The Toyo series May 5th and 6th was held at the famous Bira Circuit, on Highway 36, coming from Rayong, the circuit is on the left about 300 meters after the 331 flyover.
This was an important meeting for the Gerry-at-Rix team (say it quickly) competing in the Retro Class (Pre 1985 cars) with their 1973 Mk 1 Ford Escort.
This was the first race back for both the car and its driver Dr. Iain, after a huge crash last November in which the car looked to be a total write-off and the driver was more than slightly secondhand.
However, Thai panel shops are amazing with what they can do. It took three months to pull the twisted shell into shape, and then reinforce all weak points. It was then delivered back to us in Pattaya as a bare shell, whereupon every item had to be checked before bolting back into the shell. At that stage we found that even the rear axle was bent, as well as the front, the steering rack, radiator, intercooler, all glassware, parts of the roll-cage, wiring harness, fuel tank and pumps and lots more that I can’t remember!
In the crash Dr. Iain suffered a 15 stitch laceration to the groin, a fractured tail bone and a couple of ribs, so the driver needed some repairs as well. Fortunately Dr. Iain works at Bangkok Hospital Pattaya so personal repairs began immediately.
The car turned a wheel in anger for the first time on the 5th May and it was with some trepidation that Dr. Iain climbed into the driver’s seat.
Minor problems were expected and firstly the car’s brake pedal locked on increasing the trepidation! Next problem was a leak from the new radiator. To add to the drama, the heavens opened making the track very slippery.
Sunday 6th saw car and driver heading out on to the circuit, with crossed fingers if I am to be honest! The Escort made progress through the field, stayed on the bitumen, didn’t hit anything and was awarded the trophy for third. When we reached the podium, the drivers insisted Dr. Iain take the top step as it was felt by all that to even be there and racing was a fantastic effort.
The Escort is now back in the workshop for a full (unhurried) spanner check and will be taken out for private practice in a couple of weeks. This, no-pressure running will settle the car, and the driver! In that time, the sponsor’s logos will be laser cut and then applied to the car. And yes, Pattaya Mail is one of the sponsors.