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Thorne’s Trauma

Rod Thorne Racing

12:28pm 4th September 2012

The prospect of season long adversaries Rod Thorne and Terry Graves going ‘head to head’ in a fierce battle for victory was denied the Wiscombe Park audience when the Frampton driver’s Pilbeam MP58 suffered transmission failure, mostly likely to be a differential failure, as the car was leaving the start-line.  Thorne was quickly offered a drive in the up to 1100 c.c. racing car class behind the wheel of the Alfa Dana owned by Poole driver John Forsyth. The difference in the two machines could not have been more marked. Thorne’s usual mount, the Pilbeam, being specifically designed for speed hillclimbing  and equipped with a three and a half litre racing engine whilst the Alfa Dana has its origins back in the 1950’s as a circuit racing car and is powered by a 500 c.c.

Despite the disparity of power and performance it did enable the garage proprietor a weekend of motor sport whilst Ed Hollier annihilated Graves and the rest of the opposition with his 1600 c.c. Suzuki Hayabusa powered Pilbeam MP62. A week spent changing the set-up of the car would lead to an improved performance and by the end of Saturday’s practice session Ed was wearing a wide grin having posted a time of 36.47 seconds to go fastest.

Being fast in the official afternoon runs is what matters however and the Ottery St Mary driver faced stern competition in the form of Rod Thorne’s 3500 c.c. Judd powered Pilbeam MP58 as well as Terry Graves with his Gould GR37. The engine of which offered the same displacement as Thorne’s. Hollier’s confidence showed in his driving as he attacked the 900 metre course with great brio to shave six hundredths of a second from his practice best and to forge an advantage over his nearest challenger of eight tenths of a second. The final climb of the day saw Hollier seal victory with an improved time of 36.34 seconds. Andrew Dinner brought his MP82 Pilbeam into second place overall with a 37.21 second climb, one tenth faster than Graves.

The following day the Hollier/Pilbeam combo found more speed despite the overcast and sometimes damp weather. A best time of 35.95 seconds brought another overall win, on this occasion by more than six tenths of a second from Graves and the Gould.

The large capacity Sports Libre class saw Colin Pook loose the lead, in the Saturday event, on the last run of the day. The Frampton driver’s five litre Rover V8 powered Pilbeam MP43 sports racer being beaten by Doug Bennett and his 2.3 litre turbocharged Sylva Striker. The following day Bennett improved his time to claim another victory over the MP43 but on this occasion the driver in the runner-up slot was Hayley Thorne.

Lyme Regis driver and reigning Bridge Tyres & Wheels Wiscombe Park champion, Craig Moore, took two victories across the weekend in his Ford Cortina GT, contesting the over 1600 c.c. Rally car class in a bid to be the first Wiscombe champion to successfully defend his title. A climb of 43.75 seconds on Saturday comfortably defeated the Mk2 Escorts of Michael Williams and Tim Porter whilst an improvement of sixteen hundredths of a second the following day enabled a repeat performance.

A bid for a quick time to maximise the number of championship points may well have contributed to the demise of Lee Moore. Third equal with Ed Hollier in the standings prior to the weekend the Citroen AX GT driver clipped the bank, on the approach to the right-hand bend at The Gate, and inverted the French machine which unfortunately brought an end to the event for the Axminster driver.

This weekend (September 8/9) sees the final events of the season at Wiscombe Park with the MG Car Club taking the stage on the Saturday with an entry which will see modern classics, performance cars and kit cars take to the track with the MGs as well as a selection of single-seater racing cars including a certain Ed Hollier. The following day sees a meeting dedicated to motorcycles including solos, sidecars and combinations. The testing course at Wiscombe Park always provides a spectacle with the motorcycles.  

Local riders will be well represented in the entry with Kirsty Glover contesting the 500 c.c. class on her Yamaha SR alongside Weymouth’s Keith Haines who will ride a 470 c.c. KTM 450 SMR. Haines will also be out in the 750 class on a Aprilia SXV550. In the sidecar category Portland duo, Kev and Sara Dewell will continue their learning curve on the Windle Suzuki whilst Weymouth’s Tom Clifford will be busy as passenger Jon Staden on his Jacobs Suzuki and the Suzuki Trike of Alex Warren.

Admission details and further information available at www.wiscombepark.co.uk.

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