June 2022

28June

Pikes Peak winning run from Robin Shute

Another hillclimb video, this time of Robin Shute winning his third title at Pikes Peak over the weekend, in what can be described as sketchy weather conditions. Ice, fog, and mud! Great colour scheme on the car :D

Here's an interesting article on the McMurtry fan car. It uses a pair of centrifugal fans to draw air from a small area beneath the car, which is skirted, and the centrifugal fans provide a large pressure delta. Raises an interesting point about collecting the debris hoovered up by the fans. You dont want to be carrying around bags of filtered and collected grit and stones. Nor do you want to be ejecting it from the car at high speed. And for a road car, how would it handle driving over a cats eye if you were pulling out to overtake someone!

27June

McMurtry record

What a great show the Goodwood Festival of Speed put on over the last 4 days. I've had the live stream on continuosly since Thursday, and the British built McMurtry Spierling fan car was utterly incredible. So good to see Alex Summers put in a great performance on Saturday, and Max Chilton on Sunday with the 39s run. I do think the electric cars are reaching speeds that far exceed the spectator safety of the venue; a few straw bails aren't going to protect hundreds of people in such close proximity, should a wheel come off or a car roll. Maybe its time to focus on the fossil fuel cars, or regulate the electric cars to keep their speeds down? I'd love a go in the McMurtry, around Curborough it'd be mental. But as a 6 footer, I dont think I'd fit. The McMurtry team are going to be at Prescott in September, and if it doesnt clash with a BSC event, I'll be there to have a good look around the car. Makes you think how difficult it would be to convert the Mygale to Electric. Ditch the engine and gearbox, fuel cells, radiators, all the plumbing and liquid we have to carry around, and shoehorn in a great big battery, a Tesla motor, and a subframe for the rear suspension and differential to attach to. Cant be that hard? Would any championships run a class for electric single seaters though?

20June

Heat map

I've created a heat map, showing the finishing positions for all drivers, and non-finishes in the form of DNF's. The colour pallete was tricky to determine. I ended up using a website, http://hclwizard.org:3000/hclwizard/, for the palletes, which are applied using a small piece of VBA that I've written in Excel.


13June

N.Ireland trip, August 2022

The 500 Motor Racing Club of Ireland, Kirkistown entries opened at the weekend, and they are very good value compared to the other sprints that we go to. Just £190.00 for the two days, on the double lap format. I have entered, and the ferry is booked. I am on the 7.30am crossing on Friday morning, and will be driving the 320 miles from Leicester to Cairnryan on Thursday evening, when the traffic has died down. The return ferry from Belfast is the 23:30 hrs crossing on Sunday, which means I can travel non-stop when I reach Scotland at around 2am, which is the same as last time. The ferry costs the same as last year, an eye watering £360.00. With diesel costing around 186pence per litre, its not going to be a cheap trip by any means 😯, I think its around £200.00 of diesel for the return trip, but if you're not in it, you cant win it, so I have to go.

The full entry list will be here when published.

11June

Fuel consumption

The consumption figures last weekend at Pembrey were again, shown accurately on the dashboard, to the point where I am removing the LCD fuel level display, as it no longer serves any purpose. The car used 6.1 litres on Saturday over 3 runs in the dry, and 6.632 litres Sunday, which was a wet event and I did four runs.

10June

Wiggly lines

I think I prefer this visualisation now I've added the images :)


09June

Aero disks at Pembrey

The rear wheels on Saturday featured removable carbon fibre disks, which I fitted to reduce the wake/drag from the rear wheels, and given I was 3.19s quicker I reckon combined with the other aero mods introduced at Blyton, they made a positive difference. They dont weigh any more than a few grammes, and are fastened to the rear axle using M20 plastic cable gland nuts that I sourced off ebay. Once fastened in place, the red spring clip that prevents the wheel nut from coming off, is fitted, and that doubles up in ensuring that the covers cannot fall off. I fitted them discretely on Saturday morning, but soon people were noticing them, so I then stuck the white Union flags on. I did have a really slick design in vinylt that I'd drawn, but my supplier let me down and they still haven't arrived. So the white flags will do.


My sponsor, Fractory, are now manufacturing the replacement lower front suspension brackets that I've drawn in Fusion 360. I'm getting them made in 7075T6 which should make them bullet proof. Delivery is expected the first week in July, in time for fitting before the trip down to Lydden Hill in July.


08June

Run off video from Saturday

This is my best run from Saturday, where I knocked 3.19s off the class record. I did leave plenty on the table though, one more go eh :D

07June

Four timed runs become three

The journey over to Pembrey was better than expected. The organisers said the gates weren’t opening until 6pm so there was no hurry. With lighter traffic than usual for a bank holiday Friday afternoon, I think I only stopped once in traffic on the M4, the Jubilee weekend have given the UK an additional bank holiday on the Thursday so most people had made their journeys to wherever they were going.

Blue skies for most of the way down, I was making good progress until a passing family on the M42 flagged me down, pointing at the trailer. I rapidly stopped in one of those painted yellow laybys on the Smart Motorway, which was running 3 lanes instead of the 4, hopped out of the van, and had a look at the trailer. The nearside was fine, but as I crossed over to the offside, I noticed a set of black lines on the tarmac that I’d created. Sure enough, the rear tyre on the trailer was completely destroyed; there was just small sections of carcass remaining. I wonder how long ago it had failed? And why? It was obvious that the valve had failed, because half of it was missing, along with the tyre pressure sensor that screwed in to the top of the valve. That was a total waste of money. A Michelin TPMS system, which fails to tell you that you’ve got a flat tyre. I won’t be fitting that back again.


Anyway, 10 minutes later and the spare wheel is fitted and I’m back on my way, with my fingers crossed that I don’t have any other problems.

I arrived around 5pm, and after a short wait, the queue started moving towards the paddock, where we found our spaces pegged out. Once I’d parked up, I unloaded the car, gazebo, etc, I fitted the front wing, and looking at the front suspension, noticed that one of the bottom front suspension brackets was sat a rather jaunty angle. Hmm, on inspection, with the front wheels off the ground, the bracket was pulled away from the chassis rail. And when I lifted the wheel, the top half of the bracket moved. Not good. So I removed the bolt from the rod end where it goes through the bracket, and it fell apart. This is the second time I’ve had a Radical part fail. And I only had one spare, so I spent 15 minutes fitting that, with Graham Porrets assistance as he lifted the wheel for me to allow the bolt to pass back through the holes in the fresh bracket.

I inspected the same bracket on the opposite side of the car, and that looked ok. So, it was safe for me to continue. With the car in the garage at home, sat on all four wheels, the bracket was pressed firmly against the chassis rail, so there was no way of noticing that it was knackered. I wonder if in the process of testing the wobbly front wheels, the vibration had cracked and eventually broken it?

Spot the flaw in the design
With the front wing and body work fitted, I then walked the National circuit layout. I then cooked myself some food, and retired to the van for the night. The forecast for Saturday was great, perfect even, and I was looking forward to driving the National circuit again flat out. To while away the time I opened Autodesk Fusion 360 on the laptop, and drew a new suspension bracket, far stronger than the Radical part, and I was already planning on getting them machined asap.

Saturday

Saturday morning, we were out fitting slicks and preparing for the day’s competition. Terry Holmes asked what layout we were using, as three cones were still blocking the route around the National track. Hmm. Then at 5 minutes to 9, the paddock marshal told us that there had been a mix-up by Motorsport UK, and they hadn’t issued the track permit for the National layout. The permit for the clubman’s had been issued, and that was the circuit layout that we would have to run. Some drivers immediately complained that they hadn’t had the opportunity to walk that layout, but the organisers said we would be first out at 9:00, and by around 9:07 we’d started our runs.

There was a risk that we would have to run the less popular Clubman’s circuit both days, but BARC Wales were on the case, and chased Motorsport UK all morning, to get the correct permits issued, and sure enough by lunch time they’d received the national layout permit, so that would be run on Sunday instead of Saturday. What a nightmare!

During practice, a lot of drivers, all very experienced competitors, followed the clubman’s layout, but after the 90 left, took the first right before the actual right turn on to the Senna Esses. Big mistake! They then were forced to follow the Rally Cross circuit route rather than the actual race circuit. There were no cones on the entrance to the Rally Cross circuit, but anyone with an ounce of intelligence could see it wasn’t the right route and continued to re-join the actual circuit. Those who didn’t, span on to the grass, or filled their cars with gravel.

There was no finish line marked out either, so the event was stopped for 15 minutes whilst that was put in place.

So that was practice over and done with. I tried the black front rims again, and after getting them rebalanced, they were better, but still not good enough for going flat out on. So I stuck them back in the trailer, and ran the fresher set of tyres on the gold rims for the rest of the day. For P1 I recorded a 110.85s run, which wasn’t great, but it was just over a second slower than eventual winner Terry Holmes so it was a good omen. I ran 37 degree front wing and 35 degree rear, which was more wing than I ran on the previous visit in 2021. But the car felt well balanced.

With the gold rims on the front and the blacks practice rims on the rear, I drove even quicker, to record a new PB of 106.50s, which was also a new class record (was 107.11s). I wasn’t the quickest, just the 4th qualifier behind Terry, Matt Hillam and Steve Broughton, so I knew I had my work cut out to beat those three.

For the first run off run (Timed run 2) I fitted the gold rears with the fresher tyres, and gave it full beans everywhere. After 1 lap I was convinced, it was too ragged, and I was going to be slower. I'd missed an apex, and had braked too early for the hairpin, it was a very untidy run. Imagine my surprise after the two laps, when I checked the time to see that I’d actually gone 2.58s faster with a 103.92! I couldn’t believe it! I sat glued to the results page, seeing what times other drivers were doing, and Terry did a 102.27, Broughton 105.11, then at the end Matt did a 104! And Steve Miles (champion) did a 107.11. Brilliant, I’d finished 2nd with a bonus point and scored 25 points :D

We then stood around waiting to see what was occurring, and the rumour was that as the event was running so behind schedule, that we weren’t getting another run. Steve Brown and I climbed the stairs in the control tower to see the CofC, and he confirmed that that was the case. No more runs.

Which was a shame. I wanted more points. But it turned out to be the right call, because at 4pm, when we would have been lining up for another run, the heavens opened, and the track was quickly waterlogged.

Sunday

It had been raining since 4:30am, for a solid two hours, and when I surfaced, the paddock had massive puddles everywhere, it was going to be a wet, and challenging day.

With the front and rear wings now on Max, rear ARB disconnected, and dampers softened, the first practice was challenging. I’ve still not had that much experience at the sharp end on wets, and I was very pedestrian. I was only running the lower power calibration CAL 3, but after the two practice laps I realised that the car would be fine on full power, so switched it back to CAL 2. The first timed run came, and I improved, learning how much grip the car had in the rain, it was far more than I expected, and my confidence was growing. I had qualified for the run offs, which followed a few hours later. During lunch the rain had stopped and we had about 2 hours of drying time. Not that there was any warmth, or wind, and the track remained quite wet.

Decision time, wets or slicks!? I opted for the sticky wets, as did Terry Holmes after a discussion, whilst others quickly put their slicks on and made chassis adjustments. I lined up, and threw the car around, confidence was growing all the time, it did me no harm at all to see what the car would do. I improved again, and finished 6th. Terry Holmes won on the Avon wets, which were as soft as chewing gum. Far stickier than my Pirelli wets, and better suited than the Pirelli slicks to the damp conditions.

That was 20 points for finishing 6th.

We were then given a third timed run, which was a combined qualifier and run off. During the wait it had rained heavily again, but stopped as we lined up to go out. I was still on the wets, and with the confidence from the previous run, I threw the car around, and was again, 6th. Terry again won the run off, the Avon wets were definitely the right tyres to have. Another 20 points in the bag, which was a good end to the day.

A quick change of clothes, the car was quickly packed away, and I was away from the circuit for 5:15pm for the trip back to Leicester.

I’d had a good weekend. On Saturday I’d increased my lead by 5 points over my rival, but I dropped 4 points on Sunday, which could have been a lot worse. So in total I extended my lead from 8 points to 9, with 252 points scored from 11 rounds, maintaining my first place in the championship.

I still held both the Clubmans class record for Pembrey, and bettered my it by 3.19s. It's a shame we didnt get a crack a the National record in the same sunny weather we had the day before.

My next event was meant to be the NSCC Curborough weekend in June, but I have withdrawn whilst my replacement front bottom pickups are away being machined. I’ve beefed up both designs, and they’re being made from 7075T6 Aluminium which should make them several orders of magnitude stronger than the ones made from cheese that I have been running.

Thanks to my sponsors Fractory.com, and to my family for letting me continue with me successful season.

Lydden Hill in July is the next round, where again, I need to break the existing record, and hopefully win a run off or two.

I am now leading the Britannia trophy, I'm in second place in the Celtic, I'm fourth overall in the Hillclimb and Sprint Association speed championship, 6th in the Sprint Leaders and 10th in the Midland Speed Championship. The Sprint Leaders scoring leads a lot to be desired, and I fully understand why people aren't entering the championship.

06June

Pembrey record result

Still recovering from a very exciting weekend. On Saturday we only had one run off due to the event running slowly, and I finished 2nd and smashed the class record by 3.19 seconds, earning 25 points. That increased my championship lead by 5 points to 13 points. On Sunday it was very wet, and I'm still gaining experience of driving in the challenging conditions, but I managed a pair of 6th places, earnt 40 points, and dropped 4 points to my nearest rival, which left me 9 points in the lead. I would of course have preferred if Sunday was also dry, but under immense pressure, I avoided falling off or spinning, learnt a lot about grip levels in the wet, and had a trouble free day. Full write up and report to follow. I'm now drying out the gazebo and the car cover, and recovering :D