Round 1 of the 2016 Collingrove Cup was run on Sunday the 5th June, and as we gathered for the pre-event paperwork the common talk in the pits was about how cold it was and the hope that the rain would stay away.
Well it didn’t get much warmer and during the drivers briefing those predicted showers made their presence felt. Competition got under way on a damp track with a cold wind blowing and times were very slow.
It was well into the second run of the day before anyone set a time under 40 seconds and by lunch time, only 3 cars had broken this barrier. All of these were all wheel drive turbocharged cars, with Mark Wisbey leading the way in his ULX110 Oils sponsored Nissan Pulsar GTIR.
This event was the first time Mark has run the Pulsar this year, as it has been in pieces waiting for a new racing gearbox. It was only during the week that Mark decided to put a standard gearbox back into the car, which had to be assembled from parts of several boxes. With this fitted the car was given a drive into the hills.
This was a good idea as 4th gear syncro shattered and jammed the shifter. A rush repair saw the car ready to race by Sunday morning albeit with no 4th gear. The surprise packet of the morning was Robin Bostock, in his standard Mazda MX5 running in the road registered under 2 litre class. Not only was he leading his class in the wet conditions, after 3 runs, but he was the fastest 2wd car in the field.
The hero driver of the day though would have to be Matthew Woodland in the Richard open wheel hillclimb special, after he decided to run the 2 wettest runs of the day on slick tyres, setting a best time of 47.06 seconds.
It was a true testament to the professionalism of all the drivers, that in extremely difficult and slippery conditions less than a handful of recoveries were required and the only damage done was to egos.
During the lunch break the rain finally eased and as the track started to dry, times began to tumble, with the AWD cars getting down to 34 & 35 second runs regularly. We finished with 6 runs for the day and by the last run the field of about 90 cars had whittled down to just under 70. I am sure that those drivers that left at lunch time because of the conditions, are rueing their decision as they saw the skies clear throughout the afternoon.
Nathan Green was the first to go under 35 seconds with a 34.87 on the 5th run. This fired the top runners up with Gavin Farley coming out to equal that in the last run in his Mitsubishi Evo7.
Nathan then bettered his time by .50 of a second, and John Davies followed that with a 34.70. Mark Wisbey went for it on his last run but over cooked the first turn, went wide and was relegated to 4th outright with a best of 35.36 just ahead of the 35.40 set by the consistent wet weather runner, Alex Wilson in his Audi A4 Quattro.
Roger Patterson came home in his Porsche 911RS with a 35.75 to end up as the quickest 2WD car in 6th outright. With the inclement weather, many people suffered what must have been an uncomfortable day and although I felt sorry for all the drivers in open top cars, the real appreciation has to go to the wonderful officials that endured a cold wet morning in particular, just to give the competitors a chance to enjoy another great day of motorsport.
Next event is round 2 to be held on the 3rd of July, and I think we are all hoping for better conditions.