When Machiel Kalf, a Dutch Club member and leading light in the MSCCH suggested we take part in HARC’s 40th anniversary meeting there was keen interest and a chain gang grid with Frazer Nashes was devised. 11 Morgans and 3 Nashes took part.
Scrutineering promised to be difficult as the Dutch officials were concerned that they knew very little about Morgan Three wheelers. To their rescue and ours came Phil Bridge and Dave Hodgson who were able to guide them through the process and give them confidence, thanks to both of them.
Qualifying was complicated by having to run without passengers due to an error by the race director for which he profusely apologised afterwards but it meant going into the race without a true sense of the car balance or performance with 2 up. The session went well for everyone except Charles Pilbeam whose head gasket gave up between cylinders 1 and 2 which resulted in frenzied but unsuccessful work through lunch it was impossible to get a seal. Charles resigned himself to sitting drinking coffee with Sue Hodgson. Sue Darbyshire who had the reoccurrence of the ignition problems which had appeared at Silverstone and the Manx classic. Again there was frenzied work on Magnetos and a swap to a couple of older ones had the car running on both cylinders again in time for the race. Steve Lister and Ruth Ross used qualifying to run in the new engine on the Super Aero. Greg Bibby had spent a couple of hours on Friday hidden away with Hamish and Bill in Bill’s new gazebo sorting out the reason for the excessive smoke from Greg’s car and following this wizardry it emerged for qualifying completely smoke free! The Frazer Nashes had been very impressive having driven to the event, parked in the paddock, disappeared to Amsterdam for most of Friday, returned in time for Scrutineering, taken off their lights and wings and were ready to race!
In the true Morgan sporting spirit Dave Hodgson threw out his 10 stones of ballast and took the somewhat greater weight of Charles in the passenger seat for the race!
The Saturday race was dry as the field lined up behind Greg, with Maggie Tuer as passenger, and Hamish on the front row. Behind them were Chas Reynolds and Nigel Challis while on the third row were both the two speeders Sue Darbyshire and Iain Stewart. Further back were the two racing F-Types of Dave Hodgson and Pete Clews with Steve Lister taking the back row along with Dutch entrant Nico Zonneveld. The Frazer Nashes were at the back of the grid. Greg Bibby who was lying second to son Hamish pulled over at Masterbocht having run out of fuel leaving Hamish a clear winner followed by Chas Reynolds with Steve Ash and Iain Stewart in third place.
Sunday was completely different, cold and wet. Sue Darbyshire was having a dire time and spun 3 times before stalling after the spin at the Hans Ernst Chicane and having to retire. Chas Reynolds was flying until he holed a piston and retired a few laps from the end. Hamish won even after running part of the race stuck in third gear, followed this time by Iain Stewart. Greg ran out of fuel as he crossed the line and Pete’s F-Type was fourth.
It had been an excellent weekend and the combination of the Morgans and Nashes worked very well so perhaps next time there can be more, the precedent has been set, Chain Gang Races.
From Sue Clews and Ruth Ross.