Richard Tarling was not in his usual Royale RP26 at Silverstone this weekend, although the car looked similar from the outside.
He had noticed that there was something not right with the car during Friday testing and set about rectifying the problem with Enigma boss Linton Stutely, but a more drastic solution was needed than first thought, with the sister car of Steve Deeks plus some extra parts being called into action.
“We’re not 100% sure, but we think the chassis is broken somewhere,” says Tarling about his original car.
“When the car’s loaded up in the longer corners, it feels like the back end of the car’s not connected to the front.
“It was then affecting the engine, basically binding up the cranks which then makes it slow. And it can damage the engine badly, so we didn’t really want to take the risk.”
At first, a fix was tried on the Royale.
“We tried to weld some bars into the engine bay but really, it all needs to come apart and start again.”
Luckily, Steve Deeks, also making some appearances for Enigma this year, was also doing some testing in his Crossle 25F.
“Steve’s car was here,” says Tarling. “I drove it for a couple of laps at the end of the day just to see what it was like. The engine in it is a bit unknown, so we decided to put Linton’s engine [from his Historic Royale RP3] in it, and drive that.”
Neither Deeks not Stutely had planned to compete that weekend, which cleared a way for Tarling to take his place on the grid, but there were other smaller issues which nevertheless needed sorting, once the Royale’s bodywork had been tweaked to fit and added.
“I’m driving on a cushion, in Steve’s seat,” admits Tarling, who is smaller than Deeks. A lurking Deeks asked that the comments that followed were not published.
“We finished it at three o’clock in the morning, or we didn’t finish it really, but got it together at three in the morning.”
A few gremlins still needed to be defeated on Saturday morning, as there were problems with timing.
“We had some issues in qualifying. I’m surprised we were as high up as we were.”
After qualifying seventh, Tarling was fifth in both races.
(Image copyright HSCC)