Minaris have had great success in motorsport, in the hands of Mark Pollard, Andy Thompson, Jim Price and Ed McDonough. Here are some of Mark's experiences with his Mk2 RSR.
First race (after winning several hillclimb trophies) in the AutoItalia series, Mallory Park. Practice: at this point I was seriously nervous! Helmet etc was put on, and at 1130 we got the green flag to go on the circuit. I actually enjoyed qualifying, as it was similar to an extended sprint. I took it easy for 2 or 3 laps and then increased my pace until the chequered flag came out. Back in the paddock everyone who had initially ignored us came up for a chat. It seemed that the car had not been taken seriously at the beginning, but I had actually qualified 4th out of 28! Thus everyone came to have a look at the car and find out how it went so well on road legal tyres (everyone else was on slicks).
|Lap 1 is very scary with all 28 of us arriving at Gerrards Corner at once. I manage to gain a couple of places by going round the outside, then a couple more on the straight. Braking for the hairpin I lined up to pass another Alfa 33 without protecting my line. Lost 2 places to Class A cars and gained one! This was the way it continued through the race. On taking the chequered flag the field returned to the paddock. I was delighted to find that I had finished 6th overall and 2nd in Class B. (Mark achieved 2nd place in the championship at the end of the season)|
The final hillclimb season My local hillclimb venue is Wiscombe Park, a country estate set in wooded farmland with a 1 mile well-surfaced course set into the hillside opposite the manor. My main aim this year has been to have a bit of competition in a relaxed way and keep the car on show to prospective buyers. With that in mind, I entered the Modified Sports and Kit Car class which has very few rules other than divisions according to engine capacity. My expectations were fairly low given the extreme machines used ( methanol fuels, wings, downforce producing diffusers etc.)
The first two events were organized over a weekend by Woolbridge M.C. The weather was showery giving damp track in the woodland sections, and dry in the open bits for maximum grip. On Saturday, after a close run competition in which I led the class for 3 out of the 4 runs, I was eventually beaten by 0.6 seconds by a 5000cc V8 Westfield with tyres wide enough to double as road rollers!
The track was still wet on Sunday, but gradually dried
allowing the drivers to exploit the increasing traction. This time I won the
class, just pipping a Lotus 23 by 0.65s.
The result surprised me, and demonstrated that the Minari was more competitive in the class than I had expected. If I had entered the road going sports class, I would have won both events comfortably.
The next event was in mid-May; a mixed entry of 97 cars from tweaked Minis to F1-style Pilbeam and Jedi single-seaters. In the showery conditions the nimble handling, light weight and front wheel drive of the Minari was a definite advantage. I won the class by 3.6 seconds from the more powerful Lotus 23 and was fifth fastest overall. For the first time we beat all the big single seaters and were only 1 second behind the 4WD Cosworth/Impreza brigade.
In the week following the event, the Wiscombe co-ordinator
contacted me to say that I was leading the championship overall and did
I intend to contest the last two rounds? This came as rather a shock because
I was unaware of how well the car was doing on the scoring system used.
It also applied pressure to do well in the remaining events!
During the summer a friend had expressed an interest
in the car. He fancied doing some hillclimbs and I offered him the use of the
car at the final event. I am 6’2” and Richard is 5’6”
so a fitting session was required to get the seat height and reach adjusted.
The competition seat is adjustable but fixed for each event, so a compromise
consisting of hard foam inserts was devised to raise him to see over the bonnet
and enable him to reach the pedals.
We went to the Castle Combe Action Day the next weekend to allow Richard to find the limits of the car in an environment with plenty of run-off areas. I drove Richard round the circuit at about 80% effort to show him the track layout and correct lines. Richard drove for 5 sessions of 6 laps each. This was the first time I had seen my car being used by someone else, and it was always a relief to see the Minari appearing at the end of each lap! I was impressed with the speed the car could carry through corners and the noise as it came past me sounded pretty crisp. Richard improved his lap times on each session.
The final two hillclimbs were in early September over
a weekend. I set Richard a target time of 55s and a dream time of 50s. After
an initial 60.88, he knocked 3-4s off on every run and ended up with a 48.92.
Excellent. This would have put him 4th out of 10 if we had been in the road
My first 3 runs went well and I managed to beat my own personal best for the hill with a 44.24. However, I went into the final hairpin before the finish too fast and clipped a straw bale with the front wing. This drew a major groan from competitors and marshals alike because the bale had bounced up the track and demolished the timing beam lights! Causing a 20 minute delay to the event is about the least popular thing a driver can do at a hillclimb! Apart from this, I enjoyed the competition and finished 2nd in class by 0.06s to the winning Mallock.
The Sunday event was again held in excellent weather but there was a tension in the air with the main championship contenders (Myself, a 4wd Escort Cosworth, Porsche 911 and an OMS single-seater.) all hoping to win the series overall. Everyone scored well, but I managed to beat the class record with a 43.23 to get maximum points and keep my nose ahead.
The car is now campaigning in Richard's hands.