FISCAR Race 3 2013

MG Live - Silverstone GP circuit 16 June

Abecassis über Alles?

Jonathan Abecassis - Austin Healey 100/4. Photo: John Turner

Well sort of, if you could figure out what was going on…. 

MGCC put on their flagship event on the prestigious Silverstone GP circuit with the big following that they have come to attract in a multi-race programme over two days. It’s a great meeting that we all look forward to.  In previous years the FISCAR grid started some 30s ahead of the MGCC Iconic 50’s and the MGTD/TC’s with whom we shared a grid, making up 40+ starters.  This year all three “races” started together, but wait a minute, some had pitstops for a driver change and some didn’t; some grids were running to quite different rules even though the cars look the same; and we were on the GP circuit of some 3.6 miles which is great fun, but so difficult to follow after a few laps, and impossible for the commentators with large gaps appearing after not many laps.  In summary ‘designed complexity’.    Guess what happened next?  You’ll have to read on to find out.

The Aston Martin DB2/4 of Nicholas Ruddell must loom very large in the mirrors of Brian Arculus's Lotus Mk9. The Lotus is not an Inter-Marque car but a member of our new FISCAR FLIERS series which you can read about elsewhere on the site. Photo: Mick Walker

Qualifying

Qualifying showed that you needed a surname starting with ‘A’ (no chance for me then…) with Jon Abecassis’ Healey showing a clean pair of heels to Brian Arculus in the Lotus Mk9 this time.  Maybe the Mk9 was closer to the garage door, and the Elite was being rested on this occasion, but balanced by Robin Ellis’ version running close to Brian’s Mk9 within 0.1s.  Chris Guest had the lovely RGS Atlanta next up closely followed by Nick Ruddell in the Aston DB2/4 fresh from Tour Auto in France, still smelling of garlic and cheap French beer.  Bit of a gap to Andy Shepherd in the blue AC Ace running closely to Chairman’s Invitation entry from Michael ‘Spike’ Milligan in the HWM Jaguar.  As we went down the order, the usual and spectacular FISCAR display included more Healeys, more Astons and Geoff Ottley’s XK 120 OTS.  Peter Shaw had problems with a clutch linkage so didn’t get much lappery in the Alfa Giulietta Sprint, and Colin Youle has a misfire in his Jaguar XK120 as a result of a free range distributor cap, not recommended.  Nigel Grice was lamenting fuel feed problems, pressure apparently gets to us all as we age….  The FISCAR entry totalled some 25 of the 42 starters which was a good show.

Peter Shaw in his Alfa Romeo Guiletta Sprint leads Nicholas Ruddell. Photo - Mick Walker

Race

On the GP circuit, the cars string out pretty quickly with FISCAR lap times ranging from 2mins 43s to 3 mins 7s so actually not that big a range given the lap length.  In the race of 30 mins no-one would be lapped more than once.

Ignoring a screaming “MGA look-alike” from another ‘race’, the overall field of proper 50’s sports cars, that’s FISCAR, was led by a group comprising Brian Arculus in the finned Lotus Mk9, spectacular even when parked, Nick Ruddell in the Aston DB2/4, ‘Spike’ Milligan in the very rare Jaguar powered HWM, Jon Abecassis in the Healey 100/4, and Robin Ellis in the Lotus Elite.  Well that little lot summarises FISCAR quite tidily I’d say, total quality.

'Spike' Milligan was having so much fun that he forgot to pit and was penalised. Still he did see the chequered flag first! Here in company with Austen Wells Austin Healey 100M - Photo: John Turner

Within a couple of laps there was some serious progress being made from further down the grid.  Geoff Ottley was up from a grid position of 20 to 12th position, this time deciding to stick with 4 wheels rather than 3 at Castle Combe last race 2012; and Peter Shaw, in the pretty blue Alfa had started off the back of the grid 42nd due to a clutch problem in qualifying, was already up to 20th and he was “on it” Senna style.

Clusters were forming all the way down the field, everyone enjoying their individual races, good club racing with the key words ‘having fun’.  Behind the lead group Andy Shepherd had pulled clear of his peers after a few laps  sliding the lovely AC with verve, and clearly working hard for the progress being made. Jim Campbell was in the company of MGA’s, MG TA’s and another interesting tussle developing was Richard Gane in the rare Jowett Jupiter (hopefully destined for Le Mans Classic 2014), Emma Server in the Healey 100, and Robert Clarke in the Aston DB2/4 .  All good stuff from end to end.

Geoff Ottley in his Jaguar XK120 has Austen Wells undivided attention!  Photo - Mick Walker

Pit stops were compulsory, but only for FISCAR, so some of the mixed race battles fizzled out as the race progressed, and it was increasing difficult to keep up with what was what.  I don’t think MGCC will do it this way again, either everyone has to pit, or no-one does.

Peter Shaw’s Alfa was on a mission, but not the right one.  He was so ‘dialled-in’ that he forgot to pit, as did Spike Milligan, a shame because he posted 2nd fastest time in the truly impressive Jaguar powered HWM.

Newcomers both. Richard Gane in his charismatic Jowett Jupiter about to be lapped by Peter Adams in his Turner Climax.     Photo - Mick Walker

So over the line we went, with Jon Abecassis showing the FISCAR field a clean pair of heels in the Woolmer Classics prepared Healey, a fine drive and a marker set down for longer circuits.  FISCAR sponsors Woolmer had a pretty good day; they don’t just put on a mean cup of tea with proper biscuits, they demonstrated some pretty tidy car prep skills too….   Thanks guys.  Nick Ruddell was second, with Robin Ellis (Lotus Elite) third overall.  Finishers went to 9th overall before a second version of any marque appeared, another great show.

Douglas Barker (DB2/4), Chris Guest (RGS Atalanta) and Robin Ellis (Lotus Elite) - Photo - Mick Walker

It’s worth mentioning the ‘smiling award’, not presented of course but like anything subtle, worth squillions.  We can all take example from Aston clad Steve Boultree-Brooks and Nigel Grice, both clear winners of ‘grin of the day’ yet again at race end.  Also worthy of mention: David Large in the Healey 100 who certainly gave it ‘large’ in an enormous spin on entry to the complex at the end of the Wellington straight, but recovered from the ‘360’ in text book style; Emma Sevier put in a good steady run to give the Healeys what was needed in scooping the team prize with winner Jon Abecassis, and Austen Wells & David Large.

Emma Sevier at speed in the Austin Healey 100 - Photo - John Turner

Brian Arculus had dropped back with a dynamo problem; Milligan & Shaw received 3 mins penalties for failing to pit; Bell/Stamper’s Aston was walloped by an errant MG TA; otherwise FISCAR emerged relatively unscathed, well done everyone.  Watch out for that Alfa next time out………   

Mark Campbell

Andy Shepherd, always on it in the AC Ace - Photo - John Turner

Results:

Handicap:  

  •   1st    Nick Ruddell   Aston Martin DB2/4
  •   2nd  Jon Abecassis   Healey 100/4
  •   3rd   Robin Ellis   Lotus Elite

                                                                  Teams:

  • 1st    Healey Hares      Abecassis / Sevier / Wells / Large
  • 2nd    Aston Martins     Boultbee Brooks / Grice / Stamper
  • 3rd   Feltham Flyers   Barker / Campbell / Ruddell

TAILPIECE! - Nigel Grice, still smiling! Photo - John Turner