Oulton Park Race Report

On the Wednesday night before the race, it looked like my Oulton luck was
holding strong – I didn’t sleep a wink due to an ear infection I picked up
from somewhere or other. I got some antibiotics from the doctor, and kept my
fingers crossed. As it turns out, I was deaf in one ear for most of the
weekend, but it wasn’t bad enough to cause any particular problems.

The series is clearly going up in the world – we had been allocated the
garages for the first time ever. Given that we were sharing the bill with
the Radicals and ARP F3, this was pretty impressive! Luxury! I could get
used to this 🙂 No need to erect the paddock tent, a perfectly flat floor,
lighting, power, water, and to top it all rather than having to wheel the
car to the scruitineering bay, the scruitineers came to us 🙂

Qualifying on Saturday was rather fraught – someone managed to drop oil all
the way around the circuit during the first lap, and then another car blew
up on lap 4 and dropped oil around one of the few corners not already
affected, so times largely depended on who was prepared to take the greatest
risks. Given my history at Oulton, I decided to play safe 🙂 My qualifying
was largely uneventful until the last lap, when I noticed that my backside
was feeling rather wet and warm. I didn’t think that I’d scared myself
enough to have that kind of an accident, so pulled into the pits to discover
that the whole of the back of the car was soaking wet – obviously there had
been a major water leak.

We initially thought that the problem was a holed radiator, but it turned
out to be a hose which had become detached. There wasn’t a drop of water
left in the system, so there was a real danger that I could have cooked the
engine, but luck seemed to be on my side and everything seemed to be working
just fine.

I had ended up qualifying seventh. I’m still trying to perfect my starts
with the new flat-slide carburettors, and I had problems this time as well.
I reacted well, and was initially making progress against the two cars on
the row in front of me, but the engine bogged down and seven or eight cars
ended up passing me 😦 I worked my way up over the next few laps, but two
problems were becoming apparent. Firstly there were a lot of yellow flags
which meant that I had to back out of a number of overtaking manoeuvres.
Secondly, the brakes clearly weren’t working properly; I consistently had to
brake a long way before my normal braking points. I ended up working my way
back up to sixth, which was OK under the circumstances.

We think that the braking problem is glazed discs and/or pads. I had had new
discs and pads fitted just before the last race at Cadwell Park, and because
the car failed during qualifying hadn’t had a chance to bed them in
properly. If this is the case, then I might be able to cure the problem with
some emery paper. There is a chance that the brakes will need upgrading,
however – we’re getting fast enough now that the brakes I have aren’t really
up to the job. On the subject of speed – our fastest lap (by Frazer Corbyn)
was almost a second faster than the fastest lap in the ARP F3 race 🙂 This
means that we can pretty much claim to be the fastest club series in the UK
at the moment. If the number of people stopping by the garage to ogle the
car and ask questions about it is anything to go by, it looks like we’re
going to continue from strength to strength.

Jodie Hemming managed to make the headlines after the last event by winning
the 600cc class with 4 races to go (the first of any of the BRSCC series to
be tied up). I was chatting to Jodie in the paddock to see if she had
decided what she was going to be doing next year (thinking that maybe she’d
move up to the 1000cc class). She’s moving up alright! Next year she’ll be
racing a 1997 Jordan F1 car in the EuroBOSS series! I’m delighted for her –
when I’m not bright green with envy…

Next race is 12th September at Mallory Park.

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