Written By: Dan Anderson20/05/2013
Here is last weekends Race Report from the AL Motorsport Team:
Rounds 2 & 3 were held at Rockingham Motor Speedway, the UK’s fastest track. Originally catering for the American Indy Car Series the grandstands tower over the track so everyone gets a good view of the racing. Shortly after they built the infield for circuit racing who wish to turn left and right! With corner names like Piff Paff and Tarzan it was going to be an interesting first visit for both AL Motorsport drivers.
Both Drivers were up early on Saturday morning before qualifying to get some tips from Max Hunter, past champion and who has to be one of the most consistent drivers in the championship. Although it is the UK’s newest track, it is quite featureless and one corner leads in to the next with not many opportunities for overtaking apart for a late lunge or some drafting down the long straight, making qualifying important.
Adam and Leon were first in the assembly area with the view of getting out on a clear track first of all and get the tyres and car up to temperature whilst learning the track. This was the first time Adam had been out since his car was taken to Track, Road and Race in Northampton, so it was a learning curve all around. A couple of laps in, Both drivers eased slightly and let some of the faster drivers by so they could see where they can make time up. Leon dropped back a lot, due to the car jumping out of gear. (This was later found to be a missing detente spring in the gearbox) Adam was managing to hang on to the back of Andrew Deviny, last year’s runner up in the championship and although slightly dropping back, he managed to keep within sight of Andrew and Gareth. With Qualifying over and the learning curve vertical, Leon managed to limp to 14th and Adam managed his best ever qualifying of 6th for both races.
The weather would be the key to Race 1 of the day on Saturday. With it raining on and off, a last minute call for a tyre change made all members of AL Motorsport rush and get the wets on both cars, with limited tools for such a last minute change Leon only just made it on to the now drying track with wets and Adam had to start the green flag lap from the pit lane, unable to make use of his 6th place grid spot.
Leon made the best of his wet tyre choice and managed to get a lightening start slicing through the field like they were stood still before everything bunched up for the first corner hairpin where some very late braking saw lockups and overshooting a plenty. Adam was carving his way through the field, taking 4 cars before the first corner, with the hammer down and with a wide line on the first corner Adam managed to take one more car on the exit of the hairpin. With all the first corner jostling for position things start to take normal order. With a grid on dries and wet tyres, anything could happen… although the track was drying and drying fast. Black clouds were looming and both Leon and Adam were praying for rain to preserve their wet tyre choice from destroying themselves. It was not long in to the race before the soft wet tyres were overheating and with fighting for positions, both drivers were finding it hard not to overcook their Dunlop wets.
Adam was battling hard with Julian Proctor till the chequered flag, but both cars made contact on the run out of Tarzan hairpin but fortunately both cars could carry on with Julian piping Adam in 13th and a well deserved S-Class win!
Leon was protecting his 11th place unable to catch the cars in front, but protecting any attack from the rear. A great result bearing in mind that both drivers had no wheels on their car when called up to the assembly area… something the team are ensuring will not happen again!
With the weather more settled race 2 seemed like it would be a good race with Adam starting at the pointy end in 6th, and Leon in 14th with a point to prove. As the red lights faded it was a poor start from Adam, just about clinging on to 7th place and Leon jumped a car on the inside before the first corner. With Rockingham’s wide first corner cars were 4 abreast under heavy braking in to turn one, Adam went wide on the entry as the inside line was full of 998 mini’s – hoping to get the cutback on to the small straight before the next right. Although pulling alongside Darren Thomas, Adam was on the outside of turn 2 and Adam was hung out to dry with Graham Davis leaving Adam no option but to back out of the move and allowing 2 cars through on the inside. Leon was having his own battles further down the grid chasing the leading pack and having an epic dice with black and yellow car of Baker. With BigMac all over the back of Adams car he chose to leave the door open going in to the last chicane and regroup. It was not long before Adam was chasing hard and being slightly held up as 7th, 8th, and 9th were getting away. With all the fighting for position, Leon was managing to claw his way back up the grid, now on the hunt for Adam! With the Fluro Yellow highlights of his team mate filling Adams mirrors, it was time to press on and get past the green and white car of BigMac…. A great exit from the last chicane and a tow down the main straight, meant it was easy pickings to out brake him in to the first hairpin, hold the apex, and power out to catch Astin, Davis, and Davis! Within a lap or two, Adam was fighting hard with Graham Davis and Damon Astin while Ashley was heading the bunch. With Damon slipping back Adam was slightly quicker and was waiting to make his move – but the parts Adam was fast on, gave no opportunity for an overtake due to the nature of the track. His only place was the last chicane, but with all the fighting, Adams tyres were not at their best and Damon was getting great traction out of there and holding station down the main straight. In the mean time Leon managed to get past BigMac in the last lap, giving AL Motorsport a formation finish of 10th and 11th – both drivers happy to finish in one piece and some learning done along the way!
A huge thank you to MiniSport for helping trackside! Bringing parts along for road and race cars alike is a great asset to not only the Championship, but to the racers! Also a thank you to Dave Yardy at www.trackroadandrace.co.uk for spending the day putting car 44′s wheels pointing straight!
Posted in: Mini Sport NewsTagged:
The Italian Job 2013
Written By: Dan Anderson13/05/2013Mini Sport are this year sponsoring Geoff and Carole Buckle on The Italian Job Mini Run. They have made the long drive over the snow-filled Swiss mountain passes to Imola in Italy to attend the ever growing and hugely popular Italian Job Mini Rally.
The Italian Job mission is to have Mini fun whilst raising huge sums of money for charities and they have so far raised over 2 and half million pounds and with your help – will reach the 3 million target! Over the years since 1990 they have “invaded” cities such as Trento, Modena, Turin, Florence, Venice and Rome and enjoyed the thrill of driving on Fiorano, Imola, Monza and other famed Italian motor racing circuits.
If you want to be part of a “holiday with a difference” and help children in need of care and support, then the Italian Job might be just what you’re looking for.
The 2013 Italian Job started in Imola on May 9th and will finish in Rome on May 16th
It is obviously too late to enter this year but to compete on the Rally you need to be 21 years of age, own a Mini – any age, shape, size or colour is OK (we do mean any Mini old or new) or any classic car which featured in the 1969 Michael Caine movie. It really is as simple as that!
The Cost per Team (one Mini and 2 people) inclusive of Entry Fee, hotels, meals, visits, Taxes, assistance from Organisers and from Service Van escorting the Rally is £1,900.
This year 2013 run they will get better acquainted with the Rome of the Caesars, the Sistine Chapel, the historic hillside town of Tivoli, the roads of Chianti plus much more. And after all this they will be either heading home or travelling to the International Mini Meet 2013 in Mugello!
You can track their progress here as they all have GPS fitted. Geoff and Carole are team number 23!
Posted in: Mini Sport NewsTagged:
Written By: Dan Anderson19/04/2013SKIDZ is a great charity that helps young individuals gain life skills through motoring and is backed by Paddy Hopkirk.
Mini Sport currently have a Paddy Hopkirk Collection designed and engineered in collaboration with Paddy Himself. The range includes the limited edition Autographed Biography of which all proceeds go to the SKIDZ project.
Please help this amazing cause and get a great read too!
Posted in: Mini Sport NewsTagged: charity
Mini Se7en Round 1 – Donington
Written By: Dan Anderson16/04/2013
With the Mini Se7en Racing Clubs Dunlop Mini Miglia / Se7en Challenge supported by Mini Sport finally underway we can now provide you with a long awaited race report from the AL Motorsport Team:
Donington Park – Round 1Well the first round of the Se7en Championship supported by Mini Sport is looming very fast. Car 44 of Adam Smith, was finished midweek before the race, where as car 7 of Leon Wightman was still needing to be setup due to all the suspension changes that were made over the winter, new cones all round, new rear sub frame, new anti roll bar, new rear floor and finally a new fuel cell!
Friday was setup day, and due to the amount of work, the car was taken to Dave Yardy at Track, Road and Race in Northampton. With hours spent and lots of head scratching and tea, the rear end was not right… no matter what we tried. Finally after some dismantling we found the camber brackets were to blame. After some welding and a 1am finish, car 7 was ready for the first round.
We arrived at the track and were greeted with some very high winds, which continued for the whole weekend, which resulted in a few Mary Poppins style gazebos flying down the paddock followed by their owner!
Once set up, we applied the finishing touches and applied the rest of new club sponsor graphics, them being, Mini Sport, IXO Models, and A Series Specialists, so a huge thank you to all of you for your commitment to the longest running single make race series in Europe!
Sunday morning started badly for both drivers with a still poorly Adam, and a newly poorly Leon who picked up a stomach bug… not a great start for both of our drivers at the beginning of the season, but as soon as you are strapped in, the aches and pains are soon forgotten – all be it for 20 minutes!
With both drivers having driven Donington before, expectation were high for both drivers, aiming for a solid top ten result. Adam was bedding in tyres for the race and was slightly suffering with under steer and a soft brake pedal. Both drivers got caught in a bit of traffic but managed to complete 9 laps with Leon and Adam finishing 8th and 9th respectively. A solid result, but both drivers know there is a lot more to come after studying in car footage afterwards. While the team do all the nut and bolt checks, tyre rotation and fuelling, the weather decides to drop some wet stuff……let’s hope it does not last!
Fortunately the slight rain had stopped, and with a drying wind, the track was bone dry in no time at all. Both drivers knew the start was important, as many places can be gained with not much effort. Starting 8th and 9th, the front row was clearly visible as was the narrowing piece of tarmac that lay before them in to the first turn, Redgate.
With the green flag lap over, both drivers slot in to their grid spot and wait for the rest of the pack to line up. The 1 minute board was shown… gauges all reading ok, 30 seconds board, and the heart start to pound… 5 seconds board….. clutch in and wait for the lights…..before you know it they are on… revs raise on the grid like a hive of angry wasps…. red lights are out… not too many revs and drop the clutch. Leon makes a good start and holds position on the outside of the track, Adam bogged down slightly and looses one place to Baker off the line.. the run in to the first corner anywhere is busy to say the least, but with Redgate being a late apex corner, not all is lost if you can keep on the bumper to the car in front. Leon is hung out to dry and attempts a move around the outside, but with half the pack on the inside drifting to the outer limits the kerb and grass soon loom. Adam Latchets on to the back of Baker as 20 cars are literally nose to tail, side by side dropping down one of the fastest parts of the track, the Craner Curves.
With everyone still on reasonably cold tyres, the cars are moving around a lot, Adam drops back a little so not to get involved with someone else’s accident, but in turn gets a great exit from the Old Hairpin, A slight mistake from Leon at McLeans allowed Baker and Adam to go by… and that was JUST the first lap… Both team mates now running line astern, it was Adam who was all over Baker, while Leon gets back in to the groove and tries to catch them both.
By now, all 3 of us were catching the leading pack as they squabble in front. This allows Leon to get right back up there as the front runners jostle for position. Adam tries to go around the outside of Baker, but allows Leon to get up the inside on the run down to the chicane. Over the line one more time with Leon right on the boot lid of Baker, he lunges up the inside of Baker at Redgate making contact and slowing his exit to allow Adam back past both of them!
Again running in formation, Adam is now catching Gareth Hunt, all 8 cars slip streaming on the way down to the chicane, there was sure to be some moves made, Damon Astin clips one of the huge kerbs allowing Hunt through but leaving Adam having to avoid the wayward pink car of Astin. With the slight lift this allows Leon to pull right up with Adam as they go down the pit straight.
Adam dummies a move in to Redgate, but Astin is too wise to be phased by Adams antics. With Leon still chasing, Adam forces Astin in to a small mistake, running wide, although not enough for Adam to make a move. With a run on Astin around Coppice, Adam makes a move on the inside to the chicane with Leon following close behind, having the best seat in the house to watch, Astin just had the legs down the straight and Adam could do nothing but drop back till the braking zone for the Chicane where both cars braked at the same time, but Adam managed to hold the inside line, Leon was looking to capitalise on Astins poor exit down the start finish straight as Adam was away chasing Hunt again. Astin went rallying at Redgate allowing Leon to get the run through Hollywood and the Craner Curves but with Astin on the inside, Leon had nowhere to go so slotted in behind and chased hard as Adam remained on the bumper of Hunt.
Hunt, Adam and Astin got past the back marker of Keat, where as Leon had to dive up the inside as Keat stayed well out of the way. Leon went wide on to the kerb…… grass….. gravel,,,, and slightly caught his mirror on the wall (YES THAT CLOSE) Baker got back past as Leon tried to recover… Damons brother pointed on the Pit wall that that Leon had an issue, so he cruised back to the pits and his race was over (latter to be found out to be a cracked oil cooler).
Adam was still fighting tooth and nail to to try and get his best result of 5th off Hunt.. nose to tail for the whole race, Adam managed to get past Hunt, but for only half a lap as the seasoned racers Astin who got a great exit out of clearways and Hunt out braked Adam in the Chicane… So back to 7th and back on to chasing down 5th and 6th place. With the rest of the race being nose to tail, and all 3 drivers changing places almost corner by corner, Adam managed to get inside Astin, 2 laps to go, Adam had his mirror FULL of the pink car of Astin, with his heart racing faster than his 8500rpm Mini Se7en he held it all the way to the chequered flag, equalling Adams best result in the dry of 6th place… it felt like a win…. beaming from ear to ear, to be able to compete with the sharp end of the grid and putting Adam in his highest place in the championship of 6th – all be it after the first round. With positives to be taken for both drivers over the weekend the 2013 Championship is looking really good for Team AL Motorsport.
Special thanks to all the 2013 sponsors, MiniSport, Emtome WiFi Hotspots, Q8 Oils, City Plumbing, and last but by no means less, the rest of the team…. without you all, none of this would be possible.
We hope to see you all there at Rockingham on the 11th & 12th of May!
Posted in: Mini Sport News, Mini Sport RacingTagged: Events, mini seven, mini sport racing
Mini Se7en – AL Motorsport Pre-Season Update
Written By: Dan Anderson10/04/2013Last year Mini Sport was backing AL Motorsport drivers Leon Wightman and Adam Smith. After a productive campaign last year wich saw them finish 7th and 9th in the championship we are looking forward to helping them build on that this year.
Here is a quick update from Leon on how the preparations are going:
Hi everyone,As I’m lying in my bed with a dose of man flu , I thought it might be a good time to write a quick blog and keep all you Motorsport fans up to speed. Lots of TLC has been on the top of the agenda for A L Motorsport this winter, mainly to Leon’s car (number 45 last year and running number seven for this coming season).With a completely rebuilt rear end to the car, comprising of Inboard Roll Bar courtesy of Rightline Motorsport , new Carbon Boot Floor from Curley Specialised Mouldings, FIA Race Cell from ATL and new Suspension Cones, the rear has been completely overhauled including new subframe from Mini Sport. Weight saving has also been a target this off season, and with 3kg taken away from obsolete metal, and a new Perspex front screen being fitted we are hoping that 7 kg has been removed in excess weight! That’s far easier than going on a diet! The engine is completely stripped and awaiting rebuild as it’s 2 seasons old now so needed a freshen up, but all was absolutely mint condition, which is a testament to the quality of Selby race engines.Adams car is the complete opposite, the engine has been freshened up and went back in last weekend, how great it was to hear the engine fire up again, the first time since last September at Croft . It sounded fantastic :)So with one car ready and one almost there, we will be hitting a tracksomewhere soon for a test session. I will keep you posted with blogs when Ican, and with news about competitions, where you can see us and maybeeven a fan club newsletter on the horizon .Together with live Facebook and Twiiter feeds, this coming season looks tobe a very busy affair!Posted in: Mini Sport News, Mini Sport RacingTagged: mini seven, mini sport racing
Brands Hatch Mini Festival joins forces with Mini Sport UK
Written By: Dan Anderson08/04/2013Mini Sport is delighted to announce that we are associate sponsor for this year’s exciting, up and coming Brands Hatch Mini Festival event on 22/23 June.
Established in 1967, Mini Sport began by distributing parts for the classic Mini. They quickly became a market leader and have now firmly established themselves in the new MINI market as one of the world’s best parts and accessory suppliers. 45 years of continuous business has seen Mini Sport enter the record books by becoming the longest established and most successful Mini specialist in the world.
Mini Sport will sponsor the Red Devils Parachute Display and they will also head up the extensive trade village at the event. In addition, the trade village will feature an impressive display area which will be one of the focal points of the festival, featuring rally cars including Paddy Hopkirk’s 1964 Monte Carlo rally winning Mini Cooper S, Mini Sport’s own in-house rally team and many more.
Mini Sport Managing Director Chris Harper said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Mini Sport will be supporting the Brands Hatch Mini Festival in 2013. The event has huge potential and I’m really looking forward to this year’s version of events as the team at MotorSport Vision have been working hard to make this event a must for any Mini enthusiast.”
Brands Hatch Mini Festival Background Information
The Brands Hatch Mini Festival is a celebration of all things Mini from the classic Austin Mini of the late 1950s to its modern hatchback incarnation. This year the festival will honour the 50th anniversary of the legendary Mini Cooper S. Mini clubs from across the UK and Europe are encouraged to showcase their pride and joy with the chance to take part in parade laps around the track.
On track action will be solely devoted to the Mini, with the Mighty Minis and Super Mighty Minis joining the superb race schedule provided from the MINI Challenge, Mini Se7en, Mini Miglias and Pre-66 Minis. Old and new Minis will also do battle on the track in a unique handicap race to decide which variant is best.
Coupled with a superb race schedule, there will be a host of Mini-themed activities away from the circuit, including an extended Russ Swift Mini stunt show across both days, live music, rally demonstrations, show and shine competitions, historic rally Mini display, an extensive trade village plus much more.
For more information on the Brands Hatch Mini Festival please visit www.mini-festival.co.uk.For more information on Mini Sport UK, please visit www.minisport.com and www.minisport2.comIndividual day tickets for the Brands Hatch Mini Festival are available for £17 in advance with full weekend admission priced at £21. For more information click here or call 0843 453 9000. For more information on Mini Owners’ Club discounts click here.Posted in: Mini Sport NewsTagged:
Entwistle in Action at The Devils Own Rally 2013
Written By: Dan Anderson20/03/2013Mini man Steve Entwistle has made his first appearance of the tear in the Devils Own Rally.
Entwistle and mapman Bob Hargreaves were one of the favourites for the event, which had a full entry with most of the top north-west historic drivers.
Organisers Kirby Lonsdale Motor Club have laid on 14 tests and two regularities, with the first car away from the start at 10am from the start at 10am from the Heaves Hotel at Levens, near Kendal.
Mini Sport are proudly sponsoring Steve Entwistle, from Rishton, He is one of the top drivers in the UK when it comes to Classic Rallies. The Devils Own Rally is the first of several events Steve and Bob will be competing in this year, leading up to the Rally of the Tests 2013.
Posted in: Mini Sport News, Mini Sport RacingTagged: Mini Sport News, mini sport racing
Motorsport Advanced Development take delivery of new CNC Machine
Written By: Dan Anderson18/03/2013This week Mini Sports engineering department, MAD (Motorsport Advanced Development) took delivery of yet another CNC Machine.
The Mazak 250 II MSY lathe was delivered and expertly manouvered into the engineering headquarters yesterday morning before being programmed and put in to use, to create several of the high quality Mini Sport products that you can buy from us.
Also this week MAD engineer Ben Anderson has also been selected to represent the UK in CNC Turning at the World Skills later this year.
Ben has been 1 of 4 CNC Engineers training with the UK Skills team over the last year. All 4 were selected after a series of tests and were given the opportunity to further stake their claim to represent the UK by attending several courses across the country, with the most impressive of the 4 being selected.
Now Ben has been selected he will be travelling to several countries to see the competition and further increase his knowledge as the World Skills event is far from with a high standard set just to qualify.
So a good week for MAD with a new machine arriving and engineers progressing at high levels. This can only further ensure you, the Mini Sport customer, that all Mini Sport products are made to the highest quality.
Posted in: Mini Sport NewsTagged: Mini Sport News
Mini Sport Back the Mini 7 Racing Club with Sponsorship Agreement
Written By: Dan Anderson12/03/2013Mini Sport, the world’s premier Mini Specialists, have signed a three year partnership to support the Mini Miglia and Mini Se7en Challenges, which will now be known as the Dunlop Mini Miglia / Se7en Challenge supported by Mini Sport.
As well as supporting the Mini 7 Racing Club financially, Mini Sport will also market the club to their customers. .
Mini Sport was established in 1967, making the company approximately the same age as the Mini Se7ens, which started in 1966. For over 40 years Mini Sport has built a reputation second to none and is recognised as the world leader in supplying all Mini Parts and Mini Accessories.
Nick Cooke, Chairman of the Mini 7 Racing Club, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Mini Sport to the Mini 7 Racing Club family and I’m sure we are going to have a long and mutually beneficial relationship. In addition to the financial side of the agreement, I see many good things coming from this sponsorship including extra merchandising sales, increased promotional opportunities for our brand both in the UK and overseas. Mini Sport are also very keen to help us decorate the paddock with flags and branding and make the Mini Miglia and Mini Se7en area at each race THE place to be if you are a fan of the classic Mini . This partnership with Mini Sport is a huge boost of both cash and extra ‘woomph’ for the championship.”
For further information on Mini Sport visit their website at www.minisport.com
The first rounds of the Dunlop Mini Se7en and Mini Miglia Challenges supported by Mini Sport will take place at Donington Park on the 14 April.
2013 Provisional Calendar: Dunlop Mini Miglia and Mini Se7en Challenges supported by Mini SportRound 1 14 April Donington Park (NAT)Round 2&3 11/12 May RockinghamRound 4&5 8/9 June Silverstone National Round 6&7 22/23 June Brands Hatch MSV Mini FestivalRound 8&9 13/14 July Snetterton (300) Kart GPRound 10&11 17/18 August Zolder (BEL)Round 12&13 21/22September Brands Hatch
For more information on how to race with the Mini 7 Racing Club in 2013 visit www.mini7.co.ukPosted in: Mini Sport NewsTagged:
Paddy Hopkirk Gala – Monte Carlo Victory Golden Jubilee
Written By: Dan Anderson08/03/2013Belfast native Patrick Barron “Paddy” Hopkirk is one of Northern Ireland’s most successful sportsmen thanks to his illustrious rallying career. Paddy was a professional racing and rally driver in the sixties and seventies. He has tasted success in many motorsport events worldwide, the most notable victory being the winner of the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally in a Mini Cooper. He is unquestionably Irelands greatest ever Rally driver and one of the Emerald Isle’s best known sports personalities.
The Anniversary Gala at Titanic, Belfast on Feb 22nd 2014 has been organised to celebrate his famous Monte Carlo win.
The event promises to be a truly special occasion with the program already including a cocktail reception, a 15min compilation video of Paddy’s Rally career, an introduction to Paddy himself, gala dinner and a concert by Phil Coulter, one of Irelands most famous greatest musicians. Not only this but there is guaranteed to be a whole host of distinguished guest there to celebrate this amazing anniversary with Paddy.
The Paddy Hopkirk Gala is a non-profit event as all profits will go to two charities, The Integrated Education Fund for Northern Ireland and SKIDZ.
There will also be a floodlight display of Minis old and new in the courtyard with 33EJB, which has never been to Ireland, taking pride of place.
They are now seeking major sponsors, details of which you can find to the right. A press conference and photoshoot with many restored Minis from the 60s is currently being arranged.
Posted in: Mini Sport NewsTagged: Events, paddy hopkirk