Spa Francorchamps - RMU Classic
April 24th - April 26th 2009
Those who came to the Spa meeting were to enjoy the circuit at its best with fine weather prevailing and perfect organisation by the RMU ensured that it only rained at night.
The grid was always going to be slim but a number of unfortunate events, including an engine blow up in testing in the UK a few days before and pressing family responsibilities, conspired to further reduce numbers. Those who missed this event might like to reflect on their decision and also on the possible damage done to the reputation of the series by the low turnout.
We were lucky not to lose Justin Law completely when newly manufactured carbon wing mounts failed in qualifying at around 150 MPH putting him into three 360 spins on the approach to Blanchimont. Through pure skill he managed to hit nothing at all but a change of overalls was required urgently. However the windscreen was blow out and destroyed so the car was hors de combat. The good part of this incident was that Don Law agreed, much to the approval of the RMU, to run his fabulous Silk Cut Jaguar XJR8, which he just happened to have with him. Of course he was once a boy scout.
Race one started with Andrew Haddon on pole in his Spice, which was the cause of some concern to him as he had never led a rolling start! In P2 was Gareth Evans in the new to him and the series Nissan R88C. This car looked great and will develop into a very fast front-runner with some sorting out. Run by the Chamberlain Synergy outfit of Bob Berridge, with no less than 5 Le Mans 24 Hour races under his belt, the standard of preparation and execution is about to be raised.
Everyone’s attention was grabbed at the end of lap 1 when a huge cloud of smoke appeared in the bus stop. From it emerged Kent Abrahamsson in his Ford Maxum closely followed by Simon Wright in his Porsche 962, which had spun in sympathy when Kent’s over pressured tyres let go. Starting from the back due to the car change Justin Law was in P2 first time round and then proceeded to disappear off into the distance running 2:18 laps with impunity.
Don Miles had a misdemeanor in his XJR5 and made light-ish contact with the wall resulting retirement and lots of work for his men to do rather than sitting around eating chips and mayo. Nick Chester had a hub bolt shear, which did nothing to help the wheel bearings stay where they were meant to be and the resulting trip across the grass effectively remodeled the front of his Tiga. Elsewhere the grid tended to get spread out but at the end there were plenty of hot and happy faced drivers all with great tales, none more so than Paul Livesey who was new to the series and his ex Michael Jankowski Spice SE88C. P3, podium and trophy first time out. Job done. Just ahead of him in P2 was Andrew Haddon after an excellent run in his very well presented car.
Race 2 started with a little confusion as the organisers decided to use a grid order based on the results of race 1 rather than on qualifying as per the regs. So Justin Law was on pole and he has led a couple of rolling starts before so Andrew Haddon in P2 had a ringside view of how it was done. This race was intended to be an hour run with refueling and driver changes but the grid by this time was down to 8 cars following the literally last minute withdrawal of Kent Abrahamsson’s car with oil pump problems. So the decision was taken, with the agreement of the drivers, to reduce the race to 45 minutes. Don Miles’ crew had starved themselves and got the car together but a suspension problem, probably a consequence of the earlier knock, forced and early stop. As before Justin showed how it was done with a metronomic pace but Robin Ward in Duncan McKay’s Spice proved that you did not need a Jag to get a result with an excellent P2. The shortened race meant that refueling was not needed and so a mandatory stop was unnecessary. However Andrew Haddon had arranged to share the race with the highly experienced Herve Regout and rather than have him miss a drive stopped for the changeover anyway. His very just reward was an excellent P3 with Monsieur Regout showing that Justin was not the only one who could beat up the Spa circuit.
There was lots of champagne in the sun on the podium with the class awards for race 1 and 2 being included with the race 2 overall position awards. It was generally agreed that the event, blessed with excellent conditions, just needed the attendance and support of more of the Club members to have made it a great meeting.