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2019 Speed Race Reports

Championship sponsored by Bill Rawles Classic Cars and Peter May Engineering

 

St Goueno - 1/2 June 2019

(Words by LC Branch, Pics by Jackie Baker and Vicki Walton)

St Goueno is a small village in the middle of Brittany which every year holds a round of the French national hill climb championship.  They also allow a group of 85 drivers, mainly from the UK and Ireland, to compete in a 'Masters' set of classes which includes a weekend of hill climbing, excellent food and drink plus live entertainment.  Healeysport thoroughly enjoyed attending this event for the first time in 2015 and again in 2017 and we were welcomed back this year.

At 3.2km, the course is much longer than anything the UK has to offer, with fast sweeping turns with virtually no clear view of the exit from most bends.  All the returning drivers wanted to have a chance to reacquaint themselves with this demanding track as they felt there was some unfinished business.  In the end, 10 Healeysport drivers with partners and others took part:  Steve Casson, David Abram, John Tewson and Pat Cooper were in Sprites, Huw Edwards, Richard Mason, Peter Walton and John Ducker were in Big Healeys and David Lane and Paul Baker were in Jensen Healeys.  The drivers new to St Goueno were John Ducker and John Tewson.  Unfortunately, Tom Walker and Robin Johnson were unable to attend the event and had to cancel at short notice for family reasons.

Most caught the day sailing from Portsmouth to Caen which left them with a 3 hour drive to St Goueno, yet some took the longer journey via the night boat to St Malo but had the shorter drive to the venue.  For those arriving on the Thursday afternoon, the locals had laid on a welcome buffet dinner with local wines in the St Goueno Civic Centre which was excellent. 

Friday was hot and sunny with the afternoon set aside for signing-on and scrutineering.  In the evening there was a seafood dinner and entertainment from a number of live bands performing on a covered stage set up in the entrance to the Civic Centre.

Saturday was practice day with one untimed free practice run to be followed by two timed practice runs.  The weather forecast was for sunshine all day with temperatures nudging 30 degrees, so it was going to be very hot and we were not disappointed.  On to the first timed practice run and in the Sprite class it was Steve Casson who was quickest out of the blocks with an excellent sub 2 minute time of 1:59.6 and a new personal best time, to be ahead of David Abram in 2:03.7, John Tewson in 2:09.6 a respectable time for only his second ascent of the hill.  Pat Cooper, usually brings his 3000 but this time decided to exercise his orange Frogeye nicknamed "Tango" and achieved a 2:14.4.  In the Big Healey class, Peter Walton, although struggling with a hole in his exhaust which got bigger as the event went on and therefore his car got louder, opened with a really quick 1:58.8 to set a new personal best, from Richard Mason in 2:00.9, some 5 secs faster than his previous best time.  Huw Edwards was following the trend by opening with a 2:06.8, some 8 secs faster than his pb and John Ducker was still getting to grips with this track with a 2:17.4.  In the Jensen Healey class, Paul Baker here for the first time in his JH, opened with a 2:10.0 and David Lane recorded a 2:18.9.

A recurring theme of the weekend was the long delays brought about by a multitude of accidents, some serious which resulted in the Directeur de Course (the French equivalent of the Clerk of the Course) deciding that the Masters last practice run was to be converted to a convoy run.  We heard about this whilst waiting at the start so all repaired to the bar by the start line and had a quick beer!!  Well it was very hot!  When finally the track was clear, all the cars were waved through by the start line marshals to run in convoy at slower than normal race speed.

Once the racing was over for the day, there was just time to get changed and get down to St Goueno for a paella special and plenty of the local vin, again with a selection of live bands playing into the small hours.

Sunday morning started overcast which meant that although it was warm and dry it was not as hot as it had been on Saturday, which was a relief.

The first timed run on Sunday morning in the Sprite class had Steve Casson still out front but by a smaller margin.  With a 2:00.2, although a pb it was slower than his previous day's practice time.  David Abram knocked a couple of seconds off to record a 2:01.1 and a pb.  John Tewson lowered his time to a 2:06.8 and Pat Cooper registered a virtually unchanged time of 2:14.6.  In the Big Healey class, Pete Walton (pictured right) pulled out all the stops to register the fastest time recorded by any Healey on this hill of 1:56.4.  Richard Mason was steadily improving with a 2:02.9.  Huw Edwards went slower with a 2:10.2 as did John Ducker with a 2:18.3.  In the Jensen Healey class, Paul Baker knocked nearly 10 seconds off his practice time to record a 2:00.7 and David Lane lowered his time to 2:14.8.

Lunch was provided for the drivers, partners and friends in a marquee next to the track and was a gastronomic barbeque  with wines (yes, wine was on offer!!) and set us up for our final two runs.

Our second timed run went as follows:  In the Sprite class, David Abram broke through the 2 minute barrier to record a new Sprite hill record of 1:59.0.  Steve Casson set off on his run only to be baulked by the Lotus Europa in front of him but unfortunately the Directeur de Course decided that he was not given the opportunity of a re-run.  John Tewson was really flying with a superb 2:01.7, an excellent time given his first visit to this hill.  Pat Cooper also got to grips with his new car and knocked over 7 secs off his previous run to record a 2:07.3.  In the Big Healey class, Pete Walton went a fraction slower in 1:57.4, but Richard Mason broke through the 2 minute barrier to record a 1:59.5 - his best time at St Goueno.  Huw Edwards recorded a near identical time of 2:10.4 but John Ducker knocked 6 secs off his previous run with a 2:12.4.  In the Jensen Healey class, Paul Baker finished with a 2:00.6 a pb and a new Jensen Healey hill record, but David Lane suffered the same fate as Steve Casson as his run was baulked and he was not offered a re-run.

There was then a big gap in the proceedings as there had been a big accident with a French single seater driver ending up in the trees and needing hospital treatment.  When we were finally called to the start for our last run Steve Casson's car refused to start, but a quick bit of re-wiring got it going.  Unfortunately, as the event was again running late the Directeur de Course decided to cancel the Masters last run and convert it to a convoy run.  An unfortunate end to what had been a superb weekend.

So, with only two of the final three timed rounds completed, David Abram took the honours with a new hill record in the Sprite class but Steve Casson, who only had one timed run, probably felt he could have won it if he the chance of another run.  In the Big Healey class, Pete Walton was imperious taking 3 secs off the previous hill record and in the Jensen Healey class Paul Baker reduced the hill record by 11 secs, but David Lane was also feeling rather miffed at only getting one timed run..

All the drivers (pictured right) retired to the bar for a well earned beer plus the local delicacy of fresh oysters!!  You don't see those on offer at many UK motorsports venues!!

The evening finished with a wind-down meal of superb local produce and wines in St Goueno.

This is a unique event that combines hill climbing, music, entertainment, superb food and drinks, transportation from the venue to the village and to gites, plus the ability to meet drivers from the UK, Ireland and France.  It was a shame that the runs were marred by so many accidents, but that's motorsport.  Overall we had a fantastic time and that is what we will remember for a long time. 

A huge thank you must go to John Lloyd and his team who did a fantastic job of organising the event, plus the people of St Goueno for their unbelievable hospitality, as it was great fun from Thursday to Sunday and left us all wondering - when can we go back?

 

 

Round 3 -Goodwood - 11 May 2019

(Words by LC Branch and Pics/videos by Jackie Baker)

After missing out on going to Goodwood last year due to date changes by the organisers, we were back at this tremendous venue for this well run springtime sprint.  The weather was dry and bright with the threat of showers which fortunately did not materialise.

We had ten drivers competing in our three classes of Sprites, Big Healeys and Jensen Healeys.  In the Sprite class were the Shand duo of Max and Garrow in their 'square bodied' Sprite and a trio of Sebrings from Steve Casson, Lawrence Maudsley and David Abram (pictured right).  This was a first outing this year for both Lawrence and David.  In the Big Healey class, were John Ducker, Trish C-P and Pete Walton and David Lane and Paul Baker completed our entry in their Jensen Healeys.  This was a first time to this track for Lawrence, John and David Lane, so they were given much advice about taking it easy as it's a fast track until you know your way around it.

The format described by the organisers was to have one practice run and three timed runs.  As our championship rules only count two timed runs, we used the first two runs as practice runs and the second two as timed runs. 

So after the first two practice runs, in the Sprite class, it was David Abram out front with a best time of 104.85, some way ahead of Max Shand in 110.01 with Steve Casson a whisker behind him in 110.31, then Garrow Shand in 123.40 and Lawrence Maudsley getting to grips with the track in 138.38.  In the Big Healey class, Pete Walton was some way clear in 105.18 from Trish C-P in 125.90 and John Ducker (pictured right) in 132.70.  In the Jensen Healey class it was close as usual, Paul Baker had a best time of 116.49 from David Lane in 119.38.

On to the first of the timed runs after lunch, and in the Sprite class David Abram put in a stunning lap of 101.14 - just 4 hundredths of a second off his own track record.  Max Shand and Steve Casson continued to stay within a whisker of each other with Max posting a quicker time of 108.31 just ahead of Steve in 108.74 (see in-car video footage).  Garrow Shand also knocked nearly five seconds off his practice time with a 117.60 as did Lawrence Maudsley in 133.37.

In the Big Healeys, Pete Walton (pictured right) lowered his time to a 104.09, Trish C-P lowered hers to a 124.31 as did John Ducker in 132.41.

In the Jensen Healey class, Paul Baker lowered his time to 113.63 (see in-car video footage) but David Lane had gear selection issues so finished with a 125.20.

On to the last run of the day and the weather was still warm and sunny.  In the Sprite class, David Abram went a tad slower than his first run in yet still a very quick time of 101.20.  Max Shand then took a further 4 secs off his first run time to finish with an excellent 104.15 and a personal best from Steve Casson who also lowered his to 107.38 and a pb.  Garrow Shand when faster to end with a 116.60 and a pb as did Lawrence Maudsley in 130.12.

In the Big Healey class, Pete Walton lowered his time by nearly two secs to a 102.82 to end just over a second off his track record time of 101.75 (see in-car video footage).  Trish C-P did the same to end with a 123.22 and John Ducker took a whopping 6 secs off his earlier time to finish with a 126.40.

In the Jensen Healey class, both cars went slower - and there was a reason.  At the end of the Lavant straight doing about 120mph, David Lane mistakenly changed from 5th into 2nd gear instead of into 4th gear, This threw the car sideways onto the grass on the outside of the track yet he managed, through good driving and good fortune to get the car back on the track and avoid hitting the barriers at Woodcote - which would have been very messy and costly!!  As Paul Baker was the car behind David on track, he was surprised to find the Gulf coloured Jensen recovering back onto the track in front of him as he rounded Woodcote before the chicane.  Not surprisingly, David was still shaking some time after this incident.

As this was a target time event, Steve Casson calculated the results and they were as follows:

Sprite Class: 1st Max Shand, 2nd Steve Casson, 3rd Garrow Shand, 4th Lawrence Maudsley and 5th David Abram.

Big Healey Class: 1st Pete Walton, 2nd Trish C-P, and 3rd John Ducker.

Jensen Healey Class: 1st Paul Baker and 2nd David Lane

As the prizes were awarded to the drivers, Helen Shand handed out to the assembled drivers and partners, generous portions of birthday cake she had made to celebrate Garrow's 70th birthday with a glass of some bubbly, which is always a treat and much appreciated by all present.  It was also Trish and Keith's birthday - clearly a popular time of year.

As the weather had stayed dry, we all had a great time especially as all the cars went home in one piece, even if David Lane's heart rate may take a little longer to recover!

Our photographer was distracted by a pilot (pictured right) practicing take off and landings in an old Harvard trainer as our drivers were trying their best on the track outside the airfield.

 Our next event is our overseas adventure to St Goueno in Brittany at the end of the month, to take part in a round of the French National Hill Climb Championship.  Our next championship round will be at Shelsley Walsh on Saturday 15th June - so come and see us if you can.

Click on the links to see the full results from this and all events this season.  To see all the pictures, in-car and outside videos go to our Gallery page.  If you want to see the sprint and hill climb records for each class and venue, then go to  the Big Healey and Jensen Healey records and the Sprite records pages.

Want to start Sprinting and Hill Climbing?

If you own a Healey or Jensen Healey and you like what you see on this website and want to find out more then click here to take a look at our Beginners Guide.  If you want to get involved, then send an email to Paul Baker our Championship Organiser at paulbaker51@yahoo.co.uk   New drivers are always made very welcome.

 

 

Round 2 -Gurston Down - 21 April 2019

(Words by LC Branch and Pics/videos by Jackie Baker)

After the freezing weather of Curborough we were in for a real treat at Gurston as it turned out to be hot and sunny all day.

We had 13 cars booked to attend the meeting but due to mechanical problems, both Lawrence Maudsley and Huw Edwards had to cancel their entry at the last minute, but both hope to be out very soon.  That left us with the five Sprites of Ian Grainger, Phil Gardner, Robin Johnson, Steve Casson and defending champion, Colin Gale.  In the Big Healey class, we had Claire Giles, Pete Walton and the co-driving duo of Pat Cooper and John Tewson.  And finally, we had David Lane and Paul Baker in their Jensen Healeys.

After two practice runs in the morning, it was Colin Gale leading the Sprite class with a 39.56, two tenths under his previous best, from Steve Casson a whisker away in 39.98 also just off his pb.  Robin Johnson was still getting used to the new spec of his yellow Frogeye with a best time of 40.52 from Phil Gardner who knocked nearly two secs off his previous best time with a 46.42 and Ian Grainger who also lowered his pb to 47.30.  Both Phil and Ian were reaping the benefits of recent engine improvements.

In the Big Healey class, it was John Tewson who was some way out in front with a best time of 40.69, some way off his pb but ahead of co-driver Pat Cooper who's best was a 42.17, somewhat tardy by his standards.  Pete Walton recorded a 42.52 and Claire Giles a best of 44.64.

In the Jensen Healey class, it was Paul Baker, first time at Gurston with this car leading with a 41.85 from David Lane in 43.38.

As the weather was so good and the track nice and warm, times were expected to tumble and possibly some pb's and class records.

So after lunch the Healeys took to the track and on the first run in the Sprite class Colin Gale sliced a fraction off his best practice time to record a 39.51 and Steve Casson followed suit with a 39.56 and a new pb, just 4 hundredths behind).  Check out Steve's in-car video footage.  Robin Johnson went slower with a 41.03 as did Phil Gardner (pictured right) in 46.75, but Ian Grainger continued to lower his person best to a 47.09.

In the Big Healey class, Pat Cooper pulled out all the stops and took the lead with a 40.14 a whisker ahead of John Tewson who posted an improved time of 40.17.  Pete Walton had a recurrence of his overdrive woes and finished with a much slower 44.60, yet Claire Giles continued to lower her time to a 44.33.

In the Jensen Healey class, Paul Baker went slower with a 42.41 and David Lane went faster to post a 43.04.

On to the final run of the day and in the Sprite class, both Colin and Steve both went slower so Colin took first and Steve second, yet Robin Johnson finally put a good run together to finish with a respectable for him time of 39.93 to take third place.  Both Phil Gardner and Ian Grainger (pictured below) posted pb's on their last run, Phil with a 45.57 (nearly 3 secs off his previous best) and Ian with a 46.53 (also nearly 3 secs off his previous best).

In the Big Healey class, Pat Cooper went even faster to finish with an excellent 39.92 and John Tewson went a fraction slower with a 40.29 to hold second place from Pete Walton who ended with his best time of the day of 41.70 (still with O/D problems - but see in-car video footage) and Claire Giles who went a tad slower to end with a 44.50.

The competition is always going to be close in the Jensen Healey class as both drivers recorded their fastest runs on the last run of the day and ended up 0.82 secs apart, with this time Paul Baker on 41.06 (a pb and new class record - see in-car video footage) and David Lane on 41.88.

So the final results were:

Sprite Class: 1st Colin Gale, 2nd Steve Casson, 3rd Robin Johnson, 4th Phil Gardner and 5th Ian Grainger.

Big Healey Class: 1st Pat Cooper (pictured right), 2nd John Tewson, 3rd Peter Walton and 4th Claire Giles.

Jensen Healey Class: 1st Paul Baker and 2nd David Lane

A fabulous day's hill climbing at this very well organised venue.  We also had two potentially new drivers (one with a 3000 and the other a 100) come along to see the racing, have a chat with the drivers, take a close look at the cars they would be competing against and discuss what they would need to do to their cars and safety equipment they would need to pass scrutineering.  Let's hope they go to the next stage and join us for their first event.  If anyone else is thinking about taking part, come along to see the Healeys at our next event at Goodwood on Saturday 11 May and have a chat.

Click on the links to see the full results from this and all events this season.  To see all the pictures, in-car and outside videos go to our Gallery page.  If you want to see the sprint and hill climb records for each class and venue, then go to  the Big Healey and Jensen Healey records and the Sprite records pages.

Want to start Sprinting and Hill Climbing?

If you own a Healey or Jensen Healey and you like what you see on this website and want to find out more then click here to take a look at our Beginners Guide.  If you want to get involved, then send an email to Paul Baker our Championship Organiser at paulbaker51@yahoo.co.uk   New drivers are always made very welcome.

 

Round 1 - Curborough - 14 April 2019

(Words by LC Branch and Pics/videos by Jackie Baker)

The first round of the 2019 season saw us back at the Curborough sprint track after our practice day there two weeks ago.  The weather was very cold with a heavy early frost and a strong easterly wind that meant that the temperature did not climb much above 5 degrees all day, however, at least it stayed dry.

We had 15 drivers spread across our three classes including two guest drivers in the form of Pat Cooper and Joe Mackrell, who were out for the first time competitively in Pat's recent acquisition (pictured right), a race-spec Frogeye Sprite in a very bright orange, which he has nicknamed 'Tango'.  As the car does not meet our sprite regs, Pat and Joe were invited guests.

The Shand's were out in force, with Garrow and Max out in their new red creation.  A Mk4 Sprite with a Swiftune 1380cc engine.  Also present was Murray Shand in his black 3000.  The Sprite class also had last year's champion, Colin Gale in his very green Sprite, as was Robin Johnson in the well know very yellow Frogeye.  Unfortunately, Lawrence Maudsley had to withdraw at the last moment from the event but plans to be at Gurston next weekend.

In the Big Healey class we had the 3000's of Pete Walton, Trish C-P, Will Richards and Richard Mason in his freshly repainted and very smart 3000 (pictured right)with John Ducker out in his 100.

This year we have a second Jensen Healey to give David Lane some competition in the JH class, with Paul Baker out for the first time in his black ex-circuit race car.

Practice got underway and despite the cold weather the times were surprisingly quick.  Colin Gale headed the timing sheet overall and in the Sprite class with a best time of 68.64, just half a second off his previous best at this track.  Richard Mason was quickest in the Big Healey class with a 68.88 and Paul Baker was a fraction ahead of David lane in 73.13.

After practice it was clear that Pete Walton's 3000 had an overdrive problem that meant that he could not select reverse gear.  After much attention the O/d could not be coaxed into life so the car had to be retired for the day.

After lunch, the timed runs started and in the Sprite class it was Colin Gale who continued to improve posting a pb time of 67.98 from Max Shand (pictured right) with a 70.64, then father Garrow in 71.75 and Robin Johnson in a rather tardy for him, 72.77.

In the Big Healey class, it was Richard Mason leading but with a slower time of 69.67, followed by Will Richards in 73.15, Trish C-P in 76.03 a whisker ahead of John Ducker in 76.13, and Murray Shand in 82.35 but complaining of engine problems.

In the Jensen Healey class, David Lane took the lead with a 72.50 from Paul Baker, a bit further back in 73.25.

On to the last run.  In the Sprite class, Colin Gale reduced his time further to end with a 67.93 and a pb from Max Shand who knocked off a further second with a 69.58 and a pb (check out the in-car video footage of his run).  Robin Johnson reduced his previous run time by 2.5 secs to end with a much improved 70.22 from Garrow Shand who finished with a 72.09 and a pb (see in-car video footage).

In the Big Healey class, Richard Mason left his fastest run of the day until last, to end with a 68.77 and a pb.  Will Richards also went quicker to finish with a 72.80, as did Trish C-P with a 75.10.  John Ducker reduced his time to a 75.63 and Murray Shand sorted his engine problems as he knocked over 4 seconds off his first run time to finish with a 77.96.

In the Jensen Healey class Paul Baker (pictured right) went fractionally quicker on this run with a 73.18 (see in-car video footage) a whisker ahead of David Lane in 73.25, but David's first run time was the fastest overall.

As this was a target time event, the actual times recorded by the drivers had to be compared with the pre-allocated target times set for them.  We were fortunate to have a willing volunteer (well I think he was will !!) in the form of Rafe Haywood to undertake this role as Steve Casson was not present at the event.  So Rafe's pencil was sharpened and eraser not far away and the results for each class were calculated manually - they were as follows:

Sprite Class: 1st Max Shand (Pictured right receiving his award with his son), 2nd Colin Gale, 3rd Robin Johnson, 4th Garrow Shand

Big Healey Class: 1st Richard Mason, 2nd John Ducker, 3rd Murray Shand, 4th Trish C-P, 5th Will Richards and 6th Pete Walton.

Jensen Healey Class:  1st David Lane, 2nd Paul Baker

So that ended our first outing for the year.  We had a good turnout of Healeys and some great racing, but let's hope the rest are a bit warmer.  Our next round will be at Gurston Down on Sunday 21 April, so be there if you can.

Click on the links to see the full results from this and all events this season.  To see all the pictures, in-car and outside videos go to our Gallery page.  If you want to see the sprint and hill climb records for each class and venue, then go to  the Big Healey and Jensen Healey records and the Sprite records pages.

Want to start Sprinting and Hill Climbing?

If you own a Healey or Jensen Healey and you like what you see on this website and want to find out more then click here to take a look at our Beginners Guide.  If you want to get involved, then send an email to Paul Baker our Championship Organiser at paulbaker51@yahoo.co.uk   New drivers are always made very welcome.