Donington 2001

Donington Kitcar Show 2001

Donington Park Circuit
1st / 2nd September 2001

Saturday and Sunday, 1st and 2nd September provided a gathering of Rushes at the Dax Rush Owners Club parking area.

Saturday's pictures taken in the corner of the carpark that we had been allocated:

Rushes - Duncan's and Rick's at the frontRushesDarren Clarke inflates his hood - er, bedDarren and Stuart discuss the exact shade of purple

Sunday's pictures, when we had moved ourselves to a more central tarmac location:

RuhesSteve Mellor's ad-hoc hoodJohn's V8 Quadra

Four Rushes took to the track in a fine display of horsepower and chrome:

Four Rushes wait in the pits

Bob Green took a movie of a flying lap of Donington Park. See it at http://www.v8yob.com.

Dean Heatley has written a personal account of his Donington 2001 trip. Here it is, in Dean's own words.

Donington 2001 DROC gathering and track fun

Last year's efforts were thwarted by the unofficial blockades of the UK's   refineries, crippling the country within days. But we had more success this   time although fuel and the Rush's infamous range almost became a crisis.

We left Scotland on Friday afternoon to travel down halfway and make a stop. Topped up with hot food and a full tank we left Jedburgh at 10pm after  booking a lodge on the A1 at Washington. Headed off into the darkness the Rush ate the miles and blitzed the last of summer's bugs and midges. I was taking it easy on the gas although had reckoned on reaching the lodge after a hundred miles or so, with plenty to spare.

It was a great drive down and the first time I'd really pushed in the dark, the Deux Chevaux headlamps proving to be almost up to the job but not quite  WRC PIAA standards! In the back of my mind was a nagging feeling that the A68 emptied onto the A1 not north of Washington but south.

And then every time I went out to the right side of the road to dispense  some stragglers a slight fidget materialised from the passenger seat, like a prod in the side. Odd.

Sure enough we hit the A1 at Scotch Corner and I knew instantly that this  was well south of Washington. What to do now? With 50-60 miles in the tank  we drove on. and on. And on, 'til it became crystal clear that the Rush would be out of gas any time. I'd never seen more than 160 miles on the clock before! In a split-second last minute decision not to follow on down the M1 for services in 12 miles we peeled off onto the A1 for services "not 24H".  And there it was like a beacon in the night. Not for many years was I so glad to see a Best Western Hotel! The guy in the gas station even opened up to sell us cans of pop and midnight snacks!

Donington turned out to be just over an hour away next day and so we arrived to join up with the other Rushes already there. We'd been given a ropey old corner of a dusty car park and were rapidly getting cheesed off with the boy-racers spinning on the stones, so the quick thinking Central Area Secretary swapped some signs and we had a new place out of the wind and dust, well done Steve! Just in time for Mr. Roberts in Rush 001 leading the  Cotswold convoy. Terry had narrowly escaped disaster when a bolt fell out of the water pump along the M5 dispensing coolant all over his pristine Vulcan tuned pinto. Nothing that the trusty polishing rag couldn't fix. Mal had a degree of interest in selling his beloved pinto Rush but I think he's still got it. Peter's lovely V8 wore its new rollover bar bits in style too. Among the other cars there were Bob Green's show-stopping red V8 YOB, which saw plenty of track action on Sunday. Lennie Hutley's yellow pinto, Darren Clark's very purple Cosworth, Steve Mellor's subtle BRG Cosworth, Duncan Hurst's Jadzia V8, the Dax LWB demo car and the beautiful black V8 whose owner's name escapes me - sorry!

rushline2.jpg (88392 bytes)

From L-R, Pinto, Pinto, Pinto, V8, Cossie, Pinto, Cossie, V8

Some people, who shall remain nameless for not being brave enough, came to the show in "normal" cars because the weather looked iffy! Now come on, if my Girl and I can tank it down from Scotland the night before, thrash it round the track and make it home without a roof in 600-odd miles there's no need to bring out the tin-tops!

There were more cars on the Sunday where the Club moved over to the better tarmac area but I was out playing on the track.

As a show it was OK but it always seems that there could be more. As a track day on the Sunday it was great! As a track-virgin I had some expectations, mainly a safety briefing, being grouped into experience and then strict limits to numbers out on the track. Don't know if I was disappointed or made up really! The bloke to do the safety briefing didn't show, nobody gave a toss if you'd been out before, no flags were explained and at times it seemed like fifty cars were out there! The plus side of all this was that once you'd been out once the track marshal at the pit lane just waved you
out whenever it was clear.

Nobody was counting your sessions either! Fun is an understatement that's for sure. On cold tyres, which were too full of air, we followed round gently for a lap or two just to get the feel. After a couple of these I started to follow a white Westfield and with Tangerine pretty much on the limit all felt good. Up at the top corner just before the straight he let go in front of me and I instinctively backed off. We all know what that does
don't we?

We were swapping ends quicker than you could say "what was all that about

My first thoughts were immediately to where the Westfield was, not wishing to pick him up if this was a big one.  No damage done though as we came to rest just out of the gravel. With full face lids on the grins were enough to say it all and the books are all absolutely correct - if you lift off too hard mid corner with it all on the limit in a rear wheel drive car it will spin!

After a fag in the pits, well that's what McQueen would've done, we let some air out of the tyres and run with 18psi as well as putting one turn on the dampers all round. What a difference that made and now the car felt more like it was sticking to the tarmac. I dare say more playing with these settings would've made even bigger changes to the car's handling but I just wanted to get out and play!!

The tyres and brakes did need looking after though, as I had to get Tangerine back to Scotland that evening. Unfortunately I didn't have the chance of following Bob round the track who knows the lines so I was all over the place most of the time, but nevertheless it was tremendous fun. Lennie and Darren both pushed their cars to the limit, Darren managing to poke it all the way round for a trip into the kitty-litter! And I think eventually Bob's right foot overpowered his rationale leading to an unforgettable grass-cutting foray!

Pleased to report though that all the Rushes came home safely with no damage done.

If you've never driven your Rush as fast as you dare on a track you are seriously missing the point. And that is the point, to drive as fast as you dare without fear of oncoming traffic, faster competing cars and the dreaded plod with a laser gun.

Dean Heatley

If you have any pictures or tales of the Donington show that you would like to donate to this page, please email them to post@rushowners.co.uk. All contributions will be acknowledged.

Pictures by Duncan Hurst, Bob Green and Dean Heatley.