Silverstone, the home of British motorsport and the second outing of the year for Loram Racing. After bad weather all week we were pleased to arrive at Silverstone on Friday evening with plenty of sunshine and plenty more forecast for the following day. With the Quaife Motorsport News Saloon championship again joining up with our Quaife Intermarques for the weekend we would have a bumper grid of 33 cars on the fast Silverstone National layout, another new track for us . But have no fear; Ross watched a couple videos on YouTube before travelling up so ‘everything will be fine!’
Update wise for this meeting the 206 was sporting it’s very sexy (and hopefully much more effective than the old one) rear wing and…….brace yourselves…..for the first time since the start of last year…..four new tyres! We’ve also altered the rear suspension in search of better traction so hopes were quite high for a positive showing.
9am on Saturday morning and it was time to get out onto the famous Silverstone tarmac for qualifying. First impressions were…fast! After a couple laps to get used to the track and figure out some rough braking points and gears Ross set a 1:04.2 on lap 5 but with a bit of a worrying vibration and shaking from the car during braking from high speed and Ross not feeling there was a great deal more time in the car an early end to the session was called. Still, the time had been good enough for 14th overall (the larger and the turbo engined cars in some of the other classes using the long straights to their full advantage here) and 6th of the 12 cars in our HR class so not a bad showing.
Ross heads Robertson, Hargreaves and Smith in the early laps of race 1 – Thanks to Scott Mitchell for the photo (www.scmmotorsportpictures.co.uk)
After a check over of the car back in the pits we were soon back out on track for race 1 with Ross starting from the inside of row 7. A much neater rolling start than some of our previous attempts as the field dived into turn 1, Ross sticking to the inside behind Luke Armiger, the pair both having sideways moments on a line of cement dust before dodging to the right of the track as Chris Ayling went for a spin on the exit of the first corner. Past Ashley Hargreaves on the run down to Maggotts before slipstreaming Armiger down the loooong back straight, Ross thinking better of a move into Brooklands. The first few laps perhaps weren’t quite as quick as they could have been as Ross was still building up his speed on the track and getting used to just how much more traction the car had after all the changes. Still, that’s a problem we’ll take all day long!
After a few laps it was clear #6 was gently dropping away from Armiger before losing a place to the very rapid and recovering Mick Robertson but with improved laptimes (a best of 1:03.6) the rearview mirror remained wonderfully clear for the rest of the 14 minute race as Ross crossed the line in 9th place overall (5th in class) some 10 seconds clear of the following Hargreaves/Smith battle. The only worry being a loose bonnet but despite making a bit of a racket it held the distance! What was pleasing for us was the gap to the race and class winners being much smaller than ever before with class winner Jeff Simpson just 13 seconds up the road after over 15 minutes of racing, a massive improvement on previous results. Right up at the sharp end meanwhile Matt Moore took the overall win in his incredibly brisk Escort Silhouette, just ahead of Bill Cooksons very special Caterham 7.
Click the video above to watch race 1
Race 2 and after a good initial start from the outside of row 2 Ross ran wide at Copse on lap 2 and generally made a bit of a horlicks of the first couple laps, dropping back behind Mike Thurley, Simon Smith and Lee Grifiths! Still, after a bit of a talking to inside the car it was on with the show and off in pursuit of the pack ahead! Proceedings weren’t helped when Ross briefly thought the safety car had been deployed a few laps later when cars suddenly slowed in front but it just happened to be a combination of Richard Smith and Mike Thurley both braking down at the same time as we were lapping some slower cars making it look like everyone was slowing for the safety car! Up ahead Simon Smith was much quicker on the uptake and vanished into the distance (although in fairness he did seem to find more pace in the second race) leaving Ross to chase Lee Griffiths.
Onto lap 2 of race 2 – Thanks to Scott Mitchell for the photo (www.scmmotorsportpictures.co.uk)
After edging upto the back of Lees Corsa, Ross got a good run through Copse and made the pass for 9th into Maggotts but there was no leaving Lee behind and the pair had a great battle for the rest of the race, Ross’ 206 perhaps slightly faster through the high speed stuff but Lees Corsa with a great front end for the slow speed corners in particular and after 14 laps the pair would finish 9th and 10th overall, 6th and 7th in class. (with an improved best lap of 1:03.2) Jeff Simpson again won class HR while Bill Cookson won overall ahead of Keith White and a recovering Matt Moore in third.
The pack head down to Maggots in race 2 – Thanks to Scott Mitchell for the photo (www.scmmotorsportpictures.co.uk)
All in all a very good day then which only got better as Ross won a bottle of bubbly at the prize giving for driver of the day. Top stuff. Next up is Mallory Park on bank holiday Monday, June 4th. Hopefully it’ll be somewhat drier than last season and we can put on a good show for the Motors TV cameras so if you can’t make it to the meeting be sure to catch us live on Motors TV.
There will of course be a few tweaks to the car before then, starting with the front suspension as we try and find a little more mid corner steering and Ross will also be getting a new knob. What? Oh, gearknob! It seems the old one is a little sharp and being aluminium it gets pretty hot and apparently Ross’ new gloves aren’t quite as padded as his old ones as there is a large flap of burnt skin hanging off his palm, ouch!
Cheerio until next time!