GAUTENG 7'S RACING IN EAST LONDON

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GAUTENG 7'S RACING IN EAST LONDON

Postby tornado on Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:44 am

An enthusiastic mob of inland Lotus drivers descended upon East London for primarily the 2 hour endurance event that they were holding at the EL Grand Prix circuit.

However, before Friday practice was done we had been reduced by 40% as far as the Loti were concerned, Glen Clark's Lotus was fatally wounded when his co-driver decided to do some sightseeing and left the track, causing severe damage to his sump and cracked the alternator housing in two.

For good measure Anton's car split an inner CV boot, causing the CV to run dry and self destruct. No suitable inner Subaru CV's to be found in the seething metropolis of Buffalo City ... end result, B10 out of contention.

That left Lauren, Neil de Later and the team of Neil McLeod/Clive Wilmot to carry the Lotus flag and John Glover was there in his very speedy Spead, wiping the floor with all and sundry!

When our "crowd" arrived there, we were suitably surprised, we were allocated specific reserved pits in the pit allocation, by naam nogal!! It seemed as if they were quite pleased to have some racers from up north to support their meeting.

However, it all went downhill from there on ... other than the COC and his sidekick and the lady doing the paperwork in the office, the rest of the East London organisers showed disappointingly poor hospitality towards the contingent from Gauteng.

With Anton's car out of the meeting, Anton teamed up with Neil in the Locost to do the 2 hour Endurance as a team. Neil McLeod and Clive Wilmot were a team and then Lauren was going to run the event on her own. Glen was in town hoping to have his sump repaired, alas, no success.

At driver's briefing we were told that the Loti could enter 3 events, the Coastal Challenge, the Regional Historics and the endurance. Great, now Neil did the one sprint event, Anton the other sprint event and as a team the endurance. Likewise did Neil McLeod and Clive share the sprint events. Both John Glover and Lauren raced in all 3 events!!


This is where things started going pear shaped ... the timekeeper bleated like a stuck pig that they have now messed up all his planning (forget that he had to slot in 3 cars into one race only !!!!) This means we were back to square one and only 1 sprint race of 2 heats for the Loti and the Spead.

At the start of the 1st race Neil McLeod was allowed to start in his qualifying slot of 5th. However, both Lauren and Neil were bumped to the very back of the grid of about 35 cars!!! Irrespective of their qualifying times which they were not given.

Any way, the heat got going and at the end of lap 1 Lauren had taken about 16 cars alrady and Neil improved by 14 positions. By lap 3 Lauren was flying and had caught Neil McLeod in 3rd and now set about the "Prima Donna" cars of East London, a Ford GT40 and a V8 Ford Capri. These appear to be the "main manne" at East London and first Lauren picked off the V8 Capri and then continually swopped 1st and 2nd with the GT40 and eventually he pipped her to the line with some questionable tactics. Neil de Later finished in 4th spot with Neil McLeod in 5th. However, with the GT40 and Capri being in a different class we took 1,2,3.

Lauren went to the control tower to check on the results and she then found the qualifying times for the race ... she had qualified in Pole Position with Neil in 4th and Neil McLeod in 5, where he started. So now the Blonde Lady was truly furious and went to the COC to raise a few points. End result, she managed to get the inland Loti back in both classes the COC had iriginally agreed upon. I guess the poor timekeeper lost the battle against Lauren.

To cut a long story short we pretty much wiped the floor with the coastal racers. Where John Glover was racing he lapped all but 2nd place, which was in each case Lauren!! As John said, that was the only real challenge he had and Lauren was equally determined not to be lapped by the viciously fast Spead.

There were serious challenging between Lauren, Clive Wilmot/Neil McLeod and the Anton/Neil cars throughout the day but Lauren took honours on every occasion, save the endurance race.

At the end of the day the organisers had run so late that they cut the 2 hour endurance to 1,5 hours, getting dark early in East London. That was eventually shortened to 70 minutes.

The endurance got going and John Glover was a speck in the distance within seconds of the start. That then caused Lauren to have a dogfight with an A6 spec Lotus 23 for 2nd place overall but 1st in class. The 23 was perfectly turned out and never missed a beat the entire day. Lauren had the better of him in the inner circuit but eventually his straight line speed started to count and he got away and stayed away.

All 3 the 7's were doing great, sitting in 2,3 and 4 in class and 3,4 and 5 overall. Lauren from Neil de Later and then Neil McLeod. The latter two swopped places when Neil came in for a fuel stop and Anton took over. This allowed Neil McLeod a 1 minute head start that Anton did his level best to cut down and although he was eating into the lead at about 7 seconds a lap he could not catch Neil McLeod fast enough. It must be said that he drove a very good race and it was noticable how his driving improved as the day wore on.

Eventually Lauren dropped out with a lost bolt in the front suspension and with less than 10 minutes to go the Neil/Anton car sheared brackets holding the front suspension together, causing them to drop out. This put the other Neil/Clive car in 3rd overall and 2 nd in class, behind the 23 that just rolled on. The 23 was eventually the overall winner with Neil and Clive in overall 3rd and 2nd in class.

Came trophy time and although that is not why we all went down to East London, if you are due some credit, you would like the credit. That sadly was not the case with some exception as far as Neil Mcleod was concerned.

Having pretty much taken all the honours (1, 2 and 3)on offer in the classes they competed, our contingent had to be satisfied with a 3rd in one class to Lauren and Anton, although they never raced as a team. A 3rd for John Glover, despite winning whatever was going, except the endurance.

The only exception was Neil McLeod, he got a number of medals in the endurance and he thoroughly deserved them, however, not a mention that he was in a team with Clive Wilmot and not a mention about Clive at all!!!

Not any mention of Neil de Later or Anton's efforts in the sprint races nor Lauren seriously kicking butt there. A bit of an anti-climax.

The sourest note was when the MC thanked all the Super Kart guys for making thje effort to come to East London but failed to mention the 8 Lotus/Spead drivers coming from Gauteng.

Having said all this, it was a massively enjoyable weekend and despite all the negativeness from the organisers, we would all love to go again.

Maybe this time Lauren can keep some pieces on her car!!!! This is the tally of our casualties on the day:

Lauren: Minus both cycle fenders, exhaust and demolishing her left rear fender from rubbing against the tyre and losing a bolt out of her right front suspension.

Anton: Minus one cycle fender and inner CV

Neil: Minus 1 headlight, whilst Anton was driving and left front suspension braking loose from the chassis.

Lots of time to fix cars for the expected usually super smooth Lichtenburg ttack.
tornado
 
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