HSCC 70s Snetterton 2015

HSCC 70s Snetterton 2015

The forecast said that a thunderstorm would pass overnight to leave an overcast but dry Norfolk for the HSCC 70s Snetterton 2015 event. That only turned out to be half true when after the lightning strikes and subsequent power failures on Friday evening, experienced in a local pub; it proceeded to persist down virtually all day Saturday as well. Our wet tyres were also 180miles away back at home.

We arrived at the circuit at around 8:00am having stayed at Grove Flock Farm (well recommended by the way, the breakfast was to die for) in Botesdale which was about a 20 minute drive away. Having experienced the as forecast thunderstorm it was also great to see an equally forecast bright and dry start to the day after pulling back the curtains at 6:00am. Everything appeared to be set for a glorious days racing at HSCC 70s Snetterton 2015.

After finding a slot in the busy paddock we signed-on, received the new drivers briefing and then hired a timing transponder (£20.00) before somewhat unexpectedly the heavens opened, something not forecast the day before. By the time our TVR 3000M had been driven around to the scrutineering bay water was quite literally running in through the leaky rear Perspex hatch on the scale of Niagara Falls. Things were about to get worse, the brake lights didn’t work either and that meant no ticket.

Several journeys in the rain between the bay (it was at least a dry place to work on the car) and our open paddock spot got them working again. I must admit at one point I could have simply packed up and gone home. Fixing the problem included re-positioning the switch on the brake pedal, replacing a bulb and running new wires from the left to right light units, all a bit rushed but good enough to secure a pass. One other competitor did advise they were a bit dim but I think that might also be down to the fact they were on for so much of the lap. After all if you look up bravery whilst driving a rear wheel drive car in the wet you won’t find my name listed anywhere.

HSCC 70s Snetterton 2015 was to also share a grid with its earlier counterpart, Historic Road Sports (HRS). To make things a little more interesting there was an inter-championship competition between the two which ended a little one sided where, except for the gallant efforts of Peter Shaw in his TVR Tuscan, the earlier HRS cars dominated the top ten positions in both races. Still what that did mean was a full thirty car grid when somewhat sadly if HSCC 70s Snetterton 2015 had been run on its own there would have been less than ten cars out on track. Come on all you 70s road sports type people out there, this is a terrific championship so why not come along and have a go.

The fixes and subsequent scrutineering ticket came just in the nick of time because as soon as we got back to the paddock we immediately got the call to go to the assembly area for practice and that was with an official 15mins delay to proceedings due to the amount of H2O falling from the sky. With no time to even brim the tank it would have to be a short session, it was, just 5 laps and I couldn’t see a thing although did enjoy it strangely, after all Snetterton’s full 300 layout is quite superb.

HSCC 70s Snetterton 2015
Unfortunately Will Leverett’s Porsche 911 (pictured third) suffered a terminal engine failure during practice

Some Rainex had been applied but not nearly enough and inside the TVR was steaming up and outside there was so much spray that even the half decent wipers stood absolutely no chance. In these situations do you a). push on into the murky unknown or b). hold back, a braver person may have called it differently. Still no major mistakes and qualifying placed us 20th for race 1 on row 10 which all in all was an acceptable result.

Unfortunately for Will Leverett in the family 911SC, who had fared much better than us in terms of pace, had also uncovered a suspected and unwelcome piston ring problem and would play no further part in proceedings, a real shame. Dad Mark was at least still in contention in his Lotus Elan despite starting problems although later on in race 2 he did also fall victim to a terminal oil leak that forced him to retire, this time on the warm up lap.

HSCC 70s Snetterton 2015
Uphill start prompted use of the handbrake

With a full two hours before the first race, and some welcome breaks in the clouds, fluid levels could finally be checked, fuel fully topped up, and Rainex liberally applied by Mrs Nichols to both inside and out. We were already far more prepared for the first HSCC 70s Snetterton 2015 race than we had been for practice.

An uphill grid meant the handbrake had to be applied and one tiny gripe was unlike at Thruxton where Marshals pointed to your grid spot as they walked against the flow of assembling cars at Snetterton it was much more of a free for all and so needless to say we weren’t on the tenth row, but two further back, great. Racing away from a busy grid in the wet requires an awful lot of concentration and with blind spots to both sides a certain amount of guess work is required on where other cars are.

HSCC 70s Snetterton 2015
James Dean (Lotus Europa) mixing it with Morgan +8’s at the sharp end in race 1

A decent start this time moved us up a few places and with a large amount of respect plus a big dollop of common sense from fellow competitors there were no major disasters, well in the middle of the pack at least. HSCC 70s and HRS must provide one of the best places to start racing because quite simply everyone loves their cars and so not inclined to use them as battering rams in order to progress further up the field.

At the sharp end things were about to take a twist when James Dean lost control of his stunning in green Lotus Europa before taking to the grass and bouncing off a tyre wall, ouch. Thanks to the car’s lightweight and somewhat flexible exterior construction the damage appeared relatively superficial although the incident was enough to knock some confidence with James now finding himself in the unusual position of battling with cars he might normally lap. The results can be seen below and so very well done to Peter Shaw (TVR Tuscan) Mark Leverett (Lotus Elan) and Brian Jarvis (Porsche 924) for their 1,2,3 in the first HSCC 70s Snetterton 2015 race.

The finishing positions of race 1 determined the starting grid for race 2, I only learned that by chance after asking, which could have been embarrassing, and for the displaced James that meant a whole lot more work than normal was required. It also demonstrated the importance of your starting position and first lap performance because with everything else being equal you are ultimately limited on exactly how much progress can be made. James in the end finishing eleventh overall which, given the dominance of team HRS, was good enough for second place in HSCC 70s.

HSCC 70s Snetterton 2015
Race 1 winners: Peter Shaw (Top-1st) Mark Leverett (Left-2nd) Brian Jarvis (Right-3rd)

If the grid was not quite as planned in race 1 then as a novice I was left thoroughly confused in race 2 with an equally confused Mustang sat at 45 degrees directly in front us when on my piece of paper we were supposed to be next to each other. I wish Snetterton had done the same as Thruxton and lined everyone up properly, especially given the importance of the early stages of any race.

They didn’t and off the line in the pouring rain appeared to be a wall of cars. I’ll have to learn how to deal better with this but in race 2 we just seemed to go backwards. Still good news was at hand a few laps in, we were about to be overtaken, again. With Ken Rorrison’s Alfa Romeo GTV in front and the displaced, after failing to finish the first race, Jon Wagstaff’s similar car breathing all over the back of our TVR, a quicker pace was needed especially considering a drying track and the faster lap times produced as a result.

After a similar encounter at Thruxton I now officially love battling with this pair and when Jon out-braked me going into Agostini my personal motivation levels increased exponentially. In the end there was nothing I could do with him this time but did manage to get past Ken who was very generous when that finally happened. This is a fact of HSCC 70s and HRS for that matter, everyone wants to race and not just cut you up or get in the way. It was great fun and once again I absolutely loved it. Well done also to Peter Shaw (TVR Tuscan) James Dean (Lotus Europa) and Brian Jarvis (Porsche 924) for their 1, 2, 3 in race 2.

HSCC 70s Snetterton 2015
Messers Ken Rorrison (No.4) and Jon Wagstaff (No.68), our regular sparring partners

Overall HSCC 70s Snetterton 2015 was brilliant fun, despite the rain, with a terrific circuit layout and packed, albeit from being shared with HRS, grid. The next round for us will hopefully be Croft on the weekend of 8th/ 9th August, can’t wait.

HSCC 70s Snetterton 2015 Race 1 Results

Pos

No

Driver

Car

Time

MPH

Best

1 1 Peter Shaw TVR Tuscan 22:25.982 63.52 2:46.143
2 20 Mark Leverett Lotus Elan 24:00.256 59.36 2:53.344
3 92 Brian Jarvis Porsche 924 24:05.166 59.16 2:54.085
4 33 Matt Nichols TVR 3000M 24:17.089 58.68 2:56.302
5 72 James Dean Lotus Europa 24:39.031 57.81 2:56.197
6 4 Ken Rorrison Alfa Romeo GTV 25:12.446 56.53 3:00.091
7 52 Graham Hall Lancia Monte Carlo 22:24.665 55.63 3:03.937
8 77 Simon Holmesmith Alfa Romeo GTV 22.39.973 55.01 3:08.992
9 50 David Karaskas MG Midget 24.43.436 50.43 3.07.133

 

HSCC 70s Snetterton 2015 Race 2 Results

Pos

No

Driver

Car

Time

MPH

Best

1 1 Peter Shaw TVR Tuscan 22:32.050 63.24 2:46.605
2 72 James Dean Lotus Europa 23:46.270 59.95 2:51.799
3 92 Brian Jarvis Porsche 924 24:19.750 58.57 2:57.461
4 50 David Karaskas MG Midget 24.30.440 58.14 2:58.474
5 68 Jon Wagstaff Alfa Romeo GTV 25.05.396 56.79 2:59.646
6 33 Matt Nichols TVR 3000M 25:09.565 56.64 2:59.073
7 4 Ken Rorrison Alfa Romeo GTV 25:11.086 56.58 3:00.091
8 52 Graham Hall Lancia Monte Carlo 22:43.009 54.89 3:06.975

 

With thanks to all the marshals who turned out, you make this possible.

How does this event make you feel?

In one word: Wet.

As a favourite meal: I tell you what both meals we had in the restaurant (one Chilli and one Chicken Curry) were both excellent and represented great value for money at £7.00 each.

Anything Else: Brilliant to share a grid but we definitely need more cars in the 70s. If you do fancy it check out what the HSCC has to offer for road going cars.

Key Ingredients: Superb Snetterton 300 layout, reasonable grip levels given the conditions, full grid of cars, very respectful driving standards and great fun out on track.

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HSCC 70s Snetterton 2015 HSCC 70s Snetterton 2015 HSCC 70s Snetterton 2015 HSCC 70s Snetterton 2015 HSCC 70s Snetterton 2015 HSCC 70s Snetterton 2015 HSCC 70s Snetterton 2015 HSCC 70s Snetterton 2015

 

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