Season’s end

And so it comes to a sputtering end. It’s not been a great season, to be honest. I don’t seem to have been focussed enough and there’s been a lot of other things going on that have rather taken my eyes off the ball. Still, the last meeting of the season was reasonably good, almost a race…

The final two races of the season were at Mallory Park. Not really my favourite circuit originally but I’ve grown to like it. It’s moderately scary though as even though there’s a first gear hairpin on the lap the lap time is still an average of nearly 100mph. (Although, I’m convinced that the official timekeepers have the track length wrong, because my lap times never come to the average that they suggest.

However, I couldn’t find any time to test and you long-suffering readers will know that ruins things for me. So, we drove up on the Saturday (it was two races on the Sunday) and set up camp in the paddock. After that, was it as the last race of the season we had an RGB trip out for a meal. If anyone is in the vicinity of Mallory Park I can heartily recommend The Windmill Inn, it was some of the best food out I’ve had for some time and the service was really friendly too.

Come the following day and it still looked dry so we set off for qualifying. As usual, I was trying to catch up with myself, due to the lack of testing, and I ended up a rather 13th (11th in class) on the grid with a lap  of 50.37. This is, depressingly, about 0.5 second slower than my best Fury time… Still, it could only get better. Mind you, after the qualifying I found out why the handling had been so awful in that some dozy member of the pit crew had neglected to re-attach the front ARB. That can’t have helped…

As a consequence, the first race was a bit more interesting. However, it was marred by a rather astonishing accident which happened right in front of me when Dave Watson’s car essentially vaulted onto the top of Austen’s. Austen’s roll cage had a quantity of tyre rubber on the top of it after the race which I think had caused a rather brown trouser moment in the cockpit. I think the consternation from that caused me to not go very quickly as the FL was 50.4 and I finished in a rather lonely 10th place. However, the car seemed to be handling rather better, I guess as a consequence of putting the suspension back to where I thought it ought to be.

After the race there was a rain shower (actually, mini-deluge would be a better term) and it seemed as though the second race was going to be rather slippy. However, this time I had much more fun. And, even though  there was only a dry line I was getting my brain up to speed and got down to 50.19. I ran the last few laps of the race in close company with Colin. I was clearly faster than him—he said after the race that I could have got past—but we kept on getting blocked by back markers and, depressingly, the top 3 cars lapping at a quite astonishing speed.

All the same, that as much more fun and we returned home with my spirits intact.

So, that’s it for the season. I now have to see if I can get my act together to sort the car for next season. First of all, though, is the Birkett. I put a bit of time in last weekend in getting the car together for that. The only real thing I did was to repack the exhaust as well as doing the routine things like de-glazing the pads. I had been aware all season that the exhaust was getting noisier and noisier and I wanted to forestall this before I failed a noise test. As usual, when I took the silencer apart the wadding was mostly solid, and mostly not there either. Here’s the remnants. (Although, it’s worthwhile noting that there is a bit that’s still mostly there and it also seems to still have the stainless steel wool with which the expansion tube was wrapped. I wonder if I should put rather more of that in?)

So I did exactly that, and repacked the silencer and put the car back together. It’s certainly quieter now; time will tell if the wadding lasts better…

4 thoughts on “Season’s end”

  1. On the exhaust packing front, when I had mine made I said I wanted it repackable and Charlie at Pro-Speed said there was no need. I explained what happens to all ours and he just said it’s because we don’t pack them properly. So mine’s not been touched since he made it in March 2011 and it hasn’t got even a little bit louder, recording 95dBA at Mallory last Saturday. What I did notice was that he used quite a lot more of the stainless steel wool than we usually do and made sure it was wrapped tight round the perforated tube. He reckons if it’s done properly the flame/very hot gases don’t reach the wadding.

    1. Interesting, that’s pretty much what I was thinking having looked at this. Mind you, the other issue is that the bit of wadding that’s there is the bit that’s furthest from the engine…

  2. Have you got any video of the flying car? I’ve seen dave watsons onboard footage and you appear at the end, so thought your view must have been interesting.

    1. Nothing worth showing, no. I saw it clearly but as I was coming round the hairpin at the time the camera was pointing to the left of the actual accident…

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