Sandy clinches third win of the season after final run mishap
Published on: 28 May 2016
The weather forecast was for glorious sunshine at Llandow Circuit to the West of Cardff, but as a convoy of cars headed there from Downend, it looked decidedly cloudy. Phil Oliver, James Hurford and Sandy Smith were all vying for the Vincenzo & Son Bristol MX5 Challenge, whilst Andy Laurence was looking for victory in the unlimited single seater class.
It was spitting with rain as practice started but not wet enough to warrant wet tyres. Andy’s driving partner went out to practice and as he came down the straight past the pit lane at over 100mph, the car skewed sideways towards the tyres. The rain had increased since leaving the paddock and there was now standing water on the track. Despite the odds, he regained control and continued. Andy’s turn was a few minutes later and without time to change tyres, he took a rather tentative run, finishing exactly 3 seconds slower.
It wasn’t long before the MX5s were out on track and Sandy Smith was straight on the pace. He was so fast that he set a time faster than anyone else outside the racing car classes, beating Mitsubishi Lancers, sports racing cars and Caterhams. In fact, he was 7th overall! Sadly, this was practice and nothing counts in practice.
After the lunch break, where the canteen ran out of Welsh Cakes, the timed runs started and the track was now dry from the promised glorious sunshine. Andy Laurence gave it beans and with the help of a new aero package, put in a reasonable time to lead the class and slot into 5th overall. The final run saw an improvement to win the class comfortably and, in doing so, break the class record.
The battle in the Vincenzo & Son Bristol MX5 Challenge was fierce. Sandy Smith had won the first two rounds and everyone was keen to beat him. His lead after lunch was a substantial one of nearly two seconds, and in the first timed run, he was about the same distance ahead of the field. Phil Oliver was in 5th place but not far off 2nd place. James Hurford was just behind in 6th.
The final run was all or nothing and for Sandy, it was nothing as he pushed too hard and lost control at the Bus Stop Chicane, spinning to a halt. It was up to the others to improve their times. Phil improved substantially but not enough to win and slipped into 4th place, just 0.2 off the podium. James Hurford didn’t improve and with those around him improving, he slipped down to 8th place. David Newman, the reigning champion put in a storming drive, but it wasn’t enough to beat Sandy, who took his third win of the season.
The fourth round of the championship is at Chepstow Racecourse in June and entries are open now for any road legal car. If you are looking for a fun hobby and you like cars, then search for Bristol Motor Club who run events for drivers, marshals and spectators. Next year, the club is launching the Bristol Clio Cup and you can register your interest on the club website now.