Press release Mallory Park 24th June
No glory this weekend for Gail Hill at the mid point of the XJ-S championship. With her V12 needing work done to the engine she dropped down a class and was out in her spare, class E, modified 4-litre XJ-S.
She still had high hopes however of getting a podium finish on the tight and fast Leicestershire circuit. Wet qualifying went reasonably well and saw Gail in fifth spot next to Chris Palmer in another E class car and behind three class G (V12’s) and one other class E car, that of Paul Merrett.
After a good start she latched onto Merrett’s bumper and held onto fifth place. As the pack sped up to and round the Esses, Merrett, under pressure from Palmer and Gail lost control and slid across the track. As the field of twenty-six big cats took drastic avoiding action she went over the grass on the outfield and found herself up in fourth and pushing Kevin Doyle’s V12.
The track however had been drying out so the big V12’s ahead were able to get their power down and she could make no impact until on lap nine Kevin Doyle lost control exiting Gerrards and she inherited third place on a now increasingly wet track as the rain began to fall once again.
She had a healthy lead and all looked set for a top three finish though she did feel that the car was not putting out the full 260 bhp that it should. On lap twelve with a failing clutch she missed second entering Shaws and by the time she found a gear she also found herself back in sixth place. Though she tried to make up the lost ground it was a hopeless task and even though it was possible to drive round the clutch problem she found her car was only able to just keep ahead of several ‘road going’ cars behind.
At the end of an eventful race that saw four other cars lose control in the increasingly difficult conditions she came home sixth (second in class E). “I’m quite disappointed really after having such a great result at Anglesey two weeks ago and this being my home track I had hoped to even nick a win” she said afterwards. “The car also needs a bottom end rebuild much like my V12 so it seems that we will need to spend a bit of time in the workshop in the next two weeks before Cadwell!” were her final comments.
She is back out (hopefully) in her V12 in two weeks for a double header at the circuit, which always makes her feel car sick in two weeks.
photos Janos Schmidt