Finally the sun came out, and all the cars round the paddock looked gleaming and unmarked in anticipation of the start of a new season.
Both the RSM cars looked fantastic in contrasting green and orange liveries, which makes it easier to differentiate between Rob and Joe’s cars - especially important now they are so closely matched. Both cars are running with AP racing front and rear set-ups, and a softer Ferrodo pad for this season.
During the winter Rob’s car had been treated to a new engine and ECU, whereas Joe’s needed some fairly major surgery after its unavoidable accident at Mallory Plum Pudding where it didn’t even make it across the startline before hitting a stationary car then having a secondary impact from behind by a Porsche.
Having done no testing before arriving at Oulton park, it is amazing that both cars managed to qualify so well amongst the 25 car grid. Rob managed a 3rd place grid slot, and Joe in 7th, just over a second behind.
After relaxing in the sun for a few hours after qualifying, Rob and Joe took to the grid to see how the cars would perform over full race duration.
Watching from the first corner, we were all a bit surprised to see Joe’s car coming through in second place, having gained 5 places in a truely amazing start. Obviously all that practice during the winter with the traffic lights on the
As the race transpired Rob had an excellent run, leading for many laps until the V8 Esprit came through to push him down to second.
Joes race was far more eventful, swapping places with two other 7’s several times a lap, before finally getting the better of all them when it really mattered – just before he crossed the finish line.
First and Second in class (3rd and 4th overall) sets Rob and Joe up for what we are sure will be an excellent season.
Plum Pudding - Boxing Day Mallory Park 2012
Although not the frozen lake of the last couple of years, this year was still chilly and damp, making racing conditions decidedly tricky
As always both the Rob Spencer Motorsport cars turned up immaculately prepared - and in practice were 2 seconds ahead of the rest of the 28 car grid - averaging over 90 mph on wets - with the closest rivals being Paul Sibleys very fast MG and the two Porsche 911 GT3’s.
With both cars set up the same, it was amazing to see Joes “rookie” car only a tenth behind his Dads (Joe probably regretting eating that last mince pie). This was always going to make Race 1 interesting - especially as they started side by side on the fourth row (see pic above).
As the lights went out, both cars jumped off the line, only for disaster to strike as an unsighted Joe ploughed into the back of a stationary Locost stuck on the line. To add to his woes. he was then hit from behind by one of the Porsches trashing the fuel tank - which put paid to the rest of the cars' weekend.
Meanwhile Rob went on to show real class in the difficult conditions, and win Race 1 in dominant style before returning to the pits to examine the damage to his old race car. Being the true gentleman that he is, he immediately went to ask the stewards if Joe could run Race 2 in his car, but they declined due to Joe not having driven it before!
Race 2 was always going to be much more difficult. Rob started in 23rd position, and with the rain still falling, the front runners sprinted away as he had to bide his time behind the GT3 Porsches as they gradually cut their way back through the field - it looked like time would run out before they reached the front.
However patience paid off, and in a brave move in poor visibility, he sprinted ahead of the GT3 to take the lead which he then opened up to again stamp his dominance on the Plum Pudding meeting with yet another win.
So we were all left wondering what would have been if Joe had been able to race, but inevitably glad that the damage was limited to the car and not the driver.
We will check in on their progress throughout 2013, as they get used to a more progressive front and rear pads (Ferrodo), and we try a new vented rear AP racing set-up on Joes car to go with the AP Racing full floating fronts..