The annual Autosport 3 Hours was run in the most atrocious conditions I think I have ever raced in.
Friday afternoon was warm and dry and testing went well. We had to bed in brakes and scrub tyres to prepare ourselves for the 3 hour thrash on Saturday in Simon and Kate Orebi Gann's beautiful Morgan SLR.
Saturday dawned and the rain was falling. It fell more heavily as the day progressed to the point where the half hour warm up was cancelled due to flooding on the track. We began to wonder if we were going to race!
Eventually the rain eased and the circuit was opened in time for qualifying. I was first out and after scrubbing in another set of tyres put in a lap good enough for class pole and sixth overall. This wet stuff was working well for us as we are in the GT3 class with the much more powerful Healey 3000s. Simon then drove his stint to qualify. Watching the timing screens it was clear one of the Healeys was gaining on us so I went out at the end in the hope of keeping it at bay. This worked and we were on pole by about half a second.
The conditions did not improve. Wind, cold and rain continued and we sat it out till the start of our race. Simon took the start and amid a ball of spray kept all in order until the first of 2 mandatory 3 minute pit stops to include re fuelling if necessary.
The first stop went like clockwork and I set off onto a track which had been completely coated with oil. The rain had then spread it out nicely so the whole lap was akin to ice driving!! My kind of conditions and once I had checked out the circuit I pushed on to chase the cars ahead. We had made an early stop so several cars were ahead of us. P5 soon became P3 and then P2. A few laps later P1 was on the board and I was pushing to the max while staying on the black stuff. Wow! this was more like power boating than circuit racing!!
After an hour and three quarters and a load of fun, the call came from the pit crew. Time for our second mandatory pit stop and for Simon to take us to the flag. Again the crew did a superb job and Simon was on his way in perfect time. With 35 minutes to go and a very fast Healey 3000 bearing down on him, Simon was up against it but kept it smooth and clean. It all came down to the last lap where the Healey caught us and blasted past with superior power to take P1 by 5 seconds after 3 hours of racing!!
We were still very happy with our race: Pole, fastest lap and P2 was a good result. And we got 'Drivers of the Day' to boot.
All in all an excellent days racing. Many thanks to Simon and Kate. Here's to the next one!!