A dirty Mini after 24 hours racing at the Mini Grand
After the build up to the Mini Grand race the last thing I needed was 4 days (as it was a Bank Holiday) to get my car and to rebuild Justin’s Mini Sport car back into a Mighty Mini, but I had to, so I set too and got stuck in. It took over 40 hours of work to get the Mini Grand stripped, cleaned and rebuilt.
She needed new CVs, Wheel Bearings all round, Brake Pads and a few other smaller parts as well as a clean inside, underneath and on top.
My car has been running well so all she needed was a set up and to charge the battery. We then loaded up the transporter with the 2 Minis and the Bailey Caravan.
40 hours later, Clean and Ready to Go
Once at the track I asked Steve Rideout, who was testing, if he would scrub a set of new front tyres for me, as Justin and I will never need to test again at Snetterton after the 619 laps we did the weekend before at the Mini Grand 24 haha!
Steve did one session on my tyres and we started building up the awning and setting up camp as we did not have the garages due to there being 120 Caterhams at the track.
Both cars were ready and I had taken them both to the weigh bridge twice to make sure the cars and drivers would pass the weight checks as the weigh bridges at most tracks can differ so you need to be OK or you get put to the back of the grid.
The Sun was shining as we went out to Qualify I did my usual tactic of hanging back on the out lap and letting most car pass so as to get a good slip stream while the tyres are cool and fast.
I got 6 laps all with tows and all good enough for Pole. I was driving slowly looking for Justin to give him a shove up the grid but I new something was wrong when the same car had passed me twice and there was no sign of Justin.
After Qualifying I found Justin who had the misfortune of having the Cotter Pin on the remote gear change come out and keep him stuck him in 4th after a few laps. This happened to be my fault I as had said I would lock wire the other week when we were rebuilding the car. Oops!
With it fixed the race came about and I started on pole but was out-dragged to the first corner by Chris Slade who is as heavy as a kids Doll haha, then to my shame I missed a gear at the hairpin and half the field passed me down the main straight.
I composed my self and set off on what was no easy race, the only thing that made me smile was Justin who was up with us at the front for the first time in his racing career. I was pleased to see his progress and the cheeky bugger even drafted passed me on his way to claiming the fastest lap! I was having the mother of all battles with Chris Slade, Steve Rideout, Justin and Caroline Gilbert who is a very fast lady we have in Mightys but I eventually managed to hit the front after about 6 laps. I tried to get away but my car is a little slower than the others on the straights, however my circuit knowledge was better on a few sections and then it started to slowly drizzle before then raining proper. Once the rain started I began to pull away a little from Chris. I know I am a wet weather specialist but Chris kept me honest and I was glad to see that when I slipped off a little at Sear Corner on the last lap I saw Chris doing the same. The race finished with me 1st, Chris Slade second Steve Ridout and Justin dead heated for 3rd and neither of them knew who had the position, in the end Steve got a well deserved first podium and my Justin, rest assured, final has the Monkey off his back and can now run at the front in Mightys.
The Minis were in Parc Ferme and we had to remove our cylinder heads to be sent away for inspection, something I am glad has happened to me as I want people to know my car is 100% legal, plus it has the added bonus that I can get the top of the engine freshened up for the last 2 races at Donnington park in October. All round a great 2 weeks racing for the Mini Sport/Bailey Caravans team.