Off to a Winning Start

Off to a Winning Start

It has been a long winter… My last race of 2017 was at the Silverstone 3 hour relay on 30th September 2017. We had a 2 car team, 3000 MkII A (FSL 246) driven by my brother Charlie, Dad Bill and I were sharing with Mark Dunn who had very kindly handed me the keys to his 3000 Mk III (JNP 620C). We had a great race, the format was a 3 hour endurance relay, one car is always ready to go waiting in the pit lane and as one car comes in to change, the other follows it down the pit lane. The first car moves over to the right and the second car continues to join the track. We qualified 4th overall from a grid of 27 teams. By the end of 3 hours of hard racing, we were 3rd overall and 1st in class. Since the last race it has been a long winter, there’s only so much fettling and cleaning that can be done, and aside from a couple of pre-season test days to shake the car down, there wasn’t much high speed action for me. The car didn’t require much maintenance over the winter as it was running so well ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. All that was needed pre 2018 season was to get all of the brakes stripped down, give the car a full service and a rolling road session to check the fuelling.

My first race of 2018 was at Silverstone on 7th April 2018, supporting the brand new Equipe Pre 63’ series, a race designed for pre 1963 sports and GT cars. We have to run on 5.50 Dunlop L sections, not as wide as the 6.00 L’s that we can use in international racing, so a little bit less grip, but the steering is lighter, the car spins it’s wheels easier and moves around a little more. The 5.50L won’t last as long as the 6.00L so we have to bear that in mind. It brings us closer to the well driven MGB’s and TVR Grantura’s. The race is a 40-minute mandatory pitstop sprint, shared between myself and dad, Bill Rawles.

It was a competitive grid of 26 cars. We had stiff competition in the form of a Aston Martin Project 214 recreation and believe it or not, Elva Courier… as well as 12 other Healeys, a mix of 3000’s and 100’s! I qualified our Healey 3rd overall just 0.239 seconds behind pole. Bill started the race… I could say he was a little enthusiastic with applying the throttle at the start, as our Healey sat there in its own tyre smoke, but I may just be being critical… my 3rd place qualification soon became 13th!! But he fought back well over the next 15 minutes to get into 6th before the pit stop and change over. I jumped in with just over 20 minutes to go. We were in a battle with Mike Thorne/Sarah Bennett-Baggs Healey 3000 but after chasing down for many laps the inevitable pitstop handed us 5th, we soon cleared 4th and I was onto the back of the podium, a final push to the flag saw us finish the first race of the year 3rd overall and 1st in class!

The next race was at Brands Hatch over two days, 28th-29th April 2018. In horrible greasy conditions, I couldn’t get the power down in what can only be described as a scary qualifying session, the track was
covered in oil from the MGB V8 session just 10 minutes before. We qualified 7th overall, (have a look on my youtube page for the onboard footage, it makes for an interesting watch! Search ‘Jack Rawles
Racing’ in youtube).

By the time the race came along in the afternoon, it had dried up. The Healey had the power and was no match for the MGB’s, Healey 100’s and Turner, I won the race by 21.999 seconds over a 30-minute race. The second race of the weekend was held on Sunday, in effect, a 24 hour pitstop and the cars would start the race where they finished. MSA rulings state that if a second driver is racing in a double header, they cannot start where the first driver finished. Bill had to start dead last but this time, a greasy track to deal with and apparently …  someone had ruined the tyres the day before, but I am not sure if I agree with that, “they were fine on the last lap I drove!” I said looking at the treaded tyres which could be mistaken for slicks.

From last on the grid, Bill finished 5th overall. Bill was slightly disappointed with this result but we
think he did ok for an old boy! We went home with a pole position from race 1 and a 1st in class
trophy. I have a busy year ahead with races planned in our own car as well as David Grace’s Healey.
Next stop, Brands Hatch GP for the Historic Masters event, a 90 minute pitstop endurance race shared with David Grace. This race is on 26/27th May 2018.

 

‘Drive-it’ Day

‘Drive-it’ Day

 

Our plan this year was to have an easy day for our first event, and as it happens the sun was with us,
after a very stormy night on Saturday.

Signing on

We met at the ‘Kings Head’ at Redlynch near Whiteparish, West Grinstead, Whadden, Alderbury and back via Downton for coffee at 10.30pm. There was a good turn out of 11 cars, including David Tofts freshly restored 100/6 making its maiden club appearance, and looking remarkably smart (not a Sprite in sight, so where are you all?).

Chatting

The time was spent chatting and eventually after signing the MSA form, folk went off for the 19 mile planned drive. The route went through Downton. The countryside was superb in the sun, with primroses and bluebells adorning the banks of the roads. All returned safely, and the pre ordered lunch was served at 12.45pm, and proved a hearty feast which was much enjoyed. Gradually the car park emptied, and we all had an enjoyable drive home. Keep an eye on the New Forest events programme, there are a lot of events to enjoy this year, and we hope to see you out and about!

The lineup

Technical Evening

Technical Evening

The New Forest opened the New Year with an Auto Technical Evening at the Empress of Blandings, Copythorne on 18 January 2018. This pub is the home of the centre, and is able to provide a good sized room above the bar, and this was the venue for the evening.

We are fortunate to have in our centre area, Eastleigh Auto Electrics, and John Burton the owner agreed to come along and spend an evening trying to educate us all on how the parts under the bonnet work, fail and why.

John has titles after his name for the work he does to support the Jaguar Drivers Club. They are, Director of the JDC, Technical Advisor to the ‘E’ Type register of the JDC, and finally, Chairman of the ‘E’ Type register.

A large table was set out with parts that John had brought along. These ranged from a huge 12 volt battery to the contact points of a fuel pump. We were told that we should all carry a digital volt meter, and that unless the battery showed 12.65 volts when tested ‘IT IS NOT FULLY CHARGED’

Steadily and methodically John went through each item providing anecdotes, facts and warnings on why they break down if you abuse them, ignore them or they were poorly made in the first place (being polite here).

John’s favourite part had to be a ‘bolt on’ radiator cooling fan of approximately 15 inches diameter. This was picked up and put down at least 10 times to demonstrate that its make up actually blocked the air from passing through it and every other bar should be cut from it to let some cooling effect happen, or better still throw it away!

As you will see from the photographs, there were many members in the room (31 in all) and questions were frequently asked regarding all these new parts now sold with electronics involved, to this John pointed out that they may not always be the best step forward for the older car. ie: Do not purchase a rotor arm with a rivet through it, they will short out! After a refreshment break, we then had a conducted tour through some 200 photos on the overhead screen. These were of cars that have crossed John’s path in need of attention for mechanical or electrical works.

The evening broke up with a resounding thank you to John, for his knowledge and detailed explanations, and then folks gathered around the table of parts to debate further points of interest to individual members, which went on for another 30 mins.

Thanks again John for your time and effort.

2018 Dinner Dance & Prize Giving

2018 Dinner Dance & Prize Giving

Held on the 3rd February at The Hotel Miramar, Bournemouth. Again in 2018 we had reason to celebrate an anniversary, so The ‘New Forest Centre’ had a special cake made for the traditional afternoon teas at ‘The Hotel Miramar’ and marked the year that the Frogeye Sprite was launched at the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix on the 20th May.

Frogeye owners present were gathered to cut the cake, and with tea served to 40 members enjoyed a very pleasant afternoon catching up. Welcome guests and officers of the club from outside our centre included Tony & Caroline Curren & John Keener.

Our evening festivities commenced at 6.45pm in the ‘Garden Suite’ bar, and dinner followed at 7.30pm. Peter Healey, our centre President, had joined us by this time having been glued to the television in the afternoon to watch rugby!!

This year 56 enjoyed a super meal and whilst coffee was served, our raffle ladies did a great job of selling lots of tickets for the 21 prizes on display. Our centre is very fortunate to receive support from company sponsors:- Bill Rawles Classic Cars, Ahead4Healeys, Rawles Motorsport together with our own members, so our thanks go out to all who assist the committee in providing great enjoyment for the members of our centre.

Before the raffle, the prizes were given out for the 2017 season, and they were:-
Competition: Alan & Sandra Pickford
Concours: BJ7/BJ8 Gordon & Sue Grant
Roadster: Phil & Julie Gardner
100: Trevor & Alison Hirst
Jensen Shield: Jim & Rowena Palmer
Rev-Counter: Trevor & Alison Hirst
New Comers Award: David Burton
Clubman of the Year: Brian Loades

The evening continued later with the disco producing good dance music for all, with a few retreating to the bar for that earnest chat about a new fangled part that is essential to making the Healey perform much better.

Sunday as is traditional after a good breakfast, the seafront and sunny conditions beckoned us for that good walk on the prom to blow the cobwebs away, and prepare us all for the drive home.

Jim Finch Presentation – The Connector

Jim Finch Presentation – The Connector
Jim Finch Presentation

Jim Finch Presentation

Your New Forest Austin Healey Club committee had their first meeting, last night, fresh with ideas and enthusiasm after last months AGM – Jim Finch, Chairman, was presented with his beautifully mounted and engraved con rod award in recognition for all he and Jan do for the centre – here’s to 2018….we will keep you posted through every social media avenue known to man!!!!

Skittles at The Phoenix

Skittles at The Phoenix
Jim Finch and Will Cox

Jim Finch and Will Cox

Down in the New Forest, the tradition at this time of year is to have a skittles match, when the dark evenings close in and the cars are likely to be resting after lots of long summer of outings.

On the 8th November we abandoned our regular haunt ‘The Potters Heron’ at Hursley for ‘The Phoenix Inn’, Twyford just to the east of Winchester, where our host Paul looked after us very well with basket meals that hit the spot.

Jim Finch and Janice Clay

Jim Finch and Janice Clay

We had a full house of 30 this year competing, and after two boisterous rounds, the highest gent was a tie between Tim Main & Will Cox. After much heckling it all ended with tears for Tim, as Will became the gents victor of the night.

Our ladies fought well, but could not sustain the pressure from Janice Clay who not only is a new comer to this event, but swept the board with the highest score.
Both winners received a bottle of bubbly and the whole evening was declared a great success, and should be repeated next year!


1 2