Childhood Memories, Crazy Dutch & Much Motorsport Excitement
The come down after a great weekend can leave you feeling pretty low, likened in ways to a hangover after a good night on the town. Today is one of those days.
This weekend was spent at Donington Park photographing the third round of the MSA Britcar championship. The 4 hour race was the longest of the season so far. That in itself makes for a great weekend in itself, but the support race line up made it very special indeed. The Mazda MX5’s were there as usual and the 4two cup made its debut, but the Dutch Supercar Challenge was also on the bill along with the Pièce de résistance, the BOSS GP.
For those of you who haven’t heard of the BOSS GP, it stands for Big Open Single Seaters. It is a racing series open to ex Formula One, Champcar, Indycar, GP2 and World series cars. Although the at racing wasn’t an official championship round and the entries had dwindled somewhat, there were still some awesome cars in the field, such as a pair of 1997 Benetton B197’s, a 1995 Tyrell 023, a 1998 Tyrrell 026 Cosworth and my all time favourite a Jordan 191. The car that a sprightly young man by the name of Michael Schumacher made his formula one debut in back in 1991. My childhood memories came flooding back to me of days as a nine year old I would sit in front of the TV transfixed by these amazing machines whilst listening to Murry Walker scream excitedly and a calm James Hunt offered words of wisdom. Never did I think that some 20 years later I would be watching as one of these cars would scream past me for real just a few metres away. My excitement however did change somewhat, as I began to worry that one of these gorgeous machine’s, the Jordan in particular might crash and would resign it to a museum or even worse, the great scrap yard in the sky!
Another great race series was the Dutch Supercar Challenge. Not a series that had registered on my radar, but it certainly left a great impression. Mainly because the Dutch are a bit bonkers! This is clear as you walk through the support paddock and see the mechanics with their head under the bonnet, a big cigar in mouth, a spanner in one hand and a bottle of beer in the other. It is also quite clear when you see some of the cars that are entered. Split in to two race categories, the Sport Division and Supersport II division, with cars varying from Clio’s to BMW’s and Seat Leon’s to Ford Focus Sports, and the Supersport I and GT divisions that see the likes of Porsche 997’s Aston Martins, Corvette’s and Mosler’s. There were even a few Ford Mondeo’s in there. Well, I use the term Mondeo loosely, they may look like the Ford Saloon, but in fact they are just plastic body shells that house rear mounted V6 engines. It becomes clear that it’s only the body shell that defines a lot of them as underneath houses a space frame and whatever the biggest engine the crazy cigar puffing, beer swigging guys can fit in. My ears were drawn to an extremely loud rumbling and roar coming down the pit lane as an Audi A6 with a huge V8 growls by. Bonkers! Four hour long races with mandatory pit stops provided great entertainment.
Speaking of entertainment, but on a whole different level, as the first ever 4two cup, a race series for Smart cars. Although not particularly quick, the short wheel base and relatively tall height, they were partial to rolling over. In fact, two rolled in the first qualifying which bought out the red flag on both occasions as Marshalls pushed them back onto their wheels before they continued on their way. A third roll came in the second of the two scheduled races but as the race wasn’t going to be stopped, it had to sit on its side on the inside of Riches corner until the chequered flag came out.
As for the Britcar race itself, the main attraction, it was a race that didn’t disappoint. However, if you want to read the reports then they should be on The Checkered Flag website, with photos soon. Unfortunately I can’t make the next round at Thruxton as it clashes with a small race I’m going to again in France, you may have heard of it, it’s called the Le Mans 24 hour.
More excitement for me to come this week though as rather than watching the racing, I’m off to pretend I’m a real racing driver as I go karting with the guys from Tin Tops UK in Brentwood on Wednesday evening. I’ll report back with news on that later this week!