UK Report (26th June 2018)
This report is quite a long one, and a bit later than normal, because things have been very eventful.
It begins where the previous report ends . (Mon 11th June) with a trip to Ottawa , the nations capitol with my friend Lynn Longden who had been visiting me from the UK.
While we were there we met up with my Tog friend Don Simpson and his wife Lise.
After relaxing at a table in the Byward Market, we set off back to Cornwall,
On Wednesday, Lynn and I joined my good friend Ron Morin on a trip to Jail !
We stayed in Cornwall and went on one of the guided tours around the cities old prison.
Lynn was returning to the UK on Thursday 14 June from Ottawa Airport , and she had someone to accompany her.
I like to get back to England at least once a year to see mum and the family and this was a golden opportunity.
My daughter Carla , and grandchildren Benji and Sofia were also going to be in the UK on a visit from Texas, so I’d be able to see them too.
I drove my car to Don’s place in Russell, and he took us to the airport for our 10-40 pm overnighter to Heathrow , London.
While I was having a drink in the Airport bar , sitting at a table a just few feet away, was top NHL player and Ottawa Senators captain, Erik Karlsson and his wife. I had to restrain myself , and not go up to him and get his autograph.
We arrived at Heathrow around 10-00 am, where Lynn and I went our separate ways. She headed south to Hampshire, while I picked up my Vauxhall Corsa from SIXT rental for the drive to my sister Anne and husband Pete’s, in Milton Under Wychwood , Oxfordshire. My mother lives a short walk down the road from them.
Before going there, I stopped off in nearby Witney to get my cel phone programmed , and meet up with stock car friend, Robert Sellar for a coffee.
Once at Anne’s, I relaxed in her garden, before having an early night.
I spent the next morning (Saturday 16 June) at my mums place .
Around mid day I set off for the first bit of racing on this trip. One of the tracks I never managed to visit while I was living in the UK was the United Downs Raceway, at St Day, near Redruth in Cornwall.
This I intended to rectify.
The last time I was in Cornwall UK was back in 1977 when I raced my F2 at the defunct St Austell track.
There was an F2 World Qualifier taking place, as well as the Heritage F2 cars. I’ve always wanted to see these in action.
Alan Humphries, one of the organizers and Heritage drivers had a spare care and had asked me to ‘guest’ drive it.
Four years ago, before I got diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, I would of jumped at the opportunity, but alas, I had to message him and decline.
I arrived at the Wadebridge Travel Lodge mid afternoon and that night had a nice Steak and Ale Pie at the adjacent pub, the Falcon.
Next morning (Sunday) I drove the remaining hour to the United Downs Raceway.
The track is located on the site of an old Cornish tin mime at the small village of St Day.
I was there far too early so snoozed in the car until the gates opened. I was able to get my car right inside the track and if I wanted to, I could watch the racing from inside.
This was not my plan , and after chatting with the guys, that included, Alan and an old racing friend of mine, Graham Bunter, I went to check in with promoter, Crispen Rosevear.
Also in the pits , for demonstration purposes only, was the ‘Bozzy’ car of Kieth Barber
Crispen has been involved in F2 racing in the West Country for many years and took over the Autospeed organization from the legendary Trevor Redmond when he passed away. Crispen had given me the go ahead to take pictures from the middle.
As it was my first time at the track I took pictures from various vantage points.
After taking some from the middle I tried from around the pit gate, by poking the camera through the wires.
Winner of the big race for the Heritage was Neil Truran from St Austell.
BriSCA f2 Qualifier winner was Nathan Maidment.
The racing was all over before 6-00 pm and there was still plenty of daylight left, so before heading back to my room at Wadebridge, I made a detour to Perranporth and Newquay where I sat and watched the surfers.
I was back at Wadebridge in time for an early night, so I could get away at the crack of dawn.
By lunchtime on Monday I was back in Milton Under Wychwood and taking mum out for an afternoon drive to Witney.
As mentioned previously , my daughter Carla, Benji, Sophia , and their nanny Angie, were also in the UK at this time . They were there visiting Pat, my former wife.
I had arranged to meet Carla on Tuesday at the Caister Holiday Park in Norfolk, where she had booked us all , a mobile home for four nights. (Mon to Thurs) .
I left Anne’s place after breakfast and was at the holiday home by 1-30 pm.
It was a great place for some relaxing , and quality time with my family.
The Park had all the facilities needed for us to enjoy the time together . The ‘trailer’ was less than 100 yards from the beach.
On Wednesday I took Benji to the Caister Castle Car Collection, which was just a few miles from the park.
I must say, that it was one of the most enjoyable holidays I’ve had, and to top it all, the weather was perfect.
On Friday (22 June) morning we had to vacate our holiday home, so Carla headed back to her mothers place in Lincolnshire, while I took the short drive down to Ipswich.
Originally I was going back Anne’s place for Friday night, but it made more sense to go straight to Ipswich in readiness for Saturdays racing. I was booked into the Premier Inn on the Old Hadleigh Rd for Friday and the Travelodge at Needham Market on Saturday night.
I took a realy leisurely drive to Ipswich and was able to book in my room just after 2-00 pm. Time to chill out and take it easy.
That night I went to The Beagle, the pub next door where I watched the Football World Cup game on TV between Switzerland and Serbia. The Swiss were the winners.
The racing I’d come to see , was at the Foxhall Stadium , Ipswich, which was the first track I witnessed racing , back in the late 50’s at the age of three years old.
It didn’t start until 7-30 in the evening, so I had plenty of time to kill.
I decided to take the 20 minute drive down to Felixstowe, and park up by the beach for a while.
I arrived at the track around 4-00 pm and already there were many of my old friends waiting to get in.
I wandered the pits, and then took my place at the end of the row high up in the back straight grandstand. I was joined by friends Paul and Joan Jenkins as well as Alan Wardropper .
Its my favorite spot for taking pictures when I’m there, and don’t have the benefit of infield access.
Unfortunately, the UK is not like North America , they have to put up with the dreaded Health and Safety B/S that only allow a small number of photographers.
I didn’t mind too much as it’s nice now and then to be a regular race fan again and watch from the grandstands.
Joining the BriSCA F1’s on the program were the Hot Rods and Mini Stox.
Winner of the BriSCA F1 final was Ryan Harrison # 197.
Once this was over, I made my exit to the Travelodge at Needham Market.
Sunday morning I was off to Brafield in Northamptonshire, for a very historic day and a get together with the VSCA (Veteran Stock Car Association) .
For many years during the time I lived in the UK , the Brafield Stadium was my ‘second home’ on Sunday afternoons, and for all those years it was always a paved track. Things have changed for this year and track promoter Dean Wood has laid Shale (dirt) over the asphalt.
Sunday 24 June was the first time the BriSCA F1’s were to race on the new surface.
Racing was to begin at 1-00 and I was there by 11-00 pm.
On arrival I entered the room reserved for the Veterans, and over the course of the afternoon bumped into so many old friends.
Long time friend Brian Bedford had come over from the Isle of Mann to be there.
After a dusty start the racing became quite good as I watched from the viewing area by the commentary box.
It was a baking hot day and many bottles of water were needed to stop dehydration.
During the afternoon I met up with my ‘Tog’ buddy Colin Casserley, who arranged for me to go and shoot from the middle for the F1 Final.
The race was won by # 463 James Morris.
By now it was close to 6-00 pm so I decided to leave before the last race, and head for Anne’s place.
Monday was spent taking Mum for a drive to the local Garden Centers, before spending the evening packing my bags.
I left Milton Under Wychwood at 5-30 am on Tuesday (26 June), for my early afternoon flight out of Heathrow.
In hindsight I needn’t of left that early, but I wasn’t sure what the traffic was going to be like.
The car was returned to SIXT rental and I was soon taken on the shuttle bus to Terminal 2.
My Air Canada flight was on time and at 4-45 pm I had landed in Ottawa.
Don was there waiting, and he drove me back to his place in Russell .
My bags were transferred into my car and I made the final leg back to my home in Cornwall.
Arrival time, about 7-00 pm.