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The Parkinson Silverstone 17-18 August 2013

The last time I raced on the GP circuit it was prior to the new arena section so we went left after the new pits instead of right and through Bridge etc before joining up at Brooklands. I like the new additional portion of the track, particularly the fast right and left curves after the new pits, but don’t like the very tight left hander called the loop. It’s the same at Vale where it used to be a pretty fast left and right but is now a very tight left and right. Yes, I know it’s to keep the speed down but these chicane type corners are where all the spins and accidents seem to be. Anyway, for what it’s worth, that’s my opinion.

Other than a bit of a shower prior to qualifying, all three sessions were dry which was very fortunate because I hate to think of what would have happened in heavy rain. Even if we all had wets on which we wouldn’t have had if it had rained five or ten minutes before the start. Because of the one qualifying session counting for two races then anyone who had problems in qualifying had two bad grid slots. On Sunday, in my 1600, I had Malcolm Scott in a Dallara to my left whilst behind were at least four 2 litre cars and three of the fastest Jedi’s in the field, namely Dax Ward, Marc Fortune and Dan Clowes. If it had been raining more than a drizzle I had planned to start from the pit lane because the spray would have been ridiculous from that many cars with visibility being zero and some very fast cars behind. That might not have worked though because I spoke to many people who had the same idea.

There were also some problems, on Saturday, with the chequered flag that had six practice waves before the race winner crossed the line. Several of our drivers on seeing the finish flag slowed down and came into the pits at the end of the lap and then found that they were classified as non finishers. Another problem for Simon to sort out which of course he did.

The barbecue deserves a special mention. For £8.50 I assumed we would get a decent amount of food and when I got there I noticed three covered trays. Chicken, chops, steak, sausages etc, No, just one piece of chicken in a bread bun. There was some coleslaw and French bread which I later found out had been provided by the Mono ladies. The night before me and Michael ate at the pub in Silverstone village and had 10 ounce gammon steaks with mushrooms, chips, peas, tomato and eggs for essentially the same price. Jonathan Baggott told me that we could only have a barbecue at Silverstone if they provided the food. He told me what they charged per piece of chicken and all I can say is that Dick Turpin at least had the decency to wear a mask when he was robbing people. Fortunately the cake and the company made up for it.

It was nice to see gentleman Jim Timms make a welcome return to the 1600 class in his trusty Lola. As Simon advised at the prize giving, Jim is presently leading both the European and UK F3 Historic championships, in his Brabham 1000cc screamer engine car.

Qualifying went quite well but when I entered the pit lane I was stopped in the naughty boy’s box and wondered what sin I’d committed. A woman marshal advised that my transponder wasn’t working. I said that it definitely was but unfortunately it was still in my van as I’d forgotten to install it.

Though I enjoyed both races the Saturday was a bit of a nightmare. I got a good start but was surprised when Jim Timms came past me as though I was stood still until I remembered what he once told me. “When the red lights come on”, he said, “I count to two and floor it”. Well it certainly worked as he passed me at the start on both days. So back to Saturday and I’m off after Jim and went to pass him on the approach to Vale when he pushed me off to the right so I missed the corner altogether and had a rough ride across the grass before rejoining safely though losing a place to Adie Heath and several others. I got Gentleman Jim a little later and then we had the debacle with the safety car. I only saw the car once when it waved us past on the start/finish line. There was a whitish car ahead of about twenty of us who had slowed down so we never caught the tail up. Also didn’t see the safety car lights go out so only knew we were racing when we saw the greens on the start. Sometime after that I saw Luke Rosewell's car parked up on the Wellington straight and realised that I was second just before my car coughed and the engine stopped and refused to start so I managed to pull into the assembly area exit point and got out of the car. After the tow back to the pits I took the engine cover off to see what was wrong and was half dreading an electrical fault. Check petrol first and discovered an empty tank. I couldn’t believe it. I think I’ve run out of petrol three times in 16 seasons and have two identical dipsticks in case I break one. Anyway I filled up again to just above the mark and the engine fired up. It was a bit later that someone was telling me that Adrian Wright had also run out of petrol as he’d believed the race was fifteen minutes like we normally have instead of the twenty minutes it actually was. Ah. Yes, I’d fuelled for a fifteen minute race and hadn’t read the instructions so all my fault.

It was an awful long time to wait for the second race and I do prefer the norm of two qualifying and two races, but our esteemed finance director tells me Silverstone GP doesn't really work any other way. The Sunday race was uneventful but disappointing as I could only manage third.

Whilst we were waiting for the briefing to commence on Saturday, which was held in the scrutineering bay, several of us amused ourselves by checking our weight. I was 91 kgs but the surprise was Adie Heath who weighed in at 88kgs. I’m quite a bit taller than him and he doesn’t appear to be particularly tubby on top of which he’s got less hair than me. It reminded me of a time in the mid seventies when I built the integrated module for Platform A in Rotterdam to be installed off Kinsale Head in Southern Ireland. We weigh all modules three times during construction with the final weigh being immediately prior to Load out on to the transport barge. This was duly done after which I was transferred to Cork where the module for platform B was being fabricated and had suffered some programme slippage. The task was completed and the final weigh took place. Too much surprise the module built in Southern Ireland weighed approx 8% more than the one fabricated in Holland. The drawings were exactly the same as was the equipment. We never did find out why there was this differential other than to believe that the Irish module was thicker than the Dutch one.

Adie told me that he always enjoys reading my scribbles. I hope he enjoyed the above and I know that he’ll have a laugh and not imagine I’m doing anything but having a laugh with him. Nothing against the Irish either as I thoroughly enjoyed both my time in Southern Ireland and also my visits to Northern Ireland in the sixties to race at Dundrod.

Now for the rumours.

I understand that Patrick Houston was considering an appearance at Snetterton driving the Avit Formula Vauxhall which was advertised recently on the forum.

Ewan Sergison is about to do a deal to rent his championship winning 1800 out for next season. This is evidently to an experienced racer though not previously in Mono. Further, with attending every meeting to prepare and run the 1800 he also intends to race the aforementioned 1600 in the premier class.

Jock Sergison will also be back in a 1600 next year providing he gets it completed. His initial aim was to compete at Silverstone but things took longer than planned so now it will be next season. Don’t tell him but when I saw the car in his garage it looked like he’d made it from two thousand pieces of three inch long tube.

David Parkinson

The asst ed has been asked for a full size version of the wholly genuine picture of David practicing his pitstop technique.


Gentleman Jim Timms is leading 2 Historic F3 championships. Seen here in Rob Falloon's picture at Croft

More than enough petrol to race for 5 minutes here

Kinsale Head Gas Rig

"Ewan Sergison is about to do a deal to rent his championship winning 1800 out ... to an experienced racer, though not previously in Mono." Fits the bill, and who else has won the F1and Indy championships AND Mono?