Ultimately, the call of the warm, southern sun and the prospect of seeing two other, similar cars was strong. Norman kindly loaned me his transporter for the weekend and I took off with the car and my tent....
I could have wished for an easier journey on Friday, reaching the M5 at 1700. But not managing the paddock until after 2300 following two separate accidents turning the motorway into a parking lot. But it was still too late to plug-in the compressor and inflate my airbed.
Two other things to know about the Wiscombe paddock is that there is no running water, so I had shipped in a six-pack of Tesco's finest. And there is a danger of scurvy if you dont bring in your own fresh fruit and vegetables - fortunately I was able to nobble Brian G, who was arriving ahead of Sunday's competition, and he had picked me up a hand of bananas.
Sunday saw three GT1800s gracing the hill: Brian's curiously-coloured veteran (of which more later; and Ken Y's impressively-prepared dark green car. The Cup is a handicap event, and I had pretty much already blown any opportunity for sandbagging after a fastest time on Saturday of 55.23.
Anyway, down to business in perfect conditions, with a 54.47. Second run felt good with the car sitting on its springs rather than its bum-stops. Until a red flag when the Caterfield in front of me dislodged a stone from somewhere and left it sitting in the middle of the track after 'Gate'. I then had to drive up to Sawbench, do a three-point turn, and thn another to get lined up again at the start. Anyway, the net result was a 54.46 despite the splits showing me a half-second quicker on the top sector - proof that entry speed to 'Gate' is crucial here.
Brian recorded a best of 57.40, and Ken a creditable 55.88 on his first outing. Net outcome was that I won the class on scratch, and Brian (aka Sandbags) the handicap. Ken, meanwhile, had to mop up after losing a core plug in the top paddock.
Most interesting for me was checking the lengthy records of Gilberns competing at Wiscombe, courtesy of Brian's previous, research. Turns out that only two other drivers had pushed a GT1800 up this hill any quicker than my 54.47, and it was the same car - now Brian's AMJ 630C. So gauntlet thrown, and I need to work on bettering this unofficial record of 53.88 set by Paul Scott in 1976....