So the time had come for my first trip to Anglesey, It was going to be either brilliant weather or freezing so earlier in the year asked a few fellow competitors if they would like to share a cottage. In the end it was just myself with wife Michelle and baby Olivia with @Howard (the champion) Gaskin and his son Alex.
we arrived at the cottage late afternoon and eptied all the thigs you end up carting around when travelling with a wife baby and dog and i headed up to the track. I was plesantly suprised that i was able to sign on and get scruiteneered so less of a rush on saturday morning.Howard and Alex arrived and we settled down for some food and a good night in a warm comfy bed.
Saturday arrived and i was very nervous, like it was my first event. I cycled round the national course with @MarkBishop and boy is it steep up to rocket. first practice came and i managed to get round ok 3 seconds off the target but felt more time to find and was happy that i would be able to get some good points. P2 and T1 were terrible both spining at rocket and ending up cutting the grass a little on one occation. T2,3,4,5 it all started to come together but just not having much experience of the track held me back and finished the day 4th in class but with over 96 points so still on track to keep my above 95 avarage i had set myself at the start of the season.
Sunday arrived and after a good night sleep and a couple of pints with the others i was much calmer and felt like my head was back in the game. again i cycled round with Mark and this was really going to be a test of how fast i can go with the long back straight from chaple to rocket, likley to be the fastest i have ever been in the car. P1 and P2 were quite straight forward but with the very windy conditions no records were to be broken. i was 10 seconds away from the target time after the practices. the timed runs and i spun out of the first corner and apparently from the onlookers was alot closer to backing into the barrier than i thought, i anger drove the rest of the lap and suddenly realised how much i could push round chapel and up to rocket.
The last run of the day and i felt like i was on it unfortunatly i arrived at rocket to red flags. Mark had out breaked himself into peel and gone straight on into the tyre wall but was ok and the car looked to be ok once back in the pits bar a little amount of fiberglass repair required on the nose. I headed straight to the startline for a re-run and managed to push in to the second car to start again after the red flag. i pull off the line 1st 2nd round the first corner 5th doh. luckily the torque pulled me along and although a little slower no where nere the amount of sideways action it had been all day. I pushed on to the finish and no time was displayed it had been dodgy all afternoon and didnt think i was going any faster so just parked the car on the trailer.
As i was straping the car down fellow competitor Leon Franks came up and said well done mate good day. i said i didnt think i had gone any faster. yep 99.89 and beat his previous longton record.
so new longton clas record, first in class and also fastest novice on the day something i had been aiming for all season.
the only run i recorded all weekend
so the end of my first full season and what a season it has been. if you have never tried to sprint or hillclimb i would 100% say give it a go as @Chris King - Webmaster and Joint North East AO said to me earlier in the year at Blyton you cannot prepare yourself for the rush of putting your visor down and going up against the clock.
see you all next season
Ty Croes 6th/7th Oct 2018
Well the was the long awaited finale to the 2018 season. Most of the year had seen John Loudon and myself as leaders in the overall championship and Simon Waterfall pushing for at least Novice championship honours in the ex Kev Bamber car. After celebrating our 50thwedding anniversary Margaret and I booked a one week cruise to the Greek Islands and I would be back just in time for ANGLESEY. Whilst I was away John Loudon and Howard (I am sneaking up on you) Gaskin scored well at Curborough and suddenly there was 3 people in with a chance of the title. Despite the threat of rain the weather was very cold but dry all weekend and there was a good entry of 13 Westfields and 5 class J2 cars. Early excitement was when Mick Skidmore executed an excellent manoeuvre of his trailer (having offloaded his car) but due to his motorhome he had limited visibility and he reversed it into the carbon fibre nose cone of his car. I have to say that the grey duct tape repair was not nice to look at and I thought he should have used black tape for a far better visual impact. After the bar closed early at 2200hrs we had overnight rain that cleared up quickly on Saturday morning. Mark Anson was back out in his Jedi after an engine rebuild but he needed a last minute session of trying to balance his brakes.
Sat – 1 lap of National circuit.
In P1 there was a spin by Tony Smiley at Rocket in his Busa and so I got red flagged at the so that was a bad start. I also recollect that Simon Waterfall spun at Rocket in T1 so he was clearly pushing hard and trying to learn the circuit which was new to him. At the start of the top 12 run offs, Mark’s Jedi suffered a regulator failure and my bother Steve and I plus the paddock marshal Dorran pushed him to the start and its surprising how heavy that car is ………when Mark is sitting in it ! Luckily he had a spare regulator so we did not have to use our muscles again. Garry Bunn’s car sheared an alternator mounting bolt and damaged the dry sump pump belt but it was quickly repaired. A good day for most with 2 practice and 5 timed runs by our friends at LDMC. As well as setting a new class G record, I was quickest Westfield and second FTD in National B and I think Tony Smiley got best Novice despite his coolant issues which seemed to be related to not having a fan fitted and maybe a blown water pump fuse. It was good to see a few friends including Scott Beeland (original owner of the boghouse blue car), John Hoyle, Stephen Herbert and Sally, and later Paul Aspden and Jill.
A few rough calculations by me suggested that Howard Gaskin had just squeezed in front of John Loudon and myself as he beat the target time and dropped a previous low score. There was confusion though as Alex Gaskin still believed his John Loudon was leading.
Several of us retired to the bar for food and drinks and a bad omen for me was that I was given order number 13 which I tried, unsuccessfully, to pass to John and Howard. As usuakl the Westfield crowd were the last ones to be thrown out of the bar and get ready for tomorrow.
Sun – I lap of International circuit
It is fair to say that the targets (records) for this layout are very difficult and we doubted the ability to beat them and score well as the track was cold and we were on old rubber.
In P1 John Loudon reported possible clutch slipping and in P2 Tony Smiley had the front edge of his rear undertray come loose, I suffered from flatshifter upshifts not working for some bizarre reason and then I stripped the threads on a wheel nut but luckily Derek Hodder had a spare. Garry’s car was now pushing out a lot of water from the header tank and he spun as the water sprayed onto the rear tyres. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a suspected blown head gasket.
T1 saw John Loudon put in a great time of 88.70 secs which was as close a she got to the target of 88.02secs. garry Bunn spun at the final hairpin and Howard overshot the corner at the same place. I could not believe the buffeting the cars were experiencing at high speed particularly down the long back straight from Church to Rocket.
In T2 Charlotte Phelps spun as did Simon Waterfall who lost it at the first corner and nearly hit the tyre wall. Adam Phelps was going very quickly and was quickest in class H chased by Chris Griffiths in his Millington Diamond powered car. Best novice prize went to Simon Waterfall. I have missed out a lot but I could not be everywhere so I hope everyone enjoyed the weekend including Mark Bishop and Ian Davenport in classes A and C.
So where did it all finish? Howard Gaskin was indeed our overall champion by a ridiculously small margin with John Loudon second and me 3rd. Simon Waterfall wrapped up
a great season by winning the Novice title and also winning class A.
Once again the Speed Series produced a season where it came down to the very last event of 37 to decide positions.
In class J2 Steve Broughton just pipped Matt Hillam on both days.
Roll on next year… I cant wait. Hope to see many of you at the award night.
Class G competitor
Tel’s tales – Harewood weekend 15thand 16thSept 2018
This weekend saw the speed series visiting god’;s own county of Yorkshire and sample the local weather which once again was windy and at times wet as well as a little chilly. It’s the only hillclimb Steve and I do as its only 30 mins away and on the doorstep. For those that have not driven it Harewood is the longest hillclimb in the country and notoriously difficult to get a good time as there are several places to get the corner wrong as well as the challenging fast right hand finish at Quarry bend.
On Saturday the 8 Westfiled competitors got ready to rumble only to feel spots of rain start at 0830hrs. and that meant P1 and P2 were wet but luckily the track started to dry as the day went on.
In P1 Andy Hargreaves stalled on the start line but in fairness he has not been out much this year! I think he also forgot to fix his timing strut on. I think I was fastest but Adam Phelps was to rule the weekend putting in some great times on both days in the Busa which he was double driving with Charlotte with dad John as pit monkey.
John Hoyle and Stephen Herbert turned up to watch and on Sunday we had Dave Cleaver, Paul Aspden and several Yorkshire members arrived in their Westfields after a breakfast meeting at the Rede Kite cafe.
T1 looked like the track was drying out but several cars were going off and with a new black tarmac finish it was hard to detect damp/wet patches. Charlotte had spun in P1 and went off roading in T1. I was not going to be outdone and I was a bit too aggressive coming out of Farmhouse and I could not stay on the black stuff so I ended up in the kitty litter. Back in the paddock I had lots of help to remove the massive quantity of gravel from the rear diffuser tray. Steve bagged it up ( and took it home)and we reckoned that it would have cost £3 at B&Q. His wife Margaret suggest that to get over it I should “get stoned” when I got home……
T2 runs were dry and we were all getting quicker.
Interestinmgly all our best runs were in T3which finished at 1730 hrs so well before the 1800 curfew.
Top 3 were Adam Phelps 57.65, Mick Dent 59.53 and me on 60.64 secs.
Sunday was a wet start again but with a promise of better cloudy weather later in the day and that’s exactly what we got despite a few light showers which did not affect the track much as the strong wind dried it quickly. The main fun of the morning was watching and helping ( hindering ) Mick Dent and his daughter to erect a large tent which was big enough to fit his car inside.
I think Adam was pushing hard in P2 and had an off but we all put in some good times in the 4 timed runs we had. Charlotte was very keen to see more of the Yorkshire countryside and went of the track at Quarry bend in her last run and took out the timing gear. Chris Winstanley (timing team) presented her with the smashed tripod as a “trophy”. Mark bishop improved a lot on his Sat time and Ian Davenport also improved. Andy Hargreaves was well pleased with his times on his year old slicks.
Times were as follows:
Adam Phelps 57.51 Class H
Mick Dent 59.39 Class H
Terry Everall 59.85 Class G
Andy Hargreaves 60.28 Class G
Charlotte Phelps 60.98 Class H
Ian Davenport 64.09 Class C
Stephen Everall 67.90 Class D
Mark Bishop 67.52 Class A
A good turnout and a competitive weekend
CURBOROUGH FIG 8 , AINTREE AND 3 SISTERS 2 LAPPER
So here is a roundup of the last 3 events I attended
Curborough Fig 8
There were 7 Westfields competing at the popular but very slow 2 lap event and we has=d 2 practice and 2 timed runs. It was good to see Howard Gaskin back out and he had installed another gearbox and hydraulic clutch release in a short space of time since it failed at his last event. In P1 I suddenly experienced an intermittent misfire that happened at high revs (so for men that was all the time) and despite my valiant attempts at changing sensors and checking wiring I could not sure the problem and in the paddock the engine ran perfectly which was very frustrating. I even suspected my Quickshifter was faulty but it was ok. Steve Everall had a sticking throttle cable was was easily cured by easing the route to the throttle bodies. He then suffered a bit of a problem with overheating but that turned out to be the earth wire that had come adrift from the fan so was an easy fix.
P2 saw John Loudon putting in a fast time and me still struggling
T1 and T2 saw the following results
Mathew Haynes 101 points
Howard Gaskin 99.41 points
Steve Everall 91.06 points
Johnn Loudon 101 points
Terry Everall 94.1 points
Garry Bunn 94.90 points
Derek Hodder 94.25 p[oints
As you can see by my lack of details I point most of the day under my bonnet as well as cursing and swearing at the car as it misfired on every run. I even left early! After the weekend and a lot of head scratching I diagnosed the problem as a faulty wire connection to the Cam Sensor.
Well done to John and Mathew on their big points haul.
Aintree Sat 1/9/18
5 Westfields this time comprising me, Steve, John Loudon, Mick Skidmore and Chris Griffiths in his Millington Diamond engined car. We walked the track on Friday night and as well as telling stories about past events involving the Flymo , John’s wheel falling off, Richard Carroll driving down one of the golf course fairways awe found lots of noice golf balls for me to use.IO chad my fingers crossed that my car would run ok after the Curborough frustrations and both John and I were after good points.
P1 and P2 saw Chrid Griffiths using his big power and posting the best Westfield times (which he did all day). T1 saw John bang in a great banker by breaking my old record from 2015. Steve was reporting a b=ig vibration in the car but we could not find the problem until we got to 3 sisters ready for the Sunday event. I found a cracked chassis rail behind the diff mounting points which is a common problem!
Final times were
John Loudon 45.23 secs (101.25 points)
Terry Everall 45.95 secs
Chris Griffiths 44.49 secs
Mick Skidmore 49.94 secs
Steve Everall 52.01 secs
3 Sisters 2/9/18
Today I wanted revenge over John as he beat me yesterday and we both needed good points. I also was supposed to be at my granddaughter’s 18th birthday party at 6pm back in York so no pressure then! The day started quite cool with thick cloud but it stayed dry and track conditions were perfect as was our paddock positions on the nice tarmac of the pits. 7 Westfields put-on a great display against all the other cars and Lotus 7 cars.
P1 and Steve was still getting bad vibrations but I was on a mission and broke the class record straight away even though I was using my old practice tyres. The day went quite quickly despite a single seater visiting a tyre wall and another single seater blowing its engine. John and I went even quicker in P2 and several others were blowing away the records.
After T1 Steve and I packed up and left so I could get to the important party but the final scores were as follows
Terry Everall 72.28 secs ( 3rd fastest overall)
John Loudon 72.40 secs ( 4th fastest overall)
Garry Bunn 73.11 secs ( 5th fastest overall)
Howard Gaskin 76.27 secs ( 8th tastes overall)
Mick Skidmore 77.46 secs
Richard Houlgate 79.74 secs
Steve Everall 83.21 secs (affected by chassis vibration)
All in all a good showing by the speed series guys despite some technical gremlins and 4 people beat there target times.
Class G competitor
August 20th, 2018
An early birthday present! I desperately needed new tyres and as I was also considering going to a smaller wheel size or having the wheels refurbished into a different colour, I weight up the options and costs for each permutation. New wheels won!
They are John Brown Wheels Smoothie's in 5.5J 13" for the front and 7J 13" for the back. They fitted them with Nankang NS-2R tyres in 185/60R13.
I've ordered some low profile black wheel nuts to complement them. Also need to reduce the spacer on the rear.
August 25th, 2018
New wheels do not need spacers at the front, so shortening the wheel studs a bit so they can fit underneath the hub caps as well. Who knew you couldn't rely on the weather forecast?
August 27th, 2018
With a son who tries to make a career out of photography, who better than him to shoot a new desktop background... Visit Devoted Media for more information
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Like a kid counting down to Christmas, this race meeting could not come round quick enough. I had been over thinking the championship and really trying to get my fitness up, I just wanted to get out there and was chomping at the bit!
This was the penultimate meeting of 2018 with the Welsh Sport and Saloon Car Championship.
I had to book a different hotel to the one I usually get and although an ok place, it did smell damp in the room and my mate again, snored like a trooper. The ear plugs just didn’t sit right in my ears and I got another crap night’s sleep. Still I’m used to that now and several cups of tea, Lucozade and a healthy dose of adrenaline sorted out the tiredness. Overnight it was very windy and wet. Thankfully the new gazebo (Rock Awnings) held up. I got to the track in drizzle and an uncertain forecast…..after the biblical weather at Donny I wanted summer to return!
The grid was down to 14 as a few cars had either crashed or had major failures since the last meeting. This suited me fine as I had enough in my class for a potential maximum points and it gave me lots of space to set a quick one in quali. I was mucho surprised though when I got back to the pits to find out I was on the front row. I thought my mate was taking the mickey (he does that a lot….). P2 was my best ever quali result and for sure down to the wet. Now I wanted it to rain all day so then the sun came out…..
The start of race 1 was playing on my mind as I had two powerful cars on the row behind and I had no hope of holding them back. I opted for the don’t change position and let them past as this was least risk (neither were in my class). This worked but I did end up in a Caterham sandwich approaching the first corner. I tried to outbreak one car round the first corner but didn’t quite get it done and held 4th. Just as I was looking to get a good run out of the 3rd corner I got caught unaware by one of the Class CT cars (he was really, really close to my car) and in taking evasive action, ended up on the grass (he apologised after the race). It was a proper heart-stopping moment as the grass was sodden. This can mean you end up either spinning or the car digging in….I backed out of the throttle and got away with it, just managing to hold off 5th place. I quickly got the space back and finished 4th overall, which was what I was hoping for and more importantly 1st in class.
Race 2 was less interesting and mostly uneventful to be honest. One of the chasing pack span at the first hairpin and caused bedlam as about 10 cars had to go round a stationary car. I focused on getting the car home but I had also set myself a target. The class lap record was just a tenth of my fastest lap from race 1 and I manage to just dip under it on lap 14 of 16, despite my mate waving to tell me to slow down and think about the points. I finished 4th again and 1st in class once more.
All these points mean I can now officially call myself the Welsh Sports and Saloon Car Champion for 2018. I’m a very happy racing driver!
Thanks for reading. Vids to follow tonight.
Pic of the close moment in Race 1 (yep...that's literally about 3 inches away!) -
Blyton Sat/Sun 11th/12thAug 2018
On Thursday I was in shorts and T shirt as I got my car ready for the weekend run by Longton and District Motor Club who had a very small entry but the event still went ahead. I had spent 2 weeks trying to track down an intermittent fault which was causing a misfire or fuel starvation. I spent hours remaking connections on the wiring loom, changing the fuel pump, all relays, plugs , coil sticks and all sensors as well as checking earths for ECU and Power Commander. I was very apprehensive but in the end the car ran well so it was worth the effort and hours in the garage with the multimeter etc. I loaded up and met Steve on the way as the skies were looking full of rain and the forecast was poor but I still had shorts and T shirt (clean ones) on. Soon after we arrived I swopped to jeans, pullover and fleece as it was freezing! At only 16deg C.
Joh Loudon arrived soon after us and got his car out to check it over and suddenly saw that his alternator bracket had broken yet again. Welding was not possible so he beefed up the bolted connection with large washers and it survived the weekend with no problem but a thicker stronger bit of steel is needed to cure the problem.
The guys doing the timing were SPEED TIMING SERVICES and we had a good chat with them as they were B19 members. One thing that was evident right from the start was that those evil little flying things with no purpose on earth called wasps were present in massive numbers and plagued us all weekend.
Saturday was dull but quite warm but even though we had a late 1030hrs start we still managed 2 practice and 8 timed runs, on the Eastern Circuit, by 1630hrs.
During P1 Steve Carpenter became the first of several people to take out the timing gear at the finish line. His penalty was a bent steering arm which he managed to straighten and re-track the car so was good to go. Tony Smiley has now moved onto slicks and got his Passport sorted out by a very friendly Chris Mansley. During P2 I saw the dreaded warning light on my dash showing an engine management fault. Amazingly I managed to read the flashing code and later looked up that it was an Air Intake Temp sensor fault which I traced to a hidden loose wire to the sensor and that cured it…..phew! We had 2 timed runs before lunch and Del and Garry had problems starting due to the lithium battery……or was it the alternator and lower mounting bolt that broke later. They did a magnificent job removing a broken bolt from the block and kept the show on the road. John Loudon was having gear selection issues but was still banging in good times. Amazingly after 4 runs it was only 1250hrs so we took lunch. Timed runs started again at 1350hrs and during T3 Garry’s an
Alternator belt broke but a spare was found and Steve Carpenter helped the lads replace it quickly. T4 saw Del trying too hard and he spun. Howard Gaskin had gearbox issues and had to withdraw from Sunday as did Steve Everall due to a failed major clutch issue causing clutch slip.. Tony Smiley was particularly pleased with his performance and he won the best novice award. On a day when things went wrong my Sealey Impact gun decided to give up the ghost so looks like I need to see my bank manager to replace it as these tools are not cheap. At the end of the day John Loudon was fastest Westfield with a great time of 69.42 secs with Garry Bunn next on 70.71secs and then me on 70.72secs. Biggest scores with 101 points each were Howard Gaskin and Steve Carpenter who beat the target time (records).
On Sunday the paddock seemed a strange place with no Steve or Howard present.. Simon Waterfall joined in the fun in his ex Kev Bamber car. Although the weather forecast ( or several forecast apps) was for rain we did not get any all day so the track was dry and good to drive on even though it was a bit damp after the overnight rain. It was quite interesting on slicks but the times began to drop as once again we had 2 practice and 8 timed runs.. Competition was close in all classes and today I was fastest Westfield followed by Garry Bunn and then John Loudon.
All in all it was a great weekend but it was a shame we lost a few cars and that LDMC lost money on the event. Perhaps a candidate for best run event of the year?
Class G competitor
I arrived Saturday afternoon as my wife was working Friday night and couldn't commit to the full weekend, having spent the morning rebuilding the hand break mechanism that failed a few weeks before at the westfield weekend at Blyton.
I Arrived and managed to catch the last couple of runs for the day where Garry and Del were having issues with the Cosworth powered car as the alternator was shedding belts as a result of a broken bolt by the time the BBQ was fired up the front end had been stripped and with the help of some easy out they were fixed and ready for Sundays competition,
By 9pm the rain started and with varying reports of the forecast for Sunday I was a little apprehensive as i hadn't driven the car in anger in the wet yet.
Sunday Morning arrived and it was Wet still raining a little but the forecast had moved and looked like once we have a few cars on track it would dry up. First Practice and it was very sketchy although i had done a lot better than others in the road going classes but still 15 seconds of my PB but nothing counts until the times runs. The track was drying fast and with every run getting quicker P2 was an improvement although still quite slippy and i had a large lock up into Bishops.
First timed run and getting down into the mid 70's so the track was starting to get better and improved again in T2 and T3 we then had lunch and it had felt all morning as though the back breaks were binding a little from the hand break assembly that i had only put back together the day before so gave it one more run after lunch and no improvement. A quick strip down and disconnect again and back out in T5 and 3 seconds quicker and down in the region of my PB.
I was then speaking to Steve Carpenter about the weight of my big chunky 15 inch minilight style Compomotive wheels and he said he had a spare set of forces in the back of the truck so a quick swap of the wheels and back out, the car felt so much more alive and the steering so much lighter i did Timed run 6 and 7 on them and on the second run i beat my PB by half a second and got down to 70.68 which is a new Longton and District record.
i put my own wheels back on for the last run to see if it was more about track evolution after the rain but i didn't go faster and currently don't know the time until the results officially come out as the time display on the track only works up to timed run 6 something to do with software.
Over all great days competition, class win and a decent amount of points.
July 6th, 2018
Oops! Did something stupid and will now pay the price for it. Ran into the crashbar of a truck (he didn't even notice) and damaged my cycle wing and nose cone in the process.
Made some roadside "repair" and got the car home.
July 8th, 2018
Met up with @richyb and went to the Kimbolton Country Fayre.
July 15th, 2018
Lovely new replacement cycle wings from @carbon-nv!
July 16th, 2018
With the help of @6carjon and @KenP I also managed to find a replacement nose cone for my Kit bodywork, and in the right colour! Fitting this is more of a "winter" job though.
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Three Sisters 29th July 2018
Well with all the dry and very hot weather we have had during the last 7 weeks or so, what could possibly go wrong? Well 3 Sisters is on the wrong side of the Pennines in rainy Lancashire so does that give you a clue? We probably had the coldest and wettest day of “summer” so any chance of setting new records on the new tarmac were never going to happen. It was initially a case of surviving the wet and cold during the practice runs which came very quickly as there were only 58 cars, 5 of which were in the speed series.
There was myself and John Loudon in class G, Mick Skidmore in class F and Howard Gaskin and Steve Everall (with new front pads fitted) in class D. My day had started at 0445hrs from York and I put on a pair of shorts and my 2018 T shirt only to find out that it was freezing outside and I needed a fleece on to avoid hypothermia. By the time Steve and I arrived at the track it was 0715hrs and the paddock looked almost empty and even Mick and John were still asleep in their motorhomes ………until we woke them up by unloading our trailers next to them. The weather forecast was awful and for once it was accurate with rain and wind in the morning followed by more rain and showers in the afternoon with the sun arriving at about 1700hrs when we finished. About mid morning the standing water near the toilets was so deep that it was impossible to gain access without getting your feet very wet.
Practice began at 1000hrs (with waterproofs being allowed) and by 1035hrs we were lining up for P2. The track was really horrendous with standing water everywhere and quite deep in some places so times were very slow but the main issue was not being able to see through our steamed up visors. During P2 Mick Skidmore got it all wrong near the finish line and went down the grass bank towards a tree which he just missed but he did demolish part of the timing gear! At the end of practice Howard Gaskin was quickest Westfield and showing us how its done. We then had a bit of a break in the weather before T1 and John and I decided to put the slicks on, or should we leave the wets on , oh no let’s wait a bit longer, yes put the slicks on. It was a bit like a comedy involving tossing a coin! Anyway once they were on it was likely they would stay on and we would not bother with the wets again. In T1 Steve put in a very quick time to lead the “road based cars” and John was just ahead of me. In T2 I got 2 reruns and posted a quicker time than John and on T4 I also had a rerun and John was getting worried. In the end John posted a great T3 time of 50.47 secs and I could only manage 51.20 secs due partly to a misfiring engine. (that’s my excuse anyway) and was fastest Westfield. Steve Everall maintained his lead and went very quick on his final T5 run to post 52.70sec. As this was a wet event John Loudon scored 100 points and Steve scored 100.88 points so that was his best drive of the season.
John Loudon 50.47
Terry Everall 51.20
Steve Everall 52.70
Howard Gaskin 53.32
Mick Skidmore 53.33
Class G Competitor
So off to Donny we go for Rounds 7 and 8 of the Welsh Sports and Saloon Car Championship. This was looking like a cracking meeting with a grid of 33 cars. However, with the understatement of the week - the weather was not looking great. Weather warnings for high winds and heavy rain were annoying accurate. Even more annoyingly, my Gazebo imploded and now I’ll have to fork out for a new one (probably more sturdy this time) at £400 odd quid.
Nonetheless, it’s a circuit I love and I had my Wife and a few mates along for the craic. Quali went well enough, even if I did outbreak myself going into Goddards. No harm done though other than to my lap time for that lap. It was properly wet and so I went for a full wet set-up. No ARBs front or rear and my soft Khumos. The car performed faultlessly and my lines were not too bad having watch several Caterham wet races (off the apex at the Old Hairpin and a very late apex at Coppice). That said, I had a big moment at Coppice and thought I was going round, but with more luck than judgement, the car stayed on the black stuff. Overall, I was 9th and more importantly, first in my class. The lap times between Pole and last were 33 seconds apart with a mix of cars and driver experience/ability. This was going to be interesting...
When I got back in the paddock I was running the usual checks on the car and saw my front tyres…. It looks like running these soft tyres in the dry earlier in the year (it dried up as we were held in the assembly area for an eternity) didn’t help the tread and parts of the tyre came off on track in chunks (really). Not good. Not good as the first race was looking to be even wetter than quali….and it was. The surface water running down Craner Curves was like sheet glass. Thankfully everyone behaved themselves at the start and although I lost a place to a quick BMW at the start (I had no hope of keeping that rocket behind me!) I managed to hold 9th place after the first lap. I had a bit of a shocker mid race when I want to lap one of the slower cars, the driver slowing right down to let me past going down Craners but I don’t think they realised that there were yellow flags being waved at consecutive Marshals stations. I haemorrhaged time (about 6 seconds) and this meant I could see one of my Class competitors in my mirrors. Keeping the car on the track was the priority and I managed to stay in front in the heavy rain, but I was happy to see the last lap board. I had a good dice with a BMW towards the end of the race – he was holding the biggest of slides, great to watch but I was nervous about being collected: ‘If you want to finish first, first you have to finish’ and all that. I finished 10th overall and 1st in class. Happy days.
Race two was on a drying track and I opted for the semi-slicks. Despite a constant light drizzle for most of the race the heavy rain held off (not long after the race finished it hurled it down which was a pain packing the car away) so it turned out to be the right choice.
I had problems even before the rolling start as I had bit of grass lodge itself under my visor. This was seriously distracting and to make things worse I then kept catching my wrist restraint on something (seat maybe). These are my pathetic racing driver excuses for not finding a gear, again (arrgghhh), at the rolling start. I lost 6 places including one to a class competitor. Still, I managed to settle down to get in some ‘ok’ lap times. I was a little worried when the drizzle started but the grip levels didn’t really diminish. I managed to pick off the places I had lost at the start and even managed to just pip the sideways BMW from race 1 over the line (it was only by 87 thousands of a second! Brilliant fun) for 8th place overall and 1st in class.
I picked my battles at this meeting and bagged the results I needed, but nothing more really - I’m currently leading the Championship and there are only 4 rounds left with one round of dropped scores. Both remaining rounds are at Pembrey. Roll on the 19th of August when I’m out next. Hopefully not in the biblical wind and rain this time……
Wet, wet, wet:
Enough said about this one....Lol at me putting my hands in the air in disgust! Good battle from 7 minutes
Battling with a Westie - but he was just toying with me! Drag race to the line
Blyton July weekend 2018
After 3 weeks way down in the south of France with our motorhome I arrived back home with just enough time to get everything ready for an afternoon arrival on Friday to get set up and see the back end of the trackday. I was hoping for a great weekend of sprinting. The Friday was well supported as was the GF pub meal in the evening. Dave Cleaver and Simon Waterfall were getting in some practice for their double drive and it was good to see Tom Frankland in his immaculately wrapped car. At the end of the day I helped someone ( forgot his name) to reassemble his jenvey throttle body linkage which had come adrift from the throttle linkage. We eventually held it together with a nylon cloths peg that Steve found in his boot and some thin tie wraps so I hope it got him home. I also had a look at Mick Skidmore’s suspension set up with John Loudon and we discovered that It seemed to have restricted wishbone movement due to the wishbone bolts being overtightened. We sorted that and then softened the shocks and ARBs at both front and rear. Some of us managed to sign on and then got scrutineering completed as well to make a more relaxed start for Saturday.
First job after breakfast was to slap on the suncream ( factor 50) and attend the briefing ready for 2 practice runs and 4 timed runs on the Outer track and it was already very very hot and as soon as we put on our race overall’s (babygrows)it was going to be very uncomfortable. In P1 John Loudon was trying too hard and he went off at Bishops. I followed suit and ran so wide I even missed the wide outside yellow rumble strip. A few others were trying too hard as well and had problems staying within the track limits. For me the next 4 hours were a nightmare. I got in the car ready for P2 and guess what?…. the bl**** thing would not start! It turned over ok but no spark and no fuel. With the help of Andy Hargreaves, John Hoyle, Steve Butcher and our kid we checked all circuits and changed the ECU, cam sensor, 2 relays, coils , plugs and everything else we could think of but nothing worked so it was game over. Anyway some people had a good day and after changing Mick Skidmore’s suspension he achieved a PB and beat Paul Dew (aka Tigger). Iain Hooker was out in the Andy Bates beautiful Arion S2 and went well but was only on cheap slicks so he could have been faster with better rubber. Chris King was enjoying his first sprint and getting quicker all the time. Keith Adams went well again in class D and Stephen was trying hard to keep up to him. Adam Phelps was blasting around in the family Busa and Garry Bunn was out in his Cosworth engined car double driving with Derek Hodder and having their usual battle as Del’s engine is still being rebuilt.
During Saturday and Sunday Siltech Racing ( Dennis and Andy Silman) had a display of their fabulous fabricated products and other services offered. They had a lot of interest and we are appreciative of their support of the speed series and competitors etc.
Saturday night saw Ian Told ( Tolfree) BBQ Master and Chris King as the BBQ king cooking people’s burgers, sausages and steaks whilst we all enjoyed the club banter in the warm evening sun. Plenty of beers and wine were drunk and our non competing mates Luke Algar, Tim Nunn and Matt Turner were still singing at 0230hrs in the morning but luckily they were at the top end of the paddock.
On Sunday a guy opposite me ( driving a blade engine MNR) in the paddock came over with a laptop and some diagnostic software and it suggested that my engine had a primary injector fault so I was goosed. Eventually after further checks by John Hoyle and Andy Hargreaves we decided that the power commander was at fault. Thankfully my big mate Stephen decided that his older brother could double drive his car so at least I would get some track time. Today it was the more technical Eastern circuit so the first half was going to give us the main problem as we got to know the corners and braking points. Before we started Paul Dew asked me to look at his set up and like Mick Skidmore’s I believed both front and rear were set way too stiff so we softened it off a lot ( shocks and ARBs) and guess what it worked and he beat Mick Skidmore to get his revenge.
P1- I decided to be Steve’s tyre warmer but nearly outbraked myself into the first lefthander as I discovered that his brakes were not the best ( new pads have already been ordered.)
In P2 Andy Hargreaves recorded a great time but he had missed out a complete corner so it did not count..
In the timed runs John Loudon spun and Andy Hargreaves hit a cone at Bishops and gave a few people reruns as a result. Ian Davenport broke his alternator so John Hoyle helped him remove it so he ran total loss all day with no problems.
The best performances appeared to by Graham Frankland who scored 99.31 points, Simon Waterfall beat Dave Cleaver (who was sharing his car) and scored 99.96 points, Adam and Charlotte Phelps did well in class H and Keith Adams put in a cracking drive to score more than 100 points by beating the target time.
So for me a frustrating weekend but for the club another great event with all the usual club and paddock banter as well as help when problems arose. Thanks to John Williams and all the helpers. I am already looking forward to next year!
Class G Competitor
The weekend started off on Thursday evening when I dragged the caravan across to Blyton and Dave Cleaver dragged the Westy there as he was double driving with me for the weekend, we got set up and then said hello to the others that had arrived early and were going to be taking part in the track day on the Friday.
Friday morning came and it was very overcast and word of rain at home only 40 miles away so prayed it stayed away for the day. The plan was for Dave to get some time in the car and use his experience to make any changes that he thought would make improvement. We let the normal track day first hour rush pass then Dave headed out, three laps later he returned and I thought something was wrong “It’s fine we don’t need to change anything” so that was that, a few runs on track throughout the day to get our eye in for Saturday which was also being run on the outer layout and that was that a great day and a little more confidence into some of the areas of the track that I hadn’t previously had the confidence to attack.
Friday night most of the other SS competitors arrived and we managed to sign on and get scrutineered so less of a rush on the Saturday morning.
Saturday and the outer circuit, we set the tyre pressures and applied the sun cream, it was going to be hot. A very straight forward morning practice runs with Dave a second quicker than me, although I had already beat my PB by 2 seconds. We had lunch then set about trying to find a little more time. I went a little faster with a 71.1 so set about trying to get in the 70’s while Dave was on 70.3 aiming to get a sub 70 second time. The last run of the day and Dave did it 69.8, I over drove the car and in true spin to win fashion I came over the finish backwards. So Dave to the honors but showed me what the car was capable of once I had more seat time.
On the Saturday evening at prize giving we were notified that the local farmer had ploughed through the main water pipe for the site and therefore there was no water on site at all. So we did what and good speed series competitor would do and cracked open a few cold one’s, we had earned it by having our over sized baby grows on all day. The water was fixed about 8pm and we could start using the showers. A great BBQ where you bring your own food was in full swing with a mix of Marshall's non speed series club members and the speed series competitors all together.
Sunday and the more technical of the days using the eastern circuit. Again we got the car ready and applied the sun cream it was going to be even hotter today. We had P1 and everything was fine Dave then came in from P2 and said one of the rears was binding and under breaking pulling to the left. After investigation we had lost a pin to the hand break rod on the back axle meaning the tension had been taken up on the opposite side. We disconnected the other side as well and cable tied the full assembly up out the way. So a job to do before my next run out.
It got hotter through the day and we though the track had past its best. Dave managed to put a 75.47 only 1 tenth of the class record I was currently down in the 77.3 area but still pleased to be 4 second faster than my previous best. Last run of the day and Dave was on a flyer coming down towards the last corner with what looked to be a very quick time but couldn’t get the car slowed down enough and went straight on and through the kitty litter and onto the grass. I lined up knowing that I could go quicker but would be happy to get in the 66’s. bang off the line 64ft of 2.35 and nailed the first technical section and was 1.3 second up in the first sector, I was then brave round curva Grande and managed to get the car turned into the wiggler 2nd,3rd,4th into bishops where I had been scrubbing some speed but carrying 4th through that corner all weekend and a down shift to 3rd and powered out of the corner down and round bunga bunga and flat to the finish managed to get the car slowed and turned in………….75.40......... 1.9 seconds quicker in one run and first in class by 7 one hundredths and only 3 one hundredths off the record.
Great weekend great company. Special thanks to the @John Williams - WSCC Competition Secretary and his organisation team and thanks to @tkm_dave as without someone telling me that the car is setup well and then showing me what it was capable of I would never have pushed as hard as I did to make up the time.
on the Outer I went 4 seconds faster than my PB and eastern I was 6 seconds faster than my PB of only 6 weeks ago at the longton event.
Let’s do it all again next year.
I arrived Saturday evening with Tony Smiley and got settled for the night, A member of staff from the track approached me and asked if many more were likely to arrive that evening being unsure i said probably up to 10pm. He handed me the key and said well can you lock up tonight and open up in the morning.
We walked the track using the double lap formation for this event and soon realised that none of the videos portray just how tight and technical the circuit is. The track has been re-surfaced over the winter as is no longer the 7 different types of blacktop it once was. Sunday morning up at 6 to open the gate and prepped for the day. set off in P1 massive misfire issues managed to get round but nearly 20 seconds off the target time.
Checked everything over added 3L of fuel just in case and went out for P2 a little better but out of the tight hairpin onto the back straight again a bad misfire an improvement but still nearly 7 second off the target. Ian Davenport who was attending who also has a K-series offered up a spare set of pugs in case that was the issue but in conclusion we thought fuel starvation from a standard road size tank and i don't run a swirl pot .over my first few events i have been keeping the fuel level quite high on the gauge as my old car read terribly and was unsure just how much was in the tank.
T1 with a full tank no issues the balance felt good a little loose on the back end but 100% better than the practice runs, over the finish you have to be committed and the track falls away massive lock up and came off the breaks to get it turned away from the wall and in to the pit entry. My time showed on the left 82.13 boom i went mental in my helmet punching the air, Howard Gaskin and Alex Gaskin watched from the pits and walked over as i was heading back to my trailer "enjoy that did you" yes it was brilliant i beat the target time by 0.94 seconds.
T2-6 the weather changed and it got much cooler I felt like i was getting faster but the times weren't showing it, i tweaked a few settings and pressures but didn't help so T1 was my fastest and hopefully if my calculations are correct My first 101 points from an event and new class record.
Overall a fantastic day a class win points in the bag and a new class record. Lots different to the circuits I have driven so far, I'm having a month off now until the WSCC Blyton weekend with a few jobs to do on the car.Just want to say a massive thank you to Longton & District Motor Club for putting this event on with so few entries. It was a great event so if you have time please support the other three sisters events.
Back to Pembrey on the ‘Classic’ circuit for rounds 5&6 of the Welsh Sports and Saloons Championship.
I stayed down the road at the usual place and with my trusty ear plugs in and had an ok night’s sleep despite my mates ridiculous snoring again. It was an early start with sign-on at 7.30am. Annoyingly we were the last race of the day as well at 5.30pm. It was going to be a long day in the hot sun…..
Still, it was dry and that’s how I like it as these caterfields just don’t seem to go as well as the saloons in the wet (or is it just me!) Quali went well as I dialled ina tidy lap having cleared the traffic early on the session. I was very surprised with 3rd overall, albeit the grid was only 14 for this race, down on what it normally is. It was tight with 4 cars within a second of each other from 3rd to 6th and some powerful cars behind.
Into the first race I had a shocker as I missed 3rd gear on the rolling start. That put me well down and my main championship competitor two cars in front. I just thought ‘get your head down’ and don’t panic as it’s class points that count – I won’t be winning any races outright. The two cars between him and I, passed him mid-race and on about lap 10 of 14 I managed to get past him, overtaking around the outside of the hairpin again. This car is great on the brakes! A class win and 4th overall was a result I was pleased with but a bit of a let off really as I screwed it right up at the start.
The second race was looking interesting as I was on the outside of the grid. I also had some powerful cars ahead of me so I had it all to do on the brakes into the first corner. But… just before the 1-minute board came out, main my class competitors got out of his car. Turns out he had left the filler cap off his petrol tank located in the rear of the car. Sportingly, my mate gave him a hand and he started from the pits, setting off as the last car went past. He had a great race through the pack by all accounts.
At the start, I got lucky on the brakes round the outside of one car in front of me, then managed to go round the outside of one other car before the back straight (I backed him up a bit before the straight as I thought he might just outdrag me otherwise) and before I know it I was second overall! It didn’t last! One very fast car that had a problem in the first race drove from the back of the grid and caught me on the second lap. Impressive stuff with only a 1.05 lap! Still, I managed to hold onto 3rd place overall, albeit with a lot of defending at the hairpin and doing my very best to get away in the twisty bits from the more powerful cars. 1st in class too. I was well chuffed to be on the podium (even if they don’t actually use it at Pembrey!). Fastest lap in both races was the cherry on top! In what must be the fluke of the century, I’m still leading the championship after 6 of 12 rounds. Rolly on Donny in July, one of my favourite circuits.
Bad race start:
Mid race shenanigans:
Good race start (up to second - that's a first for me if you can excuse the pun!!!):
Silverstone Stowe Circuit 3rdJune 2018
After around a 6 or 7 years break we eventually managed to get invited to attend this meeting although it turned out to be a single lap and not the 2 lapper I remember from the past. We had quite a good turnout of 11 Westfields even though it was on the same weekend as Pembrey (2 events in the south on the same weekend!). The forecast for Sunday was good but as I loaded up the car and set off it was raining hard in York. The first bad news I had was that Mark Anson’s engine had failed in first practice at Pembrey so he was not a happy bunny particularly after his long haul from Blackpool. That track does seem to eat engines for some reason. We could only arrive after 1600hrs to get a decent paddock position but what a shock Steve and I got as it was in the worst condition I have ever seen. Basically it was a gravel covered dirt area with no chance for cars on slicks (one actually punctured on the gravel and you can’t repair slicks) There was dust everywhere and even a sweeping brush had no effect. Steve, Margaret, Simon Waterfall and I walked the “new track” and it looked very tight in places through the chicane in the straight which was about 40m wide so it was anyone’s guess as to where the best line was and there was even gravel patches on that too. On getting back we noticed that the main toilet block was being locked for the night and were told of an alternative hut where there were only men’s toilets so that went down well for the people camping with girlfriend’s , wives and kids. The place reminded me of a rundown building site. We met up with Lee Collar who is now driving Mark Anson’s old orange blade car and it was good to see Richard Houlgate, Matthew Haynes out again. The sunny evening and a few beers with my chilli diner made the world look a bit nicer but sleeping was hard as there were 2 generators running all night. Sunday was a hot, hot day. The contrast between surviving the Siberian cold and wet of Croft compared to today’s Saharan desert sun was crazy but just as difficult as we suffered in our hot babygrows and helmets whilst in long queues towards the start line. Some of us signed on and were scrutineered on Saturday night but Howard Gaskin was panicking a bit as he had left his competition licence at home.
I was lucky enough to have Steve’s wife Margaret acting my pit buddy and carrying tyres as well as doing a great job cleaning them between runs. The first clean after P1 produced two tack nails that she found stuck in my tyre.
We were promised 2 practice and 3 timed runs but an hours delay at the start plus problems with the heat affecting the timing gear meant we only got 2 timed runs. Whilst waiting in line for the start some of us were politely told not to lean on the pit wall which was odd as the event had not even started. It was obvious from early incident of cars hitting the tyres forming the chicane that this was a tricky area that could cause bug damage if you got it wrong. I missed the tyres by a whisker on my first run and I think that Richard Houlgate and Matthew Haynes had to go for a gap between the tyres as they lost their way through the chicane. The timing was also frustrating the drivers as often there was only one car on the track which slowed proceedings down so we did not finish P1 until 1115hrs approx. After P1 there were 10 Westfields in the top 12. Just to add to the fun the Gents toilets became blocked and the café ran out of food. Most of us found that by P2 we were beginning to get an idea of where the track went and starting to get some grip through the tricky bends.
T1 started at around 1400hrs by which time the heat was becoming intense and god knows how many cans of diet coke I drank. T2 was the final run except for me as my engine refused to start as I headed to the start. Despite the help of Steve Carpenter, Roz Kennett, Steve Everall and Howard Gaskin we could not get it sorted. The other guys put in some great times in a field of 110 cars and there were some very close battles going on for class on the day awards as well as our own classes. In the end there were 6 Westfields in the top 12 cars and Simon Waterfall, Matthew Haynes, Howard Gaskin and myself won our classes on the day. I had a personal with Lee Collar and I just beat him by half a second (he looks a good bet for future honours as does Simon Waterfall).
Overall Positions on the day were as follows:
I was quite jealous of the trophies awarded as they were huge and well received by our guys. In summary it was a good challenging track to drive but the weekend did not run smoothly.
Class G competitor
Thought i would document my sprint attendance and maybe entice some other fresh faces to the Paddock it really is a blast
Well what a feeling. First trophy.
Home from a very successful outing at Silverstone today with 6 in my class of what looked to be some fast caterham's, the only goal I had set myself for the day was a 60 second run.
Starting the day with a P1 time 61.8 felt good and new once I had found my way round a very confusing course (everyone else agreed) it was possible. Second practice was slightly improved with a 60.3.
After lunch and our first timed runs it had got really hot and thought like with blyton 2 weeks ago we would probably go slower, In T1 I managed a 59.45 close at the time to some of to 2.0L boys and 2 seconds faster than my closest class rival.
T2 I tried a different approach to the last complex and It didn't work out going a tenth slower with a 59.59.
Over all a great day and my first class win with a pot. Still work to be done on myself and the car but getting more and more comfortable with it on every outing.
Well done to all the other winners Howard Gaskin Mathew Haynes and Terry Everall
May 5th, 2018
Cleaning the car for the big day tomorrow.
May 6th, 2018
Stoneleigh. Arranged for breakfast at McDonalds and was happy to see I was not alone. @richyb and @dombanks had both just arrived so we got ourselves some unhealthy food and coffee and just as we finished up, @lewis arrived in his 'regular' car as he had broken his car the night before. Doh! As we set off, about 5 minutes into the journey I noticed that the car would try to stall again whenever I needed to get into 2nd or 1st gear at a roundabout or traffic light. Thinking that maybe my fuel gauge is lying to me I changed route desperately for a petrol station. The first one we came across was in Southam, so filled up but this made no difference. We did manage to make it to the show and once parked up I started to look at what could be the problem. Start the car, blib the throttle and when the revs drop again, blipping it again would make it stall. Think @Northampton Motorsport need to have a look at it, as it's nothing like I've ever read about on the forums.
Picked up a new 2" fuel filler hose and the electronic fan switch from CBS I ordered earlier this week.
May 7th, 2018
Came back from shopping with the family and walked into the garage to be greeted by a puddle underneath the car. Because I had not parked it in the usual place (on the carpet) it was now quite apparent that there is something leaking from the tank. A quick look revealed a 4cm gash in the bottom of the tank from which the petrol escapes. Absolutely no idea how that came about, but now I know, I need to empty it quickly. Not helpful that I brimmed the tank yesterday on the way to Stoneleigh . One of my sons friends popped round and we filled his tank up with my petrol.
May 8th, 2018
Working from home today so I can remove the fuel tank from the car in the afternoon. There was still a surprising amount of fuel left in the tank, which the fuel pump did not manage to pump out. Once removed and emptied, I hosed it down with copious amounts of water and then left it to dry.
May 10th, 2018
Fuel tank dropped off at Precision Welding and it's now fixed again. After work put it back into the car and fitted the new fuel filler hose. Just need to wait till a new fuel pump seal arrives before I can fill it up again. Also temporarily fitted the electronic fan controller so I can reach it from the drivers position and set it up 'on the go'. When it is working satisfactory I can hide it from view as it's not the prettiest of boxes
May 15th, 2018
The seal finally arrived, but unfortunately it doesn't fit. Another £7 wasted . Re-used the cork gasket and struggled a bit to get the arm back on. I feel another winter project coming on... Went for a short shakedown and am surprised that the stalling issue seems to have gone. How?
May 19th, 2018
Trying to avoid the Royal Wedding by following @GaryD1971's example and cutting a little bit away on the steering column bracket that prevents the clutch pedal from providing enough travel. Hopefully this takes care of the crunching in 1st/2nd gear. After a short drive I can report it is better, but not yet resolved. Looks like there is more travel required, which from studying the pedal box can be created, but is a little more involving.
May 23rd, 2018
Took the car to work for National Drive your Westfield to Work Day, and on the way back stopped for petrol. Then the engine stalling issue appeared again, all the way home. Parked up and took a video showing the revs dropping to the point of stalling when blipping the throttle
May 26th, 2018
Had a look at the car again in Easymap 4, but the stalling behaviour was gone again. Had the engine well into running temperatures, but could not get it to misbehave. My theory at the moment is that twice it happened when I had briefly driven it (to Sixfields from home & to petrol station from work), then parked up/filled up with fuel, and then continued driving it. Next time I need to fill up we'll see how that theory holds up.
Last month: £ 7931.96 This month: £ 70.99
----------+ Total: £ 8002.95
Blyton Sat/Sun 19thand 20thMay 2018 (LDMC event)
It was a good job that I did not get an invite to “The Wedding” as I completely forgot that it was on the same weekend as the Blyton sprints run by Longton DMC and I would not have been able to support Harry and Meghan in church or at their evening do. There was an added bonus in that I did not have to sit through the 6 or so hours of TV broadcasting the proceedings but I understand that it all went well without my support! Back to the serious stuff as Steve and I arrived on the Friday to see the back end a of a Lotus 7 trackday. We had a great forecast for the weekend and I gave out a whole batch of the new red 2018 T shirts. We had a good Westfield attendance and after speaking to Doran (the chief paddock marshal) I negotiated a great paddock position for most of the non road going cars which was close to the results office, toilets, had clean smooth tarmac and was 25metres from the start line! As usual we had a few beers on Friday night and discuss tactics for the weekend which mainly revolved around how much sun cream we needed to apply and at what intervals as this varied for factor 30 or 50.
Signing on and scrutineering was quick and easy and was followed by a convoy run around the Eastern circuit which LDMC had not run before. I went in Steve’s VW Tiguan which was full of tools, clothes, beer, petrol cans and god knows what else and we cruised around at 25mph enjoying the scenery, forgetting all about apexes and braking points never mind what gear to be in. After the convoy run Derek Hodder seemed to have a leaky water problem and the nose cone and bonnet were of as they quickly diagnosed that a mounting boss on their alloy radiator had cracks around the weld edges. Nobody on site or locally seemed to have a welder or be available (Del did not think that alraldite would work) but in the end a Caterham driver took pity and offered a tube of Quiksteel epoxy putty. I have to say that not only did the repair look very neat but it did the job and set almost immediately and lasted all weekend (must get a tube of that stuff for my spares). Also a few of us had got a hook up for power running a long way from the supply point and someone ran over my cable and pulled it out the wires from the plug during the convoy run! Actually it was a doddle for me to repair and we all were back up and running with power to our campers and motorhomes again (mainly to keep the beer cold).
P1 - Immediately after first practice Mick Skidmore noticed that his battery power was low so I quickly tested a few things and found it was his alternator that had packed up so he had to keep charging the battery between runs but that worked fine and it was lucky that we did have 240v power. Del’s air powered actuator for his gear shift seemed to be having an off day as it kept changing up and down the box on its own. Del and Garry were on the case and cured it by remounting the actuator valve in a better position/orientation. The general consensus of the drivers was that this was a very technical and tight course that was challenging everyone in terms of how tight the first section was and the braking point into the wriggler from Curva Grande at high speed. This was compensated for as the long twisty flat out blast from Bunga Bunga was exhilarating and took some guts before braking late for the tight right hand finish.
P2 – I was really on it this time and as I exited the Wriggler out came a red flag so I abandoned the run and as I crawled to Bishops left hand corner there was my mate Mick Skidmore reversing out of the ploughed field but at least he was living up to his reputation. I gave him some stick back in the paddock and suggested he repeated the performance in the timed runs so I could have a rerun on warm tyres. Mick Dent was pushing the limits of adhesion in his Busa and went off near the finish spinning out and taking a cut through between the tyres, to avoid hitting them, only to find himself facing an oncoming Jedi!
T1 - Simon Waterfall was out for the first time enjoying his new (ex Kevin Bamber) car but his clutch adjustment screw had worked loose but was an easy fix. This session saw me getting a bit too aggressive with my right foot at the tight lefthander called Chapmans and I clipped an outside cone and caused a bit of damage to my rear wing and rivets holding the tub in place. Everyone was going well but target times seemed hard to get near as we pushed hard. Newcomer Tony Smiley was out in his Busa and John Loudon and I spent a bit of time trying to change the set up to get it to handle better and it seemed to work.
T3 – Mick Dent threw it off after the finish but still posted a good time.
It was good to see Steve Robinson call in for a chat and catch up with a few friends (and also Ron Siddle on Sunday)
T4 – This would be our last runs and chance to bang in a good time but we had quite a long hold after a TR4 rolled down at Bunga Bunga causing a lot of damage to the car, which was a shame. Richard Houlgate went well as did all the roadgoing cars and they all seemed to put in some good times. Del (fastest LDMC member) just managed to beat Garry and I held off John Loudon in a very close contest. Keith Adams went very well in class D scoring the best points of anyone against target and Steve Everall was finding it hard to match his pace.
Well miraculously nobody had headache from last nights relaxation and all slicks had been cleaned up yesterday. Today it was the challenge of the normal outer circuit with the fast straight from Lancaster to the Wriggler so it should suit the more powerful cars. Today we had Matthew Haynes joining in the fun but no Richard Houlgate and all the Westfields from yesterday were still running.
Practice started at 1000hrs and our two runs were over by about hrs 1130hrs proving just how slick the LDMC crew is.
T1- We went straight into the timed runs and all went well apart from Mick Skidmore who reported what he thought was a propshaft vibration so we whipped off the tunnel panels but all the bolts were tight so he was good to go.
T2/T3 – Things were hotting up now, particularly in our babygrows, and in T3 Del was a bit late on the brakes into the Wriggler and got it all sideways taking out a cone and spraying gravel everywhere. Mick Skidmore thought his clutch had failed but it turned out to be just a large stone stuck under the pedal.
T5 – For Del this was a bad end to the weekend as he was towed back into the paddock with oil all over the engine and exhaust pipes so something had gone badly wrong and it looked similar to a problem he had with the engine at Croft last year. Fingers crossed that it is an easy and simple repair.
T6 – John Loudon was pushing really hard as he battled with me in class G and he hit a cone and split a wing. (more gaffer tape please!). Keith Adams had a senior moment as he presumably forgot to clip down his ally boot cover which was picked up by the marshals about 20m after the start line…whoops !
Garry Bunn was best LDMC member, I beat John Loudon after an epic battle and I took most points against targets. Simon Waterfall had another good day as did Keith. Steve’s car engine needs stripping down and taking to Exon Racing to cure the head porosity problem it has which was getting worse.
Well I hope I have given a report of some of the weekends entertainment which was made all the better by LDMC’s efforts where we had 2 practice and 4 timed runs on Saturday and 2 practice and 6 timed runs on Sunday and I was home for dinner by 1815 after a 90 minute drive. Maybe a contender for event of the year?
Class G Competitor
So this was Rounds 3 and 4 of the Welsh Sports and Saloon Car Championship. The race meeting was with the Aston Martin Owners Club at Oulton Park in Cheshire, about a 3 hour trek for me. Not fun on a Friday afternoon, but taking the back route via Worcester was a pleasant drive. My wife was coming along to help.
I had not driven Oulton Park since doing a trackday there in 2012 and to make matters worse, the championship had a meeting there last year. I know I was going to up against it for this one. I tried to learn the track the best I could by watching the Driver 61 track guide (it’s a great website) and numerous Caterham races to understand the lines/overtaking/defending places. I was a little apprehensive when I woke up to overnight rain meaning the roads were wet. Last time I was at Oulton Park in the wet, I very nearly had a ‘big one’ exiting Druids and going backwards towards the Armco at silly speeds…. Thankfully it was just about dry for quali and dry for both races.
Quali was only 15 minutes so I had to tighten the belts and really go for it. I managed a 1.59.8 which I was pleased with. It put me 5th overall (a small grid for this meeting for some reason of only 14 cars) and most importantly 1st in class, but only just. Looks like it was going to be a battle again! No bother as I like to ‘race’. After quali I decided to measure the petrol I had used. I was carrying way too much fuel for the whole of the last meeting - its excess weight and all in the wrong place out the back of the car. I parked the car high on the trailer and used my trusty garden hose cut off to syphon the fuel out. It worked a treat in my garage….this time I choked on super unleaded and then spent the rest of the morning burping petrol (really – was degusting and reuned lunch which was all petrol tasting). Whilst the smell of petrol is actually quite nice in my opinion, I can say that the taste is, err…an acquired one and blooming strong. Still, 6 litres used minus a mouthful.
The first race was a long wait and the start was a total mess-up. The invitation racer on pole set off way too quickly (after the safety car peeled in,) and then slammed on his brakes when as lights took a way too long to go out. This bunched up the whole pack and I was off the throttle when the lights did eventually go out (doing an emergency stop!). I held position, but my main class competitor drove past almost all of the main group at the front and it ended up with him in front of me and one car between us. I tried to go around the outside of one of the slick shod cars into Old Hall at the start and quickly regretted it as I was right on the limit of spinning. An big armful of ‘oppo’ just about keeping me facing the right way. Pure luck rather than skill really. I then spent the next 2 laps trying to get past the car in front (a Cupra touring car thingy) until he got past my class competitor and drove off. I was now right behind my class competitor - race on! As we did for the last 2 races, it was ‘hammer and tong’ for a long time with little between us. A few laps from the end I managed to get past, again, round the outside of the hairpin (Shell Oils). I then drove it home nervously for the class win. I was well happy with that and punched the air as I took the checkered flag. I must have looked like a right numpty. After the race, I spoke with the championship organiser who told me that whilst it was another great battle, it was academic. My competitor was due to be served a 10 second penalty for jumping the start. This never materialised as I eventually finished ahead of him.
Race 2 was late in the day – 6.05pm in fact and much later then I would have liked. It’s just too easy to mentally switch off. The winner from Race 1 choose not to race (not sure why) and one of the other cars ahead of me was a double drive (so they go to the back of the grid). One other car, the father of my main class competitor decided to ‘have some fun’ and go to the back of the grid. I was not convinced and said to my wife when we were in the holding area ready to go out ‘I hope he doesn’t get in-between me and his son’….. Still with the attrition at the front I was promoted to second on the grid. My first front row start which was a little weird. The start this time round was much better. I kept first place honest for at least one corner….. until he took off like the proverbial scolded cat (he was in another Cupra touring car thingy). I was side-by-side with my main competitor into Cascades and it was all very tight for the first few corners. He eventually got ahead until I out braked him on the following lap into Cascades, it was properly close stuff. We followed each other for a bit until I got outbreaked into Druids, a great by move by him to be honest and one I was not expecting! By the end of the second lap, his dad had joined the party. Great. He overtook me down the straight then ‘parked’ his car for nearly 4 of the 8 laps between me and his son (see the TSL timing extract below which is very telling - fastest three laps after he cleared off!). I used my frustration for motivation and tried to get the most out of the car. Taking risks, when his dad had finally cleared off, I nearly got past on more then one occasion, but it was not to be. I also managed to just touch him on the breaks going into the Shell Oils hairpin. I now need to repair my nose cone (I ordered blue Duck Tap specially on EBay this morning!)….that’s two bodywork repairs in two races…..woops (although the fist was not my fault). Speaking with his father after the race, I made the point that he got in the way. His response - 'I had a gearbox issue'. Quite a coincidence that!
Even more annoying was I don’t have any video. The SD cards were both saying full when they were empty. Meh.
So it was a bittersweet end to the day. I had fastest class lap in both races and a first and a second in class. I really should have been happy but felt a little cheated as I know I had the pace. Nevermind, there’s always Pembrey on the 10th of June and now I’m really keen to win my class again as I know it will put me in a good place for the Championship.