24-25th July 2000
The Day I Realised a Life-long Ambition.
By Gary Lewis
Saturday 24th July, what a day. Six months ago I had a phone call informing me that there was to be a Mini show at Mallory Park raceway and that ‘Joe public’ was to be allowed to race on the circuit in a ‘race wot you brung’ day. My ambition has always been to be a professional race driver. As this never came to be, Mallory Park was like the Holy Grail beckoning to me. A new Mini was being prepared for this prestigious day but time and shortage of the folding stuff beat me, so trusty old ‘Bart’ had to be 'the one’.
Sat. I won’t go on about the camping as nothing could have spoilt this day but the lack of organisation was most apparent. We arrived at Mallory and firstly set up the club stand. Then eventually found somewhere to camp, this done a phone call to Allan to see if Hazel had given birth found that there was no news and rightly Allan couldn’t leave her just in case.
Back down to the club stand and I have itchy fingers just watching other Mini’s race round the track, finally off I set, books in and waits to get on the track. Less than five minutes later we’re off. The pace cars took us round to familiarise us with the race lines and the braking spots (not that brakes were really needed). The pace cars went off into the pits and we were away, flat out into Gerards bend, unbelievable, out onto the back straight and floor it, Bart was loving every minute, down into the esses, slight brake, turn and floor it again through the esses straight into the hairpin. The hairpin was pure adrenaline, brake, down into third, straight into second then full lock, out and floor it again, flat out pulling to the right, change up just as the left hander took me down onto the main straight, the torque and force that poor old Bart was taking was incredible. Flat out along the straight, keeping to the right, then as Gerards appeared pull to the left, slight brake and lock it round to take this monster of a bend nearly flat out. Back out onto the back straight. Each lap was faster and more thrilling, The rest was a blur, but only too soon it was over. I went round again later in the day with Carl as a passenger, and went even quicker as the first time nerves had totally dissappeared. The adrenaline rush had me high for a week. My ambition achieved and Bart undamaged, a truly great weekend, just a shame that it’s another year till the next one,
Mark's thoughts on the Mallory Park Mini Racing Festival.
After months of hype and anticipation (not to mention hours of cleaning!) the big weekend of the year had finally arrived. Yes it was time to pack the camping gear, cleaning items and food and drink into Dumbo, and head off to Mallory Park in Leicestershire. On our arrival at the track we decided to find our club stand. We went down a very bumpy track where I expect most of the Mini's caught their exhausts. After setting the stand and our tents up on the 'camp site' which was more like a lawn, (for which we seem to have been the only one's to pay the £5 per tent). We went back down to the stand, where we met up with my dad who is now a member with his new Cooper. All of the cars on the club stand caused a real stir.
The best part of the entire weekend was when Gary talked me into taking my car on the track, and boy am I glad he did Gareth was my passenger and I think he was some what worried to start off with. OK so I wasn't the fastest car out there but I had a lot of fun, and was most impressed with the response the car got back at the stand. I brought some pics to prove to those of you who didn't go, that I did go on the track. Saturday night was nice and relaxed with us all just sitting around the tents eating and drinking. Sunday was Race day unfortunately I didn't get to see much of the racing as I was to busy answering questions about my car (I must get a detailed spec sheet from Downton).
I was disappointed with the trade stands as the weekend had been billed to be bigger and better than Mini 40. It was nice to see a couple of the lads from Guernsey who had come over for the weekend and we're going to Aston Hall on Sunday.
My only question is when's the next one?