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.