Impressions of a Couple of Zandvoort Virgins
‘Come and race with the Dutch Formula Ford Zetec & Duratec cars at Zandvoort, for the last meeting of 2012’ said the e-mail, and with the offer of free entry for the 3 races + qualifying over the 6 – 7 October weekend, it was too good an opportunity to turn down. Monoposto members Jonathan Baggott & Marcus Sheard, supported by Julian Hoskins in the role of engineer, strategist, psychologist and fixer, answered the call to sample motorsport in the Dutch fashion.
Zandvoort has a particular place in UK motor racing folklore, as the circuit where in 1958, Jo Bonnier scored BRM’s first GP victory and nine years later Jim Clark would record twin maiden wins for the Lotus 49 and the Cosworth DFV engine.The circuit has been altered several times since it last hosted the Dutch GP but at 2.6 miles is now restored to its original length, due to the development of the circuit into the infield, which features a 15 metre variation in level together with a very fast straight, plus a variety of fast & slow corners, which need 1st, 2nd, 3rd gears to get the best from the car and track. The closest comparison to a UK circuit is probably Cadwell Park on steroids.
You couldn’t fault the Dutch for their help & friendliness, adopting Monoposto standards of assistance by lending flameproof underwear to get through scrutineering and a fresh battery as mine had been discharged by a shorting starter solenoid, which Julian discovered and repaired after race 1.
‘Holland is a foreign country, they do things differently there’*
As we formed up on the grid the whole meeting came to halt for 15 minutes while the starting area was swamped by female models posing by each of the cars to promote ‘Formido’ the event’s main sponsor. This made for a colourful interlude but played havoc with my attempts to focus on the race ahead, while a pair of tightly clad buttocks stood in front of my car at eye height. I made a resolution to speak with Dax Ward about alternative promotion techniques for St Cross Electronics at future race meetings.
We broke no records and we did help to prevent the local drivers from occupying the final places in the results, but I was happy to see progress in getting my lap times down from 2.12 in race 1 to 1.58 by race 3. Needless to say the quickest zetecs were lapping in 1.51 while the fearless 16 year olds were hustling their Duratecs round in 1.45.
A really fun weekend on a demanding and varied circuit. I hope we can repeat it next year and I would encourage others to put their cars back to standard trim, replace those tubular exhaust manifolds, remove the wings, abandon the Spanish cams, disconnect the turbochargers and come and experience pure FF Zetec Dutch style.
*a nearly quote from the opening of LP Hartley's The Go-Between.
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