Doc chased by the rapid NSU of Heidi Akre Photo: Trond Bull-Enger

The new Historic FIA period G2 Imp surpassed everyones expectations in it’s first live-performance (except, perhaps it’s driver and builder?) by performing nearly flawlessly.

Friday didn’t start off to well – Doc arrived on track in heavy rain, set up camp, and got ready to go out for free practice – but Pumkin did not want to start at all – there was a complete lack of life. A basic systems check found plenty of spark, but no fuel. The carbs just arrived from the UK pre-race, and were fitted the night before. After enjoying working outside in the monsoon for a few hours, Doc traced the problem to float settings – and fixed it just in time for my arrival at the track. We quickly got the car to and through scrutineering, which proved very uneventful as they didn’t even ask for a HTP! In addition, the car was weighed with the driver on-board, which isn’t exactly how it’s done in FIA racing, but anyhoo….
We were informed we were too late to run the last free practice pass, so parked the car and opened a couple of Heinekens. Only then did we discover we would indeed have made the last session. Oh well.

Barbecue and chatter were up to normal standards, and in the wee hours we got out of the downpour and into our comfy, warm and homely “Commer” rig, and got some shuteye. This didn’t last long, as we were brutally awakened at 04:00 by an apparent storm outside, our tent was slamming into the side of the truck. So we got out and tied it down better, only for the same thing to happen 15 minutes later, and so it went for a few rounds until we tore the tent down because the wind had picked up in anger. Back to sleep for 30 mins before we were woken yet again, this time by somebody else’s tent that had taken off somewhere in the paddock and flown over to dive-bomb our sleeping quarters….

Eventually, morning came with no rain but plenty of wind. The Imp was fuelled & oiled & aired, and Doc went out for some exploration during the warm-up. Everything worked fine, and it dawned on my just how insanely YELLOW that car is – it nearly hurts the eyes. Impossible to miss!

On the grid

We checked over the car, refuelled and were just about to embark for qualifying when the starter engine seemed to spin in free air. I grabbed a hammer ready to perform the old Give-a-Lucas-Part-A-Good-Whack when I discovered that it had actually broken it’s mounting. So I quickly bolted it out, gave the imp a push-start and he was off. Qualifying went smoothly, and he lined up 2nd in class. Another topping of petrol, some minor adjusting of the rear dampers, and the race was on. A slight lack of straightline speed was apparent, and he had to give up chasing class leader Ketil in his very rapid and perfectly turned-out Fiat Abarth 1000TC, and soon had his mirrors full of Heidi Akre’s stunning NSU TT. Down the main straight she god a good tow, but Doc would have none of it and shut the door firmly. From there on in it was a very tight see-saw race until the finish. A super debut for a super Imp with 2nd in class.

We were in quite good spirits that evening (to put it mildly…) and the evening was spent with pot ceremonies, some excellent food and vin rouge, plus the obligatory track walkabout. We won the walkabout by about half an hour despite sandbagging and taking time to give our competition drive-through penalties from the pit lane. We also got to test the pit-entry horn to the fullest effect. A bit woozy from the lack of sleep, we turned in early, and got a solid 8 hours of sleep.

Sunday was sunny, cold and windy, but much better. We repaired the broken starter motor, re-set the ignition timing, and sat around doing nothing for a long time until the final race. The grid was based on lap times, but they made a right mess of things so Doc was put too far back. Not to worry, strategies were laid out, and as soon as the race was on he lunged to grab the spots back. The NSU made a very rapid start, but after a few laps Doc made a bold outside outbraking pass after the straight, and made it stick. From there on he just couldn’t keep pace with the Fiat yet again. It was just those few tenths quicker down the straights. Safely home, and another solid 2nd place.

Finally Doc is back on track – literally!

Plans are on the table to get more straightline speed. We need to look at the gear ratios as last time here we ran Yokohama tires of smaller diameter than the new ACB10s, and the carburettors/ignition need a good talking to. Unfortunately, all the quality rolling road shops are overbooked with no space until after the holidays.

A Pot for Pumpkin!

Next race up is in a month at Velodromloppet, Karlskoga, Sweden, where we’ll run both cars if all goes to plan. This was a vital boost for Doc and myself – a trouble free Imp run, some good racing and great atmosphere as expected. See you there?