between Jon-Paul Ivey and John Hewitt, although Jon-Paul can still win if he comes second to John in the last two races, so, if you will excuse the pun, he is in the driving seat!
We are off to Cadwell for another double header on the 28th of September, a full MG race meeting run by the national MG Car Club. So if you are into racing MG's that's the place to be. Do come and say hello.
You can E-mail your thoughts or comments to me at AllanPaterson1@Compuserve.com
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