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The Chequered Flag

We swear that Snetterton in Norfolk has its own micro-climate, so often, cold, windy, wet, or foggy, but for once in the middle of September largely sunny. Over the years Snetterton has often been a happy hunting ground for the Swallows team, yielding some great results, so we travelled east for the official Friday practice with optimism. Jack was holding a narrow six-point lead in the championship, some achievement in only his second season and in a new race car. Practice went well for Jack in the XK8 and for Andrew Maynard in the XJ40 and Colin Porter getting seat time in Andrew’s race car.


Come qualifying, with the Jaguars on a mixed grid with the CTCRC Thunders it made for a very busy and hectic circuit. It resulted in two red flags and very few cars completing the mandatory three laps. In the end, qualifying was re-run with a three-lap sprint dash, an out lap, one lap at pace and a cooling down lap. It was the experience of Colin Philpott in his XJS 4.0 that claimed overall pole position ahead of Tom Lenthall also in a XJS 4.0 with Jack third alongside the S Type R of Andrew Harper. Jack’s championship rival Guy Connew surprisingly only on the third row. Maynard found good qualifying form to make eleventh on the grid in the class C XJ40.


On what is regarded as largely a ‘Power’ circuit the 4.0 XJS of Philpott and the 5.3 V12 of Connew just had a little too much horsepower in race one for Jack’s lesser classed XK8 and it was evident early on that Jack was going to have to settle on concentrating for a class win rather than greater honours and so it was that the two XJS’s fought out a battle at the front while Jack had to be content with fourth overall behind Lenthall but still claiming maximum points with a class win and fastest lap in class, with Connew doing likewise the points gap remained the same. In the XJ40 Andrew progressed form eleventh to finish eighth overall and fourth in class.


As Jaguars filed into the assembly area for race two, fine drizzle was beginning to fall. The proceeding action on track had been a truck race and the combination of diesel from the trucks and the light drizzle made for an extremely slippery track. As the race got underway it was once again Philpott and Connew doing battle at the front. As the pack rounded Palmer corner Jack was battling the fellow class C XJS of Mike Seabourne and on the greasy track both slid off along with Charles Jackson in his class D X300, there thankfully was no contact. As the other two sped away, Jack struggled to get the XK8 back into life and by the time he got going there was a huge gap to be made up. Making the best of a bad situation Jack recovered to third in class behind Seabourne and Maynard but lost crucial points to Connew who scored another maximum and the overall win beating Philpott. Connew now had a slender one-point lead going into the final round at Donington Park.


Donington Park Showdown


With some mid-week testing done at the Derbyshire circuit we felt Jack had the best possible chance of securing the needed points for the championship, but it was now out of our hands, and we were depending on Guy Connew making a mistake in the V12 XJS.

The overnight rain had cleared to leave a drying track by the time the Jaguars left the paddock for qualifying. With times dropping through the session Jack waited until lap seven before setting the fastest lap, Guy Connew just four tenths slower and Colin Philpott a further two tenths back. Andrew Maynard and Damien Gray in their XJ40’s, both back with us for the last race of the season along with our pal from PVE Steve Dowell in his mighty XKR. With the lines drawn in the Saturday qualifying and no races until Sunday it was time to relax and watch some racing on chilly autumn afternoon. It gave us a chance to catch up with our friends at Newbarn Racing who have been campaigning the F Type in the Brit Car Endurance Championship and see the conclusion of their successful season.

Sunday emerged with a beautiful sunrise and a clear cold autumn day. A mid morning race for the boys and come lights out there was chaos. A stalled car on grid nearly always creates bedlam and this was no exception. Maynard avoided the stalled XJS of James Ramm by some exceptional braking only to hit from behind by Gray’s XJ40. Jack had made a good start and was running side by side with Philpott’s XJS going down Craner Curves when the race was red flagged. The two heavily damaged XJ40’s were unceremoniously removed from the track and the grid was reformed.

At the restart it was Connew who lunched his car off the grid and led into Redgate, Jack was alongside the S Type R of Andrew Harper in the AutoReserve S Type R going down Craner Curves before Philpott nudged the back of Jack’s XK8 causing Philpott to spin off at the Old Hairpin. A further collision at Goddard’s Chicane between the XJS of Mike Seabourne and Michael Holt’s X300 being driven for the weekend by Andrew Rogerson from Powerbell, this brought out the safety car. With a great deal of time having elapsed from the various incidents sadly the race ended behind the safety car and not one full lap having been driven in anger. It also robbed Jack of a vital point for fastest lap, however Steve did us a favour by also taking the Class A fastest lap and denying Connew.

Much work was needed through the afternoon to get Damien’s and Andrew’s cars fit to race. With the help of AutoReserve supplying parts and lending labour they both made the grid which had seemed very unlikely. When the Jags did finally line up for the last race of the day it was twilight. With their headlights blazing through the fading light the Jaguars streamed off the line. Connew needing a win to guarantee the championship was immediately under pressure from Harper, whilst Jack was battling with Chris Boon’s more powerful XKR. Harper continued to press Connew looking for a way past to secure his first outright win, but Connew defended manfully in the increasing darkness holding Harper to half a second as they crossed the line. Boon secured third in his class A XKR and crucially Jack finished fourth but first in class with a class fastest lap so gaining maximum points. Guy Connew had the outright and class win but Harper took the fastest lap in class A which meant Jack and Guy being tied on 176 points each. The championship decider apparently coming down to outright class wins over the season of which Jack had ten and Guy eleven. It could not have been closer; we had taken it to the wire and what a brilliant effort from the Jack and the Swallows team. A second massively successful season, with a different car and different driver.

Success never comes without a huge amount of help we would again like to thank our partners, sponsors, family, and friends who contributed to such a successful season, not least; Vision Techniques, AVO, PVE, Tarox, Amitec, Jaguar Enthusiasts Club (JEC TrackSport), Meguiar’s, Naked Signs and Pipercross.



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