Tricky event at Llandow circuit
Published on: 08 Jun 2015
A TRIO of Downend MX5s joined with the VW support vehicle towing Andy Laurence’s new Mygale Ecoboost racing car to Llandow Circuit near Cardiff. The Llandow Sprint was hosted by Bristol Motor Club and the event was the third round of the Vincenzo and Son MX5 Challenge. James Hurford, Phil Oliver and Sandy Smith were all competing in their MX5s with guest driver, Andrew O’Malley, also driving James’ car.
On arrival at Llandow, the weather was overcast and the rain soon started to fall. First practice was wet and Andy was first of the local drivers to taste the track. The rain had just stopped and competition had been paused to recover a racing car that had made contact with the barriers.
Andy had not driven the car before and running brand new slick tyres on a wet track was a scary prospect. A lurid slide on the exit of Glue Pot did not help the nerves but it certainly helped focus the mind. The MX5 drivers followed with several spins on the damp track, although not from the Downend contingent.
Second practice was nearly dry and Andy gave it beans, lopping 11 seconds off his previous time. Curiously, James went slower, but Phil picked up the pace and remained solidly second in class, whilst a timing error left Sandy unsure of his pace. It was all to play for in the afternoon...
Andy’s afternoon started with the car refusing to run on the way to the start line thanks to stalling so many times in the morning and the battery running flat. In a fluster, the run was poor and a similar time to his efforts in the damp before lunch. The MX5 class improved across the board with Sandy moving into second place a tenth ahead of Phil and James improving massively and up to 5th place.
The final competitive run of the day saw Andy improve by over 3 seconds to set a new PB and win the class, setting a new record in the process. Phil was gunning for Sandy and gave it everything to beat him. His efforts were heard in the paddock as a screech of tyres followed by a loud bang. He’d lost control at the fastest part of the track and hit the barriers backwards. He was unhurt but a smashed tail light and some dented panels left him frustrated.
Sandy improved by a tenth, whilst James showed metronomic precision by setting a time 0.01 seconds slower than his previous. If this was a regularity contest, he’d have won. The results place Sandy and Phil a point apart in third and fourth with James in 6th place in the championship. The next round is at Chepstow Racecourse in July.
Before the next championship round, Phil is competing at the non-championship round at Hullavington Airfield. Andy is heading to Crystal Palace at the same time to race around the famous gardens, one of the few remaining inner-city motorsport events. Wouldn’t it be great to have a spectacle like that in Bristol?
If you like fast cars (or slow cars driven quickly), then search for Bristol Motor Club, who organise events where you can compete, marshal or spectate cost-effectively. Motorsport isn’t all about rich kids in fast cars.