Oulton Park 11th August
This car too has had to have an engine rebuild after the Mallory Park round where four pistons were found to be split! But with improved performance and the engine now giving circa 300bhp at the flywheel Gail was hoping to pressure the more powerful V12’s on the tricky International layout.
In testing on Friday the annoying intermittent misfire, which had been noticed whilst the engine was being run in, was still in evidence even after the distributor cap, plugs, leads and coil had all been replaced and the injectors removed, cleaned and replaced.
She was consequently slightly disappointed to qualify sixth though the problem was eventually sourced to a dodgy connection on the ECU but crucially after practice.
With twenty-three XJ-S’s on track there was not going to be room for mistakes at the start, which had caused all the trouble in the second Cadwell race. This time she had a very clean getaway and made up two places by Old Hall Corner. As the pack raced down to Cascades Doyle in his V12 squeezed past on the inside pushing Gail back to fifth.
She had to resist intense pressure from John Lock and Stuart Lyddall who were both trying to get past inside and out. As the race settled into a rhythm and the tyres warmed up Gail got onto the back of Gary Davis, who had been passed by Doyle, to put him under pressure.
When Doyle went wide at Brittens chicane he dropped behind her again but on the same lap she got very loose exiting the double apex Druids and did extremely well to avoid the rapidly approaching tyre barrier at 100mph. When she got back on track Lock had slipped through though Doyle was still just behind.
His challenge faded exiting Old Hall next time round on lap seven. Gary Davis too had his moment on lap seven at Druids careering through the gravel trap to hand fourth spot to Gail. Though she managed to catch up to Lock (third) and Avery (second) time ran out and Gail had to settle for fourth (second in class E).
“I should be quite happy really because the car didn’t misfire, my times are nearly a second quicker than qualifying and if I hadn’t fallen off I could have had a third” she said afterwards, “but I will be glad to get back out in my V12 at Silverstone in two weeks where hopefully I will be nearer the front, there’s only a bit of damage to the under side of the front skirt so my bank balance is safe for a few weeks at least” were her final comments.
photos Janos Schmidt