Autosport 3 Hours: Snetterton 23/04/2023
Rain. Rain. And Even More Rain.
Following on from their first Masters 90 minute race of 2023 at Donington, Barton Racing arrived at Snetterton with the TVR Griffith, all set for what turned out to be an action packed three hours of endurance, where perhaps the most important item proved to be the car’s windscreen wipers. Retro Engineering had set up shop the night before and when drivers Harry Barton and Ollie Reuben arrived early Sunday morning conversation immediately revolved around refuelling, driver changes, pit stop strategy and safety cars. All these things would influence the final result.
Qualifying for the twenty-five cars was dry, so not surprisingly our TVR Griffith set the pace, finishing the fifty minute session on pole with a 1 minute 21.124. Worryingly Lotus Elans occupied six of the next seven places, with the likes of Martin Stretton, Horatio Fitzs-Simon and Nigel Greensall praying for rain, and ready to pounce. And rain it did, starting ten minutes before the race started at 15.30 and stopping literally as the chequered flag was waved three hours later.
Harry Barton, driving in his first wet weather endurance race led the pack off the line and continued to extend his lead until after just four laps, out came the safety car, allowing the Elans to play catch-up. This was repeated again one lap later. Ideal time then for a driver change and fuel top up. At half distance it was Elan, Elan, TVR. After two hours the Griffith was up into second. The gap: .771 sec.
The final stop, again behind a safety car and the pit lane was like Piccadilly Circus, the leading Elan with Nigel Greensall now driving was first away, but the TVR was reluctant to start, losing a precious forty-three seconds. And by now it was raining even harder. Harry was told to be ultra careful during the last half hour, and stay away from spinning cars, which he did admirably, leaving the Elans to fight it out between them.
After 90 water drenched laps, Harry crossed the line fourth overall and a class winner. More importantly with the Motor Racing Legends Pall Mall Cup scheduled in just six days time, the Griffith remained damage free and still making that lovely V8 growl. Everybody returned home tired but happy. Another good day at the office.
Masters Race Weekend: Donington Park. England. April 7/8 2023
Barton Racing Opens 2023 Season In Style
After the traditional winter lay-off everybody in the Donington paddock agreed, it was good to be back. The Barton Racing TVR Griffith and BMW TiSA, lovingly prepared by Nigel and Tom Bridger, looked stunning, while Harry Barton, along with co-driver Ollie Reuben, were also looking sharp, fit for purpose, and raring to go. With two races in prospect and the weather forecast set fair over both days the team had every right to feel optimistic.
Race 1. MastersGentlemen Drivers. 90 Minutes
Second on the grid behind top drivers Spiers and Greensall in qualifying. Not bad at all. Thirty-three cars, including five TVRs lined up at the actual race start. Our plan? Stay away from trouble. It almost worked, unfortunately Ollie was forced into the gravel by a wayward back marker on lap five, dropping him down the order. Nevertheless by half distance our Griffith was back on the pace, holding a solid fifth overall and sounding fantastic. Harry continued to reel off the laps, showing great consistency, crossing the finish line just forty two seconds behind the fourth placed Giles Dawson Elan. A perfect first race of the season.
Race 2. Masters Pre 66 Touring Cars. 60 Minutes.
This was always going to be a brave move for Harry, pitching his BMW TiSA against a whole host of Mustangs, and Falcons, not to mention the odd Lotus Cortina, prepped to the extreme and driven by the likes of Alex Brundle, Sam Tordoff and Steve Soper. Never mind, what will be will be. Twenty four starters, all but two Ford powered. After a manic race where seemingly track limits failed to exist Harry took fifteenth place overall, a well derived class win, and another cup for the mantelpiece.