The first race (at Silverstone) was something of a damp squib. I booked a
place in the Friday practice session mainly to shakedown the car after its
winter rebuild (many thanks to my father for all his help with that!).
Unfortunately the engine developed an oil leak from the output shaft seal
and that was the end of that 😦
The next race was a double-header at Pembrey. Everything that could go
wrong, did go wrong. The minor issues included the door falling off the
motorhome, the fridge not working, the awning falling off the trailer, the
solenoid failing so we couldn’t start the engine and the oil-pressure
warning light burning out.
There were two big problems though. The first one was the worst – the towbar
fell off the motorhome. Luckily, it went at 10mph while I was turning into
the circuit. I’ve been having nightmares about what would have happened if
it had failed on the M4 at 60mph – it doesn’t bear thinking about. Anyone
want to buy a second-hand motorhome (absolutely fine as long as you don’t
want to tow anything with it)?
The second problem was another oil leak during qualifying – which this time
turned out to be a result of the camchain tensioner falling off. By rights,
we should have been going home with a wrecked engine, but somehow the
camchain managed to stay where it should and apart from a huge cleanup job,
all we needed to do was find a replacement tensioner. We did, but it was at
a breakers 60 miles away. When they heard that we needed it to go racing,
however, they dispatched a rider with it, who met my father halfway at a
service station on the M4 🙂
By contrast, the racing went incredibly well, especially given the fact that
I shouldn’t really have been able to race at all! I qualified 7th, and in
the race found myself in a 5-way battle for 2nd place. All of us were
lapping within a couple of tenths of each other, and the battle went all the
way to the last lap with places changing several times. I ended up finishing
4th, which I was delighted with.
The second race was largely a repeat of the first, with five of us again
fighting for second for most of the race. I finished 4th again, so clearly I
need to work on my racecraft, but the fact that I’ve got the pace to be in
the middle of the battle is fantastic and bodes well for the rest of the
Last weekend, we were at Donington (thanks again to my father who towed the
car there, given that the motorhome isn’t capable of towing anything any
more!). I have mixed memories of Donington – I’ve only ever raced there once
before, when it was soaking wet. I was in the lead and pulling away, when a
halfshaft failed depriving me of what would probably have been my maiden
Qualifying was dry, but by the time the race started it was thoroughly wet.
I was fifth on the grid, but got a good start and was second going into the
first corner behind Nigel. Nigel was clearly having problems (I found out
afterwards that he had got the gearing wrong) and I passed him at the end of
the first lap and started pulling away.
For a while, I managed to extend my lead, but after a couple of laps, Frazer
also got past Nigel and started closing on me. He was on my tail after a few
more laps, and passed me into the chicane. This allowed me to watch his
lines (one of the problems with leading in the wet is that you have to work
out how much grip there is for yourself without any references). I followed
him for a couple of laps, and was starting to think that I might have an
idea about how to do something about him, when the halfshaft (yes, the same
one that failed the last time was at Donington) failed. You couldn’t make
this stuff up!
Overall, a very encouraging weekend. I led the race on merit and was
fighting for the lead when the car failed. It does make me wonder if
Donington has something against me though!
The next event is at Snetterton on June 24th. It’s going to be a busy day,
as its going to be a one-day double-header. As always, anyone who fancies
coming along to spectate, pitcrew or laugh as I disappear off the circuit
backwards is very welcome!