Silverstone race report

The start of the day was pretty hectic. Jedi had forgotten to send exhaust
mounts to replace the ones which had failed during the test at Mallory. We
therefore organised for a race supplies company based at Silverstone to
leave an envelope with some in it for me at the gate. Amazingly, this
worked, so the first job was to fit these before scruitineering. This wasn’t
helped by the fact that the paddock organisation was the normal Peterborough
Motor Club shambles, resulting in us having to move the car and trailer
after having unpacked everything. Hey ho.

The weather forecast was for rain all day, and sure enough it started
raining just before the first practice session of the day. By the time we
were due out, the rain had stopped, but the track was still wet enough that
rain tyres were clearly the right choice. A number of people managed to
throw their cars at the scenery in the conditions, resulting in the session
being red flagged after a couple of laps and many yellow flags throughout
the rest of the session. It was very difficult to find a clear lap, but
other people obviously found it even harder than I did, and I ended up
qualifying 2nd (although more than a second slower than John Lord’s pole
time).

By the time the race was due to start, the track was completely dry, and
although the sky looked threatening and there were the odd spots of rain,
slicks were order of the day. The arrangement of the grid was slightly odd –
for some reason they decided to put pole position on the left hand side of
the track when the first corner, Copse, is a right-hander. I wasn’t
complaining, as this definitely worked to my advantage.

I was a little apprehensive about the start, as this would be the first time
I’d done a racing start with the new engine, and I wasn’t entirely sure of
the best technique to use. As it happened, I got a pretty good start – not
great, but good enough to mean that I was in the lead into Copse, although I
had both John Lord and Andrew Cowell (who had qualified in 4th and therefore
right behind me on the grid) very close in my mirrors. On the run down to
Maggots, Richard Cottrell appeared from nowhere and shot past the whole lot
of us. Pretty impressive given that he’d qualified in 7th!

I was still in 2nd at the end of the lap, but was having some problems
keeping John Lord behind me. The engine was bogging down in the middle of
corners – at first, I berated myself for being in the wrong gear, but it
quickly became clear that this wasn’t the problem. The engine was fantastic
above 10,000RPM, but there was nothing at all below that. Unfortunately, the
gearing just isn’t close enough to be able to keep the engine revving that
high 😦

I managed to hold 2nd for a short while, but it couldn’t last and both John
Lord and Peter Whitmore both got past me on lap 3. That was it until the
flag, and I finished in 4th.

We’re not sure what the problem with the engine is. The fact that it’s fine
at high revs is encouraging, as it probably means that whatever the problem
is isn’t too serious. The most likely culprit is carburetion. It will be a
little disappointing if this is the problem, given that the car was on a
rolling road, supposedly to get the carbs set up correctly, less than 2
weeks ago! I will be calling the rolling road to discuss first thing on
Monday 🙂

Next race (and the first Formula Jedi round) is a double-header at Croft on
the 17/18th. As ever, let me know if you don’t want to receive my ramblings
and I’ll remove you from the list…

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