British Sprint Championship: Aintree & Knockhill — September 3-4

British Sprint Championship: Aintree & Knockhill — September 3-4

A round trip of nearly 700 miles starting on Friday afternoon via Aintree (Liverpool) for a sprint event on Saturday and then on to another event at Knockhill  the following day was the plan for the weekend, writes John Loudon.

Nothing could go wrong apart from the weather. A few days before the events, the weather forecast looked like the recent drought was due to end over the weekend and a soaking was inevitable...

The Aintree event was a round of the Sprint Leaders Championship which I was leading going into the weekend. The rain that was promised luckily didn’t materialise, and with a less than full entry list and practice quickly over, we were then onto the timed runs of which we had done three of by lunchtime. Although not a round of the British Sprint Championship on this occasion, the British Sprint 1100cc single-seater class record for Aintree is 42.90 seconds and I recorded a 42.45 and a 42.87 so not a bad effort on my part. Being satisfied that my times were good enough to score good points for the championship, I packed up and set off for the long trip to Knockhill for the following day’s round of the British Sprint Championship and Sprint Leaders' Championship.

On route to Knockhill, as I passed the Scottish border, the overhead motorway signs were warning of torrential rain. I arrived at Knockhill just as the days track action had finished and duly unloaded the car into the garage, still in dry weather. Just as I was about to walk the track the heavens opened and it persisted overnight and into the morning.

I must confess to being more than a little disappointed as I had had an eye on the Knockhill anticlockwise layout British Sprint Championship 1100cc single-seater class record for some time. This stood at 95.31 seconds and was held by the legendary Colin Calder (4 x British Sprint Champion) in his daughter’s car which had stood since 2015. Practice was most definitely wet as were the following two timed runs but steady improvements were being made with each run and the Force TA car’s handling was a delight, inspiring confidence even in the wet.

The second timed run was the first of the day’s two runoffs where I managed a 6th place. Then a miracle happened — the sun came out despite all predictions and quickly dried the track. The slick tyres were swiftly fitted and with two remaining runs I managed a 96.09 and then a 93.07 which finished me 4th in the runoff and broke the class record by a good chunk. It also gained me a bonus point for my efforts, along with beating the current British Sprint Champion Stephen Miles who humbly congratulated me. I now lay 4th overall in the British Sprint Championship and still lead the Sprint Leaders' Championship. The long drive home was a happy one after a successful weekend's activities.

What also made my day was the request from a father for his son to be photographed sitting in the car as he was a fan of the Laser Tools Racing Touring car team. Another passer by then asked for the same.

The next rounds of both the British Sprint Championship and Sprint Leaders are at Blyton Park Driving Centre on 24th and 25th September. A huge thanks to my sponsor Laser Tools Racing.