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Pegasus Motor Club's Track Day at Castle Combe, August 2009
Meets, Shows and Events
Early in 2009, Phil received an email from Tony Smith of the Bristol Pegasus Motor Club. Tony’s email included an invitation for Bristol Hotrods to take their cars along to one of the regular Pegasus Club nights in Bristol, so in July a good number of Bristol cars turned up for the Pegasus members to take a look over. The evening was a great success, and resulted in a further visit, when Chris Hartnell trailered his ‘Backdraft’ slingshot to another Pegasus club night – where he gave a presentation on drag racing, culminating in a fire-up of the alky-burning digger.

Later in the year this resulted in a further invitation - to the Pegasus track day at the Castle Combe racing circuit. At their annual track day, the Club takes over the circuit for the day, with over 50 club members paying £119 each for four sessions out on the track. So in mid-August, after meeting up at the Griffin, a selection of rods made their way to the Wiltshire race track.
 
 
 
On arrival at the circuit, the rods were directed to a coned-off display area near the pits, the intention being that spectators and racers could look over the cars during the lunchtime break in racing.

For the remainder of the morning, a steady stream of visitors looked over Phil’s ’32 Coupe, Neil and Carol’s newly-acquired ’32 Roadster, Chris & Claire’s ’32 five-window, Ian Walker’s ’29 ‘A’ Sedan, John and Les Cable’s Fordson, Reg Hucker’s ’48 Dorset, and Ian’s ’54 Pop. The remaining ‘surprise’ Bristol rod, making its first ever outing, was Ivor Knapp’s new 351 Cleveland powered Austin 16 - minus paint, trim and most glass.
 
 
 
A little later came the news that we would be allowed a few laps of the track. The circuit has some tight noise restrictions, and some of our cars were suspected to be a bit on the loud side, so we would be led around the circuit by the safety car. The cars assembled in the staging lanes, and at lunch time, followed the safety car out onto the circuit.
 
 
 
 
The first lap was taken at a sedate pace – we were told to keep bunched up to give the trackside photographer the best shots – but with each following lap the pace increased a little. The marshalls in the safety car must have been happy with the noise levels, and having seen that we were behaving ourselves (and capable of driving around corners), they helpfully upped the pace for the remaining laps.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Accelerating through Folly corner, up Avon Rise, round Quarry corner then into the Esses, it wasn’t long before the drivers were having to carefully pick their lines through the chicanes. Five enjoyable laps later we left the track and headed back into the pit area, hopefully having made an impression on the spectators. For Ivor’s first outing in the Austin, this track testing session came as a useful bonus – everything worked, and he reported good handling and performance – a great testimony to his build skills.
 
 
 
After a good lunch in the ‘Tavern’, the afternoon was spent exploring the circuit’s excellent facilities, then browsing through the trackside photographer’s photos on his laptop, before ordering some prints.
 
 
For the rest of the day, a steady stream of kids and adults dropped by to check out the rods.. overall a great (and different) day out, and one that I hope will be repeated.

Ian


'Thanks to track photographer John Gaisford for use of the trackside photos. Additional photos by Phil Mitchell, Tony Smith, and Ian Thomas.

This article was also published in the December 2009 edition of the NSRA's 'Street Gasser' members' magazine.
 
 
EV32
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