The new Sixtyfivers column about race, history and gentlemanship.


 Night thunder by Fritz Hansen

Night thunder by Fritz Hansen

The white glare from the headlights catches the 150 m sign at the end of the straight. My ligths has chased the Marcos since he entered the track after the mandatory pitstop. One lap earlier, the pit board with my number 11, read "IN" . My mechanic used a flashlight to make sure that i saw the sign when i passed by the pit wall in the dark.

The night race for the SixtyFivers at Padborg Park in the south of Jylland, close to the German border, is at comepletely new thing in historic racing. This is the first of its kind, a race for more than fifty years old racecars to fight the dark and compete by their own lights to carve through the night.

 

We all know of the races at Le Mans and SPA where you can try your racecar in night conditions. Now we have the opportunity to try these demanding conditions for only a fragment of the cost of the other races.

This premier race in the dark, is a tryout to show the organiser and ourselves that this is a race to develop further into more than this first races forty minutes.

Due to special conditions, we have no possibility to refuel. The pit shall have a special secured area for the fueling and a crew of firemen has to stand guard. This is expensive and our thought is to get the most out of this opportunity and just race.

The SixtyFivers is invited to race Saturday night at a special grand week end at Padborg. A huge crowd are invited for the whole week end to enjoy the many race classes, where the new  spectacluar and already very popular Super Turismo race are the main attraction.

Our SixtyFiver night Hawks will make a super saturday night finale where an amusement park with carousels, Paris wheel, shooting tent, Burger stands and of course the famous danish sousages and beer, struggle to outshout the roar from our cars.

The pit entrance is straight ahead from the lefthand courve at the end of the straight at Padborg Park race track. The high beam from my car makes the Armco brighten up as i force the car into a moderate tempo and follow the pitlane into the pitarea.

A signal from my mechanic show me where to stop and hold the mandatory standstill. Few meters ahead of me, an other competitor help his codriver into the safety harness and hammer his hand into the roof of the car with a " GO..GO..GOO" !

Now i hear the my mechanic hammer at my roof " Kør for helvede"!

He gives me a nod and a thumbs up to show the pitlane is clear, and i follow the bright light from my four headlights trough the pits and back to the track where a marschall signals a OK and waves the blue flag as i pass into the track. The marschall want to put my attention on the racecars going into the lefthand turn where i enter from the pit.

I go trough the gearbox into third where i place the car to take the right hand corner into the pitchblack darkness og the back straight into the fast and challenging Big Mag courve. It's a long lefthand curve that tightens into a 90 degree leftie. The demanding Big Mac is designed by help from the former F1 driver and now of Corvette Le Mans fame Jan Magnussen.

At the tight left hand corner at the bottom of " The Big Mag", i have to drive out of race line, as two slower cars fights to have the best line at the short straight leading into a right hander that opens into the straight. One has to stay on the paved part of the track, espesially in the dark as the grass and dirt can be desieving.

The eight cylinders scream as i go into fourth gear and make it past the two slower cars. 

My lights catch the 150 m sign and i wait to stamp on the brakes till i pass the sched by the fence. The rearend gets a bit loose but settles when i turn in at the sharp lefthander at the end . As i make the curve i se the lights of a car going into the pits behind the escape area.

The lights from the pitarea makes the righthand curve by the pits more visible. Behind another car i brake and turn into the lefthander where the Marschall signals on other car back from the pits and into the race for the last twenty minutes......