HSCC AUTOSPORT 3 Hour Meeting - Snetterton
FISCAR Historic Inter-Marque - 14th June
This grid like that of the Scott Brown race suffered from events at Le Mans but it was nevertheless an interesting mix of cars with only 3 from the earlier race moving across to also participate in this one. Steve Boultbee-Brooks stepped out of the Lister Flatiron to esconce himself in his Aston Martin DB3S and promptly put it on pole by 1.2 seconds from Jonathan Smare in the Lotus Elite. Stephen Bond's Lister Bristol was 3rd but with more to come, and Nigel Grice, our Austin Healey Team Captain, joined him on row 2 with his 100M. The race debut for the Brian Arculus Alfa Romeo Giulietta SVZ had to be put off for another day since although it qualified 5th, it also blew a head gasket in the process. Jeremy Holden qualified 6th in his Austin Healey and Adam Singer 7th in the big Kurtis 500S. Graham Oakins qualified his Alfa Romeo Gulia Sprint next up followed by the Gomm Jaguar and Mandie Hadfield's Elva Courier. The Mark Morgan/Andrew Mitchell AC Ace sporting non MSA regulation numbers propped the back up but was joined by late entrant Chris Mann in the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante, Chris deciding, once he got to Snetterton that he actually liked the idea of having a second race and, no doubt, the opportunity of overtaking some of those ahead of him.
Steve Boultbee Brooks converted pole into an immediate race lead in the Aston, with Stephen Bond jumping the Lister Bristol ahead of Jonathan Smare's Lotus Elite to slot into 2nd place. At the end of lap 1 the first 4 were already reasonably spread out with the Aston 2.5 seconds ahead of the Lister, with the Lotus Elite a further 3 seconds behind and Nigel Grice going great guns in 4th. However, a really good battle was brewing up behind with Adam Singer holding at bay 4 cars in the Kurtis. In fact just over 2 seconds covered 5th to 9th, although by the end of lap 2 Mandie Hadfield had drifted off the back of this group slightly in the Elva Courier but she gets more competitive with the increased seat time that accrues with every race.
Chris Mann had made an excellent start in the Disco Volante and had got ahead of Jeremy Holden's Austin Healey for 6th by the end of lap 2 but the positions were reversed next lap, whilst they were both trying to get by the Kurtis. In the meantime, taking a leaf out of the Arculus book of early stops Jonathan Smare took his Elite into the pits for his compulsory stop at the end of lap 2, only just inside the pit window. This promoted Grice to 3rd albeit well behind the two sports racers.
At the end of lap 4 both Stephen Bond (Lister Bristol), and Nigel Grice (Austin Healey) took their mandatory pit stops which meant that the Kurtis was briefly second but pitted next lap, along with both Graham Oakins (Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint) and the Mark Morgan/Andrew Mitchell AC Ace Bristol, the latter also changing drivers of course. The leader was finally to stop on lap 6 but such was the Aston's lead that it remained in front once it emerged from the pitlane.
The majority of pits stops took place between laps 5 and 7 at which stage the Steve Boultbee-Brooks DB3S had a comfortable 10 second lead over Stephen Bond's Lister Bristol with Jonathan Smare's Lotus Elite a further 16 seconds behind. On that lap, Nigel Grice's excellent run was brought to a disappointing end when a plug lead dropped off and he spluttered around the whole lap at reduced pace to take a second stop to have it replaced. He was to finish 9th, well down the order, when a good 4th had been on the cards. Meanwhile, the other Austin Healey, driven by Jeremy Holden, having got ahead of the Kurtis and also benefitted from Nigel's delay, to take 4th, started to have detonation problems which ultimately led to his retirement, the result of piston nos 1 & 2 beginning to melt.
Stephen Bond started to pump in some consistently quick laps towards the end and marginally closed the gap to the Aston. However, Boultbee brooks was never under any threat as he controlled the pace at the front. However there was a dramatic turn of events on the last lap when the Aston appeared to slow on the Bentley straight but continued at an ever decreasing rate to navigate Coram and Murray's until it came to a halt on the Senna straight 50 metres short of the flag at which point Steve jumped out of the car and started to push. As this was taking first Stephen Bond in the Lister Bristol went by to gratefully accept the chequered flag and an unexpected victory and then Jonathan Smare did likewise to take 2nd. However, Steve's exertions to push the Aston on the uphill gradient took him over the line, earning him 3rd place and the Motorsport News Spirit of the Day Award. The cause of the Aston's failure was a broken driveshaft but it had produced a magical moment in keeping with our sports greatest traditions.