A smaller field than usual had entered round 2 of this year’s Multiclub Hillclimb at Collingrove on a cold but fine day. With only 78 entrants there was an expectation of a day enjoying more runs than usual, and an excited buzz surrounded the paddock.
There were no open wheelers entered and only the Clubmans of Rolly May & Kym Ninnes running, it was set to be a showdown of the tin tops this event. At the drivers briefing we were advised that the black Ford TX3 club car was now ready to be used and would be available to anyone that had car issues and had to retire from the event.
This is in addition to the red & white Laser that is being campaigned by 15yo Joanne Steggles as the Junior Development car. Once again the largest class was the under 2 litre road registered cars, and as usual, these cars were first on the track at about 9.30.
With the sun shining and the track feeling good, times were very competitive, at things were running smoothly until it was time for my first run in the MX5, after an engine rebuild, new clutch and new grippy Nangkang AR-1 tyres.
The car felt great as I went through the bowl and up into the essses, but as I took my foot off the clutch after going back to first, all drive was gone, as the diff had decided, after 330,000kms, that it had had enough. A tow back to the pits was needed, where I became the first driver to make use of the black Laser, for the rest of the day. Thank you Chris Ferguson for organising such a great idea.
As the day progressed it was apparent that the battle for the outright win, would be between last event winner Nathan Green in his Nissan Skyline, and the Mitsubishi Evo Lancer rally car of John Davies. Nathan took out the first 2 runs by the barest of margins, before John stole the lead with a 34.27 second run in the 3rd.
Nathan responded with a 34.26 in the 4th only to be out done again with John posting 34.20. Nathan responded with a 34.15 so John set a time of 34.10 in the fifth run. Nathan then developed a leak in his power steering that saw a DNF in both run 6 & 8 and this was enough for John to take out the battle with a 33.96 on the eighth and final run of the day.
Once again Peter Emes lowered his class record in the Smart Car Roadster down to 41.75 seconds, setting himself up nicely for a series victory over the rest of the field. On a day that saw several personal best times achieved, the stand out was Joanne Steggles, who set a new best of 47.81 on her second run, before experiencing gear selection issues on run 3.
Just before lunch I had the opportunity to have a run in her Laser with her sitting in the passenger seat, hopefully to learn a little on how to get more out of it. Once she got back to the pits after that run, she was fill with enthusiasm for the afternoon runs.
First run after lunch saw her lower this time into the 36 second bracket with a 46.76 followed by a 46.81 and a 36.62 to finish the day. With further mentoring to come at the next event, I think that reaching the 43 second mark at the next event, is highly likely, weather permitting. It won’t be long before she is consitently posting times quicker than her dad in the Excel, and maybe even quicker than the times he will post in his new car (Mazda MX6 Turbo).