York Meet - 7/10/2001
The York meet, or GT4 Challenge Day as it was alternatively known, had been planned well in advance and organised by Simon Dawes. The venue was the drag strip at York Raceway in Melbourne near York. Arrangements had been made with the drag strip to carry out a knockout competition between the GT4 owners.
On Saturday I did the usual job of preparing my car with an oil change, clean and final checkover. I was thinking about fitting a fuel cut defensor but couldn't get the 4.3v diode from Maplins in time.
A few of us decided to drive over on the Saturday evening and do the usual camping bit. I arrived at the Black Horse around 9:30 pm but a call from work meant that I didn't get into the pub until around 10:30 pm. Much drinking time had been lost so I attempted to make up for it.
Jim and Paul, Simon and Kim, Robert Shirley and mate, Stuart and Anna, Rob Hughes and Donna were already getting tanked up. The beer continued to flow until the landlord had had enough at around 1:30 am.
I did my usual trick of sleeping in the car despite having offers from the campers. I am finding it easier every time to get a good nights sleep in the car - I still don't posses a tent !
I was up bright an early around 7:30 am and waited until the landlord of the Black Horse opened up the facilities at around 8:00 am. I was then off to the drag strip hoping to get a few early runs in. Before I left I gave Jim and Pauls tent a prod as they were nowhere to be seen at this stage.
On the way to the drag strip I knew I was on the right road as I could see Stewart Booton and Marc Farr hurtling towards me at a rate of knots. They turned round and we found the entrance and headed along the infamous track down to the strip stopping on the way to pay the entrance fee.
The drag strip had designated a special area for the GT4 brigade. After being herded into a nice herring bone arrangement a few of us headed for scrutineering. This involved a bloke looking under the bonnet to make sure your car had an engine and grabbing the battery and giving it a good shake. A couple of owners had problems with loose batteries but Adrian from Fensport came to the rescue with some heavy duty cable ties - these can now be purchased from Fensport on request.
After scrutineering the next job was to have a start briefing and then to sign on. The start briefing was all about how the lights worked and how to get off the line. The signing on session involved passive smoking in a small hut while filling out car details and having your license scrutinised.
A few of us decided to build a bonfire of car contents in the paddock. This included camping gear and spare wheels etc. This bonfire was never lit but served the purpose of making everyone's car lighter - hopefully for faster times.
I decided to get a run straight away and was in the second pair of cars which ran. I was up against some monster funny car and was expecting to get seriously embarrassed. I made a relatively good start and ended up finishing before the funny car on account of it blowing up it's engine - first blood to me with a time of around 15 seconds.
By mid morning we had a large complement of GT4's. Faces and cars are becoming more familiar and we swapped the usual tales of tuning mods, recent purchase etc.
Lincoln Jones, a friend of mine came over from Chester in his Lotus. He had a few good runs.
Other GT4's were beginning to run by this time and we were all having a lot of fun. Getting used to the starting lights was a problem for most people but as the day progressed reaction times and starts were improving rapidly.
A photographer from Redline magazine was taking photos of cars on the start line and around the paddock. During the lunch break he setup a shot of all the cars in a cluster. We should have a spread in the magazine in a month or two. I think Simon Dawes almost convinced him to buy a GT4 as he had been impressed during the day with their looks and performance.
The GT4 knockout competition ran with qualifying heats in the morning to determine who would race who in the knockout. This was good fun as it was GT4 against GT4. During these we had exclusive access to the drag strip and were ushered to the starting line by the marshalls.
I managed to stay in until the semi finals stage but was knocked out by Stuart Lewis in his ST205 WRC.
Everyone expected Ian Smiths car to be quick - and it was. He eventually won the knockout competition taking the knockout 'winners' trophy - even with a misfiring engine. Paul Bartolos excellent car was also quick posting the fastest time of 13.9 seconds however this was outside of the competition so Paul had to settle for a 'best car' trophy.
Later in the day Simon and Kim started the BBQ which went down well. They do an excellent burnt sausage which I highly recommend - LOL.
Finally the day wrapped up with the dismantling of the bonfire and the restoration of boot contents before people started to make their way back home. At around this time the weather started to close in and it started to rain. We had been lucky weather wise as the sun had stayed out all day making the day very enjoyable.
I drove down to the M62 following the cars of Simon and Marc. I now know why we call simon speedy !
The following table shows the final results ...
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