Race Report for Nordschleife 2002
Hello FISC fans.
This report has has been slightly modified, since I published the original.
As with last year, I arrived late on friday night. The friday training session was well & truely finished & the only car being worked on was Rob Halewijns. He had a valve stick & they were swapping his cylinder head. I spoke with a couple of my friends for a while. Drank a Coke or 2 in the Spridget Café & about midnight retired to bed.
Rob's car was directly behind my van & on the dot of 06:30 he fired up his engine. To my dismay it seemed to run OK & my sleep was over !
The cars lined up for qualifying & for the first time ever I decided to spectate from outside the circuit. A quick 5 minute drive got me to a good spot & I waited for the cars to come passed.
I had borrowed a good 35mm camera from a friend,to try to get some "calendar" pictures ( Digital is not good enough quality), so I appologise for the lack of pictures in this report. If the 35mm pics are any good I'll add some more pictures later. I also went to "the jump" & took some pics there, so I may have a picture of some of you "flying".
Anyway back to the qualifying. Pieter Bakker was first & not slow ! Like the book title he seemed to be "All arms & elbows" on the first lap, plenty of squeeling tyres & light opposite locking. He was quite a few seconds ahead of the next cars. On his second lap, his lines were much better ( On the 3 apex I could see ) & there was no noticeable tyre squeel. Unfortunately the qualifying times don't show the lap which was quickest ( just the times), but I bet it was the 2nd.
FISC Spridgets qualifying
As usual, some of the cars came round in a large pack & some guys had picked a gap ( Easy to do on a 14 mile lap !) & were driving alone. What surprised me was Antonio, he was almost the last car. Usually he's right at the front (even in qualifying). Speaking to him afterwards, I got the story.
The F1 part of the track has been heavily reworked. The Castrol S chicane at the end of the start/finish straight has been replaced by a complicated set of curves. Antonio had decided this was an easy place to gain a few seconds & had simply driven a few "short laps" & practiced this section. A good idea !. On his full lap he did an 11:03, wasn't satisfied that this was good enough for pole & so did another full lap this time improving to 11:01. This time proved to be good enough for pole position. The closest being 16 seconds behind him.
To give you an idea of the lap times & what a difference the "New complex" has made. The FISC lap record on the old track is held by Rupert Douglas-Pennant with a 10:45:55 lap & average speed of 132.99 Kmh . Antonio had just done a lap 16 seconds slower but the average speed was quicker at 132.935 !!!
Richard Evans in only his 3rd FISC event & possibly his first weekend on the 'ring had got 2nd place. Pieter Bakker & John Faux qualified within 2 seconds of each other.
Most cars got 3 timed laps in . Rob Halewijns car was measured at 114 decibels ( max allowed 98 !) He borrowed a silencer extension & this brought the car down to an acceptable level. I have to say I did notice that David Gibson's ( also first weekend on the 'Ring ) car ( The ex-Rupert Douglas-Pennants car) was running very quietly he qualified in 5th place, proving that noise does not equal speed.
Ian Johnson & John Faux
This is quite a tough circuit on the cars & I'm pleased to say that none had any panel/contact damage. There where however a few mechanical problems. Ian Whitt's halfshaft had "sprung a leak" & filled one of his brake drums with diff oil. Ian Burgins car was showing zero on the temperature gauge so he took it steady. Ian Wright was also having a "bad head" day & swapped his head gasket between practice & race. Somehow Rob Beirmans frogeye had lost most of its oil & it sounded like a bearing had run dry. He didn't start the race.
Ian Whitt tries to blow the oil of his halfshaft, whilst a mate smears toothpaste all over it !
Rob Beirman was the only car not to start. As the cars lined up for the grid, Two buses loaded with pensioners passed them on the grid. I have no idea what that was, but no-one mentioned having to overtake them on the Nordschleife, so I don't even know where they went !
A bus full of pensioners overtakes the FISC cars
I watched the race from the outside of the "new complex" & as the cars took the first bend after the start/finish straight, Richard Evans lead from Antonio, John Faux & Pieter. With everyone else behind them. It was already obvious that Rob Halewijn had a problem, he was miles behind & crawling.
Richard Evans on his his first racing lap at the 'Ring leads the pack
On the second time passed (start of lap 2), Antonio had a clear lead over Richard, John Faux, Pieter, David Gibson & Ian Johnson. There was then a gap & John Moon ( also first weekend on the 'Ring ), Ian Whitt, Simon Page, Michel van Kooten & then Peter Hiley. these guys were all quite close to each other. I'm not sure if they were slowing each other down or dragging each other along....
Lining up for the start
The start of lap 3 showed Antonio pulling away, Pieter, Richard & John Faux rounded in that order, but Pieter slowed on the bend apex & pulled off. His throttle cable had come loose ! To look on the positive side, it happened on the F1 part of the track. If it had happened on the 'Ring itself he could have had a long wait till he got towed away !! Ian Whitt, David Gibson, Ian Johnson & Peter Hiley were still running close together. They had pulled away from Simon Page, although David was having a problem, is car was only running on 3. As Simon was struggling to stay on the track in the complex ( He finished the race with 2 broken valve springs ), Jasper Bardon spun & his car wouldn't start. It took a while & only when the tow-tractor got within a few feet, did the car decide to fire up. Michel von Kooten also came close to joining the "spin club".
Ian Whitt, David Gibson, Ian Johnson & Peter Hiley
A lap later (4th & last lap) & the 1st 3 were the same. Antonio with a comfortable lead, Richard & John close to each other, then an enormous gap ( over 60 seconds ) & the rest arrived. Ian Whitt lead Peter Hiley & Ian Johnson, These 3 had a good lead over the next car. Steve Chapman was out with us for the first time this year & was steadily working his way up the field. I don't want to start a debate here, but has also gone "topless" this year.
Ian Whitt, John Moon & Simon Page
As they crossed the finish line, Antonio had clearly won. Richard Evans & John Faux were seperated by less than 0.5 seconds. These 3 had a 1 min 13 lead over the next 2 cars Peter Hiley & Ian Whitt passed within 0.3 secs of each other. There must have been some great racing out there. Steve Chapmann had amazingly pulled himself up to 7th place, again from my notes he must have passed a few cars on the last lap. As I said, Simon Page had broken 2 valve springs, Ian Johnson was lucky & finished the race with 4 volts in his battery, David Gibson's car was still running on 3, losing power & 4 places. And worst of all, I hear John Moon had quite a big off at at "Kallenhart". He apparently hit the barrier twice, quite hard & seriously bent his car. He is thankfully OK. I did see Simon Page going to tell Johns "team" what he'd seen out on the track.
Nordschleife 2002 winners
The results sheets amazingly show that Antonio wasn't quickest. The fastest lap of the race went to John Faux, but only just ! Richard Evans was 2/100ths of a second slower, their average speed differing by just 0.004 km/h..... Excellent Stuff, these two had been close to each other over the entire 56 miles (or so) of racing. Since the circuit has changed so dramatically, I have entered a new lap record for this track. ( See the lap records table ) & it also has to be said that both John & Richard were 5 seconds slower than Antonios qualifying lap. But since only racing laps count John has the record. Sorry Antonio & sorry Richard - there's always next year !.
Evans, Bertini & Faux in the front for all 56 miles
Whilst I was taking some pictures for the site, I was stood next to a hobby photographer, with a huge lens. I asked him if he'd take some pictures of the FISC cars & maybe there would be some interest amongst the drivers to buy a couple. He agreed to do so. The pictures are of excellent quality. I have created a seperate page, showing the pics. To see them Click here. I would like to show my appreciation by saying...MANY MANY thanks Dr. Kruemmel.
The next race is Zandvoort in 4 weeks or so. I hope to be there. Currently my girlfriend thinks we're having a few days at the seaside, If I'm still alive & walking after I explain "there just happens to be a motor race I'd like to watch, whilst we're in Zandvoort", I'll see you there .