Vince Hawtree

What started out as a WEB site to promote Autocross seems to have evolved into a blog.

 
MGJ Brands Hatch Winter Stages 2013 (Roy’s Vauxhall Corsa)
 
 
My 2013 motor sport season got off to an unexpected early start when Roy Gravestock asked me to co-drive at Brands Hatch. Tim Ball, Roy’s regular co-driver suffered a minor heart attack towards the end of 2012. During the event I had major issues with my reading glasses. They kept sliding up over my eyes so I couldn’t see outside the car; if I removed the glasses I could see outside but couldn’t read the notes. Unfortunately the clutch broke on the second stage bringing my co-driving experience to a premature end. Co-driving is challenging and stressful, in future I will do the easy bit (driving) and someone else can occupy Roy's silly seat. Thankfully Tim passed his medical shortly after the event.

X-Part Endurance Rally (Nova SRi)
 
















 
There is more to endurance rallying than simply driving fast. My co-driver for the X-Part was Kev Tilsey. This was our first Endurance Rally so we agreed not to go mad and aim for a finish. The selective’s were rough in places so to preserve the car we avoided the larger pot holes and didn't cut corners. Our selective times were reasonably good. The main problem was we were losing time on the road sections. To avoid going OTL we cut the route in places and achieved our objective; a finish. We decided to drive home immediately after the rally, when I got indoors at 3AM the world was swaying, like when you get off a boat after long cruise, weird.
 
B19 North Weald Sprint (Ginetta G32)
 
 
North Weald has changed again during my Autocross sabbatical. Lots of new track layout options, some better than others as I was to discover a few events later. It rained all day; not a problem though because Sprints are fun in the wet. Justin Andrews driving a Suburu Impreza was really chuffed to get FTD. And I was pleased to win my class first time out.
 
Sevenoaks North Weald Sprint (Ginetta G32)
 
Sevenoaks run their sprints in the opposite direction to B19. The paddock and start were located on the concrete apron area near the toilet block. The entire track flowed better and felt it was safer because we were going much slower between the gate posts. There was a tight 90º right before the main tarmac straight followed by a bumpy 4th gear chicane as the track crossed the runway. After the hairpin turn a sequence of 3rd and 4th gear corners on the main runway completed the layout. Good track, good weather and a good day’s motorsport... and I won my class again.
 
HCAAC New Debden Sprint (Ginetta G32)
 
 
 
The old Debden track was a bit frustrating, especially the roundabout. The new track layout is much better. HCAAC have kept the best bits of the previous track and added a bus-stop chicane, a 3rd gear 180º across the runway and an additional chicane before the Kart Track. The meeting was oversubscribed so I guess the new track meets with universal approval. I was leading my class for most of the day (by a very small margin); but had battery problems on the last timed run and dropped to third.
 
WSMC Debden Targa Rally (Nova SRi)
 
 
 
 
 
The Debden Targa was even better than last years Woodbridge Targa. There was some concern before the event about the rough gravelly tracks, but I think after the event everyone agreed they enjoyed the more challenging roads. Kev was co-driving for me again. We did the first three selective’s at a sensible pace and then I went a bit crazy. Feeling over confident I did stupid things like going too fast into corners, inducing over-steer, forgetting the car was FWD, lifting off mid corner and half spinning. Kev just kept reading the notes, unfazed by my antics. Hand-brake turns were also work in progress.
 
DeLado Rally-Sprints (Nova SRi)
 
The big difference from last year is the change of car. The Ginetta was always too temperamental for DeLado, also you sit too low so just see a sea of cones, in the Nova you look down onto the track. With this new panoramic view FWD clicked on in my brain and it all became natural and flowing (aided by a newly installed quick rack and hydraulic hand-brake). An unexpected problem at DeLado is I can’t hear the Nova’s quiet Road Rally spec engine, (at DeLado we wear a crash helmets). I have fitted a shift light so know when to change up, but it’s difficult to know when to change down. The first and third events where located on the normal big field and the second on the smaller more challenging hill side field.
 
Javalin's Jumbo Targa Rally 2013. (the Nova again)
 
  
 
Wethersfield Airfield was last used for CMC stage rallies in the late 1990s. For this initial Targa Rally we were confined to a relatively small area, if this 2013 event works out we should be awarded more space next year.
 
The drivers were warned the tests were compact and complicated, they were advised to go steady and be guided by their co-drivers. Most ignored the good advice, were too exuberant and made stupid mistakes like missed parts of the route. We got lost on test 3 and had to wait for the next car to find our way out. For our blunder we were awarded a maximum stage time that happened to be quicker than the time we actually achieved and the same as crews who made lesser mistakes, so amazingly we were still well placed for the remainder of the rally.
 
Kev was co-driving for me again. With my new FWD proficiency I was able to concentrate on Kev’s instructions and we didn’t make any more mistakes (except for an overshoot and some confusion where someone had moved a number of cones to avoid an oil spill). Overall another good Targa Rally, not as good as Debden but with more space next year Wethersfield has the potential to go from good to excellent.
 
 
X-Part Endurance Rally  chelmsfordmc.co.uk/Endurance
Targa Rally's chelmsfordmc.co.uk/Targa                   
Delado Rally-Sprints www.rally-world.com/delado/
Wickford Autotests www.wickfordautoclub.co.uk


For suggestions, corrections and link requests please e-mail vhawtree at tesco.net
An autonomous resource for existing and would-be Autocross, Autotest, Autograss and Rally-Sprint competitors. 
Subpages (1): Driver Profile