Oliver Bryant Racing

07946 524 941 info@oliverbryant.com
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27th September 2009

SPA 6 HOUR MEETING 25-26-27 September 2009

After two years of finishing in 4th place, the famous AC Cobra “GPG 4C” came home in 3rd place closely behind the rapid AC Cobra of David Hart, Rob Hall andJeroen Bleekemolen and the winning GT40 of Shaun Lynn and Andrew Haddon.

Olly Bryant qualified the car 4th on the 100 car grid after a blistering lap of 2min50s to out-qualify 4 of the 7 GT40’s and all of the other AC Cobras.

Grahame Bryant started the race and lost ground initially before settling into a good rhythm and hanging onto the back of the David Hart Cobra, being started by Rob Hall. It was decided to pit Grahame at just over the 90-minute mark in order to avoid the lengthy queues at the fuel pumps that cost the car so much time the previous year. Just before the end of his stint, a Corvette blew up depositing its oil onto the circuit. Grahame spun on this oil and the cobra went into the gravel at Stavelot, fortunately he was able to drive out and only lose 35 seconds.

The pit stop went smoothly and Andrew Smith climbed aboard and completed his fuel stop with no queue! Andrew had an excellent stint lapping quickly and consistently as darkness fell and moved up into 3rd place. The race had been shortened by 20 minutes due to starting late, so with the Cobra’s 2 hour fuel range this meant that Andrew could now pit with just over 2 hours to go to hand over to Olly.

Olly was not so lucky with the fuel and had to wait behind a Ford Mustang before taking on board the 120 odd litres that would take the car to the finish. Olly rejoined the circuit and started lapping quickly, with the AC Cobra and Ford GT40 that were in front due to stop for fuel shortly, it looked likely that Olly would take the overall lead. Unfortunately a safety car was deployed about 10 minutes into the stint, which allowed the cars in front to effectively gain a free fuel stop whilst “GPG” circulated slowly behind the safety car. Olly therefore emerged again in 3rd place but was a lap behind the cars in 1st and 2nd. Even more pressing was that Olly was under pressure from the ford GT40 roadster of Andy Newall which closed in through the traffic. Olly fought with the GT40 for an hour with positions being exchanged several times as the cars battled through traffic. With glowing disc brakes and dazzling lights, the cars fought into the Ardennes night. Newall managed to pull a few lengths on one lap before Olly was able to catch up again and put Newall under immense pressure. Newall powerslid the GT40 from corner to corner on the edge of adhesion before suffering a spin at the Rivage hairpin, Olly narrowly avoided being collected, moved up into 3rd place, got his head down and pulled out a 28 second lead on the GT40. He also recorded a lap of 2min54.043s which was the fastest lap set by a Cobra in the race.

To the delight of the drivers and Steve and James from Spirit Automotive, the Cobra thundered to claim an excellent and hard fought podium. Olly was delighted to get the Cobra onto the podium, having finished on the podium twice before in Jaguar E types.

World Sportscar Masters Race: Lola T70 Mk3b
Olly was unfortunate in qualifying as the car had a misfire so was massively down on straight-line speed. The handling balance on the car was near spot on and despite the misfire, recorded a time of 2min33.132s to line the car up second on the grid. Before the race, the engine was stripped to find the car had a broken valve spring. This was the cause of the misfire, but more annoyingly the piece of spring that had broken off could not be found so the sump had to be removed and the whole oil system checked to find it. This could not be found however and the engine was put back together prior to the race. From second on the grid and now running on 8 cylinders, Olly charged into the lead at the start and had an impressive lead heading along the Kemmel Straight on lap one. As he hit the brakes for Les Combes the oil pressure light flicked on as the pressure went to zero and Olly was forced to back off dropping to 3rd before pitting at the end of the lap. The car then suffered a 2-minute pit stop to put more oil into the dry sump system. It was suspected that the stray piece of spring had damaged the scavenge pump and was not circulating the oil properly. Topping the oil up seemed to fix this problem so Olly charged back into the race, only for the car to drop another cylinder as another valve spring broke on the next lap. Olly continued to nurse the sick engine for the rest of the race, including his mandatory 1-minute pit stop and managed to finish in 5th place on the tail of Martin Stretton and 1min58s behind the winner. This proved that even with the misfire, had the first lap stop not occurred, Olly would have won the race!

Top Hat Masters All Series: Morgan +8
Qualifying took place in the thick fog on Friday morning, in spite of this Olly firmly planted “1 MOG“ on pole position from the similar car of Andrew Smith.

Grahame started the race but braked early for La Source at the start so Andrew Smith stormed through into the lead. Grahame soon got up to speed and set about challenging Andrew. The two of them lapping very quickly both setting laps in the 2min47s mark and pulling away from the rest of the field. Unfortunately 5 laps in, Andrew’s engine let go in a big way so the main competition was gone. However the challenge came in a different form as the car’s gearbox broke leaving Grahame with only 4th gear, he also pitted too early so Olly was forced to wait until the permitted pit stop time was over before rejoining the race. Olly was down in 28th place and with only one gear, the chances looked grim. The first lap was slow as Olly adjusted his driving to suit the problem, he then managed to find 2nd so had the use of this gear for the Bus Stop and La Source, and then 5th gear for the rest of the lap. Olly pushed hard and managed to put in a 2min49s lap to blast the car up to the leaders and take the lead with a few laps to go and claim the win! A great result considering the troubles but also a great shame that the Smith/Spooner Morgan could not battle “1 MOG” all the way to the flag.

Under Two-Litre Touring Cars (U2TC): BMW 1800ti
Olly qualified the BMW in 10th place on the 48 car grid and 2nd in class. The race was uneventful with Olly moving the car up to 6th place before Grahame bringing the car home in 8th place and 2nd in class.

GT Sports Endurance Masters:
This is the race that Olly and Grahame have won for the last 5 years and qualifying went well with Olly lining the car up 4th on the 57-car grid. Unfortunately, after the stresses of the 6-hour race on Saturday night, the diff internals broke on the out lap and the car had to be parked. A great shame as a 6-year unbeaten record was on the cards.