A suspicious MOT

MOT passed (Huzzah!) with only headlight realignment & handbrake adjustment. Incredibly, a two digit garage bill! I haven’t had one of those for a while (if ever!). My garage man (Cross St Garage, Sale in Manchester. Highly recommended!) noticed the engine sounded different, plus there were high Hydrocarbons on tickover, which he eventually traced back to one of the ignition leads shorting out (by turning all the lights off in the garage!). What a great spot!

Today was the second show of the year at Tatton Park. Weather was excellent & there were more punters in than I can ever remember. The Marcos stand looked great with the factory banner hanging from the gazebo (& we were grateful for the shade!). We had seven cars in all, including a 1971 2+2 Mantis, which Jem Marsh had for his wife at one point – I’ve never seen one of these before & predictably perhaps it won ‘Best Marcos’ from the show organisers. Futuristic for the ’70s but still too many straight lines for me compared with my voluptuous proper Mantis! Alas, the sunshine really highlighted how tatty my bonnet has become, & I am determined to get it resprayed before next spring. Despite this, my Mantis was the subject of many a photo; it’s rather nice to think that the car will live on in pictures all over the country for years to come. Strangely, I was not once asked to pose next to the vehicle in question – Philistines!

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Oulton Park at last

I’ve finally got round to visiting Oulton Park, the race circuit ‘on my doorstep’ (or at least a very pretty forty minute drive away). Not being particularly interested in motorsport, & knowing that the Oulton circuit is very unforgiving to novice trackday drivers, I have stayed away from this place for years. However, when one of the Forum members, Aviator, mentioned that the race team he helps out on, Top Cats, was up there with a couple of Marcos Mantis for a round of the Britcar chamionship I decided it was now or never! Saturday morning saw me load up with my lodger, & set off for a late morning meet with my Le Mans compadres Caz & Debbie (alas in their PT cruiser as the LM500 was away awaiting a re-spray) & Johnny in his splendid black 3L at The Smoker pub on the A556. We headed off to the circuit & arrived to be met at the entrance gates by Aviator in his yellow LM400, who had some complimentary tickets from Top Cats supremo Warren – what a thoroughly nice chap! Aviator guided us to the pits area where we parked up & were met by Warren & his (rather foxy I have to say) wife Charlotte. Things were relatively quiet, qualifying having recently finished, so we visitors had the opportunity to peer round the alarmingly stripped-down Mantis which was quite enlightening for the likes of me! Sadly there was only one Mantis as the other driver had buggered off to a wedding, meaning no second Marcos, but I was still content to watch that one race. Having swipped some stonking nosh from the Top Cats heaving hospitality table we were recommended Druids Corner has a superior vantage point for the race, so off we trotted where I then proceeded to sit on an ant hill. I didn’t notice for a minute or two but bugger me there were a lot of them on my trousers when I did! Everyone was suitably impressed at how fast I moved…

It then seemed prudent to watch the race standing up! Things got off to a good start with the Mantis chugging round (always sounding like it was about 3000 RPM lower than all the other cars & not really trying yet!), & making decent progress but unfortunately half way through the race the diff packed in, leaving the second driver without a drive at all. Bummer. Although Top Cats TVR was still running, it was the Marcos Mantis I’d been there to watch, so we wandered back to the bar area & had a couple of beers as it had got quite warm by this stage! We bobbed back to the Top Cats garage to give our commiserations & thank anyone who would listen for their awesome hospitaility, then headed back home, where I had a thirsty hockey team awaiting their annual post-season bash! Overall a nice introduction to my local circuit.

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