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Welcome to new customers Bailey Cars customers Jeff Mckee (USA), Eiso Bergsma(NL), Rolland Zoomers(NL) and David Peters(CA)

race report greg and pete

3 hour endurance race

Kyalami  Raceway

 5 December 2009

Race report by Greg and Peter Bailey

I was definitely feeling the pre race nerves,  as i strapped myself into the old faithful Bailey Blue GT40. Even though I have raced many times before and know the car so well. The thought of racing for at least an hour and a half in a field of about sixty something cars in possibly South Africa’s most Famous race.

The plans were to move off for a spotting lap and then if all was ok with the car settle onto the grid in 7th place after an average qualifying performance. Focusing and having a quiet chat with the old man about race tactics while driving down pit lane, when suddenly the red light at the end of pit lane came on, and a marshal holding the dreaded red flag jumped up to stop me. I was late.  But how?  We were supposed to be bang on time according to my time keeping. 

So there, I was absolutely fuming and sitting in pit lane and starting from the back of a 68 car race. The red mist was already dropping and I was not moving yet.

This was it. If there was ever a race to prove our engineering now would be the time. I put the frustration into focus and eventually the 67 cars drove past the start line and it was my time to start rolling off. 

The tactic initially was to save the car as much possible for the sake of fuel consumption and tyres.  But now with a slight disadvantage I’d have to push a little harder than planned. After about 5 laps I had managed to pass probably 50 odd cars and the field was starting to spread out a bit. I could then settle down and try get into a rhythm. The car was feeling really hooked up. I was concentrating hard on low slip angles and being smooth as well as keeping the motor on maximum torque curve to save fuel.

Pretty soon a typical Highveld thunderstorm began to appear over JHB. We decided that we had to hang on as long as it took for the rain to come. The hope was to pit in the chaos of a storm when the safety car was out, If it came  out.  The storm took forever to come. At about 2 hours into my stint the rain started as my concentration was lapsing. I locked up at turn 12 coming onto the pit straight and spun just falling off the track. The car stalled and wouldn’t restart initially. It fired to life after several anxious moments and I got back on track. Dad called me in to pit, as the safety car had just been sent out as there were a couple of other cars also off in dangerous places all over the track.

Our newly assembled pit crew did very well for their first ever attempt. We took a bit too long but at least nothing went wrong. I’d say we still had one of the best pit stops out of the bunch.  We were roughly in 5th place after my 2hour 5min stint.

Peter now jumped in the car as the rain really started to fall hard. . .

I was told that the track was really bad, which I soon realised was very true. I nearly lost it twice on the first lap, being on tyres that did not have many grooves at all. With the radio comms to the pit becoming   really handy, getting updates on what the marshals might be thinking, I soon realised that it was now too dangerous to continue. The water was running in rivers all around the track, and I was happy to see the safety   car come out after about 10 laps. We circulated around for another   5 laps , and then the race was red flagged. Rather sooner than later. Greg was shouting results over the radio, and I was very happy to hear, First!, first! in Pre 66 and 3rd over the line. The race was stopped after 2 hours thirty.

The car was still strong, and with both myself and Greg being very fit, we were ready to continue for the full 3 hours.    

All in all, a best career win for both of us and a huge win for our small factory in Boksburg , where the cars are designed, assembled and prepared from.

Thank you to our crew, customers and suppliers who put in the extra effort to make the cars win.

Pete and Greg Bailey.


 

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