Rounds 5 and 6 of the BRSCC Mighty Minis Championship at Castle Combe
Having suffered a major gearbox fault last Tuesday I had to focus all week on getting the box repaired and eventually ended up having the main shaft and the bearings on the 1st motion shaft replaced. Getting the gearbox back on the engine on Friday night and having to go to work all day Saturday until 6pm, I continued to work until 1.00am Sunday morning and was back up at 7.00am working to get the engine back into the car and fully functional. I am pleased to report that we were packed up and left at 6.00pm Sunday.
After having had heavy rain all weekend, the sun suddenly appeared on Monday morning and although there was a cold wind, things were looking good for a dry session.
This was one of the biggest grids for mighty minis ever with 31 cars out together on track.
I was confident in myself about the gearbox but not having done a shakedown with the new gearbox I took the 1st few laps easy and ran through the gears without problems.
As the tyre temperature and pressure increased I got faster and overtook quite a few slower cars in the shortened 15 minute qualifying. The car felt quick and was handling OK. Looking at the whole field I qualified 12th overall with a lap time of 1.33721 seconds and with an average speed of 71.06mph around the 1.85 mile circuit.
I was quite happy with 12th considering the problems of this week. I also managed to out qualify a couple of very good drivers Ben Van den Bos and Kit Stevens who have both won races before. Sitting just behind Stuart Coombes who is also a great driver . I was feeling good for the race.
The grid was large and staggered like a motorbike race so we were all close together.
As the red lights came on one by one all five stayed red for an eternity and several drivers jump started and I went with them and then stopped before the lights went out.
I was calm as 8 cars passed me off the line and I settled back into 19th for the 1st few corners before passing 2 cars on the first lap and got back up to 17th behind Caroline Gilbert. This was a long race and I was determined to make places back.
The car felt good and I was in a good smooth rhythm and felt fast. I caught up a few cars and overtook very quickly and by lap 11 with a retirement and passing 5 cars I was back up to 10th and catching Charlie Budd who was in 9th.
I Was still catching Charlie for the next few laps and was getting closer every lap as I maintained 10th for 5 more laps but could not break away from the group of 3 cars behind me. I was caught by James and Damien on the last lap and finished 12th overall.
Apparently this was all exciting to watch and my dad has drawn this chart to show the race for 10th. I was 10th Quickest and my lap time improved by a second to 132.759 however my last 6 laps were 2 seconds slower so we had some bits and pieces to check before race 2.
In summary I was pleased to be in the 1.32 seconds bracket which makes me a top 10 driver. The top 13 cars from the grid in this race were separated by only 1.9 seconds. So you can see how competitive this series is.
I had a lot better start this time, loosing no places.
My first few laps I held position in 12th but I had to battle with several cars behind me that I was holding up. I had noticeably less power on the straights but was quicker through the chicanes.
I lost 1 place per lap to faster cars for a few laps and concentrated on being smooth in order to get the best lap times. I was in a group of cars posting in the 1.34s which was a second and a half slower than the first race. I was able to have a good fight with Ralph Budd and for the last 6 laps we overtook each other at least 10 times. In terms of my times I only managed to be 16th quickest overall and finished 18th from 30 cars which started.
Overall race 2 was a race to forget but the whole weekend with 31 mighty minis racing to together was fantastic to be involved in.