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Lydden Race Results

October 24th, 2011

Race Report:

The build up to the event was as furious as ever. Not only was this set to be the first Aircooled Only Bug race for nearly two decades, there were also three cars making their debut appearance on the grid, the Blue No.5 car (On loan from Craig ‘Gandpa’ Winfield) driven by Stephen ‘Buggy’ Page, the No.59 College of North West London (CNWL) / VW Heritage car, being piloted by Trigger from Thingamies, and the No.58 VolksWorld Car being raced by ‘Dodgy’ Dave Dodge, the VolksWorld Competition winner!

The crew at the college had been burning the midnight oil installing new equipment supplied by VW Heritage, breather systems, external oil cooler, new switchgear, new extinguisher, NACA ducts, and lots of other components into both the VolksWorld and College cars to meet the strict MSA specifications.

With the hours evaporating fast both cars were raced over together to Trigger at Thingamies HQ near Heathrow (metaphorically speaking of course.. Ahem.. strictly in a non-competitive manor!). Trigger’s crew immersed themselves in the some additional race prep and final safety checks of both cars. This was the first time Trigger had even sat in the CNWL/VW Heritage car, and he was going to be racing it in 48hrs!

With less than 24hrs till driver sign-on disaster struck, a tow-vehicle blew a head gasket! Cookie, one of the other racers, dropped everything and took a spare T4 Trig had in his yard to the College workshops, where Mechanical Engineering tutor John Skinsley swapped out a driveshaft and then procured a fresh MoT.

Race day arrived, and the bugs set off on convoy to Lydden Hill Circuit in Kent. It’s a club racers favourite track, the circuit is set in a valley so gives unrivaled spectator viewing too! The temperatures were chilly but the sky was blue, so we were on for a dry race! There was a nice turn out of VW’s along with some 356 Porsches and a spyder replica in the grounds.

All the bugs passed scrutaneering (A nervous moment for all drivers!), and we all geared up for Qually.

Then the second disaster of the day.. just as the clerk of the course announced over the tannoy that the Beetles need to make their way to the fire-up lane, the VolksWorld car blew an oil line in the paddocks, dumping VR1 Racing oil everywhere! Some rapid spannering from Florence Butcher and Mavis from Thingamies saw Dodgy Dave and the race car make it to qually with just seconds to go! Nothing like a bit of drama to enhance your debut qualifying session!

Qually saw unfortunately saw three retirements. The silver No.60 car with Cookie at the wheel, he was improving his lap times when he was let down by a 50p oil seal on an oil cooler.. and ended up retiring (serious damage avoided so will be out next season)

The blue No.5 car, driven by Stephen ‘Buggy’ Page was building up his confidence and pace consistently, the car he borrowed from Craig ‘Grandpa’ Winfield, only to retire due to engine issues.. to be fair the engine was a complete unknown quantity, and will now get a refresh and we’ll see him out again next season too!

Finally the last retirement was ‘Grandpa’ in his No.78 car, which was really gutting, as he had personally put masses of time and effort getting the race organized, and he seized his new stroker motor after putting in just a few laps with great times on cold tyres.

Perftec Phil in the yellow No.96 car ended up at the front of the grid for the race, with Simon ‘Monster’ Sergides, taking the second spot in his asbo-orange No.48 car. Completing the grid was Trigger in the No.59 CNWL/VW Heritage car and Dodgy Dave, the competition winner, in the No.59 VolksWorld car. Would have been great to have all 7 cars on the starting grid.. but that’s racing!

The lights went out and the bugs shot into the distance, Dodgy Dave had an issue with first gear and set off in second – damn –

The first few laps saw some hilarious fisty cuffs between the yellow car of Perftec Phil, the orange bug Monster and Trigger in the No.59 CNWL / VW Heritage Car, with Monster and Trigger swapping positions in a fight that was allowing Perftec Phil to pull a lead.

It was all tyre squealing action, apparently the spectators had their hearts in their mouths just watching the antics play out.. imaging what it was like for the drivers! It was heating up to be fierce battle for the podium positions.. and the usually reliable orange No48 car Monster had to pull in due to nothing more than a thrown fan belt.. but ended his race prematurely.

This released Trigger to hunt down Perftec Phil, and each lap he drew closer until they were bumper to bumper! Meanwhile Dodgy Dave in the No.58 VolksWorld car was driving a consistent race… would Trigger and Phil trip each other up and give him the lead, but either way he was on for a podium position if he could just keep it all together and stay on the track without incident.

The pressure from Trigger intensified, but Perftec Phil drove an epic defensive line, and made his car as wide as possible, lap after lap they were wheel to wheel.
With just a few laps to go Trigger made a brave move and took the lead for the first time, with Phil now piling on the pressure from behind in a role reversal!

Eventually they passed the chequered flag with Trigger just in front, taking the win in the College/VW Heritage car, Perftec Phil in second place after a fantastic battle, and Dodgy Dave taking the third place on the podium in his debut race, debuting the VolksWorld car!

Reliability proved to be the biggest challenge of the weekend. VW Heritage supplied parts in two of the podium winning cars, and featured their ‘all-new’ 1641cc engine which has been relentlessly tested in the VolksWorld car prior to the race, which is a testament to their quality.. abuse doesn’t get much tougher than circuit racing!

Special Thanks to all the sponsors:

—– The Stats —–

Qually times were:

53.007 No.78 Craig ‘Grandpa’ Winfield
53.642 No.60 Steve ‘Cookie’ McGillivary
54.616 No.5 Stephen ‘Buggy’ Stephen Page
54.728 No.96 Phil ‘Perftec’ Phil Thompson
55.634 No.48 Simon ‘Monster’ Simon Sergides
57.253 No.59 Paul ‘Trigger’ Oldfield
1:05.946 No.58 ‘Dodgy’ Dave Dodge

Although these times have some mitigating factors..

Grandpa put in his time on only 3 laps with cold tyres before having mechanical issues.. so he was looking to be on fire.. would have loved to have seen what he would have achieved on hot tires and a motor firing on all four.

Cookie was improving his times when the Oil Seal on the cooler blew :(

Buggy Steve was putting in a remarkable show, on his debut race, but he too had mechanical issues.

Perftec Phil knew he could shave at least a second off his time, in his reliable and trusty steed.. and proved it in the race!

Monster had a noise restrictor in the header to get through the sound test, which strangled the life out of the motor!

Trigger was getting to grips with the CNWL / VW Heritage car - time issues meant that the ride height wasn’t dialed in so he was taming the wild stallion, and driving round the issues, as he familiarised himself with the car - shaving 4 seconds off his qually time in the race itself

And finally Dodgy Dave, the VolksWorld competition prize winner, who had only taken his Race License a few weeks previously, improved consistently during the race taking nearly 7 seconds off his qualifying time - which is a lot to find on a short circuit like Lydden.. so congratulations (and it was a level head that got him home in one piece to take the 3rd spot on the podium in the race!)

Perftec Phil - took the fastest lap in his 1641cc motor!

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