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Published in Porsche Post (February 2017)

Joe Field and Michael Klosowski recall how becoming neighbours, and then their shared love of Stuttgart’s finest, led them to take part in the 2016 Brighton Speed Trials. Words and photos: Joe Field and Michael Klosowski

Some of the better things in life can start over a glass of wine. Sometimes the best things need more than one bottle, particularly when it’s with your Porsche loving next-door neighbour…

Entering our classics in the 2016 Brighton Speed Trials was the result of this inspiration. When Michael and his family were looking to move into the neighbourhood his wife said, ‘What a lovely house,’ while he said, ‘What a lovely 1991 928GT on the drive next door – he must be a tad nuts – perfect!’ Even if our wives and children did not get along (they do, I am pleased to report) then Michael’s 1979 911SC Targa would fit right in. Fast-forward three years. Over a few glasses of post Christmas wine we were grumbling about how the most excellent Brighton Speed Trials – the world’s oldest motorsport event – seemed to be getting more and more ‘electric’ and consequently less exciting. Perhaps they could benefit from a couple more noisy old classics for the thousands of spectators to enjoy. So, within a few days, Michael had hatched a plan to enter, including a communication strategy to our respective wives. We promptly signed up to the friendly and helpful Brighton & Hove Motor Club (www. brightonandhovemotorclub.co.uk) for £20. For we first-timers to be able to race we needed a Non-Race National ‘B’ Licence from the Motor Sports Association (www.msauk.org). Apart from the £43 fee, this also required our GPs to certify that we were fit to race. The check included heart, eyesight and otherwise being generally fit to propel (and stop) a car over a quarter-mile in a straight line. We next downloaded the entry form for the Brighton Speed Trials themselves and established that we qualified for the handicap category – basically any standard car. Our handicaps would be based on engine size and whether naturally aspirated or not. The entrance fee for this class was a further £110. Moving on to safety, and fashion, we needed to sort FIA-approved race suits and gloves and helmets. The chaps at Demon Tweeks were very helpful. They had stock of most things and offered various beginners’ race packages, plus a discount for BHMA members (www.demon-tweeks.co.uk). Next job was car preparation. Joe wanted to focus on maximum power and noise and opted for a straight through exhaust with resonators on the 5.0-litre V8. Paul Lacey, a leading UK 928 specialist (www.928gt.net), who had carried out a 200-hour engine rebuild over the winter, came down to help Joe raise the power. This included an engine remap on 99-octane fuel. They were hoping for something up to 380bhp with a well-advanced timing angle. But the digi-dash software wouldn’t talk to the shark tune software so some custom  GT chips were burnt and dropped in to the ECU’s  increasing power to probably around 350bhp. Joe stripped the car of all of the unnecessary items including the spare wheel and carpets and kept fuel to a minimum to run as light as possible. Joe thought (a lot) about tyres, but figured he didn’t really know enough about them, so stuck with the Bridgestones that Elite Garages did him a great deal on.

 ‘The stewards beckoned us to starting line and told us the drill – wait until the three reds go green, and go for it, in your own time. OK, sure’

Michael’s approach was slightly different. He decided that his 911SC Targa (a standard left-hand-drive model imported from the US five years ago) would just get up and go in the morning. Being 12 years older and leaner than the 928 there would not be that much to strip out anyway. (Although next year he plans to empty the front compartment of some rather unnecessary items for a quarter-mile sprint including wellies, blankets, two bottles of Louis Latour and a picnic basket.) By the morning of the Trials the car was pristine and adorned with stickers for his new business Strategic Asset Management. Thanks to Joe’s fastidious pre-race preparation and communication with various members on the 928 forum we explored the best launch techniques. There was plenty of advice – riding the clutch against the handbrake, pulling away in second gear, and others that we have since forgotten. Michael’s mechanic, Carl Burlie of Burlie Motors in Hailsham, East Sussex, gave some sage advice too. ‘Just bury it,’ he suggested. At the end it just came down to what revs to drop the clutch at, which was obviously very different for our two cars. We certainly had a blast practising – where it was safe and legal, of course. Our cars also needed specifically sized timing struts located at pre-determined positions. We had a good lads’ afternoon making these at Joe’s factory with his petrolhead manager, Jerome. And finally the cars needed numbers of a prescribed size and position. This was easy with a couple of magnetic discs and black insulating tape. Unfortunately for Joe, alloy body panels and rubbing strips on his 928 complicated matters but nothing a sharp knife could not help solve. Race day came around quickly and the excitement built up. It had poured with rain all night but the glorious late-summer sun dried everything off by the time proceedings got under way. We each had one practice run quite early in the day followed by the one timed run that counted. The stewards beckoned us to starting line and told us the drill – wait until the three reds go green, and go for it, in your own time. OK, sure. Joe opted for 3000rpm, eased the clutch to bite and then dropped it. The 928 dug in, went sideways a bit and then launched off with a deep grumble that matched Joe’s grin. Michael just, well, buried it. The 911 hunkered down as its hips and rear tried to catch up with the front end propelling it down Madeira Drive. What a buzz! As we had no clue what the handicaps would be (and why) we agreed that we’d see how close we could get to the ‘out of the tin’ quarter-mile time for our respective cars when first manufactured. Joe was 0.82 seconds shy of the 14.13 seconds for the 928GT and Michael was 1.16 seconds off the 14.7 for the 911SC. (A full set of results, some of them blistering, indeed, can be found on the Speed Trials website.) Not bad for a couple of old boys (the cars, that is) 30 years on. And we think that was cause enough for celebration with those bottles of Louis Latour. We always knew that those would come in handy! There were a number of other Porsches there on the day – several more 911s of various vintage, two GT3s, a Boxster Spyder, and a 356B. We’ll be back next year and hope to see even more of you, too. We are happy to have a chat if you are thinking of entering your Porsche for the first time. You can e-mail us at joe.field@adpol.co.uk or mk@iamstrategic.ch

 

1:     The 2016 Brighton Speed Trials—928GT owned by Joe Field

Projects:

Here I am working on Joe’s GT during preparations on the engine

 

“Man Eaten by Shark”

2:     928GT stage II supercharging (Coming soon…..)