Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Number 7 - Lydden Hill

It seems to take me about a fortnight to get around to writing a new post for this blog - I guess I do not want to publish too many too close together in case you miss one and only read the newest. Thanks by the way to those who are reading these ramblings from me - hope you like them and that the photographs, especially the older ones, bring back some memories for you if you are old enough to remember them!!

One restraint in planning my programme for this year has been the small number of meetings being held at some of the circuits. I used the Autosport National Racing Calendar to plan my itinerary and that shows just the one meeting at Mallory Park, which is fairly well known, but also it only shows 2 meetings for Lydden Hill - one in October and the one I visited recently - the Truck Fest meeting which had races for 4 car categories. So a total of 8 car races over the weekend, very much the minor partner alongside a number of oval racing categories and a very small field of trucks running 'demo' races - i.e including passenger rides as part of the 'race'. So compared to the18 races over the weekend at Snetterton two weeks previously it was a much reduced bill of fare.

It was pretty quiet on Saturday morning when I arrived about 0930 and paid my entry fee and was told that there were no programmes left!! The chap on the gate had only been given 12!! Mmmm - more on that later.

Lydden of course has a great sloping field with acres of parking but I wanted to go to the paddock and so I parked reasonably close to that side of the field about halfway down the hill in this vast area of field. Before I had even got out of my car somebody had parked right next to me!!! Here is a picture of this taken from the far side of the circuit a little later. My black Suzuki Swift is the left hand of the two cars parked towards the right of the picture and you can see how close the car to the right has parked!! He probably parked in that half of the field for the same reason as me but why so close??

And then a third car joined us

And by the end of the afternoon we had a nice little community going!!

Previous visits to Lydden had been many years in the past when I was living in Essex and it had been a fairly quick trip over the river and it was good to see that it still had a friendly feel about it with easy access pretty much anywhere and of course you can see the majority of the circuit from almost any spot around it, particularly from the grandstands on the outside of the circuit at Hairy Hill (below), except for the dip at Pilgrims where it goes down and behind the bank of the rallycross circuit.

In fact there were 4 circuits in use for the weekend - the full circuit for the cars, the shortened circuit, for the trucks, which cuts out North Bend and comes through the section blocked by the tyres above and the oval which you can see in the background and which was used in both directions!

The following picture shows a couple of trucks powering out of that short link and heading down into Paddock Bend.

My first aim, however, having arrived was to find a programme - and I will admit here that I was eventually given one by one of the people in the meeting office which somebody else had been using because there just did not appear to be any available at all for the public, or if there were they were only released in small batches and thus sold out pretty quickly. I know it must be very difficult to gauge how many programmes to produce and also to judge how many might be needed on the Sunday (when I did not think to see if any were available) but it is always disappointing when you cannot get one. These days it is usually possible to get the timetable and the entry lists from the Internet and I now try to take these with me just in case it is all the information I will have available to me on the day.

The 4 car classes were organised by the BARC SE and were the familiar Cannon Motor Spares Tin Tops, the Quaife - Motorsport News Saloons, the Quaife Intermarque Championship with Avon Tyres and RDJ Smith Machinery (to give it its full title) and a new series called the Sevenesque series being another one for the various Lotus / Caterham 7 / Westfield / Tiger type cars.

In the Tin Tops the Honda Civic of Chris Whiteman (above) was dominant while the variety of models on display was wide - witnessed by a Toyota Starlet (Barnaby Davies) and a Ford Escort (Russell Turner) being his nearest rivals. My favourite was the shocking pink Renault 5 of Oliver Davies - all of these pictured below!!

The Quaife - Motorsport News Saloons were dominated, as more often than not, by Rod Birley in his Escort Cosworth as he racked up another 2 wins. Rod's total of wins is many hundred now and I can remember him many years ago driving a road saloon Hillman Imp at my home track of Ingliston in Scotland - afraid  have no pictures from that time but I seem to recall it was red and cream / white.

The Quaife Intermarque Championship in previous years had a number of classes picking up the odd Caterham racer and even the Birley Escort at times, but this year it is really just the one class for 2.0 litre Hot Rods which are otherwise seen on the oval circuits around Britain. The Vauxhall Tigra body shape seems to be the most popular but there were the odd exceptions in the shape of Mercedes SLK, BMW Z4 and VW Corrado for example. The reigning champion Matt Simpson won the first race with Chris Brockhurst taking the second. Some examples below of these interesting dual-purpose machines.

The Sevenesque cars were - just like Lotus 7s!!! Both races were won by Ian Conibear but because, I suppose, we see these cars everywhere I did not take any pictures - sorry Sevenesque fans but that's the way it happened.

So what of the rest of the day's activities - there was an unusual mix of oval racers ranging from the mighty Belgian-based CAMSO V8s, through Sprint Cars and Hot Rods of various sizes to grass track racers from the SEGTO series and I have popped a selection in below:

The Autograss Hillman Imp of Mick Browne

The Sprint car of  Duncan Panton

The V6 Hot Rod Lexus of Danny Ellis

and the CAMSO V8 of Paul Sweeney - who is British by the way!!

And then there were the trucks!! - not many but they created their own smoke screen so there could have been others hiding in there somewhere!! A few pictures to get the taste.

This one was overheating and so had some panels removed to assist in cooling!

And that was another different type of motor racing weekend ticked off and the next outing would be from one extreme to the other - from Britain's smallest to its potentially largest, but certainly the newest - Rockingham - but that's another story as I pass the half way mark on my tour of the country's motor racing circuits.

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