HSCC Historic Road Sports and FISCAR race
Brands Hatch GP Circuit, 30 June 2019
This race, as with the last one at the Silverstone GP circuit was supported by Witchampton Garage, and we were again there courtesy of both the HSCC and our member, Kevin Kivlochan, Chairman of the Historic Road Sports Club. This time however, the race which provided us with a rare opportunity of running on the Brands GP circuit, was a single driver race with no mandatory pit stop. This time 9 of our number entered, making a substantial contribution to the grid. FISCAR cars entered were:-
8 - Morgan +4 Flat Rad - Leigh Sebba
17 - LECo2 Sport - Alex Quattlebaum
21 - Austin Healey Sprite - Neil Cameron
33 - Sunbeam Alpine Le Mans - Tristan Bradfield
40 - Lotus Elite - Barry Dye
67 - Morgan +4 Flat Rad - Mark Shears
70 - Morgan +4 (later version) - Alan House
160 - Jowett Jupiter - Harry Naergar
271 - Lotus Elite - Brian Arculus
The 1950s portion of the grid was boosted by former FISCAR member, Geoff Ottley, in his lovely Jaguar XK120 which result sheets notwithstanding, was not a FISCAR entry. Unfortunately, Geoff remains unhappy with some regrettably poorly worded comments (later amended) by this writer made in a race report some years ago but he went very well both in practice and in the race. Another car of interest was the Tony Davis 1300cc Sebring Sprite, described in the programme as manufactured in 1962 but as a Sprite Mark 1 in the results listings. It clearly has a Frogeye rear end so an earlier car fitted with a Sebring body in 1962 perhaps?
Our cars were the first to practice/qualify although they were also last to race so they had rather a long time to wait for the race. Our host, Kevin Kivlochan put his original 1964 AC Cobra on pole, a full 1.1 seconds ahead of Richard Plant in the Morgan Plus 8, which is itself a pretty quick car driven by a quick driver! The best time of our FISCAR cars was put up, unsurprisingly, by Brian Arculus in his Lotus Elite, qualifying 8th overall. Neil Cameron was very quick in his Frogeye Sprite, qualifying 15th with Alex Quattlebaum 3rd (18th overall) in the LECo2. Barry Dye qualified his Lotus Elite 4th (19th), closely followed by Tristan Bradfield in Keith Hampson’s Sunbeam Alpine Le Mans in 5th (20th). Keith has decided to hang up his helmet but hopes that Tristan will continue to race the Alpine on occasion. Leigh Sebba and Mark Shears, as usual, qualified extremely closely together in their Flat Rad Morgan +4s and promised a close race, but surprisingly, Alan House, in his later +4, qualified just behind them in 8th (26th). He is normally quicker than both Leigh and Mark. Finally, Harry Naergar qualified last in the Jowett Jupiter, again suffering power loss problems in qualifying which seem to be resolved for the race
Our race started fortunately, a tad early at 5.43, so there was plenty of time to complete this 30 minute race well within the curfew of 6.30. 26 cars took to the track, one less than in qualifying as the Alfa Romeo Spyder of Adam Ross failed to appear but had raced in the earlier HSCC 70’s roadsports race. The weather was ideal, sunny and warm without the sweltering conditions that had prevailed the day before. Kevin Kivlochan stormed his Cobra off into an immediate lead and fairly quickly opened up a 2 second gap to Richard Plant in the Morgan Plus 8 with Jonathan Edwards in a similar Morgan another 2 seconds back. Brian Arculus came over the line for the first time, holding onto his excellent 8th qualifying position, whilst next FISCAR member Neil Cameron, came through in 17th place, in the little Frogeye Sprite, having been beaten off the line by both Mervyn Selwyn in a Lotus Elan and Geoff Ottley in the XK120. Alex Quattlebaum was just under 2 seconds behind Neil, and Tristan Bradfield had taken the Alpine passed Barry Dye’s Lotus Elite, but both had had been passed by the little Sebring Sprite of Tony Davis, and were occupying 20th & 21st positions. Leigh Sebba had his Morgan in 22nd ahead of the MGB GT of Harry Brown and Mark Shears and Alan House came through line astern in 24th and 25th, with Harry Naergar already some seconds behind in the Jowett Jupiter.
As lap 2 completed, the Cobra had extended its lead by a couple of tenths, and our FISCAR leader, Brian Arculus, in 8th was already in clear air in front and behind, as his race, whilst pacy, became a fairly lonely affair. Although there was a change of positions between the HRS racers, Josh Barnett (MGB) having passed Mervyn Selwyn’s Lotus Elan, our middle order cars held position. However, a little further back, Barry Dye had a retaken his position from Tristan Bradfield, the Elite having the legs of the Alpine. Alan House struggled to get his Morgan +4 passed Mark Shears earlier version but having done so retired at the end of lap 3 with power loss. Harry Naergar, inevitably dropped further behind in the Jowett Jupiter, but, just as at Silverstone, improved on his qualifying time by a substantial margin. On his lap 3, he was lapped by the leaders, Kevin Kivlochan’s lead having gone out to almost 3 seconds which had then closed slightly as he completed lap 4, once the lapping of the slower cars had begun. Shad Eddin, in his Ginette G4 had overwhelmed the Morgan plus 8 of Philip St Clair Tisdall to take 5th and was already closing on Neil Merry’s Sunbeam Tiger. Brian Arculus’s pace remained fast, the Elite still holding down an easy 8th place, and at times he must have felt that he was the only car on track. Josh Barnett, clearly on a charge, made another place up, but the next best FISCAR racer, Neil Cameron, was still in 17th overall, in the Frogeye and keeping Geoff Ottley’s XK120 in sight. Alex Quattlebaum was 18th, in the LECo but by now 10 seconds behind Neil, although keeping a good 4 second gap clear of the Davis Sebring Sprite which was coming under increasing pressure from Barry Dye who was now really getting to grips with the circuit and was to take the position on lap 4. At the end of that lap, Tristan Bradfield was the last of the unlapped runners in the Sunbeam Alpine, in 21st.
Over the next couple of laps the status quo between Kivlochan and Plant was maintained with the frontrunners increasingly getting amongst lapped cars. The gap between the two leaders fluctuated only slightly and was at its greatest at the end of lap 6 when the Cobra was 3.7 seconds ahead of the Morgan. That lap also saw the retirement of Neil Cameron in the Frogeye Sprite, again from power loss and bringing his fine run to an end. The two leaders were both now well clear of the 3rd place Morgan +8 of Jonathan Edwards, but the charging Ginetta of Shad Eddin had taken Neil Merry’s Sunbeam Tiger and lapping quicker than Jonathan, so that with less than half the race gone, 3rd was very much in his sights. This became even more likely when the safety car was deployed during laps 7 & 8 to clear the track. The field closed up with 7 lapped cars interspersed in the line.
The cars were released to race again at the beginning of lap 9 and Kevin Kivlochan bolted to open up a 2 second gap over Richard Plant at the end of lap 10 but a brilliant opportunist move by Philip St Clair Tisdall (Morgan +8), whilst the cars were still close together took him from 6th to 3rd. Brian Arculus was still in 8th place but a close view of the rear of the Elite spurred Mike Leese in the Lotus 7 S2, to greater efforts. He had been 5 seconds behind Brian prior to the SC period but made a determined effort to wrest the position from Brian and harried him for the rest of the race. The retirement of Neil Cameron had promoted the lapped Alex Quattlebaum to 2nd in our FISCAR race, Barry Dye 3rd in the second of the Lotus Elites, Tristan Bradfield, 4th in the Sunbeam Alpine, Leigh Sebba led Mark Shears in their Flat Rad Morgan +4s but they weren’t in their normal close formation as Mark was struggling to get more than 4300rpm despite having renewed most of the ignition components in the run up to the race! An undeterred Harry Naergar propped up the field in the wonderful Jowett Jupiter.
Philip St Clair Tisdall’s 3rd place was shortlived and he was soon displaced by Jonathan Edwards (Morgan +8) and Neil Merry (Sunbeam Tiger). Brian Arculus, still in 8th place was under pretty intense pressure from Mike Leese but well in the lead of the FISCAR class. Alex Quattlebaum was also secure in 2nd place in the LECo with Barry Dye 3rd in the Elite. However, Barry was kept in sight by Tristan Brafdfield in the Sunbeam Alpine. The Morgans of Leigh Sebba and Mark Shears in the Morgans pressed on with Mark handicapped by his rev limit but somehow staying close to Leigh. Harry Naergar just enjoyed being on the old GP circuit. Shad Eddins lively run in the Ginetta G4 disappointingly came to an end on the penultimate lap and one lap later, on 16 laps Kevin Kivlochan took his Cobra passed the chequered flag by 1.6 seconds from Richard Plant in the Morgan +8, with Jonathan Edwards 3rd in another +8 but some way behind. Brian had withstood the attention of Mike Leese and took the Elite to 7th overall following the retirement of the Ginetta. Behind the finishing order of the FISCAR cars remained as just described.
Results and Gallery to follow - JT