Matt Clarke best on Index at 3A's Kensworth
Matt Clarke took National B honours on index at the Kensworth "Guy Fawkes" on 2nd November. However, it was Jack Williams who had the lowest score, dropping only two marks on a very dry day.
David Sheffield had Kevin Roberts in the passengers seat but won his class in spite of the handicap. However, he now has a rather distorted view of life!
Despite the early morning dew Kensworth was very dry for Falcons BTRDA event. In some ways it was just as well, because championship regulations specify eight different hills, difficult here in the wet as it's hard to even get to the gate once the heavens open, let alone reach the sections at the far end of the venue. This was not a problem on the day as there was grip a plenty, making it real challenge for Andy Clarke and Arnold Lane to lay on a competitive event for the experts. Andy has been coming to Kensworth for over twenty years and had never seen it so dry!
Although a BTRDA qualifier many championship contenders were conspicuous by their absence. Simon Harris from Ross-on-Wye being the only non-local. This was one of the main subjects on peoples' lips at lunch time. Popular opinion being that many of the major players don't like to stray to far from down town Birmingham!
The pattern of the day was established straight away. Andy and Arnold had laid out hill one against the trees to the east of the venue, seeking out the damp patches under the trees. It was a twisty tight affair. But it wasn't enough to stop most of the entry. The only high score falling to Tim Smith who had brain fade and went off course on the first bend. Hill two was marked out on the open hillside and relied on some tight turns across the gradient. Marshal Mike Hayward saw most of the Entry fail to get by the five marker. Jack Williams was the only National B competitor to clear then hill, with Matt Clarke dropping two in the family Nova. The only other competitor still to be clear was Dave Smith in the clubmans, but by the third hill he lost his clean sheet as well, leaving Jack Williams as the only driver on zero and he held on to this all the way to lunch.
Pete Stafford won his class in the Clubmans section. Pete passengers Fred Gregory in the Classics and has a Marlin as a road car.
At the break Matt Clarke had only dropped seven but everyone else was on double figures. Peter Manning was going well in his Midget on 13 with Stuart Cairney just two marks behind. The Imp was running sweetly after it's Brickhill problems which were caused by a spring failing inside the distributor. Then came a tight little battle between Simon Harris in his Golf GTi and Colin and Michael Weeks in their venerable Mini Cooper S. Dave Smith was leading the clubmans on 27 but David Sheffield and Simon Robson were snapping at his heels.
Peter York drove the Family Skoda while dad John did some marshalling. They had overheating problems in the morning and eventually retired with a dodgy clutch.
Pete York was finding that Johns Skoda was getting a bit warm and Simon Robson helped them bleed the air out of the cooling system during lunch. Martin Cheshire and Esmond Pickering had some more serious problems in the Polo which had broken its diff at the end of the first round. Not to be daunted Martin nipped home and bought another Polo along for the afternoon!
During lunch Andy and Arnold tightened up the sections quite a lot. The first turn on hill one looked impossibly tight. Simon Harris was first along in his GTi, had a quick look, got in the car and hand-braked neatly round for a clean. The smaller front wheel drive cars found they could drive round on lock. Robin Howard was a bit worried about his 1300 Fiesta as he didn't want to 'burn' his way round and risk his diff. Robin is resting rather than retiring the Marlin but may swap the Fiesta for an 1100 in order to get a lower final drive.
Peter Manning was the first long wheel-base car to attempt the turn. He approached at a trickle and the heavily ballested MG was completely locked-out. Tom Goggin was next, he wound on the lock, applied full power and the Escort slid it's way neatly through. Having seen Tom the other drivers of big cars attempted the same technique. Simon Robson and David Sheffield were successful. Pete Stafford was nearly triumphant but not quite and neither was Peter York or Jonathon Baggott, but he got it right on the last round.
Chris Bonnett gave his Peugot diesel a PCT outing. Its also been out in Autotests and the Edinburgh. In his spare time Chris does a bit of sprinting in his special!
Jack Williams and Matt Clarke continued their battle at the head of the field. Jack remained clear until hill nine, that had been made very difficult after lunch in an attempt to stop him getting a clean sheet. Even so Jack dropped only one but Matt lost three. Both the Skoda drivers had been slipping their clutches a lot to get around the tight corners. Peter York retired his car when it started to lose drive but Simon Robson continued although it still stunk to high heaven over half an hour after the finish.
At the end Jack had dropped two to Matt's 17, but best National B went to Matt on Index. Dave Smith was best clubman in the Kitten, car and driver both having an excellent day. Kevin Alexander was best class zero clubman in the Fiat, followed by Chris Bonnett in his Peugeot 306 Diesel. Chris showing us the versatility of his car by competing in an Autotest, The Edinburgh and a PCT in little more than a month. Pete Stafford took his first class win in his Escort and David Sheffield won the class five battle.
It was another enjoyable day in fine weather, too good for the organisers who had to make the sections much tighter than they would like because the ground was so dry.
NATIONAL B Matt Clarke (Nova) Best on Index
Simon Harris (Golf GTi) Class A
Michael Weeks (Mini-Cooper S) Class B
Stuart Cairney (Imp) Class C
Jack Williams (Tempest) Class D
CLUBMANS Dave Smith (Reliant Kitten) Best on Index
Pete Stafford (Escort) Class 1
David Sheffield (Midget), Class 5
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