We love Snetterton


“Look! Over there! It’s that orange guy off TV!”
“Oh yea, David Dickinson!!”
“No, the one that presents the awful daytime auction show!”
“That’s David Dickinson!”
“No! Well, yes he does but he presents Dickinsons Real Deal. That’s Tim Wonnacott over there, he presents Bargain Hunt now….which the orange Dickinson used to present”
“……..how do you know all this crap?”

So it was in a petrol station 20 miles outside Snetterton where we learned that Paul has a strangely in depth knowledge of orange daytime TV celebrities! Still,after 6 hours chugging up the motorway from Torquay to Snetterton for round 5 of this years championship we were grateful for any sort of distraction. We were even more grateful to finally arrive at the circuit a little while later, find somewhere to pit, get the gazebo up, grab a quick cuppa and get some sleep.

The forecast hot and sunny weather didn’t look like arriving on Saturday morning as we made our way through signing on and scrutineering in cool misty conditions. Things hadn’t changed much as the cars made their way onto the circuit for qualifying at 11am, much to the drivers delight!

Ross had to make a quick pitstop at the end of his first lap to have a loose passenger door fastened. After that it was down to business and the Tigra seemed to have responded well to its latest round of adjustments and weight saving on a circuit where we always go well. Perhaps a little too well on the first few laps as Ross ran a little wide coming out of the last corner resulting in a few laptimes being discounted!

On the limit in qualifying (Photo used courtesy of www.barcsoutheast.co.uk and Rafal Biniszewski, thanks!)

With that problem sorted a best time of 1:18.7 was posted midway through the session. Unfortunately Ross had to lift for a load of traffic in the last corner on his next lap when he was over half a second up! Still, with the session not yet over there was still time for another go until a big plume of smoke filled the car on the back straight. Slightly confusingly the smoke disappeared and everything seemed fine with the car but with the session over there was no time for another go. We were still very pleased to find ourselves 4th on the grid and only slightly miffed at missing out on our first ever front row from qualifying! Amusingly our friend Tim in Torquay was first to know our position and let us know as he was watching the live TSL timing on their website. How good is the internet?!?

Once back in the pits we found the cause of our random smoke which was the rear bung coming off the gearbox and letting some oil drop onto the exhaust. Fortunately an easy fix and we were ready for race 1. By this time the forecast hot weather had well and truly arrived and the drivers would certainly have a sweat on!

Lined up in the assembley area area prior to race 1. Spot our old car in the front of the shot, being driven this weekend (and for the rest of the season) by Danny Russel. Very well he did too in his first circuit meeting (Photo used courtesy of www.barcsoutheast.co.uk and Rafal Biniszewski, thanks!)

“Bit near the front this week aren’t we?”

And it’s go, go go! (Photo used courtesy of www.barcsoutheast.co.uk and Rafal Biniszewski, thanks!)

Ross made a complete mess of the start, braking too early for turn 1 after being unsighted by other cars and then nearly spinning himself off by getting out wide on the marbles trying to make up places round the outside of turn 2. All this meant a bad run onto the back straight and another place lost to Mark Fuller, leaving Ross defending a disappointing 10th from Dave Brooks after starting 4th! Not the best of starts!

Very arty! (Thanks to Peter Graves for this photo….nice to meet you at the weekend too!)

Onto lap 2 and time to start moving forwards again! First a move down the inside of Mark Fuller at turn 1 for 9th and then getting a good exit from the Montreal Hairpin / chicane up the inside of Steve Burrows onto the Bentley straight a couple corners later for 8th. Ross enjoyed that move so much that he used it again on the next lap to pass Chris Ayling for 7th.

Nearly there! (Photo used courtesy of www.barcsoutheast.co.uk and Rafal Biniszewski, thanks!)

It took another 4 laps to reel in Mike Thurley in 6th place and another lap to get through (at that corner again) With 5 laps to go Simon Smith was quite a way up the road in 5th and in truth Ross was struggling to run anywhere near the potential qualifying pace, only managing a best lap of 1:19.4 during the race. The car is definitely getting better but it’s clear that a newish set of tyres in the cooler morning conditions are still masking a few issues. It’s coming though…

Skim that tyre barrier (Photo used courtesy of www.barcsoutheast.co.uk and Rafal Biniszewski, thanks!)

Race winner Matt Simpson drew a number 10 out of the hat for the reverse grid race 2 which promoted Malcolm Harding to pole position with Mark Fuller joining him on the front row. Row 2 consisted of Chris Ayling and Mike Thurley with Ross and Simon Smith lining up on row 3. (Well, the cars had been parked side by side in the paddock all day so they were used to it by the point) Lewis Smith and Malcolm Blackman were on row 4 while Chris Brockhurst and the unlucky Matt Simpson completed the top 10.

(Photo used courtesy of www.barcsoutheast.co.uk and Rafal Biniszewski, thanks!)

Ross made a much better start to race 2 and just dodged past pole man Malcolm Harding who got stuck in 2nd gear off the line (bet the start looked scary from his car!) He then held position through a busy first few corners but did lose out to a charging Matt Simpson and Chris Brockhurst by the end of the lap to leave him in 6th place.

(Photo used courtesy of www.barcsoutheast.co.uk and Rafal Biniszewski, thanks!)

Lap 2 and Ross put his favourite Snetterton move on Mark Fuller to take 5th and throw a car between him and the chasing Malcolm Blackman, Lewis Smith and Simon Smith battle. They soon reappeared in the mirror though but then Ross was able to sneak by Chris Ayling on lap 3 and Mike Thurley on lap 4 to move upto 3rd place and open up a gap to the chasing cars. 2 laps later and a charging Lewis Smith had caught up with the #26 and made an audacious move around the outside of turn 1 to move into 3rd. Ross wrongly assuming that covering the inside into turn 1 would be enough and that nobody would go round the outside. Wrong! Man points to Lewis for that one.

(Photo used courtesy of www.barcsoutheast.co.uk and Rafal Biniszewski, thanks!)

Despite his best efforts Ross couldn’t quite stick with Lewis and gently dropped away by a car length or two every lap but the race was still going very well, just think how quickly all the top boys disappeared into the distance at the first meeting or two!

“Stoooooopppppp!!!” (Photo used courtesy of www.barcsoutheast.co.uk and Rafal Biniszewski, thanks!)

By the end of the race Ross was still in a comfortable 4th for the second meeting in a row, some distance ahead of the battling Blackman and Smith. Up at the front Matt Simpson just held on for the win from Chris Brockhurst with Lewis Smith in 3rd. Click here to watch race 2 on Youtube….go on, it’s ace 😉

Post Race mothers meeting (Photo used courtesy of www.barcsoutheast.co.uk and Rafal Biniszewski, thanks!)

All in all another great meeting then and we already have a list of improvements to make before our next meeting at Donington Park on August 24th The biggest improvement we’ll probably make though is re-fitting the MBE Box which was sent away (along with a few of the others competitors) for checks. It’s good to have checks like this done…but maybe it shouldn’t have been up to the teams to remove them from their cars unsupervised. We don’t think anyone is cheating on this count but it wouldn’t have been difficult to hand in another MBE box……or if you were feeling really sneaky have two MBE boxes in the car, one real and one dummy. Scandalous thoughts!

Home time!

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