Bosch Hockenheim Historic Jim Clark Revival: Hockenheimring Germany. 6/7 May

More Class Honours, But Could Have Done Better.

We arrived at this fantastic Germany circuit , six hundred miles from base, with two cars, and a team on top form. The skies were blue, food great and the German lager exceeding all expectations. What could possibly go wrong? Well actually, quite a lot. That we came away on Sunday evening with a class win, and second in class, proved beyond doubt the individual and combined character strengths of the guys who make up Barton Racing and Retro Engineering.

First of all, even before Thursday testing, the TVR unexpectedly blew a recently changed brake seal. Then, the FIA eligibility scrutineer, obviously suffering a severe bout of indigestion, picked holes in our meticulous preparation. Unfazed Retro Engineering soon sorted things, but it meant zero, much needed track time for both car, and, new to the circuit, drivers, Harry Barton and Ollie Reuben. However, the BMW TiSA to be shared in the race by Harry and Alex Brundle circulated to schedule.

I should at this point mention we were competing both cars in the same race, a one hour for Masters Pre-66 saloons, and ninety minutes for Gent Drivers. Harry and Ollie in the TVR and Alex, sharing with Harry in the BMW. All cars starting together. Rules dictated drivers had to make a pit stop within a narrow window as decided by the organisers. I hope you’re still with me.

Qualifying went really well. Ollie tucked the TVR right up the front in third while Harry took pole for the pre-66 category. With only a few minor adjustments to be made next morning, and after narrowly avoiding another ‘moment’ with our favourite scrutineer, everyone took the evening off.

Sunday was again hot and humid, with a possible chance of thunderstorms during the last thirty minutes, which thankfully never materialised. At 14.35, a meagre field of eighteen cars lined up, the TVR with Ollie behind the wheel, on row two, and Harry on row seven. The TVR immediately rumbled into a comfortable lead. However, after just twenty minutes the BMW went missing, having stopped out on circuit , leaving poor Harry with a long run back to the pits ready to take over the TVR for its final stint.

What with all the excitement the team missed its pit window by twenty seconds, resulting in a penalty that dropped the TVR down to sixth overall. Harry’s brief was then quite simply. Don’t do anything stupid and save the brakes. He did just that, over-taking the ailing Hagen/Haddon Cobra Daytona out of the final bend on the final lap ( much cheering all round) to finish a splendid fifth. Not the win we’d hoped for, but better than nothing.

There is now a three week break before Brands Hatch to investigate the BMW and give the TVR a good service. Just for the record, the rain started during the prize-giving, and as far as I know, three days later,  Hockenheim is still under water.