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09th June 2013

Spa-Ring 2012 Character building!

As you may have guessed from the title, things didn’t go well this year.

Just about the ONLY thing that was a MUST for 2012, was taking the Tuscan to the Nurburgring for a Trackday to hopefully set road legal and non-road legal TVR lap records. A far as I’m aware, the 7m 53s lap we set in 2009 has not been beaten, and although witnessed we had no video evidence of it, so taking the Tuscan (in which I am several seconds quicker per mile than I was in the Monster Griff) to the Ring was an obvious must.

The Trackday was booked by May 2012 with some sponsorship from Douglas Construction and though we were racing in DTEC all summer, the focus was the Nordschleife. An epic 12 miles and 127 corners in a road legal TVR Tuscan would be something special so when the time came, The TVRmonster crew along with Dan Birch (himself an ex TVR Tuscan racer) for logistics and Colin and Tina from TVRSSW headed off in high spirits.

All the paperwork was sorted on the Wednesday evening so on Thursday morning, all we had to do was drop the car off the trailer, put the R888s on and get out for a couple of sighting laps. WE tipped the trailer, fired her up and drove her off the trailer.
Tick Tick Tick…BANG…rattle rattle rattle.

We couldn’t believe it. This is the second time this has happened to me. Last time, a valve spring went on start up at Oulton Park robbing me of the TVR Tuscan Title in 2011. All I had to do was finish the races to win and the car was out before I got onto the track. Here the same had happened. This time the cam had gone allowing excessive clearance on the tappets…so the rod jumped and cracked two of the rockers.

Game over for the main event trackday.

To say I was fn)king livid is an understatement. But nothing could be done. It was just one of those things. By 11am I was sourcing parts. If we could get some rockers and rods over from the UK, Col reckoned he could have it running again. This would be a great save as there was a Tourist Evening at the Ring the next day and we were booked onto Spa the day after. Not only that, but we were racing at Oulton on the weekend!

The bits were sent for and we went to the Pub. Well we went to the N’Ring GP centre first for some shopping (shirts caps etc) and Team race in the Race Room (linked game chairs for the NS circuit; THEN we went to the Pub.

By late morning, the next day, the parts had arrived; Col had fitted them and declared the car driveable so we waited for the Ring to open. Since the car was road legal, it seemed a shame to leave it on the trailer, so a few parade laps were done around the village and past the GP grandstands. I was still fuming but at least the car was running and the Track was soon to be available.

At 17:15 I pulled up to the barrier, inserted the ring card and as the barrier rose I pulled out onto the Ring. Only to have two fluorescent jacketed Germans leap out in front of me waving their arms. “What now!”

“Das ist nicht OK” one said “Das ist ein Raser!”

20 minutes were spent taping up bonnet clasps, improving number plates and flashing paperwork until the head German allowed me out. As I pulled back onto the Ring he leant into the car and said “iff I ver you I REALLY vouldn’t crash! I don’t sink ze police vill like your car” I gulped and pulled out.

It wasn’t a fun lap. The barriers were being repaired in a couple of places, there were emergency vehicles on track along with a buss or two and with the Tuscan in full livery, it was a magnet to every dickhead around. Still, I got it done and nothing got past me.

After a short stoppage and Col giving the car the all clear, I said I though I’d do another lap before a tried a fast one, only for Tina to inform me that the circuit was closing and I’d better get out there. This time I pushed - a bit. I still wasn’t completely happy with the car, I really didn’t want to crash and have that conversation with “ze police” but I drove a fast lap in my Tuscan at the Ring. An 8m: 15s by my watch (we couldn’t use the cameras as it was a tourist day), which was slower than the Griff. But still it was another box that’d been ticked, the car was still in one piece and a bit sigh of relief was heard as I came back.

We moved onto Spa and a few fun laps were had along with Christian Douglas in his Race TVR AJP Tuscan. The weather was glorious; Christan Douglas was there in his AJP race Tuscan as was Danny Winstanley in his Skyline G35. He took me out for quick lap, what a car. Faster than my RV8 Tuscan on road tyres and at 2 tonne! Several beers, many fries mit suspicious sausages and it was back to Blighty.

I wonder if the car would make it to Oulton


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