Blow-up at Brands

Just a short month after our circuit debut at Castle Combe we found ourselves at Brands Hatch for the final round of this years Quaife Intermarque league. Since the last meeting we’ve reworked our rush last round exhaust job and finished off our undertrays. We however ran out of time to get stuck into stripping some weight out of the car and the new wheels havn’t arrived yet, jobs for the winter there then!

We arrived at Brands late on Saturday night after making the long and very traffic filled 250 mile trip from Torquay, the teams spirits taking another downward turn as the bar closed just as we arrived! Still, a decent nights sleep and some dry weather in the morning cheered us up no end as we made our way to scrutinering. A few gaps in the bulkhead meant we initially failed but some quick work with some aluminium and the pop rivet gun had us through in plenty of time for practice. Also having to do some work to get through scrutinering was series newcomer (and reader of this site so he’s a top bloke with us) Philip Blackford; but he too had passed ready to take part in practice.

All ready for practice

So with the dreaded noise test passed Ross headed out for the 14 minute practice / qualifying session. A few gentle laps to begin with as the 32 drivers got used to the track and the conditions but just as Ross was starting to get the feel for it the car suddenly filled up with steam coming down from druids. Quickly pulling over to the side of the track he hopped out while the marshals made sure nothing was trying to catch fire. A look under the bonnet though showed no oil or smoke, just lots of water / antifreeze and steam!

So that was it for practice, all that was left to do was wait until the session was over and the car could be pulled back to the pits for a closer look. The only good thing was that the car had just completed the 3 laps necessary to qualify for the race, all we had to do now was work out what had happened. No leaks seemed to be evident anywhere and even after running it upto temperature in the pits everything was still as it should be. Our only guess was that perhaps the radiator cap hadn’t quite been fastened down and it had tried to blow so much water out of the breather that it had blown straight back out of the breather bottle and then over everything else…..possibly.

Heading up towards Druids in race 1

So with time pressing on it was time for race 1 with Ross lining up 28th on the 32 car grid, still with no real idea of the finer aspects of driving this car or track! Still, it’s all fun. Being at the back of the grid Ross’ 206 was in a sea of Tiger 7’s and saloon cars but he was soon picking his way through, up to 24th at the end of lap 1 and 20th at the end of lap 2. Things progressing nicely then and looking like a much better starting position was on the cards for race 2 …… until the engine let go in a big way on the entry to Paddock Hill bend. Rolling to a stop at the side of the track it was pretty clear that was it for the day. On the bright side Ross is getting to know quite a few marshals lately!

That’s all folks

After watching the rest of a very interesting race from the side of the track it was time to be towed back to the pits where we could get the bonnet off and have a look at the engine. In amongst the pool of oil on the undertray there were also bits of block, conrods and other internals floating about so you could say that’s the engine fairly well destroyed!

Oh dear…

So that’s all for this season then, not a great way to end it but these things can happen. We’ll be back next season with a new engine, some testing and a lighter car, we’re not giving in that easily!!!

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