Swinging Sixties Stars at Donington
The Adams & Page Swinging Sixties Series provided two packed grids at the CSCC's record breaking Donington Park meeting. Series correspondent Vicki Cairns brings us all the action from two great races.....
Donington in comparative sunshine! After last year's "regatta" we were all hoping for a dry day and some good racing this season and we got it. The Adams & Page Swinging Sixties Series was split into Group 1 & Group 2 at Donington such was the size of the entry, and it was the big capacity cars of Group 2 who were out on track first.
Qualifying went well for most drivers, although Jon Wolfe & Dave Thompson had problems with their TVR Tuscan and had to start from the back of the grid, in 38th position. However, they drove a superb race and finished in 5th place overall.
From the Start, the TVR Griffith of Oliver Reuben took the lead from 2nd on the grid, with the Morgan Plus 8 of William Plant, which started on pole, a very close second. By lap 6 the two leaders had already started to lap the back-markers. The first pit-stop was taken by Mark Campbell (Triumph TR6) on lap 10, during which he had to serve his 30-second penalty for his win at Snetterton. Two minutes and 30 seconds seems a very long time to sit and watch the field stream past the pits! Despite the time penalty, Campbell still managed to finish in 10th place overall.
He's behind you! William Plant scything through the backmarkers on the way to victory.
On lap 14 the Safety Car was deployed when Bill Watt's Lotus Elan found the gravel trap at the Roberts Chicane and had to be extracted. The Safety Car prompted many people to come in for their pit-stops and the pit lane was teeming with cars. The Safety Car was able to wave the back-markers past until it had the leader immediately behind it.
After the Safety Car period ended on lap 17, there were some good dices taking place. Simeon Chodosh, in the Chevrolet Corvette, had a good tussle with Jamie Keevill in the Lotus Elan - an interesting difference in size! There was also a close contest between Campbell and Dave Roberts in the Datsun 240Z for 9th place, which was finally taken by Roberts.
Snetterton winner Mark Campbell secured another top-10 finish.
Unfortunately, after 18 laps, there was a "coming together" between the two Elans of Donald Laird & Keiron Baillie and Tim Cousins & Sam Smith. The Elan of Laird & Baillie had spun and, although that of Cousins & Smith tried hard to avoid the spinning car, it was not possible to miss it. Cousins & Smith were unable to continue although Laird & Baillie completed the race. There was one other incident towards the end of the race when the Ford Mustang of Jon Miles & David Coyne found the gravel at Redgate Corner.
On the penultimate lap William Plant in the Morgan Plus 8 managed to pass Matt Manderson in the Chevrolet Camaro, this appeared to be for second place but the Reuben TVR, which crossed the finishing line in first place, had a 30-second penalty imposed for being 2.5 seconds short on their pit-stop, This demoted them to fourth place. Plant now has a 30-second penalty for taking the win.
Matt Manderson piloted the big Camaro to an eventual second place.
It was an extremely good turn-out for the Adams & Page Swinging Sixties Group 1 race, with 43 cars taking part in practice and 38 taking to the grid for the race. In qualifying there were a few problems: the Ford Lotus Cortina of Ian & John Fraser could only manage 1 lap, John Storer's Lancia Fulvia Berlina had clutch problems and came in after 6 laps and Simon Page's Sebring Sprite became stuck in gear.
Unfortunately, oil was dropped most of the way round the track a few minutes before the end of qualifying and nearly all the drivers came in at that point, knowing that they would not be able to improve their lap times.
Ian Staines leads a 38 car-strong Group 1 field into Redgate at the start.
Ian Staines started on pole, with Richard Belcher (Ford Lotus Cortina) beside, only 0.1 of a second slower in practice. On the 2nd row were Julian Howell in the Austin Mini and the father-and -son pairing of Steve & Jack Smith (MGA). Unfortunately, the Safety Car had to be sent out on the first lap of the race because of a first-corner collision between the Richard Rowlands/Alan Hassell Ford Cortina, Charles Marriott in the MG Midget and the "Frog-eye" Austin Healey of Justin Potter & Simon Stowe.
The Frog-eye was on the edge of the gravel and was able to continue, but the other two cars were beached and needed to be pulled out - hence the Safety Car. The Safety Car stayed out until the end of the fourth lap. At the re-start, Staines and Belcher were side-by-side going into the first corner, closely followed by Howell and Jack Smith in the MGA.
Belcher got the jump on Staines at the re-start, but the No.16 Midget would be victorious.
Just 2 laps later Smith caused the second Safety Car by spinning at the Craner Curves and, while he was only just off the track, ended up deep in the gravel and needed to be extracted. There were several visits to the gravel towards the end of the race- Ian Clark's MGB had to be pushed out by the excellent marshals at Redgate Corner and Brent Fowler also took to the "kitty-litter" at the Roberts Chicane on the penultimate lap.
Tom Pead clears a path through the gravel at Roberts on the way to second place.
Chris Watkinson took a very late pit-stop and finished 7th. Towards the end of the race, Belcher's Cortina began to emit a lot of smoke and limped very slowly back to the pits.
Ian Staines retained his lead to end of the race, acquiring the 30-second penalty for the win, when he finished 22 seconds ahead of Tom Pead in his BMW 1600ti. Pead, in turn, was 22 seconds ahead of the third-placed Austin Mini of Howell & Brooks.
Photos courtesy of David Stallard: https://www.davidstallardphotography.com/
Full race results are available on the TSL website: https://www.tsl-timing.com/event/203964