Sunday 3rd September 2017
MGCC had hired the Club Circuit at Hampton Downs and to assist with track hire costs they invited the Jaguar, Austin Healy and Mini Car Clubs to join them for the day.
It was a cold damp day when we arrived at Hampton Downs and we made our way to the new Club Circuit, which is part of the new extension to the main Hampton Downs track. There was a large pit area for the 50 odd cars that turned up for the day and that number included 6 members of the Mini Club.
The format for the day was designed to encourage car club members to get their cars out on the track. You could take part in either parade laps, which was basically follow the leader laps following a pace car, or driver training laps where an experienced race driver (Racing Ray Williams amongst others) would be passenger in your car and explain the lines and braking points to be used on the circuit.
There were also sessions where you could go as fast as you like with no overtaking permitted, or as fast as you like with overtaking- but as the cars were set off at 10 second intervals with fastest car leaving first, very little overtaking happened.
The last category was for Dual sprints where 2 cars started side by side in the pit exit and raced for 4 laps. This was for experienced drivers and required a MSNZ Clubsport licence - Lee was the only Mini to enter this.
There were timed practice runs and these times were used to arrange the start order for your runs.
After drivers briefing the runs were started and each category was sent out in groups of 5 or 6 cars to do 4 laps and then return to the pits. This went on all day and if you had entered several categories (like Lee did) you got to do a good number of laps and work out the fastest way around the circuit.
It was good to see the variety of cars on the track ranging from a beautiful D Type Jag replica to several very fast MGBGT V8s. A former Mini club member and Mini Cooper racer Russell Ness was there in his Mk2 Jag and it was good to see him on the track being chased by Lee in the Mini. I think Russell would have been much faster in his Cooper S.
The day didn't start out too well for Sarron Bennett as his battery failed when he arrived and he had to set off to Huntly to get a new one fitted. I had brake problems in MINTED but was able to fix that with Lee's help and get back on track, and Craig Luxmore was going really quick but was back on the trailer early with a trail of oil dripping from his Nissan engined Clubman.
Lee, Gary Ashton & Jim Banks just kept going all day.
Although this wasn't a race meeting times were recorded, I can't vouch for the accuracy of the official timing but I noted the following down from the MG website :
Lee Norman - Minibitz 1275 - 2m 21.7s (4 laps from standing start)
Craig Luxmore - Clubman racecar Nissan 1600 - 2m 22s
KevT - MINTED 1100 - 2m 26.5s
Gary Ashton - Mini Cooper 998 - 2m 27.1s
Jim Banks - Clubman GT 1430 8 port - 2m 36s
Sarron Bennett - Mini Cooper 1275 - 2m 43.9s
A great day was had by all and I'm told that MGCC have booked the track for next year on the weekend after Fathers Day.