Goodwood has traditionally been a difficult circuit for me, with my own bravery being a limiting factor (caused in part by some limitations of the car which are now being overcome).
I would like to send my best wishes to Kevin See of Redline American Muscle at Rochester in Kent, who has been getting over some health problems, but is fortunately making a recovery. I would like to recommend Redline to all readers of American Car magazine (and American car owners in general) to see what these magicians can do for your car! They are very skilled, knowledgeable and reasonably priced!
The Mustang race car with Kevin See, Mike Thompson and Alex Peters at the Redline American Muscle workshop in Hoo, Kent.
Getting towards the end of the season, this was my last realistic chance of winning the championship. Although I had been leading the championship up to the middle of the season, I hadn’t manage to enter enough events for various personal reasons.
At last I had a chance to try out the Redline throttle mod on a track where it would make a difference (there being no braking to heel and toe at the Brighton Speed trials and I couldn’t use the power in the pouring rain at MIRA). This really paid off, the massively increased feeling of control being able to control the engine revs under heavy barking was great, rather then the previous awful feeling of anticipation of a stationary engine slamming into the clutch and locking the back axle, spinning me off the track at Woodcote as it had in the past! Thanks Redline!
There were a lot very competitive cars in my class at this event, three of whom (Bill McKenna – Posche 911 GT3, Tim Simpson – Honda S2000 supercharged and Alan Lee – BMW M235) I had never managed to beat in the past. Therefore I knew I had to pull out an even greater performance than when I had won my class at Goodwood earlier in the year. I psyched myslef up before the first run – don’t lift at Fordwater, don’t lift at Fordwater!
However, it started badly in practice with the traditional tricky gerabox problems as I missed 3rd gear at Madgwick, which dented my confidence. As a result of this whilst still trying too hard I not only lifted at Fordwater but had too brake on the apex as I was carrying so much speed. Even then I still managed to get two wheels on the grass as I exited the apex towards St Marys, a very scary moment! Despite this complete mess of a lap, I found that I was third fastest in class, which given the competition was pretty good!
On the first timed run I put in a much better perormance. Despite still braking at the apex of Fordwater, I went much faster into St Marys, using the whole width of the track for a change. (Like most drivers, I previously braked much too hard and early for this intimidating 90 degree right hander, only to find when I got there I was going too slow and a lot of spare space). I also push much harder through the complex at Lavant, hitting all three apices without moving the steering wheel – very satisfying to know that you had the perfect line. Unbelievably I now found myself in 2nd place as Tim Simpson had made an error, although I was only two hundredths of a second quicker than him.
I didnt think I could catch Bill McKenna who had already put in a 2 second faster time than me in his Porsche. I was comfortably ahead of my other rivals (Andy Deeley – Nissan 200SX, Jim Giddings – TR8 and Alan Lee – BMW M235), so I thought if I could push myself even further then I might take 2nd place – something I hadnt dreamed possible before the start of the event where I though 5th or 6th were more likely.
I drove flat out (although still braking at Fordwater, I couldnt talk myslef out of it!) I was aggressive across kerb at Woodcote and sliding out of final chicane I shaking with adrenaline at the finish. However, it hadnt been enough, in fact I had gone nearly two tenths of a second slower on that lap, whilst Tim and Bill had both gone a second faster, so I finished third, still a reasonable achievement. In particular, I was very pleased to beat Alan Lee in his BMW M235 whose traction control systems had given him a great advantage at many events this year. Finally I could use the Mustang power to a greater effect!
Congratulations for a brave perfromance on the Goodwood track to Susan Gibbard and Kim Charnley in their MX5!
Where marked, pictures in this article are by J Howie Photography.