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My Latest BSC Scores
* = +1pt for setting new class record
Blyton FTD SuccessSo the triple header started off exceptionally well, with a new British record, a Run Off win, and FTD on Saturday on the Eastern circuit. (Thats my third FTD for the Eastern layout). I recorded a 59.85s and beat Matt Hillam by 3/100ths of a second, scoring 26 points. Sadly it then rained heavily and I took a conservative approach, as I needed a finish, so that was another score to be dropped later. On Sunday on the Outer circuit, I had a new PB of 55.55s, and on the first run off, the clock had a glitch and I had the same time as Pete Goulding 55.36s, which then suddenly changed to a time 0.7s slower, which is baffling. Again, how are we supposed to do our best when timing systems keep throwing up no time, or spurious times? Anyway, on the final run off, I recorded another 55s time, and I was in first place until I was beaten by a very determined Matt Hillam, some 1.3s faster, placing me second with 24 points. There was a long oil patch left on the track, dropped by John Loudon's Force that lost its oil filter, and I hit the patch and had the rear end step out on that run, forcing me to come off the throttle. Had that oil not been dropped, I would definitely have beaten the class record to earn a bonus point. As it was, that went to Pete with his 55.36s run. Pete went slower in the afternoons final run due to a front wing issue.
Anglesey coming up. I had no issues with the car, didnt take a spanner to it all weekend and I'm looking forward to this weekend's trip. Terry Holmes overtook me to take first place on Saturday, and after the points scored this weekend I am 7 points behind Terry, and I can still beat him with some more good results at Anglesey and Castle Combe. I just need to keep beating him.
Triple HeaderThis weekend I'm at Blyton Park for two days. The weekend after I'm going to Anglesey, and then the weekend after, the finale takes place at Castle Combe on October the 8th, followed by a visit to Curborough the day after for the long course sprint. Busy busy busy. The car and driver, are both ready :D
No more Knockhill :(Desperately sad news today, that we will no longer be using the famous Knockhill circuit. Probably the best venue on the calendar, the circuit owners are now demanding extraordinary amounts of money for us to run on the circuit, which would make the entry fees in the thousands. What future is there for the British championship with so few circuits left?
Coming UpMy next event is the Nottingham Sports Car Club sprint weekend at Blyton Park driving centre on the 24th and 25th of September. I took FTD at the event in May, and had some great points scored, which I'm hoping to do again to keep Terry Holmes at bay in 3rd place. After Blyton we're off to Anglesey, then its the finale at Castle Combe in October. Just ten rounds remain...
This is a short video of two of my runs from Knockhill. The first one is the first run off, on wets, and as you can see it certainly wasn't wet enough for wets. I granny started the car to avoid issues in the narrow pitlane. The second run is the qualifier run in the afternoon, where I finished 2nd, just 0.17s behind Terry Holmes.
Aintree successA busy weekend started with the trip up to Aintree near Liverpool on Saturday morning. A very quiet journey over to Aintree, with a decent weather forecast, the prospects for some good points were high. On the Avon fronts and older pirelli rears, I had two practice runs, and my second practice time was my best of the morning (40.74) which was slower than my PB set in 2021 (40.11). Frustratng as the time shown on the scoreboard as I crossed the finish line was 40.00 so I was thinking I'd got a new PB. Alas the times on Resultsman showed a 40.74. The competitive timed runs quickly commenced, and after two runs, I took the class win, and dismantled the car to put it back on the trailer. I was thankful that I could get away for 12:30 for the trip over to Knockhill in the afternoon.
My biggest concern during the morning, was the dreadful condition of the circuit. The long dry spell over the summer, has made the two right hand turns very bumpy indeed, and I was struggling for traction particularly around the first right hand turn. Although I managed 150+ MPH over the finish line, with minimum aero, which was pretty exciting, it was just a shame I missed out on a new PB and FTD, which went to a well deserved Glynn Sketchley (also from Leicester) with a good 39s run. Well done Glynn. I didnt stick around to collect my class award, hopefully someone picked it up on my behalf.
So that was phase one done, now on to the British Sprint round at Knockhill the following day.
Knockhill Anti-clockwise, round 19 and 20 (New PB)Arriving at Knockhill at 5pm on Saturday, I was able to unload the car and van straight in to the garage, then park the van and trailer over behind the paddock. The weather was rapidly deteriorating, and heavy rain set in, a sign of things to come. On Sunday morning, we were out at 8:30, in pouring rain, and I was a little too enthusiastic on my practice run, depositing the car in the gravel trap at the chicane. My fault, I should have stayed off the painted kerbs.
Photo: Flatout photography
Photo: Flatout photography
Back in the garage, I removed the gravel, and repaired the plastic skirts where the pop rivets had failed, and the first timed run was far better, more controlled, and I set a reasonable time. at 12:20pm, the first run off came, and the weather had continued to improve (it hadnt rained for over an hour), everyone was on wets, which was the wrong decision. Setting off from a wet pit lane without launch control I realised there was a drying line, and I finished 4th behind Terry Holmes, Simon Bainbridge, and Stephen Miles, netting 22 points.
Photo: Flatout photography
The weather continued to improve, so the new ultrasoft slicks came out, and I was the second fastest qualifier on the third timed run after lunch, just 0.17s behind Terry who I had firmly in my sights. Terry even came over to say well done. On that run I was also chasing the class record, which I was closing in on. I did record a new PB, 91.14s, which was satisfying, but with the lack of dry runs we were all a little off the pace compared to the previous year, and there were still puddles hiding around the edges of the track ready to snare anyone daring to touch them.
Photo: Flatout photography
The forecast was for more rain at 5pm, but it didnt come, the sun was out with a strong breeze blowing, and at 5pm on the final run of the day I monstered the car around on what was still a green track following all the rain, and I was soon back in the paddock and out of the car, and took my helmet and gloves off. I'd driven the car in forwards in to my garage spot, which was still muddy from cleaning the gravel from the car in the morning. I was then told to get back in again as I had no time recorded! WTF! Oh great. My tyres were now filthy and covered in crap. OK, so one more go. I lined up, got a great launch, but I was a little slower, but still managed to finish 3rd behind Steward Robb (V10 Pilbeam) and Terry Holmes (V8 Lola), and 1.5 seconds ahead of fourth placed Steve Miles, scoring 23 points.
So with drop scores coming in to play, I'd dropped a 20, and I've gone up to 408 points in total, to maintain my lead in the championship. The class record should have fallen to me, but the lack of runs on a dry track showed, and I wasn't using as much of the kerbs as maybe I should have been. I have three more 20 point scores to drop, which hopefully will be replaced by higher scores and bonus points on the return to Blyton Park Driving Centre in three weeks time.
After packing everything up, I set off from Knockhill at 6:30pm, to arrive home just after midnight, covering 690 miles in total. I had to stop twice for fuel. I estimated 25 litres would give me the range I needed to get home, but the VW trip computer hadn't factored in the trailer behind me, so I had to stop a second time to add another 10 litres to make sure I got home. At £2.01p a litre, you put as little in as possible on the motorway, that was my man logic anyway.
I had no issues at all with the car. My Cousin helped me on Sunday, and took some great video's and I'll post them up later. A class win Saturday, a podium and a new PB on Sunday, so in all, it was a great weekend.
Coming upOn Saturday I am running at the LMC Aintree Autumn sprint, up against John Graham and Ian Rowlance in class 5E. And on Sunday I am at Knockhill for the British Sprint Championship rounds on the anti-clockwise circuit.
1.8s 64ftGoing through the data I found that the fourth timed run, re-run, I recorded > 1.3G on the launch, so I went in to the data to find the 64ft time. We had no timing providing that information at the track, but the ECU records front wheel speeds and distance, therefore its not hard to extract the information. Using the LifeVIEW software, in distance rather than time mode, the data from the run shows that I covered 19.5 metres, or 64 ft, in 1.8s.
I'm really getting the hang of launching the car, now we've changed the settings. The high grip surface of snetterton also helped a lot.
Fuel consumption at Snetterton was 9.789 litres, over the eight runs. Averaging 7.60 mpg. Since the start of the year, the car has now performed 51 runs, and used 73 litres of fuel, covering 112 miles.
That was a tiring, but exciting day. BARC Midlands hadn't run a sprint at Snetterton before, and they had a few problems. Nothing serious, but organisational niggles, which otherwise took the shine off the event. The end result for me, was a new 1600T class record, of 78.88 seconds, a first in class, and a third fastest time of the day behind the extremely fast SBD Dallara driven by Matt and Steve. So it was, overall, a succesful event.
Eight, no, seven timed runs!
The biggest issue was the lack of experience in releasing cars on to the circuit. First practice, my run was aborted when I found a white formula ford doing a 3 point turn on the hairpin, without any warning from the marshals post (no red flags shown). I didn't go for a re-run, its just practice. The fresh Avon HC3 front tyres were really good from the get-go, and I was running the cleaned Ultrasofts on the rear, saving the fresh set for later.
The first timed run, I pushed really hard, and had a downshift issue in to Oggies, where the ECU tried to select 3rd, and for no reason I could see, failed, however the second downshift attempt went in, but I was then too fast in to the bend and didnt have a great run. Getting back to the paddock, I used a blank worktab in LifeVIEW and showed Paddle and Gear to keep things simple, and I could see a missed downshift. So I deciced to replace both the short lenghts of black plastic pneumatic pipe that feed the Geartronics actuator, with fresh pieces, as they sat underneath the pushrod that had failed at Kirkistown, so I just kind of thought, maybe they'd been squashed or damaged, and it was a cheap fix, so well worth a go. I could recall some downshift issues at Kirkistown too following the pushrod change, so the evidence was strong enough to suggest the downsift hose was leaking air.
On the second timed run, with the fresh Ultrasofts on the rear, guess what, yes, another baulked run, catching a slower car again. This time I was due a re-run, and, suitably wound up, I lined up, and put in my best lap of the day, with a 78.88s run. That was 1.7s knocked off my PB from the BSC round in June the previous year. I was taking Hamiltons better and better on every run, lifting not braking, then lifting later and later as I turned in. That was paying dividends. And no gear shift issues, so the replacement pipes had cured the problem.
The third timed run went ok, as did the fourth. However, on the fourth run, rather than a baulked run, this time I had no time recorded. God knows how. Anyway, I'd already got out the car, helmet off etc, to find my time was missing on the TSL Timing page, and I was then invited to have another go. So I got back in, and tried again, and recorded another decent time (78.98s). It was annoying, as the previous untimed run was perfect, my best run of the day, isnt that always the case when they dont give you a time :D
BARC then announced that the fifth run would be a fun run, and with pressure to beat Pete, we both opted to go out again, and after putting 2.0 litres of fuel in the tank, I set off, and recorded another sub 80s run (79.50s), beating Pete again by 0.85s. As I was approaching the start line for my second lap, a red single seater was released in front of me, fortunately far enough ahead that it didnt slow me down, and I had a game of catch the pigeon trying to catch the car before the end of my second lap, even allowing an element of slip streaming as I crossed the finish line for the final time.
Eight runs, took more out of me than it did the car. The new Avon HC3 fronts did a remarkable job, handling eight runs in total. They worked really hard, and after the final run, I noticed some evidence of cold shear on the surface of the right hand front tyre, which I'll have to surform or heat gun off. Up until the fifth run they showed very little wear. The fresh ultrasofts on the rear totally restored the car's performance, on the final run I swapped them left to right just to try to even out the wear, and in doing so I was very happy to win the class with a new record time. I won a Snetterton baseball hat for finishing 3rd FTD, and a superb glass trophy for 1st place #onavons
I did speak to the organisers about the unsafe releases, which they didnt seem to have under control. I'm sure that they will take all comments on board and make sure the next event there doesnt suffer the same issues. I really enjoyed the day, had eight runs with no real issues, and won, so yes, nothing to complain about really :D
Chris Jones had a nasty accident in the paddock, when hot fuel sprayed in to his face and eyes when he removed the fuel filler cap. The Force TA was particularly hot as it had not long completed a run of the 100 circuit, and Chris was very unlucky to discover the fuel tank was under pressure. He was immediately helped by Chris Bennett who had some cold water on him, pouring it over his face and eyes, and then he was taken to the medical centre where the staff treated his eyes for fuel burns. Chris missed out a few runs but still managed to complete timed run four, and took the class win. Our best wishes go to Chris, hoping for a speedy recovery.
Class 5E results.
Full event results are here
Coming upThe next event is the Borough 19 sprint at Snetterton on Saturday August 27th.
This is not a BSC round, it is a HSA Sprint Leaders round which I'm also competing in this year. The entry list shows I am car 98, with Pete Goulding car 97. There are only 50 entrants so we will get a lot of runs.
Revolution MagazineGood to see the championship get a mid year review in the new Revolution magazine, published by MUK.
Kirkistown race reportI left Leicester around 4pm Thursday afternoon, and drove the 198 miles to Castle Douglas where I slept inside the van until 5am, when I then drove the remaining 35 miles to Cairnryan ferry terminal. Once on the boat I made the most of the cooked breakfast and coffee refills, and when the ferry docked in Belfast, set off for the short trip to the Kirkistown circuit. Once unloaded, I had a few jobs to do on the car, and although scrutineering was opened at 6pm, I opted to leave the car until the following morning, and had an early night instead.
SaturdayOn Saturday I was first in the scrutineering queue, and she passed with the new seatbelts and steering wheel fitted.
Simon Wallis (OMS) made his first trip to Kirkistown
My first practice run was around 11am, and I struggled for grip all day with the ageing Ultrasoft tyres. I had no incidents, and a pair of podiums, which reduced my nine point lead in the championship by one point. The rear wing end plates worked really well, and I ran a lower rear wing angle than I normally would all day. But my times were slower than my PB, and try as I might I couldnt improve. I had a chat with local driver Rob Dwane, and he watched my onboard and said I wasnt doing anything wrong. But he gave me some advice on where to turn in and where to carry more speed, so I tried the following day to put them in to action. In the evening I changed the faulty front wheel speed sensor for the RSPro equivalent I'd just bought, and the ECU appeared to like the signal from it, so I'd see the following day if it were up to the job.
Picture credit: Jane Loudon
FTD winner, Rob Dwane's OMS. He let me sit in it too :D I returned the favour when Rob came over on Sunday morning to give me some more driving advice. Methanol powered, the car has over 400bhp. Rob runs the Avon sprint compound tyres, which were paying dividends over the weekend.
SundayOn Sunday, in first practice, on freshly cleaned tyres, the car was great in first practice, even on the older tyres. For the second run, the qualifier run I kept the old set on the car, and I monstered the car around, and it was so much quicker putting Robs advice in to practice. However ..... under braking on the second lap, for the final chicane, the car locked the front left, and the right rear. Turning in to the chicane, I hit the kerbs heavily and the rear pushrod was bent in the impact. I managed to complete the course, and I coasted over the finish line. The sector times for this run indicated I would have produced a 111s run, on my old tyres!
I limped back to the pits, and parked outside the garage, I jumped out of the car to assess the damage, then pushed the car with help, inside. Luckily for me, it was just the pushrod and a rod end that were bent. Both I carried as spares. So, on my own, I worked quickly to replace the bent pushrod in around 30 minutes, burning my left wrist on the red hot brake disk in the process, whilst trying my best to get the corner weights right. I was told I'd got a time, confirmed I'd qualified, and was told to get it mended, which is what I did. Back on all four wheels, on the next run, the first run off, I had to take a cautious approach, and I finished sixth.
We're all told about the legend and folklore of making the trip to Kirkistown, and this was just another example of getting a car repaired and back out under immense pressure, so as not to miss points. It's part of the Craic. I was certainly up for the challenge :D. In previous years, drivers have overcome all sorts of adversity, so I wasn't about to miss my next run.
Afterwards, with confidence growing again, and braking earlier for the final chicane to avoid a similar lockup issue recurring, I completed the final two runs, and scored sufficient points to retain my overall lead in the British Sprint Championship.
Final results from Sunday
After the five runs, all 40 minutes apart, it was time to packup, get a shower, and head back to Belfast for the 11:30 ferry across to Cainryan. First I drove to the same chinese takeaway I used last year, and got myself dinner, and was joined back at the ferry terminal by Simon Bainbridge and John Hansell. So I sat in Simons bus, to eat my food and we had a natter about the weekends events. The Stenna Lines ferry was on time, and on board I found a spot to try and get some sleep; but I couldnt switch off, and cat napped. Once back in Scotland, I drove non stop back to Leicester to arrive back at home at 8am, absolutely shattered.
Aside from the accident, the car was fantastic all weekend. I do think the accident was caused by a bent pushrod, but I've no idea how or where it could have been bent. The kerbs at Kirkistown arent too bad, but it is a very bumpy circuit, as can be seen from the video below. During the weekend I was working again with my calibration engineer, trying to tune the wheelspin out whenever I change up. Making changes to the Gear Cut strategy during the runs on Saturday gradually dialled it out, and the gear changes felt smoother and smoother. My launches werent that great, the surface was quite poor, and on the final run on Saturday afternoon a 2.96s 64ft was recorded. Looking at the data, the car was generating a speed signal from the rear speed sensors, before I released the clutch, so the tail wind was rolling the car forwards in to the timing beam before I set off, triggering the timing to start early. On Sunday morning I asked the start line crew if they could stop the car rolling and they said no. Instead, I chose to hold the car on the brakes once staged, and as soon as the green lights came on, I swapped to the throttle pedal with my right foot, waited for the boost pressure to build to 1.5bar, and then released the clutch. My best launch all day was a 2.1s 64ft, and that was with a bit more clutch slip than I've used before, and it paid dividents.
Picture credit: Jane Loudon
On Sunday, on my second qualifier run, I caught up another competitor, driving like miss daisy, so my run was red flagged and I had to take another turn. If you're not going to drive round at qualifying speed, please go at the end of the batch, rather than with the front runners who are trying to drive flat out and improve their times! Class records were at stake, and unless you had a technical issue, there is no excuse for holding a faster driver up.
Fuel consumption on Saturday showed 9.515 litres used for five runs. On Sunday morning, I brimmed the tank again and reset the fuel consumption counter in the ECU. With the rerun on Sunday caused by the third timed run being baulked, I had to add two extra litres prior to the final run, and the engine consumed some 10.536 litres in total, making a total of 20.051 litres used over the weekend. Total distance covered during the weekend was 11 * 4.7Km = 51.7km. Converting that to mpg gives approx 7.3mpg!!
NSCC Blyton sells out in 90 minutesFollowing on from last years NSCC event at Blyton, where many people missed out on an entry, for one reason or another, this year the entries opened at 8am this morning, and the event was full by 9:30am. Its a round of the British, and it looks like everyone who needed to get an entry did.
NSCC Blyton September entry list
Math channelsI needed to convert the damper travel from milimetres in to downforce in Newtons, easily, and the LifeView software has maths channels available, for that very purpose.
I know that the front wheel rate is 89N/mm, and the rear rate is 65N/mm, and we have flDamper, frDamper, rlDamper, and rrDamper all in mm's, so all we have to do is create two formula, dfFront and dfRear, as follows.
Once created, the channels will appear on the channels list, and can be added to a graph. They can of course then be combined in other formulas, and filtered if you want to smooth the data out.
Steering wheel replacedI've swapped the broken steering wheel out for a brand new wheel, which is now fitted in the car. I had to scribe a circle and mark the three holes out, very carefully. Its suprising how much care you take to ensure a steering wheel is straight :D. Thank you to Andrew O'Malley for the wheel, which was originally purchased to fit on their ex-Sutton EcoBoost which is now owned by Graham Porrett. The wheel looks great with the black suede, and the dashboard fits really nice inside the top of the wheel. I just need to deepen the countersinks so the screws fit flush with the surface, and make some new labels for the rotary knobs.
Tyrepal systemIt was the first time for me to try the new Tyrepal solar colour pro tyre pressure monitor on Friday, and I was not disappointed. Fitting the batteries in the sensors, and then the matched sensors to each tyre on the trailer, could not have been easier. The display is then calibrated for the maximum tyre pressure, taking in to account the expansion of air inside the tyres as the temperature increases. The highest temperature seen was 32C across the four wheels, and the display gives an accurate pressure readout on each tyre. It makes for a far more relaxing journey. I was quite surprised the pressures rose above 70psi, as the tyre fitter said they were all Nitrogen filled, maybe they couldnt purge the air out before.
Lydden race report, Rounds 13 and 14With the high temperatures forecast from over a week ago, we were expecting anywhere from 21 to 30C, and unloading and setting up Friday afternoon it certainly felt like 30C. Saturday morning the temperatures started to rise, and I think we saw a peak of 27C in the afternoon. It wasnt a day for lots of horsepower and Ultrasoft tyres. There are only four corners at Lydden and two of those we only take once, but its a tough track to crack, and try as I might, I couldnt better my PB from last year.
First practice was quick, I was fastest outright with a 67.27s, which was just 0.07 off my PB set the previous year. I'd tried the new launch control parameters, with trepidation, and I neednt have worried. Holding the car on the line, watching the boost rise on the dashboard, I released the clutch when it reached 1.5Bar, and the car just shot off the line. I still lifted for the brow, just a tad, but later I just kept it planted, and subsequent launches got better and better.
On my first timed run, as I braked heavily and later than ever for Pilgrims, my weight shifted forwards in the seat, and I braced myself against the steering wheel, as you do, and click, the left hand side of the wheel went away from me. I glanced down, and saw that the Momo wheel had a crack in it, and over the next lap and a half, whilst trying to drive as quick as I could, I was looking down at the wheel deciding if it was going to be ok for the rest of the day. With a slower 68s run, I returned to the paddock, and we braced the crack with a pair of large penny washers each side, with an M6 bolt through the centre to keep the area around the crack clamped. When I bought the car, it had a pit lane speed limiter switch fitted, with a large 10mm hole drilled in the wheel by Radical. Although I'd never run with a switch fitted, the hole wasnt in the most sensible place, and after 10 years, it eventually gave up. The wheel was safe to continue with, I just made sure the seatbelts were b*stard tight for the remaining three runs, and avoided leaning on the wheel.
I then tackled the first run off run on T2, but struggled for grip. Oversteering on the exits, with some drifting and sliding, whilst maintaining full throttle was pretty exciting and a valuable learning experience. The lap was good, with another 67s time, but again, not as quick as my first practice run. I was 4th behind Terry Holmes, Steve Broughton and Matt Hillam, however I was ahead of Steve Miles in fifth. I scored 22 points.
After lunch, T3 came, and I got very wide coming out of Chessons drift, forcing me to lift to recover the car. I was rapidly running out of track, and needed to correct. I recorded a 67.50s which was quicker than T2, but I was back on the practice tyres, saving the best ones for the final run. Terry Holmes in the Lola V8 was less lucky, getting on the grass at Chessons, then having a tank slapper after narrowly missing the tyre barrier, and spinning in to the infield. So he hadnt qualified for the final run off, and scored 0pts for a DNF.
With the event overrunning, by 4:30pm the fourth timed runs were cancelled, however, the BSC drivers were given a final run off run, like the good old days, so we quickly fitted the better rears on the car, I dialled in a tad more traction control to help with the drifting, and I maintained 100% full throttle off the line for my best launch all day. Sadly I could feel the TC kicking in around Pilgrims and Chessons drift, and by that point I realised I'd gone too agressive with the setting, and pressed on. I recorded a 67.29s run, so had the TC not been causing the car to lose 10mph on the straights, that might have be been a run fast enough to break the class record (67.09s set in 2019). But I was fourth, which netted me another 22 points. Matt Hillam smashed the 2.0 record with a brilliant 65.25s run, followed by Steve Broughton in the same car, then Steve Miles with a 66s. SBD had been running a new TC system based on PID, but Steve told me they'd removed it off the car during the day since it wasnt working. I think we all struggled with traction, especially in the high heat. Fresh tyres for the run off were the order of the day.
I am still leading the championship by 9 points. Terry Holmes is still 3rd, but as he missed a run off, he has dropped further back.
Thankyou to Chris Brown from ATW Motorsport for being on the spanners all day. Great to have some help.
Launch needs some more tuning, but there was no other work to do on the car aside from swap tyres and try to keep it cool. The GDI cooling fan didnt fall off, and kept the pump temperatures under control. The uprated lower front suspension brackets worked perfectly, so I no need to worry about them failing anymore. Aside from the steering wheel giving up, it was a faultless day, and one I learnt a lot from, and as they say, if you're not winning you're learning. I will reprogram the TC Adder switch so I cant get the value that I ended up with again, as it was overly aggressive and didnt help at all. Thats one lesson learnt.
Despite the air temperatures on the day being as high as the previous year, my air charge temperatures were 5C lower, due to a change that I made to the way the air flows through the side pods. I read an article from Ross Brawn about the side pod design on one of the current F1 cars, which got me thinking. I'm glad I read it now. I'd also fitted titanium skids to the side skirts which also worked really well in preventing the nylon skirts from wearing away. I didnt run the new deeper end plates, maybe I should have, but I didnt fancy trying them with the pressure from the heat and the big entry list on Saturday. I will however try them at Kirkistown, where shall we say, we have an easier circuit, more suited to the EcoBoost, to try some different parts out on.
Offside bracketsI started on replacing the front lower offside suspension brackets last night, and discovered that the 1305-31 NAS bolt that secures the forward rod end, was bent! I did have an issue last year where I was distracted when winching the car on to the trailer, and the nearside front wheel caught the tyre rack leg, which I didnt spot in time. That appears to have bent the bolt, but not to worry, because the replacement brackets are thicker, I'd already sourced some longer ones (1305-32), so the issue will be cured when I swap the bracket and bolt over. That must have affected the handling, not least because the bolt could rotate inside the bracket so the geometry would have been changing as I braked and steered. Not ideal.
Fractory BracketsThe uprated front suspension brackets arrived today, and I'm really impressed again with the quality. I didnt go for an anodised finish, as they're not on display, hidden deep down inside the chassis at the front of the car; plus that would have increased the cost and the time frame to have them manufactured. I have so far fitted them on the near side, which was around 2 hours work. There literally is no room to work, the pedals, the chassis, the suspension arms, the bodywork, everything is in the way and prevents access to the socket head bolts etc.
The lower front bracket I removed was cracked, as I thought. Again, a hairline crack from one of the pair of mounting holes. The lower front brackets I've designed are reversible, so they have four holes in them. But as the base is thicker, and there is additional material to strengthen them, I've just used fresh 12.9 grade M8 socket screws, with schnorr safety washers to prevent them from coming loose, and I do not expect to have to replace them again.
Thankyou again to Fractory for the rapid turnaround.
Two weeks to goFinally, its the first of July, and the next round is just two weeks away. It is a shame I had to drop out from the NSCC Curborough rounds last weekend, especially since they were using the long course and the figure of 8 circuits, both rounds won easily by Stuart Bickley. Having said that, they had a noise complaint on Saturday, from a nearby resident who drove to the circuit to make their complaint known. Noise is a growing issue, certainly with people living near circuits, and complaints do need to be taken seriously. One competitor was asked to 'Go home', but the situation was difused by the excellent Motorsport UK officials, who took repeated noise tests and found no one had gone over the limit set for the circuit. Apparently the owners of Curborough are looking to ban launch control and anti-lag, and are going to install drive-by microphones to monitor levels on the circuit. Lets hope it doesnt come to that.
I've replaced the tyre pressure monitor on the trailer with a Tyrepal system, which arrived this morning. I'm impressed with the build quality and I'll get it all hooked up for the trip down to Lydden Hill.
I'm just waiting on the Fractory front suspension brackets to arrive so they can be fitted before Lydden. Delivery is expected 11th July which gives me sufficient time to get them all installed. While I'm waiting I'm designing a new component for the fuel system, which is now away being machined, more of which will be revealed during the coming weeks.
Pikes Peak winning run from Robin ShuteAnother 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!
McMurtry recordWhat 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?
Heat mapI'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.
N.Ireland trip, August 2022The 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.
Fuel consumptionThe 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.
Wiggly linesI think I prefer this visualisation now I've added the images :)
Aero disks at PembreyThe 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.
Run off video from SaturdayThis 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
Four timed runs become threeThe 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?
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.
SaturdaySaturday 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.
SundayIt 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.