Race drivers beat the weather at Wiscombe - on Saturday
PUBLISHED: 10:10 02 May 2012
Whilst the weather ravaged the south west drivers at the first hill climb of the season (Saturday April 28) at Wiscombe Park battled not only with the rain and high winds but also different levels of adhesion from the track following a total re-surface of the course.
The morning practice runs of the Woolbridge Motor Club organised meeting showed that the new tarmac surface was yielding good levels of grip even in the wet conditions but this was not to be maintained as the grip levels were to deteriorate during the morning as competitors dragged debris onto the track as a result of short cutting the first left hand bend at Wis.
This was not to be a problem for Axminster driver Lee Moore who took his Citroen AX from second place at the completion of first timed runs into the premier position in the up to 1400 cc division of the Road Going Series Production Car class. Early leader Matthew Searle, in his turbo diesel Volkswagen Lupo, could not match the speed of the window cleaner and eventually finished over 1.5 seconds in arrears. In the larger 1800 c.c.to 2600 c.c. capacity split another local driver took the honours. On this occasion it was Exeter company director Dave Norman who took his Renault Clio Sport 172 clear of the hard charging Gary Pitt with his Ford Escort MK2. Exeter was again represented in the over 2600 cc category with garage proprietor Steve Clarke with his Subaru Impreza battling with three other four wheel drive turbo charged machines for the honours. A first climb of 47.00 seconds was not to be bettered second time out and Clarke had to give best to eventual class winner Antony Bulpitt in his Ford RS Cosworth (45.71 seconds) and the Escort Cosworth of Roy Bray.
In the modified classes it was the up to 1400 c.c. class which saw Adrian Langley from Dawlish doing the business’ taking his Austin Mini clear of the Derek Mullis driven Cooper ‘S’ by a handsome margin in excess of one second.
Pre-event favourite for victory in the 1100 cc Racing Car category, Dave Gardner did not disappoint, claiming an emphatic win by over three and a half seconds in his striking Empire 001 ahead of the Jedi MK4 of John Bunting from South Africa.
The challenging conditions were far from ideal if you were making your debut in a new car, as was Ottery St Mary driver Ed Hollier in his Pilbeam MP62in the afternoon. Having posted the fastest time in the first practice session a spin followed but second place was achieved in the afternoon with the win being secured by previos Wiscombe champion and OMS SF1100M pilot Mike Lee.
The anticipated battle for the overall victory between Rod Thorne (Pilbeam MP58) and Terry Graves (Gould GR37) took an interesting twist when the latter left his braking too late and took to the escape road at the Martini hairpin on his first timed run when he was chasing Thorne’s time of 44.26 seconds. On their second visit to the hill it was the MP58 driver who left the course between The Gate and The Esses which left the road clear for Graves. However, the Launceston driver was unable to match Thorne’s earlier pace and was forced to surrender the Channon Trophy to the Dorset driver.