Monday, December 31, 2018

Andrew Ridgeley crashes at Brands

It's the 1986 Cellnet Superprix, the rain is relentless, and it's dark, very dark. Too dark, in fact, for those amateur photographers foolish enough to have arrived with nothing other than 100 ASA film...

The field is strong, containing future luminaries such as Martin Donnelly, Perry McCarthy, Damon Hill, Gary Brabham, Andy Wallace, David Leslie and Julian Bailey. Also entered is Andrew Ridgeley, George Michael's partner in contemporary pop-duo Wham!

Failing to compensate for the reduction in the effective power-spectrum of the road-surface, Ridgeley Go-Goes into the gravel at Druids...
His momentum is somewhat checked by the Cellnet cars of Ross Cheever and David Hunt, which have already found the tyre-wall.
Nothing for it but to head back to the Kentagon for a warming cup of tea.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Brands Hatch F3000 1987

Second installment of the McCabism photographic archive. The place once again is Brands Hatch, this time for a round of the European F3000 championship. By 1987 the Grand Prix had moved to the numbing wind-swept expanses of Silverstone, so this was very much Brands' biggest single-seater race of the year.

F3000 cars of the era tended to be sans engine cover. This is the Madgwick Motorsport Lola of Andy Wallace.
The absent engine cover facilitated tall intake trumpets, which maximise torque at lower revs, F3000 engines being restricted to 9,000rpm. (When the intake valve opens, it creates a rarefaction wave, which propagates to the top of the open-ended trumpet, and reflects as a compression wave. The lower the revs, the longer the necessary trumpet length so that the compression wave returns just as the intake valve is closing, pushing more mass into the combustion chamber). This is the Pavesi Racing Ralt of Pierluigi Martini.
This is a motor racing circuit. It possesses gradient and contour, exists in a natural setting, and is distinguishable from a go-kart track.
First corner of the race, and Julian Bailey has immediately overtaken the front-row sitters, Gugelmin and Moreno in their Ralts.
Andy Wallace moves past Moreno into 3rd, but Bailey looks comfortable in the lead.
Stefano Modena ahead of Yannick Dalmas, the latter displaying a black tyre-mark on his nose-cone as evidence of prior contact with Modena. Dalmas had tapped Modena into a spin at Druids, but courteously waited for Modena to resume ahead of him.
Michel Trolle has a territorial dispute at Druids with A Yorkshireman. This inevitably results in a large accident, Trolle's car flipping upside down onto the top of the tyre-wall.
A slightly shocked Trolle stumbles to his feet after being hauled from the upturned car.
The race is red-flagged and Bailey awarded victory.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Brands Hatch Tyre Test 1986

Time to dip into the McCabism personal photographic archive. The occasion here is the 1986 pre-Grand Prix Tyre Test at Brands Hatch.

Proper drivers, proper cars, and a proper circuit.

Nigel Mansell zipping down the pit-straight in a car weighing less than 700kg.
Stefan Johansson's Ferrari, in the days before people from Northern Europe and South Africa introduced the Scuderia to the exciting world of stable balanced downforce.
Nelson Piquet, plotting and scheming as he brakes for the hairpin at Druids.

Ayrton Senna negotiating the curved flow at Hawthorns.
Poking my camera over the bridge parapet to get a shot of Keke Rosberg accelerating down the hill to Clearways.
Nigel Mansell in the pits, complaining of an excessive surface/bulk tyre temperature delta, and some inconsistent behaviour from the Y250 vortex.
Ayrton Senna cresting the rise after the sylvan delights of Dingle Dell, and preparing to turn into Dingle Dell corner.
Keke Rosberg in the McLaren, somehow living to tell the tale without a halo for protection.