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Dedicated to the memory of the late Brian Archer who fulfilled his dream to re-create John Sprinzel's Sebring Sprite Coupé

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Angouleme
Angouleme 06

Angouleme ~ Circuit des Remparts, 2006

My Racing Comeback!

Twenty three years after my last actual race I took to the track once again - at the Circuit des Remparts, Angouleme in France, driving my Sebring Sprite coupe, 946 JJO. It was with some trepidation that we trailered the car down to stay with friends in Champniers, having seen only a sketch map of the circuit and a few photographs on the 'net'.  I did not know what race I was entered in and found I was among mainly saloon cars which included 2 Mini-Cooper 'S's, 2 Lotus Cortinas, a quick-looking Mk1 Escort, a 2.6 Capri, several Alfa Guilias, and a Volvo Amazon. The only other sports car was an Alpine-Renault A101 which hit a kerb on the second lap of practice bending the chassis beyond immediate repair. Practice went well with me delighting in the adhesion of my new Yokohama AO48Rs on 5½" wide wire wheels, and the brakes proved up to it as well. I had put my 4.55 diff in hoping that I might get around each of the 3 hairpin bends in 2nd, but this was not to be. So it was a question of double de-clutching into 1st, three times on every lap! I managed to come 12th out of 14 in the 14 lap practice session. The track is some 0.8 mile long, has several 90 degree bends, a sort-of straight plus the 3 hairpins. Clay Reggazoni was to have taken part in his Mustang but he had broken it the week before. I enjoyed a brief chat with him in the paddock before practice (see photo).

The race didn't take place until 5 in the afternoon by which time a few drops of rain were threatening, which fortunately held off for our race. After an initial lap on to the grid, there followed another behind the pace car before forming up again. I couldn't see the starting flag or light so had to rely on everyone else to know when to hit the loud pedal. Into the first corner was a flurry of metal and then a struggle to get in line for the 90 right between buildings, shortly followed by another, then full throttle through a blind curve and down the "straight" to the 1st hairpin. Here someone got it sideways and everyone stopped in a traffic jam. We soon got going again, only for this to happen again on the 2nd lap.  I managed to slip inside some of the quicker cars between hairpins but was not always able to fend them off on the straight.  One of the Lotus-Cortinas then dropped oil on the entry to hairpin 1 so marshals were trying to put down cement  between the traffic. A bit later they decided to slow us down with waved yellow flags all round the circuit for 2 laps, followed by a green and we were off again. The car was getting pretty hot, the oil pressure dropping a bit, and rather than take top gear for a few seconds on the straight I was pushing the revs over  8000!  As the race went on I was having a great dice with Michel Deldon in his Alfa Guilia, at one point  getting in front of him for nearly a lap before he passed me again accelerating away over the start line. All came to an end about a lap early when the red flag was displayed , one of the Minis having hit the tyres going into the first hairpin (presumably on the oil), the driver unfortunately suffering a broken ankle and the car severely damaged. We trickled round the final lap to the chequered flag. So ended a great day's racing for me, coming in 8th position.  Michel came over and shook my hand - he was delighted to have had such a good dice and promptly invited me to a hill-climb in Normandy for next year (at Etrétat). [We didn't actually get there until 2009!]

Angouleme 06

Angouleme 06

Angouleme
Chatting with Clay
Angouleme
With Robert Dean in the paddock
Angouleme 06

Angouleme 06

Angouleme
Braking for a hairpin




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Race Results

Pos
No
Driver
Make
Model
Laps
Time
Int
Speed
(kph)
best
time
lap
Speed
(kph)
1 121 ........ Boissy                  
2 129 Damien Kohler                  
3 122 Rodolphe De Souza                  
4 134 John Truslove                  
5 125 Jean-Gilbert Diez                  
6 156 Alain Bernard                  
7 123 Michel Deldon                  
8 128 Martin Ingall                  
9 132 Fernando Soares                  
10 135 Patrice Wattine                  
11 133 Cesarino Somazzi                  

 

Angouleme
Angouleme
Angouleme
Angouleme

 

 

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