Gurston Down August National Meeting
All season I have been fighting to regain the times that I should have been running at Gurston with varying
degrees of success. The car has been running like a dream apart from the rear brakes locking up at the bottom of
Karousel. This is I am sure down to me standing on the brakes too hard and trying to lose more speed than I really
need to, resulting in spinning, stalling the engine or just unsettling the car so much that it is then a very
ragged journey through the Karousel complex resulting in the rest of the climb being affected.
If you are driving a car that has fuel injection then you should call to book a fuel injection cleaning session. Your mpg is sure to go up and with the price of petrol
today that is a good thing
After giving the problem some serious thought I felt that rather than get into trying serious mods to the car’s
braking system mid season I would change the rear brake pads for a different compound which would not grip as well
therefore letting the front brakes do more of the work. This thought came to me one night around 3.30am.
I was unable to get Friday night off work so left the car at Gurston Friday afternoon and then Dee would have
her first practice Saturday morning and I would slot in to the batch that was running when I arrived.
We have been very fortunate in securing the help, for race weekends of Stu. Without him this weekend it would have
been a very stressed out Dee that greeted me Saturday morning, if she had run at all, but instead I was greeted
with the news that Dee had started the weekend off in good form with a comfortable 46 second run.
I had after much thought decided that as this was not a championship round for us that I would use the time to
try to sort out my driving and hopefully get back on form. With that in mind I was disappointed when approaching
Hollow on the first run I found that I was once again braking. It was with somewhat more concern that I found as I
hit the brakes for the bottom of Karousel that the car was not slowing down as it used to, but at least the rear
wheels did not lock up and then we were round Karousel 1 and into 2nd gear for Karousel 2, over Dears leap and out
of Ashes hard on the throttle for the finish line.
As usual I sat in the car for a couple of minutes taking the seat belts and helmet of thinking about the run. The
braking into Hollow I was annoyed about and knew that I was going to have a battle on my hands to overcome this
habit. The lack of braking going into Karousel 1 was not an issue I decided as it was going to force me to carry
more speed into the corner which was something that I knew needed to happen.
A 37 second opening run was quite satisfying though.
The day continued well with Dee posting a 44 second, then a 43 second run. Steve (TVR) and I posted identical
2nd run times and then I put in a 36.9 3rd run time.
We woke Sunday morning to a soaking wet track from overnight rain and overcast sky. There was no way it was
going to dry out before my practice run so set about changing the tyres to the cut slicks. Dee decided to forgo her
practice run as the forecast was that it was going to dry up by 10am. This was a good decision on her part as there
was no need for her to go out in the wet and potentially undo all the confidence building work she had put in over
I arrived at the start line with the slightly disturbing problem of my glasses misting up within a few seconds of
putting them on. Deciding it would be safer to drive without glasses rather than looking through a thick fog I
passed them to the start line marshals and settled my mind on the job ahead.
Despite the wet there still seemed to be a fair amount of grip once the car had got away from the start.
Approaching the Karousel 1, I braked and turned into the corner. Immediately the rear of the car tried to overtake
the front but with an armful of opposite lock we straightened it out and then rounded the top of Karousel. Red
flags were being waved vigorously at ashes so I cruised to a halt. The marshals told me that the TVR had gone off
after the finish and there was a fair bit of sweeping to do. Sadly with the strange art of Chinese whispers the
message got back to Dee that I had spun at ashes and was being pushed back into the escape road.
I returned to the start and had another attempt at practice. Being ready for the rear of the car to step out on the
entry to Karousel was an advantage and we pressed on to the finish. With the thought still in my mind that the
finish was possibly still slippery I backed off well before and cruised onto the top paddock. I could not fail to
notice the damage to the hedge where Steve had taken the TVR (or the TVR had taken Steve to be correct) for their
We were now back onto slick tyres for the track was drying rapidly and having brushed off most of the leaves and
cut off the damaged exhaust tailpipes off the TVR Steve posted a 1st timed run time slightly quicker than me so
that left me under pressure in the afternoon.
My dear mother had come along to the meeting with a couple of my brothers and my youngest brother’s godson.
There were also the welcome faces of Suzy and Chris and I was determined to give them a win today.
As I moved up to the tyre warming area I caught sight of my mother leaning on the fence near the motor home and
gave her a wave and then did the most aggressive tyre warming that I had done for a long time, but the tyres were
still warm at the end of the run.
Cursing myself for once again braking into hollow (though much later and not for so long) I threw the car into the
Karousel missed 2nd gear at the top and got 4th so had to have another go then slid the car round ashes and hard on
the throttle up to the finish.
Even though I thought that I had blown that run it was a low 37 seconds which was enough to take the class win. I
also have the pink hat back.
All that is left to do now is beat Steve’s time in September by 8 tenths of a second and I could win the class
for the year.