|Posted on September 30, 2011 at 5:30 AM|
Angouleme. It's always a hectic trip, pleasure you inflict upon yourself I suppose, and this year was no different.
As I previously mentioned, I took Freddie Yhap's old MG TA down for the race this year. It had been standing some time and so it was necessary to replace the old copper head gasket and install a new set of brake shoes (safety fast and all that). I do wonder, though, whether the typically ridiculous amounts of oil leaking from the differential might have somewhat hampered the brakes' effectiveness (how's that for a racing driver excuse). Whilst I'm on the topic of excuses, I will also say that my tyres left a little to be desired and must have been approaching their late teens (I'll forget to mention that they did, in their defence, begin life as 15" Dunlop race rubbers which are in no way in keeping).
I opted to take the citroen, whilst my son Luke went with Peter Greenaway in the van taking mine and Peter's cars. I did have to wonder whether leaving my car relatively unattended with Peter (who is always a favourite for the podium) was a wise move but it seemed to arrive in one piece and as far as I could tell the rotor arm and half shafts remained in place (see; car pranks 101) and my charriot was running well.
It was a weekend of mixed weather and qualifying saw a heavy bout of showers to compound the cruelty of it taking place at 8.30am on the Sunday morning. This left my aged tyres utterly out at sea (you have no idea how literally) and despite the car feeling like it had plenty of grunt I struggled to translate this to a result and would line up on the grid in sixth place.
Thankfully things improved through the day and by the time of the race the clouds had subsided and it was time for those Dunlops to shine. Rather than do my best Murray Walker impression, I will let the video below speak for itself.
Although I'll understand if you have better ways to spend half an hour.. I finished third despite a couple of minor blips, one being a disagreement with a barrier another a racing incident (sure that's how Lewis Hamilton would see it) with my old MG TB (of all the cars). I had a great time despite the prolonged periods behind the safety car, in truth I'm sure I wasn't the only one grateful for the enforced mechanical sympathy and relative relaxation as there were a few smoking brakes, exhausts, even drivers after the race.
My congratulations of course go to Charles Reynolds in his Morgan super sport and Stuart Dean in the well known Dick Jacobs MG YB special who both pipped me to the post finishing first and second respectively. If the organisers will have me back I'm sure I'll be there again, to have another go and am already looking forward to Angouleme 2012.