The Crystal Palace sprint is a spectacular public event held over two days. Although it is not a championship event, my sponsors love it because members of the public crawl all over the Mustang and take pictures of themselves with it. I normally work as a marshal for the event on the first day with the Mustang displayed on the Sevenoaks and District Motor Club stand and race on the second day. The best pictures I got was with the 1940s singing group, Elle and the Pocket Belles (facebook.com/elleandpocketbelles ) who very sportingly climbed all over the car for a photo shoot. I really need to find a professional photographer to help out with this stuff!
Crystal palace has the slipperiest track of any sprint event, made up of parts of the old race circuit (last used in full in 1972 when Gerry Marshall won the Osram saloon trophy against a mark 1 Ford Escort and a Chevrolet Camaro) as well as foot paths for the general public to stroll around the park. My tyres were getting quite worn by this stage of the season and amusingly someone who took photos of my car going around the Big Tree Bend hairpin shows that I was using more than the full width of the track with two wheels on the grass bank on the exit, whilst the Porsche 911 I was up against was only going as far as the middle of the track. Check out the video on my blog http://www.blacksunracing.co.uk and facebook.com/BlackSunRacing and marvel how the Mustang slides around each corner, with a deft correction just missing the bollard at the apex of the first corner!
Due to the crazy class structures based on year of manufacture where I am normally up against four-wheel drive Nissan GTRs, I had an idea to hold a virtual championship for an imaginary V8 trophy. This was far more inspiring chasing times on the results sheets after each run where I had a reasonable chance of winning! The competition was open to any car with a V8 with a cross plane crank (thereby ruling out any European cars with engines that sound like sewing machines!). Therefore, I was now up against Jason Andrews in a 1965 Mustang GT350 replica, Jim Giddings in a Triumph TR8, Clive Letherby in a Rover V8 engined Triumph TR6, rival motorsport journalist Julian Balme in a Ford Falcon Sprint and Richard Owen in a Ford Galaxie 500. It was a very exciting and close fought battle throughout the day, eventually being won by Jim Giddings and I came third. None of us manage to match my time of 39.49 seconds from last year, which gives me hope for next year with new tyres and the possibility of finding a sponsor to fund a real trophy!
2nd Jason Andrews – Mustang 40.80 secs
4th Clive Letherby – TR6 / V8 42.73