Hethel Results 040813

Hethel 24th August 2013

“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.
For he to-day that drives with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition.
And members in England, now a-bed,
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here;
And hold their manhoods cheap, whiles any speaks
That drove with us upon Sprinting day.”

Our Competitions Secretary arranged new sprint events for 500 OA members this year and the exciting venue at The Lotus Group Cars Test Track at Hethel near Norwich was one of them. The course was described as being one lap of approximately 2 miles of straights, with left and right turns on a sealed tarmac surface; this rather understates the wide and challenging Grand Prix type circuit where Lotus cars are tested. Entry to the circuit is controlled and security is strict; no cameras or mobile phones were allowed. Only drivers, mechanics and support personnel were allowed entry; no spectators are allowed.

The Sprint meeting was organised by the Borough 19 Motor Club and the Lotus Motor Club. Unfortunately only Mike Wood with his lovely IOTA CPB and Alan Hartfield with his Cooper Mark 5 “Tally Ho!” entered and took part, hence the tortured quote at the beginning of this report! Did Mike and I enjoy driving at Hethel? Yes we certainly did! The Officials were most accommodating to the needs of 500's and were most helpful to us. The other entrants were very friendly and rather intrigued by our cars. Two mechanics from a BMW team volunteered to help Mike and I every time we were starting; thank you guys, it was much appreciated.

After the usual signing-on, preparing the race cars, and having them scrutineered, there was time for breakfast from the excellent catering van. The officials put us last on the programme so that they could signal to us to start our engines when there was no queue at the start line. This worked very well for Mike and I and for the smooth running of the Sprint.

There had not been enough time to walk the 2 mile course (not so sure I can walk that far first thing in the morning!) but Mike and I received some helpful tips from a few knowledgeable drivers and we were able to view the half distance chicane over the pit wall. We agreed that our first practice lap would be a sighter, but even so our times looked good with less than 2 seconds between us and we both knew that we could improve. On second practice laps I knocked 5 seconds off and Mike improved by a massive 8 seconds – wow!

Mike and I were really enjoying the fast speeds on this wide circuit and even occasionally going over the chamfered red & white corner kerbs (a la Grand Prix style). It was challenging but we had broad grins when we got back to the paddock. As the results show, our competition runs were very close: Mike drove very well – dammit! - and beat me by 0.14 of a second to take the class award. He was deservedly proud to receive a very attractive trophy at the presentation ceremony at the end of a memorable and enjoyable sprint.

Saturday Classified Results

Pos Name Car Run 1 Run 2 Run 3 Best

Report by Alan, the little boy who did pay attention in Mrs Breedan's English Lit class


1 Mike Wood CBP-JAP 109.94 111.00 110.66 109.94
2 Alan Hartfield Cooper Mk V-JAP 110.08 110.45 110.70 110.08

Mike and I would like to thank the Officials, Marshals, Medical and Rescue teams, and the excellent Catering team, all of whom worked hard to make the event such a success.