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A beginner’s guide to racing in the Historic Road Sports Championship


Click image to open
full guide in pdf

Harness Termination
 
MSA Rule changes for 2015
 
Scrutineering, Eligibility and Historic Road Sports
 
The official MSA Championship Scrutineer is Nigel Edwards. As a former competitor, Nigel has a good understanding of our Championship, and backs this up with excellent technical knowledge. Always approachable and able to offer good advice, Nigel has kindly penned a few words about his role and his racing background.....

The principal duty of your Eligibility Scrutineer is very simple - to make sure physically that all our cars comply with the Technical section of our published regulations and identity documents plus, helped and guided by your Eligibility Registrar, with their technical specification in period. Consequently, my eligibility checks go beyond those basic ones possible within the usually 6-minute session necessary to get your pre-event "scrutineering ticket". Those sessions focus mostly on compliance with the MSA Blue Book safety inspired regulations - but the MSA does still request obvious non-compliances are spotted (no sir, standard MG Midgets did not have 6-pot alloy callipers nor twin-turbos in period…). Your Eligibility Registrar has the additional duty of maintaining the Championship's register of eligible cars and debating admissibility and specification of new ones when requested with the rest of the Championship Committee.
   
  The purposes of our Technical regulations are two-fold - to preserve the historical ethos of our cars and to promote fair racing within our chosen class-structure and your chosen model. There have been derogations allowed in the past, usually due to spares unavailability or repeated breakages, but these should preferably be temporary, to avoid locking-in undesirable and model-specific performance upgrades. Classic racing cars were never "bomb-proof" in period. If a certain running-gear component keeps failing, rather than upgrading to materials not used in period, there is always the better option of using a more sympathetic right foot! HRS (and 70s RS) has recently seen a welcome expansion in the variety of models being raced. I believe this has been helped greatly by the sensitive application of our regulations to strive for a predictable playing-field for all competitors.  
 
Simple eligibility checks (e.g. ride-height; weight; tyre size/specification; carburettor size; gear ratios; etc.) are usually conducted in Parc Fermé after qualifying or racing, as that allows fair and controlled inspection of the cars in the actual condition that they competed. Certain other checks (such as most detailed engine measurements) are not practical, within the limited time before the following event's Parc Fermé starts and possibly (in the context of one-man teams) the mechanical resources of just the driver, especially if the car is then due to be road-driven home! These necessary checks are best performed on an engine carefully stripped in a clean workshop - which is why our Technical Regulations mandate that all our engines are prepared ready for sealing to allow later inspection. Such inspection may be requested by the Committee or the Eligibility Scrutineer, or if another competitor wishes to lodge a formal appeal that the engine is non-compliant.

Wheel size

Engine seals
With regard to the key points of the normal pre-event scrutineering, I have a personal two-page list (referenced to the MSA Blue-book) that I believe shows the vast majority of items usually covered in those checks (but it has no MSA endorsement as to its accuracy or completeness!). You are welcome to a copy of this - just send me an eMail request (nigelcedwards@hotmail.com).

Please also note that I and most of my colleagues are usually delighted to look at your car in advance and advise accordingly, particularly if you wish to modify something that could be safety or eligibility related - but please just ask at a mutually convenient time!

I am usually contactable by phone (01903 742505 / 07875 111554).

Personal racing CV

I competed for fifteen years (1 outright win and more than several Class C wins) in my black 1970 Lotus Elan S4 as a driver/self-preparer sponsored by Barclaycard and bank overdraft, mainly in HSCC's Novice, Standard, Improved and finally Historic Road-sports, but also annually in the 750 MC Birkett 6-hour relay (best result 2nd handicap) and occasional foreign races such as Croix-en-Ternois and Spa 1hr / 2hr (finished on the podium, thanks to John Smirthwaite as my rapid 2nd driver!).
 

I was Class C representative on the relevant HSCC road sports committees for several years in the mid-1990s, which involving numerous "full and frank" eligibility discussions about driver-requested modifications, all of which were purely to enhance safety and never performance…does that sound familiar? Consequently, I am well aware of the pressure posed by scrutineering on a low-budget racer simply trying to enjoy a week-end's racing in their much-loved classic sports car!

Indeed, due to heavy work commitments and time/budget demands of growing children, I withdrew from racing for a few years in the mid-2000s, but my interest was rekindled by HRS racers Barry Ashdown and Peter Bornhauser. I was welcomed as a trainee scrutineer by Dallas Smith and his team in late 2009 and earned my MSA "Scrutineer Car" licence a year later. My training and subsequent events have been mostly with HSCC and 750MC, including all their UK International events; but also sprints at Goodwood and Crystal Palace; a hill-climb at Gurston Down; a sporting trial at Halnaker and rally stages at Brands Hatch. I was invited by French Chief Scrutineer Jacques de Priester to be a "Commissaire Technique" at Le Mans Classic 2012 and 2014.

In 2013, encouraged by Chief Scrutineer Dallas and supervised by FIA Technical Commissioner John Hopwood, I completed the additional practical modules required to be upgraded to "Eligibility Scrutineer". These included accurate measurement and knowledge of most aspects of car Suspension; Engine; Transmission; Historic Vehicles; and bizarrely Trucks! Whilst I adore HSCC's delicate 360kg 1000cc Formula Juniors, I can also thoroughly recommend the excitement of checking 5½ ton 1000bhp tractor units with their water-cooled brakes, locked diffs and roll-cages made out of tubing like scaffold poles - and then watch them enter Paddock three-abreast!

Regarding personal oily hands, I have maintained my own cars since I was an impoverished student, up to and including full Lotus twin-cam engine rebuilds.


Lotus Elan chassis
HSCC - HISTORIC ROAD SPORTS CHAMPIONSHIP
HSCC, Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Northants, NN12 8TN.    Tel: 00 44 1327 858400    Fax: 00 44 1327 858500    e-mail us : office@hscc.org.uk
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