Gary Thomas – My 2014 Season (Part 2)

Gary Thomas' car

Gary Thomas’ car, a single-seater specially designed for hillclimbs and sprints.

Following a Blyton Park weekend where the car went sick, I set about attempting to get it back to full health. I soon found out at Loton Park that it was no better despite the replacement of a number of parts. I then purchased a kit from SBD Motorsport replacing the ECU, loom, injectors and throttle bodies.

After help from nearby sprinter, Steve Miles, it finally seemed to be running well so I returned to Loton Park for two one day meetings. Second fastest time of the day was the result of day one and on day two I lead until one of the final runs of the day when I was beaten by just one hundredth of a second! That was frustrating but if the sport was easy it wouldn’t be worth doing.


In mid September I entered both days at the Nottingham Sports Car Clubs Thoresby Park Sprint in north Nottinghamshire. Thoresby is a very difficult, technical track with a bumpy surface that does not favour single seater race cars. I was content to set FTD on day one from some very quick Westfields, but day two was very exciting for me as I managed to put together one good run which beat the outright track record by seven-tenths of a second.


I returned to my favourite venue the following weekend,

Moment at Shelsley Walsh

Gary’s “moment” caught on camera at Shelsley Walsh

Shelsley Walsh hillclimb in Worcestershire. I had an ambition to win Fastest Time of the Day at Shelsley but as this is known as a power hill this wouldn’t be easy as there is normally a good entry of larger capacity race cars than my 1400cc engined car. During the weekend we met a number of Christians who were very encouraging. On the damp Saturday I achieved the result I had been striving for by winning outright but on the Sunday the track had dried thoroughly and I expected to be behind the bigger engined cars. To my huge surprise I won on the Sunday as well, despite a big moment where the back of the car swiped a bank on the edge of the track so hard that the rear wing supports bent! So there in one weekend I had achieved a long held ambition twice.


The season finished with three events at my most local venue, Curborough Sprint Course. I had a crazy idea to try to end the season as the fastest driver on each of the three track layouts at Curborough in 2014. The first of these events was run by BARC Midlands on the two lap layout and my time of 52.6 seconds became the fastest 2 lap time of the season. The next weekend was the one lap layout run by the HSA. This went very much to plan with a time which broke the existing class record and again set the best time all season for the short course. Next was the figure of eight layout run by the MAC. A great first run looked like completing the set of quickest times for me till, in the gathering gloom of a late October day, Chris Aspinall pipped me to win the event and be the first recipient of the David Pattison Trophy. Oh well, perhaps another year?


Gary and Gail Thomas

Gary Thomas with his wife, Gail

My season was over and the car was telling me that an engine rebuild would be needed over the winter with the quantity of oil leaking out so I started a winter strip down on the day after the final event. 13 FTD’s meant a very good season and cause to be optimistic for the following season.


Christians in Motorsport would like to thank Gary for sharing the story of his 2014 season (and for his patience waiting for us to resolve the technical issues that delayed us from publishing it).