A Special Builder's Notes


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29 April 2015

The Road To Le Mans II

Learned Counsel is well ahead of the game having collected his third signature after two races at Brands Hatch this last weekend. I'd driven past the circuit for nearly 40 years and never been in so I was happy to volunteer my services as chief person-who-does-stuff and hatch a plan (so to speak) for the team's accommodation at my sister's house half an hour down the road. A splendid curry and Louise's famous tiramisu set us up for the following day's adventures.

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For those who haven't been to Brands Hatch, it must be one of the best racing circuits from a spectator's point of view; from the top of the grandstand, the whole of the 'Indy' circuit can be seen. The longer 'Grand Prix' circuit disappears from view and adds an extra mile but the shorter circuit is never light on entertainment.

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As an ex-owner of an MX-5 I was interested to see how they performed on the track and they certainly didn't disappoint, in fact I think they provided the most closely contested and exciting racing of the day though that's not to detract from any other of the formulas that were taking part in the weekend's events.

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The 'Locost' boys and girls were no slouches and several over-cooked things and ended up in the sand-trap going through Paddock. Learned Counsel (92) gave good account of himself and finished overall in the top end of the midfield. For me, as a prospective driver, the thought of being on the grid with 30+ cars and then roaring off into a first corner as tricky as Paddock, is quite sobering; a galaxy away from the gentle fun of a track day. Still, with Le Mans as the endgame, it has to be done.

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One of the fun aspects of the outing was to see Learned Counsel being chased by a car that he'd built (35). There was some spirited duelling and the occasional swapping of places but experience told in the finish. It was good to see (behind all the usual banter) the good will and respect that the competitors had for each other - if there was a problem with a car, people offered help and advice, tools and even parts without the slightest hesitation. I must book up my medical....

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The second of Learned Counsel's Jowetts is about to have a rude awakening after its year of slumber in the corner of the workshop. The chassis is booked in to the blasting and powder coating chaps which doesn't leave us much time to cut out and replace a piece of chassis tube that received a bit of a knock sometime in its past. A deadline of June(ish) 2016 has been set for the completion of the racer which allows me to get some races under my belt - if all goes according to plan - and to get the Jowett out onto the track before applying for the FIA papers thus enabling us to compete at the Classic Le Mans in 2018.

Let's hope we can keep the show on the road.





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