Well it is back to the now annual return to Thruxton at the CMSA event. With good weather predicted, it should be a great weekends racing.
On arrival, Friday, we spotted a problem with car 44 front shocks, seemingly the near side front seems to be a lot lower. With a call to Rob at Selby Engineering, it was all sorted and a new set were delivered by hand by Rob before qualifying started. Leon’s car 45 had its own problem of a broken camber bracket that needed to be replaced and set up before qualifying so it was off to the scrutineering bay for a flat surface and 20 minutes setting the rear camber and toe!
We had a mixed qualifying with the Miglias but had an extended time of 40 minutes that would give us time to get some laps in and make changes although like all best made plans, they never go to plan. Leon had clutch trouble so only did a couple of laps before heading to the pits for the team to see to the problem whilst Adam stayed out to get some banker laps before waiting for the essential toe from another car. 9 laps in Adam came into the pits as Leon left to get some track time. Whilst in the pits the team changed tyre pressures on car 44 before getting ready to head back out again. But due to some fuel evaporation the car would not restart so was pushed in to park ferme. Leon got some good laps in and continued till the end of the session. Adam finished in 8th for both races and Leon starts in 12th and 10th.
Saturday was to be the first race and with a packed grid. The sun was out and the weather was hot, not ideal for tyre or driver! With the formation laps complete the lights were on for the start…with engine notes rising and the lights going off the race was underway. Leon made a great start but Adam bogged down on the high grip Thruxton track. With some shuffling through Allard and in to Campbell the pack soon went to single file ready for the fastest section of track in the country. Everyone drafting each other and getting to speeds of 115mph when approaching the chicane for the first time.
After 5 laps the lead pack had gapped us in 7th and 9th which made it impossible to fight for position and try to catch the lead group again although we had a 4 way battle with places changing every lap! The AL Motorsport/Mini Sport cars now running line a sturn nose to tail for the remainder of the race, constantly trading places down the back straight, which made the last chicane always interesting for drivers and spectators alike! After 15 minutes of hard racing, Adam would come out best to obtain his second 7th of the year closely followed by team mate Leon in 8th. All in all a solid result for AL Motorsport.
The second was held on an equally hot day, but with some slight cloud cover helping with track temperatures. With Adam 8th and Leon 10th on the grid, it had the makings for a repeat of race one. With a better start from Adam and Leon also making a solid start, the whole field were bunched up for the first lap with everyone inches away from another car. Again the lead group broke away so it was to be a battle for 6th and back. Again 4 cars were racing hard, using the draft to try and catch the main pack, but a few laps in Leons bonnet came slightly adrift causing him to get flagged in to get it sorted. This left Adam and Kieran to battle things out, trying to work together to catch the main pack, but to no avail.
As the laps were counting down we were nearing the end of the race. Kieran ducked out of the slipstream and tried to make a pass down the back straight, he managed to pull along side, but could not get past so he ducked back in for another attempt before the final chicane. As Adam could not see him in any mirror he assumed Kieran was along side, so Adam had to give him room due to the chicane being single file and very easy to make contact. Exiting the last corner Adam had great drive, but to his amazement the chequered flag was out… no final lap board was shown and Adam lost his best result of the year in the last corner…Gutted! Two 7th places was a good result in the end though and with Leon’s 8th and DNF it was not a bad team effort.
Next time it is on to the final round at Croft. Leon has slipped down from 4th to 6th in the Championship with drop scores now counting, and Adam has gone from 13th to 8th! so it is all to play for at the final round… let’s hope AL Motorsport/Mini Sport can rack up the points with some great results to end the year off nicely.
Dave Drew also competed at Thruxton in his Mini Sport Number 2 Miglia. Although an unusually small grid for the Mini Miglias, Dave raced to a 2nd place finish after starting 7th on the grid before finishing Race 2 in 4th, so a successful weekend all around for everyone associated with Mini Sport.