Donington Park

“Well we haven’t done this for a while have we?”

It’s been a quiet season for us here at Loram Racing, September and round 6 of the Intermarque Championship at Donington Park on September 3rd would be only our second outing of the season after an engine problem at round 1 back in March.  Since then the car has sat in the garage and been left to sulk for a few months while some enthusiasm and funds were found to fix the panel damage from that first outing and rebuild the top end of the engine.  With the engine rebuilt we had another first recently by paying a visit to Exon Race Engines to have the rebuilt engine run and set up on their dyno.  It certainly seemed to be a day well spent with some good gains being found.

So with the car back in one piece and looking rather splendid we headed up to Donington Park on Saturday afternoon, enjoyed a trouble free journey and got set up nice and early in the garages which we were pleased to have the use of this weekend.  As this is a new venue to Brian we also took the opportunity to walk the track before it got too dark – well, most of it, it was fairly dark by the time we got back.  This combined with him watching Youtube vids of Ross’ last visit here and we were hopeful of getting through the following day without too many dramas.

Saturday night at Donington proved rather noisy as it seemed the worst music concert in the world was taking place on the other side of the circuit.  Followed up by a fireworks display.  With huge planes both coming and going from the very nearby airport.  Not the best of nights sleep it must be said!  It was at least dry when we began getting ready for qualifying on Sunday morning which was a good thing as Donington is a very slippery circuit in the rain.  A nice calm dry session would be much preferred and that’s what we got as Brian got to grips with the new circuit and re-acquainted himself with the car having not driven it since March.

Completing the full 15 minute session with no dramas was a good start to the day with Brian just pipping his closest competitor Toby Homewood with a best lap near the end of the session of 1:19.7, the pair lapping closely during the whole 15 minutes and looking like they could enjoy some good racing later on in the day.

Back in the pits we gave the car a close look and found no evidence of oil or water leaks from the new engine which was more good news.  A slight set-up tweak was the only change made before race one with Brian being happy with the car in qualifying.

From the start in race one Lewis Smith and Malcolm Blackman set off to dispute the win.  Steve Burrows hung bravely with them for a few laps before dropping off and taking a safe 3rd place.  Lewis converted his pole position to a win but by less than a second from Malcolm at the flag.  Our race came to an abrupt end on lap 6 as Brian pulled into the pits with an engine problem.  The car was still running but a noise had developed and clearly wants closer inspection back at home before more permanent damage is done.  A very sad end to our day then and an early load up, not the comeback we’d hoped for.

The much depleted field was back out for race two a couple hours later with Lewis Smith again taking the win, this time by a more comfortable 10 seconds from Malcolm Blackman with Keith White having a few adventures on his way to third.  Light rain began falling during the race and the drivers did well to survive with laptimes dropping off by six to seven seconds by the finish.

With our car back at home we will now remove the engine and strip it down to see what went amiss.  All being well we’ll be back out for the season finale at Brands Hatch in November, see you there!

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