Mistakes prove costly for Sandy

Published on: 05 May 2014

AFTER the success of the Mendips Raceway AutoSolo, Sandy Smith of Mangotsfield headed to Ross Motor Club’s Mitcheldean AutoSolo expecting good things. However the courses were very technical and tight and he struggled to haul the front end around. The course speed fell in between two ratios; too fast for first but not quick enough to stay in second. Sandy finished last in class and over 8 seconds off the pace.

Following the disappointing result, Sandy competed in two AutoSolos at Kemble Airfield.  The Abarth Punto still had a slipping clutch, but Sandy remained competitive throughout the day.  He explained “My class was quite tightly contested, so one mistake was costly. I made two, so I only came 5th in class and 12th overall.”

Wrong turn

At the second event at Kemble Sandy was joined by James Hurford of Downend, who had replaced the radiator in his Mazda MX5 after it developed a leak just 36 hours before the event.  After putting in a banker, James took a wrong turn on the second run and posted a good run on the third.

Sandy had an even worse time on the first test as the car shut down with warning lights on the dash.  After a little fiddling, the car seemed to be running fine, but the warning lights remained.  Undeterred, Sandy headed out for his second run but discovered the warning lights were the ABS, which resulted in him losing a lot of time. “Armed with the new knowledge on brakes, the third run was pretty decent,” he said.

James made some suspension adjustments on his MX5 to improve the handling  and finished 13th overall but was disappointed not to make the top 10. “Overall though, an absolutely awesome event,” he said. “Kemble is a brilliant venue with fast tarmac sections and more technical variable surface stuff; everything you could want.” 


Unfortunately for Sandy, the time lost on the first test with the issues would be impossible to recover but spent the rest of the day having a good go. He finished third in class and 10th overall.

For Downend resident Andy Laurence the season had started late after missing Rockingham and Castle Combe. Andy started his season at Clay Pigeon Raceway after a winter of upgrades to the car. The full 2014 aero pack wasn’t ready and as a result, the car ran with more downforce at the front than the rear and the balance is critically important. Andy discovered this on his first run, when he had a spin at the third corner. A plethora of battery problems during the day was eventually traced to a disconnected cable in the charging system and Andy made a last run attempt to salvage the day. The final run was fast enough to break the class record, but as the class was amalgamated with another, Andy finished second in the amalgamated class, albeit with a new class record.

Andy and Sandy are off to the Nurburgring for a weekend of non-competitive motorsport before their next events. Andy will next compete at Bristol Motor Club’s Llandow Sprint near Cardiff on Saturday May 10 where he hopes to take his first class win of the season. Spectators can watch the racing and wander the paddock for free and those volunteering to marshal will get a free lunch and their Severn Bridge toll re-imbursed.  No experience is required.  

If you’d like to get involved, then see the club’s website (www.bristolmc.org.uk), follow @BristolMC on Twitter or search for Bristol Motor Club on Facebook.

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