I started the season racing at Mallory Park and I also finished the season at Mallory. The first one in May was only 20 minutes, but this was the real test of the season, i.e. a 45 minute race and driving on my own for the whole of the race.
Friday’s weather didn’t bode well for the weekend, as it poured with rain on my way up the M1 then, we had sub-zero temperatures over night. I arrived at the circuit at 06:45 with a severe frost. However, it was dry and the prospects looked good for racing and the car.
Qualifying went well and I achieved a 1.00.874 and positioned 5th out of nine Jaguar XK’s in this mixed-marque Top Hat, Cloth Cap race. I had even beaten my best quali time in my old XK150 by 1.5 seconds. I felt that the car was handling much better and the long right-hand bend at Gerrards felt very comfortable even in the damp but drying, early morning conditions.
As you can guess by now, we were the first race of the day, with Quali at 09:30 and the race at 12:55 hours.
So what about the brakes you ask? As you know by now, I converted the front Drum Brakes to Disks for Donington Park, but I suffered violent vibration from them and I felt it most through the steering wheel. Therefore, it was back to basics again. Keith and I removed the brake pads and I filed the glaze from them, then emery-clothed them on a flat surface. Then some more emery cloth was applied to the disks which showed pad material embedded into the disks and the near-side outer disk face was looking decidedly mottled from the vibrating pad to disk contact.
Therefore, the subsequent 45 minute race was going to be a real test of technology and engineering knowledge. At Donington, if you remember, between Quali and the race the rear brake shoes at ‘Ceased on’. This time we had backed off the brake adjusters to leave a little slack.
During the race, and with some slack in the rear brakes to allow for some lining swell, I had to pump the brake pedal once for each corner BUT, the front disks were really doing their job and much of my confidence was restored with faster approaches to the corners and more ‘Last Minute’ braking especially for Gerrards Corner and the Hairpin.
This renewed confidence gave me even faster lap times in achieving a 1 minute dead during the race. This is the fastest I have ever driven around Mallory and especially with only a 3.4 Litre engine, only 2 SU Carbs and drum brakes on the rear.
The car was handling beautifully and, apart from the Class ’D’ XK’s (Very Modified cars) against my Class ‘A’ FIA (Appendix ‘K’ spec’d) car, I was extremely happy.
I finished as I had started from Quali, 5th out of 9 Jaguar XK’s, the only 3.4 Litre XK, as the others were 3.8 litre engines running triple carbs and on disk brakes, this was a major achievement, ending with yet another 1st in Class Trophy.
In conclusion, I have completed 8 races, 2 Test Sessions, 1 Track Day. 6 of the races were with the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club where I have gained all 6 trophies and what is more to the point, I have finished every race. At the beginning of the season this was a brand new restoration car. This is surely a tribute to all those specialists who have contributed to my project! Thanks to all of you.
A final thank you to Roger and Nick Gage who have gone the extra mile in providing me with essential action photography through the race season.
That now concludes the 2010 race season for another year. I hope very much to keep your readership going into 2011.