Drama at Mallory

Mallory Park, the third meeting of the season and a live Motors TV raceday. You may remember this meeting last season was held in terrible weather and when the team arrived on the Sunday for this years meeting the weather was again…..terrible. You know it’s bad when ducks float past when you’re unloading the car!

Good weather for some!

Monday morning brought with it a drier day and by the time we’d been through signing on and scrutineering the track was just about dry in time for the 15 minute qualifying session. This time last year we were very pleased to be running mid 50 second laptimes in the dry practice day so Ross was very pleased to see a 48.9 laptime pop up on his Racelogic laptimer after a few laps. The car was working well and Ross nearly found a bit more time but a bit of over ambition into the hairpin at the end of the lap ruined a lap that was slightly up. With the brakes fading slightly a few slower laps followed to try and cool everything down a little but they wouldn’t come back so that was it for qualifying. Still, a 48.9 was a good laptime and over one and a half seconds better than last season which was good enough for a pleasing 7th on the 19 car grid (3rd in the hot rod class behind Mick Robertson and Daniel Smith)

Starting race 1 from the inside of row 4 Ross got jumped by Jeff Simpson on the run into turn 1 with the pair going up the inside of the spinning Daniel Smith who ended up in the gravel. Unfortunately the 206 didn’t have as good a front end on it in race 1 as it had in qualifying with Ross particularly struggling with understeer through the fast Gerards corner. The amount of camber we were running in qualifying was wearing the inside of the tyre too much, we’ve had punctures through this reason before so we had no choice but to take some camber off for the races. Yes it’s slower but yes the car would finish the race, maybe those old struts are starting to be a problem!

Race 1 start

Anyway, with the lack of front end grip Ross would slowly slip back the order with Mark Fuller sneaking past before the safety car came out to allow the retrieval of Daniel Smith from the outside of Gerards. With the safety car back in after just one lap Ross eventually slipped back behind Simon Smith and Lee Griffiths with Chris Ayling following through later on in the race. The chequered flag saw Ross finish in 11th place overall, 6th in class HR. Tommy Field romped to an easy win overall while Mick Robertson was looking mighty pacy, winning HR.

Back in the pits after race one and we had some work to do pulling the rear bumper and undertray back out. Early on in race 1 one of the Caterhams had got a shunt from behind and in turn shunted the back of Ross’ car. With the car up on the jack and Ross and Brian working on the rear end the car slipped off the quick jack which came down with the force of the car behind it right across Brians arm. Initially it looked as though Brians arm was broken and a big thanks to Mark for quickly finding some paramedics who gave Brian gas and air and took him off to the medical centre. In the medical centre the doctors could check him over and gave him morphine before sending him with Bev to the Royal Leicester Hospital in an ambulance for some X-rays.

Back at the track Ross went out for race 2. Starting from further back this time things were going better in the earlier laps and as the field remained bunched Ross took the opportunity to nip round Chris Ayling at the hairpin. Understeer at Gerards was still a problem and this allowed Daniel Smith to nip past on the inside and he eventually made it past Luke Arminger despite being squeezed off the track. A couple laps later and Arminger ran off onto the grass at the right hander at the end of the back straight before rejoining and diving across to defend the inside line. Ross had lots of momentum and went to drive down the left hand side of Arminger only for Luke to dive back across the track. Despite locking up Ross was forced onto the grass and then into the back of Armingers Tigra. Unfortunately Ross’ car is built for circuit racing and the panels aren’t upto contact so the front bumper got smashed back with the splitter and undertray being ripped nearly clean off and pushed back. Needless to say this put a pretty peeved Ross out of the race for no good reason whatsoever.

The unbreakable splitter is no more!

The only good news being that Brian had had his Xray by this point and there were no breaks in his arm so him and Bev were on their way back to Mallory in a taxi! We’d like to say a big thankyou to Mark, Keith White and all of his team, Tommy Field, Simon Smith and everyone else for their help, concern and offers of assistance. It’s much appreciated everyone.

So with everyone back at the track and the meeting over our friend Mike Loosemore soon arrived to drive our transit and trailer back to the garage while one of his team drove his! Mike had been racing in the last national hot rods world qualifier up the road at Northampton where he’d won a heat and confirmed his place in this years world final, well done Mike! And thanks very much for the help! It also rather helps that our garage is next door to Mikes, there might not be many racers from the south west but we do stick together! 😉

World Qualifier Mike Loosemore! Thanks to www.mkpics.net

Meanwhile the car is now looking fairly sorry for itself in the garage as it waits for its new front and rear bumpers. We also need to come up with a new splitter (yes, even the unbreakable splitter is a little broken) which will be a bit longer than the old one to try and counter some of this understeer we’re encountering. The rear undertray has also taken a bit of a battering so some of that will no doubt need changing and straightening too.

Happy days then, see you at Lydden.

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