Hooray! Car back from the garage, with new front bearings fitted & brakes back in working order.
A bit eye watering on the hours labour front but soooo worth it to get the car back on what is proving to be the hottest day of the year so far. Bizarrely had to hoover some sand out of the centre console tray (say what?! Nearest beach about 60 miles away so not too sure what’s gone on there!). Happy days… Back to motoring in the sun for me.
Back from this years Le Mans Classic & it was a blast! I had a great time with my chum Doug, & below you can see him piloting my Mantis past the famous LM clock into the straight between the grandstands. Whoohoo! Photographer Mark Scarrott you are a very nice man!
The drive back today, Monday, was generally uneventful, making the Roscoff ferry in good time & a decent crossing to Plymouth with a bracing sea breeze under a grey sky. The hood stayed down all the way, despite hitting heavy rain just south of Junction 19 on the M6. Tiredness & mediocre visibility led to driver error with my prematurely turning off the roundabout &, after around 600 miles and just 10 miles from home we found ourselves back on the M6 heading north again & now away from home. D’oh! An interesting development over the previous few miles had been a growing lack of stopping power, with the brakes becoming increasingly ineffective! I decided to figure out what was going on the following morning & continued home using the engine to brake. Feeling more than a little sheepish, it was off at M6 Junction 20 & (with apologies to everyone in Lymm for driving a very loud sportscar through their village at about 0200 hours on Tuesday morning), we finally got home. It’s fair to say I slept well!
Today was race day at the 2016 Le Mans Classic, but before heading off to the circuit again to park up on the Bugatti Circuit there was time to get some unusual shots of the cars from above, courtesy of Darren & his cherry
The race itself was enjoyable & I was pleased to have Grandstand seats after a fair few hours wandering around looking at the cars, stalls & the odd bar. Lots of big screens make following the rcase a lot easier & the weather was better than 2014! Yay!
Today is Day 3 of this year’s trip to the Le Mans Classic. After a longish drive yesterday, today was our first full day at Le Mans. After fuelling up (again) the convoy of Marcos left Neuvillette-en-Charnie & headed towards the circuit where we would join the other Marcos owners on the club display. This year saw a much improved location for the stand; we were lining the Bugatti Circuit which meant that all the cars coming off the main LM circuit went past us, which was pretty cool.
Apart from checking out the stand prior to tomorrow’s race, the other big event today was a couple of laps of the Le Mans circuit itself in the Mantis. As ever the organisation was chaotic! It’s always a rush as you line up to go onto the circuit & head off between the stands, but this year I was off the hook slightly as passenger, with Doug in the driving seat. I’d not managed to pull over & swap seats on the 2014 trip so I’ve owed him some laps for the last two years. Payback time!
It gave me a great opportunity to look around the circuit as we drove round – there always another quirk to spot!
As ever the laps were over too quickly, & we soon found ourselves parking up on the Club Stand where more cars had materialised. Nice to see a lot of Mini Marcos together as well, gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Mini Marcos that raced at LM24 in 1966 & was the only British car to finish. Fantastic!
This evening we’re back in Neuvillette-en-Charnie for some slap up nosh from Debbie & more Marcos banter. The fridge has magically refilled itself (thanks Darren!), the sun is out and… well… life is good!
Day 2 & the crossing over to France to drive down to Le Mans & the farm we are staying at. Today’s breakfast in the hotel became more interesting when it turned out that the chap on the table next to us owned one of the teams that races at the Le Mans 24 Hour, & that he was ‘popping over to Switzerland to have lunch with a banker who might be interested in financing next year’s team’. Nice fellow & we had a good chat. Then it was a rapid drive to the Chunnel to catch the train over to Calais. Always some nice cars around & this year was no different, with the added bonus of a shared carriage with a couple of nice Porsches & a Bentley. Meeting up with Jay some way outside Calais was relatively uneventful (compared with previous attempts!) & we headed off to Le Mans in convoy along with the accompanying (tasteful) yellow V8 MG. Predictably perhaps on her maiden voyage, we had to stop when Jay’s Mantis had temperature issues – the silver lining being ample time to oggle the newly installed LS3 while he fed it expensive French springwater!
It also allowed for an opportunity to admire fellow Brits’ cars as we all headed towards Le Mans.
With Jay’s engine temperature issues held at bay, we made good time on the Peage for a fair distance before hitting a massive queue which culminated in the discovery that the Peage had been closed off & everyone was being diverted back onto the main roads, which were predictably solid with traffic. So, filled with the British spirit of adventure & with an improbable level of confidence in Jay’s SatNav, our three cars boldly set off on a route that avoided the jams… aka ‘the opposite direction’. A lengthy but scenic tour through some beautiful French countryside & picturesque villages ensued, made all the more interesting by Jay’s Mantis losing clutch pressure. We pulled over outside a station in a random village whilst, undaunted, Jay bled the clutch… then filled it up with engine oil. Now I didn’t know you could do that! (I also get that you shouldn’t!).
Anyway, it did the trick & we cracked on, getting to Chateau Morrison a fair few hours later than planned (& dare I say it, with a slight sense of relief on my part). It’s always a pleasure to see Debbie & Darren & catch up on the latest improvements to their farm. The delayed arrival has meant extra time for the beer to chill, so everyone is happy & a few bottles have been got through with the Marcos Essex crowd who had arrived the day before. Marcos ownership & Le Mans should never be dull & on Day 2 neither has disappointed!
We’re off to Le Mans! Day 1 saw Doug & I hit Folkestone Wednesday evening after a leisurely drive down from Cheshire (i.e. nothing fell off) & we checked into the hotel which was a pretty cool Victorian pile on the coast. The obligatory tour of local hostelries followed, & a quick call to Jay Sherwin who was due to meet up with us outside Calais in his rather cool fliptone converted Mantis Challenge car. The conversation with Jay quickly moved on to whether he had gone ahead & swapped out the original 4.6L Ford Mustang engine for a GM LS3. The answer was that he had , & I was rather amused to hear that he had only finished & MOTd the car that day, with the test drive being our 400 mile trip to Le Mans. Excellent! Bravo!
On the way & nothing has fallen off the car (or me!) yet. Stopped at Clackett Lane services to get bevvied up on can number one. Only Monster Ultra Red though.
Bah! Swimming run again & once again the only parking is under some huge lime trees. The whole car needs claying after last week, with sap spots overover the whole of the car. Bummer! 😢 However not enough to damp the excitement of setting off for the Le Mans Classic tomorrow! Whoohoo! 😎