Abingdon circuit blows away the cobwebs

Published on: 01 Aug 2016

After the twisty confines of the footpaths around Crystal Palace Gardens, it was quite a shock to be travelling at over 120mph around the airfield in Abingdon.  

Just five days after Crystal Palace, Andy was entered in the Abingdon CAR-nival Sprint where two sprint courses are laid out on the airfield and over 150 cars compete to set the fastest aggregate time.  

Each car gets four attempts at each course; two practice and two that count.  With Andy sharing his car, that meant preparing the car to drive eight times in the morning and eight times in the afternoon.  Swapping drivers means swapping seats as well as refuelling, a quick spanner check and checking tyre pressures.  It was going to be a busy day!

It was a tentative start but Andy slotted into fourth overall after morning practice.  Promising!  The first timed run resulted in a mistake coming into the second right-hander and with the course defined by cones on the airfield, Andy slid into a cone and flat-spotted the tyres.  The final run had to count, so it was a solid run into fifth overall, but within a second of the outright pace.

The afternoon course had a much better start and Andy was second overall in practice, nearly a second clear of third place.  In the first timed run, it all went out the window with low battery power and the car limped round at 60mph.  

It was run number 13 of the day and with no alternator on the engine, the battery was drained.  A fellow competitor loaned the use of a generator and the organisers allowed the car to start last. 

 Twenty minutes of charging later, the final three runs were taken in just 11 minutes, including driver/seat changes.  Andy dropped to third fastest as other cars had improved.  He finished fourth overall.

Andy's since had an alternator fitted to the Mygale EgoBoost and some new aerodynamic parts fitted for Castle Combe, which will have finished by the time you read this. 

 The event concludes the Vincenzo & Son Bristol MX5 Challenge, where Phil Oliver of Downend hopes to finish as runner up to series winner Sandy Smith of Mangotsfield.  He needs to beat Louis Ruff of Pucklechurch to do it and both of them need to stop Dave Newman from winning.

As a warm-up to Castle Combe, Sandy Smith ventured back to Llandow Circuit near Cardiff to compete in his MX5.  He was up against 2015 Vincenzo & Son Bristol MX5 Challenge winner Dave Newman for the spoils.  

Both were competing in the HSA Speed Championship and Dave was leading.  Sandy pulled out all the stops and won the class, knocking a whopping two seconds off the class record in the process.  

That moves him into the top spot in the MX5 class in the HSA championship and an impressive fourth overall.

If you like the idea of a bit of motorsport, then look up Bristol Motor Club, who run a number of events including a couple of national championship rounds in the Bristol area.  

Whether you want to drive, navigate, marshal or just watch, the club will welcome you.  They meet in Stapleton on the first Tuesday of every month and will be running an autotest where you can have a go yourself at the South Glos Show on August 6 and 7.

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