Castlecombe: 4th August 2001

If anyone knows of a 'rain dance' that will work whenever it is invoked, please let us know.

Castlecombe is one of the furthest circuits we have to travel to this year - we left on Friday night at about 10pm, and arrived at the Circuit gates early on Saturday morning at 2.30am and we were very surprised to find a cheery security guard on the gate who waved us in!

Practise went well - we were 3rd in class, just behind Michael Richings Ginetta G15, which was running as 1st reserve in the hope that someone would drop out or not turn up - his practise session ended in disaster when a connecting rod punched its way out of the Hillmans cylinder block - this put us up to 19th on the grid out of 37 starters.

Peter Bornhauser's yellow G15 was very very rapid - some 2.7 seconds faster.

After lunch the rain began...  

It was just a light shower at first, but it was soon obvious that the rain was to stay for the afternoon.  

In the 70's roadsports race just before our race we saw Louise Kennedy streak up the field - eventually getting up to 8th position (ahead of her husband in the two-litre Beta!) before engine problems forced her out on lap 7.   Jason also retired on the same lap, his Beta Coupe taking a heavy front impact on the far side of the circuit - not a good day for them.    Jai Sharma finished 6th which he is naturally delighted with and Neil Cullen who made his debut here in his red Montecarlo finished 12th out of 14th finishers (21 starters)

In the race following 70's Roadsports we changed the wheels to get as much tread as possible.  

Julian got a good start and was challenging for class lead and was being held up by the sole remaining Ginetta G15 of Peter Bornhauser and Barry Blakeley's Triumph Spitfire.

As Julian had never driven at Castlecombe before today and this was the first wet race, he was biding his time before making his move.   Unfortunately a problem with the throttle cable meant that on lap 3 he stopped on the circuit and had to miss out on what he felt was an almost certain class win.

He didn't manage a complete flying lap and everyone was taking things very easy for the first couple of laps.  Had the race lasted beyond lap two we feel that a lap time in the early 1.4x's was possible - certainly some of the other cars we qualified near were in this region.   

When the car was towed back to the pits, it was a very quick job to repair the problem. 

Rain is a great performance leveller - those cars that are normally much faster are often equal or slower than Lancias - this is why we would like to be able to invoke rain at will.

This could have been an excellent day for the Lancias, but with our problem and the more serious problems that Jason and Louise meant that this meeting will be one remembered for all the wrong reasons - with only Jai's 6th place and class win being the thing to smile about. 

Next Race: Donington Park, September 30th.

Castlecombe 04th Aug 01 PRACTISE (DRY) RACE (WET!)
Julian Peirson (Fulvia 1300) 1.30.640 2.08.231 DNF (LAP2)
Louise Kennedy (Fulvia 1300) 1.35.115 1.52.001 DNF (LAP7)
Jai Sharma (Fulvia 1600) 1.34.826 1.46.719 6th, 1st in class
Jason Kennedy (Beta 2000) 1.29.585 1.46.143 DNF (LAP7)
Neil Cullen (Montecarlo) 1.41.133 1.23.112 12th, 2nd in class
Tim Burrett (Aurelia B20) 1.37.017 1.48.769 20th, 3rd in class

2001: Andrew Cliffe www.lanciaracing.co.uk