July 27, 2009 blog

Croft race report…

croftWell this was going to be a long weekend, as you may of already read it did not get off to a good start when my rental van was deemed uninsurable due to the fact I wanted to tow something with it, even though it has a tow bar fitted.

Once the transport issue had been sorted we set off at about 16.30 on the friday afternoon, it soon became apparent that the new trailer was going to have difficulties with speed ramps (due to it being very low). There was nightmare weather, traffic and pretty much every roadwork in the UK was in our way, we arrived at Croft circuit at 23:20 and was greeted by the sight of Ralph’s car on the back of his trailer (he had got there about 1 hour before us)

Next to pitch the tent, we did not stay near Ralph as he was parked on tarmac so off we went to find some grass to put the tent on, there was grass what they do not tell you is the grass is put down over hardcore, so you have a very small amount of earth to hammer the pegs into, but the tent was put up.

Saturday arrived, and we completed items such as getting the transponders, signing on, attending the new drivers briefing, and generally hanging around until qualifying.

As this was my first time at this circuit and the first time I had driven the car since the rear suspension was altered I was a little apprehensive about what was going to happen, but we all went out there and I qualified second from last, with just Ralph behind me, although I did think that he overtook me on the straight approaching tower bend.

The first race was later on in the afternoon (originally the last race of the day, but they slipped in a extra race, that only a few cars opted for), I got a good start but was early on the brakes for the first corner, to avoid getting tangled up with the other cars. but when we came out of the second chicane, Ralph was able to out drag me up the straight, and I could see that his car was marginally quicker than mine in the straight line. I stayed in that position until the end of the race, but I now had some experience of the circuit, and was eager to race again.

Whilst I was in parc ferme, the other cars were getting weighed, for compliance of the rules, they normally do not weigh the class ‘D’ cars, but I requested to have mine weighed, with the setup at present, it weighed 1207kg, the minimum weight for my class is 1050kg, so I need to loose nearly 160kg from the car (and some of that could be from the driver).

That evening we walked the track, and looked at all the corners in detail so I would have a better understanding of the circuit on the next race.

We woke early on the sunday, to ensure we got the tent packed up before the racing started, but it started to rain, and it kept raining, so it would be my first wet race. I checked over the car, and all was fine, when it came time to go to the assembly area we all trundled off. My problems started when we were called out of the assembly area to go round the circuit for the formation of the grid. My wipers were not working, I did pull and push all the wires on the column but that did not work, around that lap, I was considering the options. Do I start the race? Will the wipers work when the race is started? Should I abort the race? By the time I had got round to near the start finish line, I decided to pull in and abort the race, I informed the marshals of my decision so the others could get on with the race.

I took my car back to the trailer and loaded it on, whilst the others started the green flag lap and, then proceeded to start the race. The race had been going for only 3 laps when it was red flagged, due to one of the cars dropping oil all around the track, causing dangerous conditions for all the other drivers (it was not intentional, and was a mechanical failure with an oil cooler)

When they restarted they had only 8 laps to do, and it was an exciting race to watch from the pit lane, but I would of preferred to of been in it.

Until the next time, at Donnington Park, when if it rains I will have wipers.

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