AMOC Intermarque Championship: Donington Park

This was my first outing with this prestigious series which is one of the longest running Championships in UK club motorsport. I'm trying to find a challenge not only learning how to master my new Mustang but also a series that I can compete in fully next year.

Mustang-v-DB4 AMOC


Based on the entry list for this event it will certainly be that!  With Ferrari 355's and Porsche 968's alongside Aston GT4's my 1965 Mustang was one of the oldest cars on the grid, beaten only by a gaggle of lightweight DB4's, serious competition indeed.

Adding to the pressure was a wet track after persistent rain the night before, not aided by having to push the car to scrutineering at the risk of waking the local populace, despite the 747's flying overhead from East Midlands airport less than half a mile away.

I soon discovered that 410 bhp delivered via a live rear axle and leaf springs is not a recipe for quick driving in the wet. I had my first 180 spin exiting McLean's and found myself 25th on the 26 car grid. Not too impressive but luckily the forecast was for a dry race.

My new pal, fellow Mustang pilot Wayne Langridge was helping out in the pit lane and after a quick refuel and tyre pressure check several hours later I was ready for the off.

Another rolling start, which I am beginning to think are better than standing starts and on a dry track I was quickly making up places, going round the outside of several cars at Redgate and down the Craner Curves to Old Hall bend. The track really suits the long legs of the Mustang and was not a physically demanding as Brands. I've also been doing my best to get fitter so that probably helped too.

I was soon battling with a V8 Vantage which I could not quite get close enough to, to make a pass. The pit window opened after 15 mins, in the 45 minute race. I came in after about 20 mins and the stop went smoothly enough. Luckily all I had to do was sit in the car while Wayne counted off the seconds (60 in total).

Then it was back to it only this time with no idea whatsoever about who I was racing or where I was in the race. I was gaining confidence in my ability to handle 'Awesome Anni' as each lap passed but that confidence took a dent when I was approaching the chicane with two 968's and a 355 hot on my tail. I could actually pull away on the long back straight but under braking all the gains were rapidly lost. On this lap I decided that I would defend the corner rather than have three quick, light sports cars trying to pass me as I turned in.

I quickly realised that trying to outbreak such machinery in a 50 year old car with no servo assistance is not a healthy thing to try and do. Dropping down into 2nd gear a little too soon, travelling a little too quickly meant the inevitable rear axle lock up and I was soon facing the wrong way and looking directly at the three sports racers. I lifted off the brakes and went backwards across the entrance to the chicane allowing two competitors through but the third was forced to stop before broad siding my now stricken baby.

Luckily he did and after losing the best part of a minute getting re started I was under way again. The rest of the race was uneventful, thankfully although I was knackered after 45 mins and this was not helped by having to wait to be weight tested.

Still, all in all I was quite happy with my 12th place finish, which would have been 10th and 3rd in class had I not tried my doomed braking manoeuvre. Lesson learnt I think.

Anni is still breathing too heavily but it does not seem to be impacting upon performance and I will be back out finally making my debut in CSCC Swingng 60's in a few weeks at Rockngham.