Mandy and myself arrived at Gatwick on 4th May to be met by Lance in his Fiat run around. Marty and Peter Boel were racing at Donington and Kevin had just returned from Europe and was unable to make the start in the Lotus. The trip was about an hour and a half and we arrived about 2pm cold and tired but the sights of the cars and the scale of the event was very impressive. After meeting the team and the locals we threw our bags into our motor home and were bustled away for an Indian dinner at a local restaurant in Donnington Castle and returned to the track late into the night. We were that tired we slept in our cloths and worked out where the light switches were the next day.
On the Friday Peter Boel had had a small engine fire whilst starting the Lola for it’s first race, missing the event and seeing a few candles burnt repairing the damage overnight. Saturday saw the car ready to go for race 2 only to have the throttle cable jam after 3 laps, Peter lucky to pull the car up in a runoff area. Damage to the internals of the throttle cable in the fire had been hidden from view.

The Sunday was for the Formula 2 and other exotic classes. In the UK they tend to have two day meetings with some categories on the Saturday and others on the Sunday. If you thought the transporters were impressive at Phillip Island the ones here are spectacular, everyone tries to out do the next person with either the motorhomes, transporters or drive cars.

Martin Bullock's Chevron in the pits at Donnington

Marty went well with his new engine in the Chevron on the Sunday amongst a large European field and the finished the day with everything in tack. On Sunday afternoon we headed off to Kimbolten where we were based. I was desperately trying to follow Lance in a Left Hand Drive Motor home which was no match for a quick street car. Neverless we finally managed to get there and see the new premises that Marty and Bob Juggins have put together to help traveling competitors.

Marty winds his way down the Crammer Curves at Donnigton

My first task was to get food and water for the camper and then start to get the cars prepared to comply with the European standards. Lance, Henry and the rest of the guys were all doing the same, We needed to change our roll bar back braces, fit onboard fire systems, mufflers and a host of other items. After the trip across the equator most of the batteries were stuffed so that was another issue. The biggest hurdle was to get Dunlop tyres onto our cars as they have a control tyre for the Classic Racing cars and the Avons were not acceptable. All the locals that were going quick ran 8”rims on the front and 10”rims on the rear. Lance and myself decided to source some smaller rims to be competitive. You think this would be easy to do in the UK but just about everywhere we tried there was a problem and we are now just getting them sorted. Luckly, Dunlop did not have our tyres in stock and the Historic group were supportive and let us run the Avons in the short term. They even created a special class for the internationals called :invitation”class so Henry could get a run.


Neil on the right in the Macon with David Watkins in the Brabham just behind

My first event was Silverstone on the GP Formula 1 circuit.. I had the motorhome and the car was coming together but needed a trailer. Mandy found one on ebay and Chris Chapman (Dennis’s mate) from the UK did the negotiating to get the trailer at a discount. The trailer was owned by John Gordon-Findlayson from the old Cheese Vat in Sheriff Hutting. Next day the trailer arrived and I transferred the funds from the Commonwealth bank to John’s account. About a week later no funds had come through and the previous owner was getting a bit anxious. An email to the bank gave the usual 5 business days response, 10 days later and still no funds. In the end I withdrew the cash from my account and transferred it to his account and then after two weeks the bank said the transferred was returned as there was a numerical error. It was good to see that John had let me have the trailer on trust and something you might only find in England.

Peter Boel leading a pack of Juniors at Silverstone

Nevertheless We arrived at Silverstone with the rest of the team and camped complete with Australian flag. For those that have not been exposed to the circuit it is extremely long with dozens of corners going in all directions. There is no clear indication of which way to go and how tight the corner is. It is about three times the length of Wanneroo and if you come off it can be very damaging. We had two practice sessions on the Friday and were out with late model formula cars including what appeared to be Formula 1 type. We spent most of the time looking in the mirrors. Lance and Henry had picked up a Fiat van and on the way to the circuit suffered a blow out and ended up missing the first session. It is hard enough to learn the track in a dozen sessions but is impossible in one. Lance also suffered head gasket problems and a cracked liner which put him out for the weekend. David went out in the afternoon in the Brabham as did Henry and the rest of the team. The Formula Juniors ran on Saturday and Peter Boel performed well given the track time.
The Sunday saw us all perform well for qualifying with David a couple of positions in front of me and Henry further down the field.

The race was hectic and I ended up in the gravel trap at the beginning of the second lap after passing two slower cars only to find myself on the dirty side of the track. David moved up and down the grid and was lucky to spin onto the grass where he could recover. The day was fantastic and none of the cars apart from Lance had any major problems.


The next event was Snetterton. This is the new 300 circuit and although twice the size of Barbagallo was far easier to learn with markers showing the corners and which way they went and the angle. Lance as usual made a brilliant start and performed well. I ran the Macon which managed to finish just behind Lance. David Watkins did a head gasket and retired after a great few laps. Peter Boel drove the Alexis well and Henry did a great job with the Alton.

Snetterton action

In the end Lance won the invitational class with myelf second and Peter Boel coming in third. The locals have all raced on the circuit for years and have some pretty impressive machinery so our results were extremely good.

Aussies on the podium at Snetterton

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