So this was my ‘home’ race really. I live about 5 miles from Castle Combe and I really wanted to race here as it’s the only race in the calendar that all my friends and family can conveniently attend. I was racing with the CSCC Magnificent 7’s.
It was all a bit of a rush to get the car ready as I managed to leave one wheel hanging off the car during my last race (see previous Blog). All was fixed (except a dodgy looking rear arch) but I had my concerns about the brakes. When I collected the car from my ‘motorsport mechanic’, there was not enough pressure in the peddle. I booked the car into my local garage and they bleed the brakes but I was not happy with the pedal position - Oh well, at least it stops and I can go racing….
The day before I dropped the car off at the circuit and set up the Gazebo to house it overnight. All good except the ‘squiffy’ Wife and quite frankly ruinously drunk two friends who had been on the Prosecco all day. They were a nightmare. They were as loud as three drunk ‘ladies’ can be and one of the ‘Processo Pit Crew’ was actually sick in the bushes. I was most unimpressed and I think some of the other racers/campers were feeling the same.
Still, being just down the road at least I could get a good night’s sleep in my own bed.
The next day was bright sunshine and the forecast was good. I met my twin brother who was helping me for the day and we headed to the circuit. Scrutineering and sign-on was uneventful and I want out to qualify. I was pleased with my lap time of 1.17.8, which was 1.6 second quicker than last year on a similar spec. I did have a spin though as I missed my braking pint at the chicane on a ‘fast one’ (tighten the belts….take you brain out of its box and really go for it when the fuel load is low). I put this down to 12-months racing experience and using the kerbs a little more. 12 No. other racers were using a little too much kerb (see attachment)
This is the first time I have seen anything like this before. The effected drivers were un-amused and vented during the driver briefing.
Annoyingly my transponder was not working again (I’m car No. 14) and I found out from the Timekeepers that this is likely to be the subscription on my transponder. I renewed it recently and it has not worked since. I have emailed TSL and no doubt I’ll get it fixed soon.
The only annoyance was the brake pedal position. It was far too low so I could not heel and toe. It was also really difficult to smoothly come of the brakes and onto the loud pedal. This took a bit of getting used to and was an annoying distraction.
After quali I spoke to Andrew, a WSCC member who was there supporting Ross, a Caterham racer in the Mag 7’s who he was spanning for the weekend. Scott had had a huge crash in the Open race the day before when he was hit by an M3. The car was in a terrible state and Scott had spent the night in Hospital. Not good news at all and I hope him all the best.
There was a long wait until the race and even longer a wait in the assembly area as the tyre wall was damaged in the previous race. I hate trying to get in the right frame of mind for a race only to then be ‘stood down’ on more than one occasion. I went out on the grid far too relaxed in hindsight. I went round for the warm-up lap and then lined up on the grid with things up-to temp.
When the lights went out I had too much wheelspin. I thought 4k rpm was better than the 3.5k I used at Silverstone and it just wheel span. I shifted into second and all was ok ish I guess but I lost momentum. I managed to get round the first corner without incident and headed up to the chicane. I tried to go round the outside of one car, carried too much speed and understeered into the corner. Trying to avoid losing control I cut the corner a little and came out of the throttle. I lost a place which effectively ended the start phase of the race as the field spread out. I managed a good few laps and held station, even if I lost two places in one go around quarry as the car randomly lost power for a few seconds (it was like fuel surge and I still don’t know what happened?). I then caught two cars that were having a battle and joined in the fun. We traded places for 4/5 laps and I was really getting into the fun of the race. So much so, I nearly missed the pit window! I completely missed the time zip by and three pit boards saying ‘IN’. Oops.
I pitted just before the pit window ended and annoyingly having lost the back end, again, in the exact spot where I span in quali. I had just overtaken a car outbreaking him into Quarry and was defending the next corner. I carried too much speed into the corner onto the brakes and lost the rear end (this had happened before and I so very nearly held it…) Even more annoyingly, I just touched the tyre barrier with my nose cone (what’s the point of the tyre barriers if they are so hot on the track limits?) see photo.
The car stalled when I came to a stop but then it would not start. I lost 30 seconds but it felt like a lifetime. This lost me 3 places, possibly 4. That’s racing I suppose and another nose cone for me….
I went out for the final stint and put my spin to the back of my mind. I thought I may be able to catch the pack but it was not to happen. I finished 14 seconds behind the car in front who I was previously battling with. The lack of the lower class cars at this meeting meant there was little to race with in the latter stage of the race after the pit stop. Shame really.
To cap off what was a rather bad day in the office overall, a fly managed to squash itself right in the middle of my GoPro lens, blocking most of the shot, so not much race footage (any my internet not’s working at home either!)
Still there’s always Donny in three weeks-time. Surely my luck must change at some point 3 of 3 eh?)?