Mallory Park, 28 May 2006
As we stated in our last report, we gave the meeting at Mallory Park a miss. Mallory has never been a successful place for us, so instead the kappa was taken over to Auto Integrale so it can be checked over ready for the next meeting at Donington next month. The cam cover needs welding up, a clonk from the front suspension (probably driveshaft) needs investigating and there is play in the steering arms as well which requires their replacement. The kappa desperately needs another trip to Owen Developments so the engine can be mapped to a working turbo, but that will have to wait until after Donington as well.
So instead of racing, we attended the meeting as a spectator. Its amazing how much more time you have when not actually running. Also spectating was Simon Jackson, an attempt to reshell Pongo in a fortnight didn't quite come off. Simon made up for this by driving the pace car for both laps.
Simon Blanckley threw down the gauntlet in style during qualifying, his Honda Accord just missing out on lap record pace (and that elusive 100mph lap) and being over 2.5 seconds clear of second placed John Hammersley in the ex-Cleland Vauxhall Cavalier. A mighty performance saw Class C newcomer Peter Felix qualify third in his MG ZR just ahead of Peter Challis' Nissan Primera in 4th. David Roberts headed Class B in his Rover Tomcat on his first ever visit to Mallory Park, while a whole gaggle of Class B and C cars running similar times promised some exciting and close racing down the field.
Derek Hale failed to get out during practice after dashboard failure in the Honda Accord. He later ran out of session, still without any dashboard and would start the race from the back of the grid. Disappointingly, Alan Cosby's Ferrari F512M with newly built engine was not running well and had to be withdrawn from the meet - it would have been interesting to see how it compared with the Super Tourers if running properly.
Challis made an excellent start from 4th to get straight up into 2nd place right behind Blanckley. The two of them set a cracking pace up front, catching the backmarkers as early as lap 5. From there to the end they were separated by barely a car's length and seemed to be permanently passing lapped traffic. Challis was the unluckier of the two in traffic, being boxed in more than once as Blanckley got the rub. Such was their pace that every other car in the race was lapped, even third place Derek Hale in his Honda Accord, and everyone below 4th was lapped at least twice. The battle effectively ended about three laps from the finish when Challis slowed fractionally with a front-end vibration leaving Blanckley to take the honours by 3.9 seconds. Both drivers had beaten the previous lap record here for the LMA Euro Saloons, and both had achieved the 100mph lap, Blanckley just prevailing with a new lap record of 48.248 seconds (100.73mph).
Peter Felix was trying to hang on to John Hammersley in the battle for 3rd during the first half of the race, but Derek Hale was charging through from the back of the grid to eventually take 3rd place for himself. A couple of moments for Hammersley, who suspected a puncture, slowed the Cavalier leaving 4th place and a Class C win for Felix.
Nigel Ainge, with a fresh engine in the Honda Integra, had been circulating on his own and caught the slowing Hammersley late in the race to claim 5th place. Matt Hale (Vauxhall Vectra), Jim Mepham (Renault Megane), Stuart Jefcoate (Porsche 911) and Jason Holmes (Rover Tomcat) had been scrapping all race long before finally ending in 7th through 10th respectively, with Hale taking the Class B win. In the first half the race Richard Buckley had recovered from a poor qualifying session is his Honda Integra to pass the above group, but an electrical failure saw the Integra pull off the track on lap 16, and would prevent him taking part in race 2. David Roberts' Rover Tomcat also seemed to have the measure of the above group until pulling off at Shaws, the engine having shut down. He was just about to exit the car when he realised the master cutout had tripped, then restarted the car and joined back in, but having lost almost 2 laps.
Another who had been going well was Daniel Davies (VW Golf), sadly he pulled off the track just as the last lap board was being shown with a very sick sounding engine - he would also miss race 2.
Mark Hammersley making his LMA Euro Saloons debut in his Ford Fiesta took Class D honours from Tim Morgan-Barrett.
Sadly Peter Challis also had to withdraw from race 2, the cause of vibration being found to be CV joint failure. Luckily for the spectators, Derek Hale was starting up front this time and took up the mantle of chasing Simon Blanckley. From the start, again Blanckley had the edge, but Hale was in hot pursuit. As they reached the backmarkers, Blanckley had eked out a 2 or 3 second gap and this gap would expand and contract as they chased through the pack. It all ended on lap 14 as Hale broke through to the front and then Blanckley pulled into the pits, the engine not sounding too good. Hale kept the lap speed up to win the race by a lap from John Hammersley, the Cavalier running strongly despite a worry about rear wheel bearings.
Peter Felix had hung onto the tail of the Cavalier again and was only 9 seconds adrift at the finish to take 3rd place and another Class C win. Once again, messrs Holmes, Hale, Mepham, Jefcoate and Roberts were having a rare old battle for the midfield places. This time Jason Holmes worked his way through from the back of this pack to head them at the end, taking the Class B win. He was chasing hard at the finish but Nigel Ainge was able to hold onto 4th, with Holmes finishing 5th. David Roberts again lost time, this time due to a spin which took him back to the back of this group.
Richard Hill completed a day of misery for the Welsh Golf contingent retiring on lap 15 while running well. At the back Mark Hammersley took his second Class D win of the day from Tim Morgan-Barrett.
Another race down and still John Hammersley leads the standings from Stuart Jefcoate, consistently putting away points proving successful so far this season. We are looking forward to the next round at Donington Park in three weeks.
Visit the LMA site for details of the LMA Euro
Saloons championship and standings so far.
Check out the current points
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