Mallory Park  9th April 2007

After the long winter lay off, we assembled at Mallory Park as guests of the British Racing & Sports Club. The latter start to the season encouraged a respectable turn out for the first race of the season, especially to celebrate the 85th birthday of Don Truman.

The weather was perfect and most unlike our last visit to Mallory, the sun shone all day and a gentle breeze kept drivers and cars at an optimum temperature. It was nice to see the Bardon Turner, even if it did spend the day as a static display as part of Don's celebration.

Unsurprisingly, first practice of the year brought the usual teething troubles. Shirley put a neat hole in JAP piston, resulting in an engine change for Bill, Humphrey Collis endured magneto problems in the JLR. John Jones brought the wonderful Cousy and also suffered magneto woes but was able to make the start.

Neil Hodges found his car stuck in top gear on arrival at Shaw's Hairpin and eventually broke the clutch trying to nurse the car round. Nigel Ashman was going well in his new mount, a beautiful cream coloured Kieft, fresh from restoration having raced in the US for many years.

French Cousy rests in the sunshine. Photo Challis.

So there was a fair amount of fettling to be done during the break but all bar the JLR made the start. During the lunch break, presentations were made to Don who was left quite speechless at times. Fortunately he regained he regained his voice in time to give an old style driver's briefing including some of his standard lines; "the black bits are yours, the green bits are for us....", "please report to the Clerk of the Course with your trousers neatly folded over your arm!" and finally "It says on the sign "Motor Racing is Dangerous", let's keep it that way!"

Shortly after the start; Ashman, Wright, Steele, Hodges and Challis. Photo John Munro.

After lunch, and a parade lap for Don in the Swallow Doretti, came the 500 start. Everyone got away cleanly and two battles quickly developed. Challenging for the podium places were Mike Fowler and John Turner in Coopers with Nigel Ashman in the Kieft. A short way behind was Roy Wright in the Dastle, Tony Steele in Duncan Rabagliati's Comet and Neil Hodges who was still suffering from a recalcitrant gearbox. For the first few laps there were numerous overtaking manoeuvres either at Gerards or braking into Shaw's hairpin. The lead was decided when Nigel spun at Shaw's on the second lap, due to  a brake bias issue, causing some emergency avoidance by Mike and John. Thereafter, John Turner was able to establish a small but decisive lead which he held to the flag. Behind, Tony managed to escape to take third place. Neil and Roy continued a fight to the finish, Neil losing time at Shaw's while stuck in the wrong gear but making it up again round Gerards. It was very pleasing to see 10 of the 11 starters finishing so early in the season.

Roy Wright and Nigel Challis battling. Photo John Munro

 

Mike Fowler leads John Turner and Nigel Ashman at the start of lap 2. Photo John Munro.

Our thanks to Don Truman and the British Racing & Sports Car Club and to John Munro for many of the pictures.

Classified Finishers

Pos Name Car Time Laps Best

John receives the trophy from Don Truman. Photo Mike Fowler.

1 John Turner Cooper Mk IX 10:43 10 1:01.530
2 Mike Fowler Cooper Mk V 10:45 10 1:02.823
3 Tony Steele Comet 11:10 10 1:04.792
4 Neil Hodges Cooper Mk VIII 11:28 10 1:05.463
5 Roy Wright Dastle Mk I 11:31 10 1:06.758
6 Nigel Challis Cooper Mk VIII 11:49 10 1:08.227
7 Mike Gilbert Cooper Mk IX 10:53 9 1:09.726
8 Shirley Monro Cooper Mk IV 11:01 9 1:10.685
9 Paul Hewes Cooper Mk VIII 11:19 8 1:22.338
10 John Jones Cousy Mk II 11:40 8 1:23.433

Fastest lap: John Turner: 1:01.53 DNF: Nigel Ashman. DNS Humphrey Collis

 

 

John Turner and his Cooper Mk IX. Photo Nigel Challis.

 

The leaders from the rear. Turner, Fowler, Ashman, Steele and Wright. Photo Munro.

Behind you!

Photo John Munro.

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