Ferrari detail. Ferrari Owners' Club
*
*
*
*
* * * *
*

Club Racing Series'

       

PIRELLI FERRARI OPEN
RACE REPORT: RACES 4&5: BRANDS HATCH
- 2/3 SEPTEMBER
2006

One Apiece for Cosby and Gamski
click for Results

This event was held on the ‘Indy’ circuit as the fantastic GP circuit is now prohibitively expensive. The Indy track has some advantages especially with a small field as this was. Ten Ferraris were listed in the programme but Charlie White was a no-show, his F355 Challenge car still engineless after mangling its valves and pistons at the Club track day at Silverstone at the end of July.

Alan Cosby was making a first appearance in the series with his big F512M, a hugely powerful car which in the past has shown a clean pair of heels to most of its competitors. However, despite its latent performance, there were some questions to be answered about its flat-12 engine’s reliability. Donington winner Witt Gamski was a welcome returnee after being absent at the previous PFO races at Silverstone .

Qualifying was pretty eventful. Cosby’s gruff but melodic 512 sounded wonderful as its engine gave us its full aural repertoire. The car was brought in early when a plug lead fell off. Nick Chester (308GTB) adopted a “classic” stance at the wheel, reminiscent of Fangio, Farina or Clark in years gone by. Unfortunately the car got out of shape at the entry to Surtees, developed a tank slapper which Nick almost, but not quite, managed to control, and ended up lightly kissing the barriers, so maybe there is something in the more modern, upright stance after all! The damage was thankfully only cosmetic which father Richard later sorted out by skilful use of a 7lb lump hammer. However, it curtailed Nick’s chances of setting a competitive time. Also in trouble was Nicky Paul-Barron, some late braking into Druids saw the car embedded in the gravel, causing the session to be stopped temporarily.

Tris Simpson, his 328GTB emitting whiffs of oil smoke, complained about “some rusty debris on the track – surely the marshals should clean these things up”. When the session ended one of the aforesaid marshals brought the offending debris back to the pits. It turned out to be a section of Tris’s own brake ducting which had come adrift.

Pole had been captured by Cosby but the two F355/Chs of Mark I’Anson and Tim Mogridge were only a fraction behind.

There were lots of volunteers helping Nicky P-B remove several barrow-loads of gravel from his GT4, for whose assistance he asks us to thank his helpers. However, when the engine was fired up an unfamiliar noise suggested that the gravel may have become wedged under one of the timing belts causing the belt to jump a tooth.

Race One
The nine car field took up their grid positions behind the pace car at just after 3.30pm. The rolling start worked without a problem and pole man Cosby led a closely bunched pack into Paddock Hill for the first time in approximate grid order, although Mogridge had dropped to fourth behind I’Anson and a fast starting Simpson.

Then, on lap 2, something extraordinary happened. Taylor, who had been languishing mid-field at the start, was suddenly leading the race, with the mighty 512 trailing in his wake and being attacked by a recovering Mogridge. In fourth, but dropping back slightly, was I’Anson with Simpson, Reeder, N P-B, Gamski and Chester in pursuit. Incidenatally the commentator insisted on calling Mark “Lanson” - as in the Champagne .

To show that it was no flash in the pan, Taylor gleefully led the following three laps but then on lap 5 came to an abrupt halt at the foot of Graham Hill Bend. John was unable to manoeuvre with a dead engine (an HT cable had become detached) and his car was parked in a potentially dangerous place on the grass. The red flags came out and the race was stopped.

The restart positions were based on the order on the preceding lap to the stoppage, with Taylor at the tail and Gamski, who had been making good progress through the field, now in a useful 4th spot. Nicky P-B had pulled into the pits prior to the stoppage and took no further part in proceedings.

Immediately after the resumption Chester had a spin coming out of Druids, leaving him some distance back from the others. By lap 2 of the restarted contest, Gamski had passed I’Anson and was sitting menacingly on the rear quarters of the leading 512.

Two laps later Gamski took the lead from Cosby and, just to add interest, Mike Reeder seemed to move to his left as he exited Druids, found a car in his way, and spun off harmlessly onto the grass verge.

Gamski now seemed to have the race in his pocket, increasing the distance to Cosby who in turn was outpacing I’Anson and the battling duo of Mogridge and Simpson. Taylor came into the pits with fuel starvation. It was on lap 11 that Mogridge squeezed past I’Anson to take third position, some ten seconds behind the race leader. Once in front, Tim outpaced his pursuers by about two or three seconds a lap – in fact he was the fastest man on the track, lapping quicker than Gamski, the leader.

On lap 14, Taylor rejoined the race after a long visit to the pits to reconnect his fuel pumps, albeit nine laps in arrears. Chester was unaware of this deficit and thought he was still racing John for position. He tried to speed up but only succeeded in ploughing into the gravel at Paddock Hill after setting his fastest race lap.

At the end, Gamski took the flag some 4.5 seconds ahead of Cosby, with Mogridge taking third, only 1.4 seconds behind the growling 512. Then, at a decent distance, it was I’Anson with Reeder bringing up the rear. Taylor, still nine laps in arrears, was not classified as a finisher.

Race Two

The ‘walking wounded’ had only a short time to sort out their woes before the second Ferrari race was called up just before 5.30. Tim Mogridge had experienced clutch slip and was not too confident about R2. Taylor had more serious difficulties, his GT4 now only having three relevant gears. Mike Sweeney beavered away and removed the undamaged reverse and first speed gears to give John some useful ratios, although only just in the nick of time as the cars were summoned to the collecting area.

The original qualifying order was again used for the grid for R2 which meant Gamski was again at the back and Cosby was on pole. The only absentee was Nicky Paul-Barron, who was now on his way home with his GT4 strapped to his trailer.

The pace car pulled into the pit lane, the lights went out, and the crowd were again entertained by the Cosby 512 powering into the lead from a rejuvenated I’Anson. In close company were the rest of the pack, in the order Mogridge – Simpson – Taylor – Reeder – Gamski – Chester.

The next lap saw I’Anson spinning his second place away at Clearways, promoting a very determined Taylor up into second, anxious to make up for his bad luck in R1. Mogridge, with an increasing amount of clutch slip, was holding on to third but coming under attack from Gamski as the latter moved through the pack from his start at the back of the field.

It was clear that this time Cosby meant business. Gamski had moved up to second spot but was unable to match the leader’s lap times. The best that Witt could do would only bring him within 14 seconds or so of Cosby, and it wasn’t enough.

Then we thought Alan’s race was possibly over as plumes of steam were seen from the rear of his 512. His speed wasn’t affected and we wondered if the engine would last the distance. It did, and he brought the car over the line to record his first victory (and the first for a ‘S’ class car) in the series.

Witt Gamski finished in the runner-up position, notching up his second class victory of the afternoon. John Taylor made up for his previous disappointment by taking third, just ahead of Mike Reeder and Tim Mogridge – these three being covered by just a couple of seconds.

The trophies for both races were presented by Marcia Cosby in a simple but energetic ceremony. It had been an eventful day but clearly the drivers had enjoyed themselves. With more participants, the series could be a howling success, so we’ve decided to give it one more year. All you owners of eligible cars – start howling!



With thanks to Anne & John Swift for the race info and MST for the results.

Click here for

Click here to return to the Ferrari formula classic page.



*
Top
 
* *