October 2022


HSA Class L winner

It has finally been confirmed that I have won Class L in the Hillclimb and Sprint Association Speed Championship. This is the class for the Racing cars above 2.0 litres, where we have to compete with the big V8's. I tied with Pete on 122 points, but as I had broken four class records during 2022, I was awarded the class win.

Across all the classes, four drivers in total tied in tenth place on 122 points, but I was awarded tenth place overall for having set the most new class records.

As well as finishing third overall in the British Sprint Championship, I have also won the Saxon Trophy, which is for the highest score for the best ten rounds run in England (Blyton x 2, Lydden, Castle Combe). :D


750MC race meeting

I was lucky enough to be invited to watch Simon Boulter race his Darvi Mk4/5 at Mallory Park last weekend. Its a great looking car, powered by the Fiat 'Fire' engine, which is a 4 cylinder 1.0 engine, which tuning is quite limited. Simon had a good first race, and sadly wasnt classed as a finisher on the second race, he had a gearbox issue and drove at a good pace, but wasn't within 80% of the number of laps that the winner had completed, so no points. Thats harsh, as Simon was 1 lap outside the 80%. Rules are rules though.

I managed to snap one of the Formula Vee cars flying, as the driver took to the grass.

Flying Vee at Mallory


ECU returned for upgrade

I have returned my Life ECU to Life in Essex, for a boot code upgrade, which will allow us to run firmware later than 1.620. I've also asked if the analogue ground issue can be checked, following the spikes in EOT, ECT, and AAT temperatures and noise on PPSA. It may be the connector needs replacing, or cleaning, as the pins are very dirty and do look worn. Lets wait and see what they say. The connector hasnt been disturbed for two years, and is locked in position, so there should be no movement whatsoever of the terminals in the connector itself. There could also be a problem with the loom itself, which I can swap for the spare, but I want to get the ECU checked out first.
Dirty connections

I've just added zetecinside.com to Cloudflare for additional security, performance and reliability benefits. Using Cloudflares proxied DNS, and their content delivery network, brings increased protection, and increased performance, and even after just a few days I can see some very impressive performance statistics. It accelerates web site access, considerably. Cloudflare offers a basic free package which allows websites to be transferred to them for basic monitoring/protection etc, which is what I've opted for.


Cooper Tyres Europe proposal to close down the Avon Motorsport Tyres production in the UK

Shock news for the motorsport community after hearing that Avon Motorsport tyre production could be moving out of the UK, or worse, stopped altogether.

Read the article here


Motorsport UK Revolution magazine article

In September I was approached by Motorsport UK for an interview, in which they asked me to come up with five lessons learned, from my experiences sprinting. Each one was limited to around two hundred words and I did my best to keep to that target. The article appeared in the October 2022 magazine, which is availablet to download from the Motorsport UK website. The photos were provided by John Stewart (FlatOut photography) and Alex Patrizio (Patricion Media). I'm always happy to contribute, it was a privilege to be asked in the first place.

Click the magazine cover below to go to the latest issue.


My 2022 season


Curborough season final

After the trip home on Saturday afternoon from Castle Combe, I unloaded the car in to the workshop and swapped the pushrod over for another spare, sorted the corner weights out, and then cleaned the pair of rear Pirelli ultrasofts, ready for the trip to Curborough on Sunday morning. After loading the car back on to the trailer, and unloading the van of all the overnight sleep kit, I managed to get some food inside me, and went to bed. On Sunday at 6am, I left for Curborough which is only 50 minutes away from Leicester. Once I arrived, I picked a spot in the paddock and unloaded the car. We were running on the figure of eight configuration, which isnt my favourite layout, I prefer the long course. The car has too much power for the point and squirt circuit, which is fun on the straights, but you have to work very hard not to overshoot the corners. In practive, on the Avon HC3 tyres, the car felt very unbalanced, and I'd obviously flat spotted a front when the pushrod failed at Combe, as one of the tyres felt like it had a huge vibration when I was braking. After two mediocre practice runs, I swapped back to the Pirellis' and the car was instantly more predictable, and quicker, and after the first timed run I was FTD. I've not had any success at all with the Avon HC3 rears. The fronts are great, I'd go as far as saying better than the Pirellis'? At Combe on Saturday I was 0.7s under the class record with the Avons on the front and Pirelli's on the rear. But the rear HC3's just dont give me the confidence I need, and then by the time I swap to the Pirellis I'm not on the pace where I need to be.

Anyway the second and final timed runs started around 3:30pm, and after 15 minutes there was a 45 minute delay whilst the volunteers sorted out a broken down Renault Clio that had had a lithium battery fire inside the car. Quite bizarre. It was treated as an Electric Vehicle, and no one really seemed to be in charge or know what to do. We looked on in amazement as 10 people stood around the car, with a fireman pointing an infrared gun at the battery, taking regular temperature checks until they were satisfied that it was safe to handle. It then went in a back of a small trolley, which in turn was dragged on to the back of a tilt bed trailer, and it was then strapped down using ratchet straps. The trailer and trolley, with discarded battery inside, was then towed slowly to the spectator area outside the cafe, where the battery was dropped in to a large yellow bucket of water. Overreaction? Yes. The best use of everyone's time? No.

We were then told that the event would restart, and the curfew of 6pm would be observed, and it was likely that not everyone would get another run. But we did. I completed my last run at 5:45pm, and Pete pipped me to FTD by around a second. Well done Pete. I was second FTD, both Mygales were clearly the fastest cars at the venue. I wish I'd done both days and not bothered with the trip to Castle Combe. My 3rd place was evidently safe, so I'd have had more fun running around the little Curborough circuit.

Looking at the data on Monday I saw that there was another A/B Validation error, this time from the pedal position ssnsor, and there was also an air temperature sensor fault. These coincided with a down change from 3rd to 2nd gear, so I think that that proves that there is a loose connection somewhere. I shall fit the spare engine loom, and check all the connections to ground at the same time.


Record breaking run at Castle Combe

My only timed run, before discovering the pushrod failure. 116.54s which was 1.9s quicker than my PB from 2021, and 0.7s under the existing class record. Pete went on to lower it again, but I was briefly the holder. I will go back again, with uprated pushrods, and less aero.


Pushrod failure again

Castle Combe was going really well. I put the Pirelli rears on for the first time run, and went round in 116.54 to qualify third, knocking 1.9s off my PB and going 0.7s quicker than Pete's record, but the nearside rear pushrod bent on the second lap, and I caught a slow Terry Holmes nursing the Lola around, so I imagine I'd have done a low 115s had I not had the issues. Back in the paddock, we tried to replace the pushrod with one of the new spares, but the threads cut in the pushrod were incorrect, and the 1/2" UNF turnbuckle wouldnt screw in to the rod, so that was that. I scored 13pts for qualifying, bringing my total to 613, but I scored no run off points, and had to pack the car up to go home, as I couldnt continue. Steve Broughton had a spin on the first run off which I sat out, and didnt score any points. He had to win the final run off and beat the record to beat me, which he failed to do.

This meant I had finished in 3rd place overall in the British Sprint Championship, which was a huge relief. Matt Hillam took a well deserved first place, with Terry Holmes in 2nd.

A podium finish was all I'd ever dreamed of, and to have beaten both Matt and Terry during the year, just shows how competitive I've got. I'm very proud of my achievements this year, I will get a 3rd place Bronze award from Motorsport UK, and I will forever treasure it.


Castle Combe season finale

The TB is replaced, and the engine runs and ticks over nicely. The eight tyres I'll be running are all cleaned. I am ready for the finale, fingers crossed there'll be no more issues and I can get some strong points to hang on to my 3rd place. Sadly 2nd is out of reach, and Matt is likely to take a well deserved championship win on Saturday. The Lola had engine problems at Anglesey, losing lots of oil, and might not even be out. Knowing the owners though, they'll have pulled all the stops out to get the car ship shape for the weekend. Steve Broughton can no longer win, after he had a spin at Anglesey. So the pressure is really on Matt and Terry. Immense pressure. Lets see how they both cope.


Anglesey problems

It had to happen sooner or later. I had an electronic component failure on the engine, sadly the Ford throttle body failed on the car on the first practice from the start of the run, and I sensed immediately it didnt have the acceleration that I was used to. I had the same issue on the first timed run, and then when I checked the logged data in LifeVIEW, I saw that the wastegate duty was all over the place when on full throttle. Then I saw that the tps1 channel was showing open/closed/open/closed when on full throttle, and it was obvious the drive-by-wire throttle body had failed. At lunch time I removed and refitted it, and took the connector off and reseated that too, and on the next round found that that hadnt cured the fault. The Life ECU was reporting a fault with A/B validation too, which I'd seen twice before at previous events this year. What that actually means is the two position sensors inside the TB, have produced a value that is out of bounds, and potentially there is an issue with the TB. Throttle Bodies have two sensors inside, for safety and redundancy. So if one fails, the ECU will take action to limit power or put the car in to safe mode. My ECU let me carry on driving, but the throttle was opening and closing very rapidly, which was hampering power production from the turbo.

Ford Throttle Body fitted on the inlet plenum

So I was off the pace on Saturday, however I still managed a fifth place, and scored 21 points, which with dropped scores increased my championship tally to 420. I was still hanging on to my second place behind Terry Holmes.

Later on Saturday afternoon, after I sent a message to my engine tuner, luckily, he was on hand, and he talked me through making changes to the engine calibration, to put in a workaround for the problem. We swapped analogue channels over, changed linearisation values, made some other changes that would allow the car to be driven, albeit only one of the pair of position sensors would be used to provide feedback to the actual throttle position, which didnt come without any risks. Should that sensor also fail, the throttle would either close, or open fully.

On Sunday driving the car was an unnerving experience. The throttle body behaved impeccably all day, and I was able to get just over a second off my PB set in April. But at the back of my mind was the risk of the TB failing fully open rather than closed, so I was never really fully committed at the end of the straights. Had the TB failed in the open position, I'd have had to hit the clutch and turn off the igntion. Not ideal at 145mph. In April I was on the throttle for 1.5s longer on the approach to Rocket. Try as I may, I didnt have the confidence to stay on the throttle for as long as I needed to, so my times were off the pace of the front runners.

So I was 2nd in class again, and scored a 6th and 5th place, beating Pete on the final run. My class record time I set in April was safe, and will be the published record for 2023. I was overtaken by Matt Hillam, who was driving like a man posessed, the Dallara smashed the 2.0 record on the International circuit, and quite rightly, Matt overtook me in to second place, dropping me to third.

One of the most draining weekends so far, I enjoyed the experience, though it was a lot more stresful than I normally expect. This Saturday sees the final round at Castle Combe. The throttle body will have been replaced, the engine calibration reverted, and I will be trying my hardest to put in a good pair of run off runs.

I am the only driver to have broken the 600 points barrier, with Stephen Miles sitting behind me with 595. With dropped scores I'm on 420 in third place, but I'm proud to be in the 600's. 100% finishing record, with 100% qualifying record too.