Evesham excellence16.07.15 One of Grassing's greats prove their mettle with a super event.
It may have been rather dusty; there may have been too many red flags throughout the weekend, and it may have rained torrentially on day two, but round three of the Series should be remembered as a great event.
The Evesham Autograss Club, like the South Wales League, need no introduction and their reputation precedes them, with a huge number of experienced members officiating in all capacities to produce a slick event.
Like the Red Roses venue last time out, the John Wilkin Raceway is also a nice place to be but for diametrically opposite reasons. The open-air feel of the former can be contrasted to the more compact, almost cosy nature of Evesham’s venue: it’s a friendly and welcoming place; it’s ordered, well presented and well laid out; the viewing for spectators is excellent and fosters a great atmosphere, all of which make it a place you’d look forward to attending, both for a club meeting and for a large event. The healthy number of drivers at the MAP Open, the excellent turnout for the BAS and a good number of spectators can attest to that, and the club should feel rightfully proud for putting on the kind of meeting that proves their proficiency once again.
There was surely a collective sinking of hearts as the rain came on Sunday, as everyone knows how the track and venue can be affected by weather of that severity, but in the end we were lucky.
The watering of the track throughout the meeting had been sensibly, and not too liberally, applied because as common sense will tell you a polished track like this goes like a skating rink very quickly, so the more the rain fell the more worrisome its potential effect became. There was a brief break toward the end of the bad weather as the Marshals took shelter and also to let the copious amounts of water sink in or displace, but the sun quickly dried the track back out again afterwards and in hindsight it had little effect of the flow and continuity of the event.
Of course, the necessity to water little and often meant that dust was inevitable. It wasn’t as bad as it had been at South Wales but we still felt a little sorry for the spectators sitting on the outside of turn one. Finding the balance between an ineffective sprinkling and too heavy a dousing on a track like this can be difficult sometimes, but we didn’t hear many complaints so it was a job well done.
Also in for praise – and we never get tired of hearing this – was the marshalling, both on the track and in the camera room. The fair use of the camera system, the mostly correct apportioning of penalties and teamwork between those on track and those reviewing the footage meant that we have been provided with yet more evidence that the system can work well when used correctly and fairly.
With the number of red flags over the weekend, it’s a good job everyone worked well together. A slightly late start on day one mattered little, but numerous race stoppages plus several big incidents pushed the finishing time past half past seven, which – as had been the case at round two too – is a little too late. Day two was far more timely, even with the break because of the rain and then a break before the finals, but when you look at the footage from the finals, it’s clear that driving standards left a little to be desired with a couple of the races down on numbers. While it’s not good for spectators to see a three-car race as was the case in Class One, it does at least show that the Marshals were tough in their allocation of penalties.
A good meeting here was important for the Series and also in the context of the coming weeks in the calendar. Just as last year’s brilliant event at Stroud created a buoyant mood ahead of the Nationals, so has this one ahead of our return to Severn Valley for the prestigious event. We should all think ourselves incredibly lucky too that we get to revisit what is one of many people’s favourite venues two weeks later for what will surely be another exemplary event.