1, Jun, 2017
If we didn’t know it before the Bank Holiday weekend the penny certainly dropped during the Classic Sports Car Club’s Silverstone meeting.
Of course, the Boss Racing team was there to support customers and ensure they got the most from their racing and, judging from the amount of silverware they took home, we succeeded.
But we were also there to help them enjoy themselves. We’re in the fun business, folks.
In addition to our usual runners in the Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens race, Christian and Jonny Pittard, Tim Davis, Richard Carter, Hugh Coulter and Peter Hargroves, there was Alex Harbour with a Boss Racing-built engine in his Supersport 1600 and Peter French with a sequential gearbox supplied by us in his Superlight 1800.
The Friday test day proved particularly useful. Christian broke a gearbox mounting, while Jonny cracked a suspension mounting. Both had taken trips over the kerbs but it wasn’t until our check of Jonny’s Caterham Superlight R that we discovered the crack in his chassis. We were able to bronze weld this up ourselves with the aid of some gas bottles but the repair of Christian’s car required a specialist Mig welder.
The Pittard pair, in the order Christian and Jonny, locked out the front row of the grid for Saturday’s Meteor Suspension all-comers’ race. Christian, though, didn’t start due to a family commitment which caused him to head for home the previous evening. So it was left to Jonny to achieve a lights to flag victory. It wasn’t quite that easy, though.
Jonny and Connaire Finn (Ginetta G50 Cup) fought a protracted duel, although the Ginetta’s tyres eventually went off, allowing Jonny to open up a gap. At the flag he was more than 14.5 seconds ahead.
In qualifying, Christian rewarded us by putting his Caterham CSR on pole for the Mag Sevens 40-minute enduro. Jonny was third (and first in class), Richard sixth, Tim seventh and Hugh eighth. Peter Hargroves was 14th, Alex 26th and Peter French 29th.
But Christian’s pole position earned him nothing more than the satisfaction of being the fastest starter. Due to his victory in the previous event, at Thruxton, he was obliged to start from the pit lane and fight his way through the field.
Which is just what he did. And while his progress was spell-binding there was plenty of action to watch elsewhere: I lost count of the number of times Tim and Jonny swapped places.
After their pitstops the pair, plus Christian, re-joined together. A battle royal ensued but entertaining as this was it meant they were losing time to the leaders. As a result, Christian and Jonny were third and fourth at the flag. But as Dave, my father, observed: “They were having fun.”
They certainly were. Richard finished ahead of them with Tim sixth having incurred a 15-second penalty for exceeding track limits. He might otherwise have been fourth. Hugh was tenth and Alex improved to 19th but the two Peters, Hargroves and French, weren’t classified. Christian, Jonny, Hugh and Alex all recorded fastest laps in their class.
Another Boss-supported runner at Silverstone that weekend was Keith Vaughn Williams. He qualified his 4-litre TVR Chimaera 24th (and sixth in class) for the Modern Classics event. But his engine blew up on the 21st of 30 laps and he wasn’t classified.
We might not have had a physical presence at Brands Hatch on Bank Holiday Monday but we were certainly there in spirit. The Cannons Motorspares Tin Tops race was extended to 30 minutes with a mandatory pit stop. At the end, the Honda Integra R shared by Rod Birley and Jonathan Bevan, son of the car’s owner, was second after a close and exciting race. For the record, the pair’s class victory represented Rod’s 609th win.
Afterwards an elated Bevan, competing in his first race for some years, thanked all who’d helped make the Integra a competitive runner. The Bevans and Birley had endured a frustrating 2016 as they tried to track down an elusive misfire which took the edge off the car. Since then much work has been done including an engine re-build by my father, although he wasn’t there to hear Jonathan’s podium acknowledgment to “Dave at Boss Racing.”
It was a generous and well-earned tribute to his engine-building skills. Other recent re-builds from his bench at Longfield have included the supercharged Mini of Cannons competitor Alfie Brooker and a new 5.1 litre V8 for Keith Vaughn Williams as a substitute for the one ruined at Silverstone. My next job, meanwhile, is to replace the clutch on the racy-looking supercharged Aerial Atom that’s just come into the workshop.
And there’s plenty more going on at Boss Racing. We’ve recently been joined on a full-time basis by former Caterham Cars colleague Gary May. He devised the Freestyle suspension system with in-board dampers amongst other things. So, we and our customers will soon be benefitting from the application of Gary’s specialist knowledge and skill.
That’s it for now but there’ll be more news from the track next time. We’re back at Brands on 4 June, then again on the 11th. And on the 26th we’ll be at Spa, the legendary Belgian track.