April 3rd

Right then, I'm back from Donington and managed to surface from work long enough to write this report. In summary, the Donington weekend was one of the most successful race weekends I've had. The only problem is, everyone else is working to remove any temporary improvement that I've made.

We went up to Donington on Saturday afternoon. They've modified the access to Donington Park as apparently they're getting problem with pikies parking all over the grass around the paddock entrance. Hence, we were directed in through the main entrance where some jobsworth told us that due to "health and safety" we wouldn't be allowed to park in the paddock overnight. We decided that he hadn't a clue and ignored him...

We parked up and I got the car mostly sorted. It was going to be a very early start tomorrow with scrutineering for the allcomers race at 0730, and the clocks went forward on Saturday night so there was an hour less sleep. Hence, it made made sense to get as much as possible done before retiring for the evening. Finally, we sat in the bar chatting to other RGBers for a while...:) Before bed I, as usual, pored over last year's data logs and tried to remember gears that I'd been using an so on. The fastest time from previous visits was a 1:25.13 which I just knew I could go faster in.

After a decent night's sleep without too many disturbances from the DHL aircraft flying in all night (just *why* is there such a problem with noise from the race circuit?) I got up at 0630 and it was bloody cold. I signed on after coming across the Crankshaw brothers in the paddock and got into the scrutineering queue which had mysteriously expanded in my absence. All the same, that was done without issue and I got over the start of the allcomers qualifying without being too harrassed. It was still very cold though and it seemed unlikely that we'd see super-good lap times. During scrutineering I had, as usual, opened the bonnet and closed it again. Now, this wouldn't normally be relevant but it was today.

So, it was out on the first of the allcomers qualifying session where everyone was a bit tentative but I started to get up to speed and managing to remember the circuit; I'd not been here since racing here in September last year. By about lap 5 things were getting a bit better but coming down the back straight there was huge plume of oil smoke in front before the chicane. I decided that I didn't want to be in someone else's accident and slowed down a fair bit, as it turned out later from the logs I was about 2 seconds slower through that bit of the track on that particular lap. Once at the chicane there was a lot of oil on the line and it seemed as though someone, still not sure who, had had an engine blow at the start of the braking area. He'd hit the barrier on the left and gone off down the GP loop. So, the session got red-flagged and we sat in the pit line for 15 mins. They then let us out for a few more laps.

This time I ended up in a train with two other RGBers, Colin Chapman and Doug Carter, and one of the R400s. We did some moderately decent lap times and eventually the other two were past Colin and I was going to go past and get a clear lap (honest!) and the chequered flag was out. One problem I had had was that I'd forgotten my ear plugs. I've found in the past that without the plugs I'm slower as I can hear all this unpleasant banging and crashing from the car.

I ended up with a 1:23.8 which was good enough for 19th out of 31 on the grid, just in front of Colin and immediately behind Doug on the grid. I'd set the time right at the end of the session That doesn't sound too clever but it was very early and cold and misty. What's more, it was about 1.5 seconds quicker than I'd ever gone before at Donington. I must admit that I'd realised during the session how much I liked Donington. There's a sort of sweeping aspect to the circuit that's very pleasant.

Back in the paddock I realised that after opening the bonnet in scutineering I'd omitted to put the inlet ducting back on the NACA duct in the bonnet which was bit dim of me. It would be interesting to see what difference putting it back on made.

So, a couple of hours later and we were lining up for RGB qualifying. By now it had warmed up a bit and it seemed that it might be possible to make a slightly better impression. So, I went out and amazed myself. Most obvious thing was that I kept banging into the rev limiter on the straight. The problem was a) I now had the ear plugs in and was re-acclimatising myself and b) I was having to use 6th whereas I hadn't got out of 5th before. Perhaps that airbox is really making a difference? Or, perhaps the conditions had just got better.

All the same, qualifying was great and I finished up with a time of 1:21.47 which put me 11th on the RGB grid and was actually 3rd in class C. Mind you, I was at the front of a gaggle of people with very similar times and was still about 2 seconds shy of Derek who was on the class C pole.

Looking at the data logs later showed that there wasn't really much in the way of a big different in the performance of the car in the two qualifying sessions. The difference as down to how I was driving the car. For example, the apex speed at Coppice, critical for the following long straight, was about 6mph higher in the RGB session than before hand.

After lunch, not that I ate anything, we went off for the all-comers race. After much faffing about we ended up on the grid after the green flag lap. However Doug, in front of me, had mistaken his grid slot and I was about 6" behind the back of his car. Apparently the commentator was rabbiting on about it and that fact that Doug had some demon plan. He didn't, he was just confused.

So, I couldn't really nail it off the line and as it was I got blocked on the inside by a Striker, I guess one of the kits, and had to move across, although not until Colin had got past. I could probably have elbowed my way past but decided that I'd easily get him out of the Old Hairpin and that should have been what happened. However, half way past him on the exit of the Old Hairpin and I had to dive to the right and onto the grass to try and avoid a spinning Colin. I nearly managed it too, although collected a significant scrape down the left hand sidepod.

The photo shows where Colin and I ended up. It has to be said that there was a certain amount of leg-pulling going on in the paddock later about the fact that we'd bashed into each other again...

Luckily we got going again although my car was looking a bit worse for wear, as you can see in the photo. I think Colin was dead last and I was just in front of him. Later on Colin said I just drove away from him at that point and it certainly seemed like that to me. I dealt with a few backmarkers and was just starting to enjoy myself when out of Coppice the gearchange went completely slack and I was stuck in 3rd gear. So, I made sure I didn't get in anyone's way and went back to the paddock, wondering what on earth was up. Stupidly, of course, I'd allowed myself to think the other day that I'd rarely not done a race due to mechanical problems.

In the paddock I took the undertray off and looked under the car. It was clear that the gearchange had sheared, which was a bummer. I felt slightly better in that it wasn't my bit that had broken but Mr Honda's. Mind you, a characteristic of my gearchange is that that particular bit was used in shear in my installation and is mostly in tension in the standard installation. Luckily, I got the bits off easily enough, although not without whacking my head bloody hard on the jack in the process. Once done, though, I got Andy to braze them back together for me. Not pretty but it looked like there was a good chance that it would work. I got it back together fairly easily and after a trip round the paddock it did indeed look as though things were going to work out.

So, after entertaining the relations I finally went off to the RGB assembly area. It was a very odd feeling sitting half way out onto the track here, I'd normally have been back in the paddock due to being in 20th place or something.

Eventually we set off and it was a pretty decent start (you can just about see me in the photo of the start here) although I lost out to Matt and Alastair. It was at Donington that I'd had a BIG accident back in 2005 and I'm a bit tentative these days at the start. In particular, I'm all too aware that in the freneticism of the start it's all too easy to arrive at the first corner having missed my usual braking point and being on the wrong part of the track. As a consequence of this I lost out to both Marc and Matt at the exit of the Old Hairpin where I ended up in completely the wrong gear and just got outdragged away from the corner.

As we came down to the Esses there was a real melée and I just managed to miss Colin Duce who came shooting up the inside. Curiously there was a real gaggle here that included Doug who should have been long gone by now. I wonder if there was something wrong with his engine, as he'd had a blow up at Mallory. In exiting the Esses I got outdragged by Mike who had way more exit speed than me. For a lap or so I was in a group with Mike, Marc and Alastair in it but I screwed it up at Redgate, pretty much the story of my weekend, and Alastair got back in the run down to Craner.

Lap 5 and I got a run on Marc out of Coppice and easily outdragged him down the back straight. At this point I was about 3 seconds behind Alastair in front. Over the next 3 laps or so I managed to gain on the group in front until I was right up with them. Then, on lap 10 we lapped Julius. Well, the front 4 people in the group lapped him. I made a total dog's breakfast of it and lost shedloads of time. I've got a number of faults as race driver but one of the most important is that I'm too gentlemanly. As it happened I should just have barged up the inside of him. The problem is, he's a novice and you're never totally sure where novices are going to go next.

As a result Marc was now looming in my mirror again and on lap 11 I made another cock-up of Redgate and he got past. Lap 12 and I was up with him again, I had the legs on him down the straight everytime but it was very difficult to get past. This time, though we were about to be lapped by Rob and Gordon who were going at it hammer and tongs in the lead of class A. I stayed wide at the Esses to avoid impeding them and Marc ignored them. So, I lost another half second or so and had to claw my way back.

Lap 14 down towards Redgate and I had a run on Marc again. This time, for a change, I actually thought about it and went to his left, he wasn't going to let me past on the inside, but I stayed in the middle of the track. That forced him to take a tight line in and I dived up the inside of him on the exit. See, there's even a photo of it. This one, as for the other ones here, was taken by Jonathan Roberts.

And, in a decent world, that's where it would have ended. However, I made the most appalling mess of Redgate on the last lap and he got past me again which is where it finished. As you can see in the photo that is not the place to be on the track.

The last lap was a bit exciting too as Doug's car was parked sideways across the Esses. Actually I was a bit surprised that they let Marc get away with the fact that he overtook a back marker as he also passed Doug's car, obviously under yellows. Still, I wouldn't have got back at him at that point anyway.

At the time I did think that Marc had been weaving a bit too much on the back straight in front of me. However, having looked at the video, it was all pretty fair. I must go and say hello to him at the next race...

I finished 10th in the race, 6th in class and it had been my best race by a mile. Should have been 5th though. I've clearly got loads of bad habits still though. Especially those that involve turning into Redgate too early and too hot...

Back home and there was just too much work to do and I only got around to even taking the car off the trailer yesterday. Two things I need to do, at least, are to change the engine oil and replace the bodged together gearchange.

For both of these I had to take off the undertray. When I came to do it it was folded under like this, seemingly by the airflow. Oddly, all the fasteners were still attached.

Still, I've hammered it flat again and when I put it back on I'll probably also use a couple of judiciously placed tiewraps to hold it in place a little better.

April 10th

Well, it's getting closer to the next race now, which is at Lydden Hill in a couple of weeks. Actually, it's two races as it's a full weekend which should be fun, weather permitting. I've still done very little to the car so it's time to get my finger out really.

I've done something though, hence an update is worthwhile, especially as it reduces the level of complaints I get. :)

The main thing really was to sort out the damage from the collision with Colin. As mentioned above, the poor thing was looking a bit unloved with all this scraping down the side.

I also need to have a look at the gerchange. After getting the car in the garage and taking off the bent undertray, as discussed above. I took off the gearchange that Andy patched up for me at the circuit. This is the offending thing here and you can see the braze metal clearly on the little spherical joint-like thing just to left of the lever.

To be honest, I'm in a bit of a quandary about what to do about this. On the one hand I could just buy a new lever from Mr Honda and it would work fine, until it failed again. The problem with this is that if it's going to fail then presumably it might just fail straight away. However, the bit that failed is steel and such failures are progressive in steel so if I was to replace it every year, say, it should be OK. I'm not quite sure I can feel confident about that though.

The next possibility it to buy a new device from Mr Honda and strengthen it in some way, perhaps by welding a small sleeve around the bit that failed. The obvious problem with that is that the welding itself could introduce a whole new set of failure modes and actually reduce the life of the component.

Finally, I bought some little splined adapters from Andy. I could fabricate something using this, although I'd have to change one of the gearchange rods as well (the ally bit at the top of the photo). Problem is, I'd have to do the fabrication and that'd introduce some more failure modes too. (Can you tell I've got a background in high availability systems? Next I'll be doing a FMECA...)

As you can see in the photo, the side pod is all scraped up, again. This, if you remember, was a brand new sidepod bought after the crash at Silverstone totalled the previous one.

Worse, after I took it off I discovered that the new silencer I bought after that same crash was pretty badly dented. This leaves me in another quandary because we've got a race coming up at Castle Combe where they've got real problems with noise and the local NIMBYs. I don't know how much this dent is going to affect the noise output, but it can't help.

The wheelarch was also bashed around. This plate here is supposed to be flat. Mind you, I remade this very panel after the Silverstone mishap and the same panel then was crumpled like a bit of tinfoil.

So, the first thing to do was to patch up the sidepod itself. This was done with some polyester resin. Rather than using normal CSM glass matting I used some rather spiffy glass/carbon cloth that I've got. This is pretty light and seems to have done a good job of stiffening up a rather dinged body part without adding too much weight. It draped over the shape pretty well too, which I guess just using carbon cloth wouldn't have done.

At the present rate I'll eventually replace all the composites on this car with stuff made out of a patchwork of more sophisticated materials...

Finally, I repainted the sidepod. I have to admit that after Silverstone I really bodged the new sidepod together as I was running out of time. Then I didn't even bother priming the sidepod and it showed because the yellow paint was chipping pretty badly. This time, I've done it properly. However, the surface under the paint isn't too clever as I just can't be bothered spending hours and hours with wet and dry...

You might notice that I seem to have lost the place where the exhaust comes out. That's for two reasons. Firstly, I just put a bit of the carbon/glass cloth completely over that end of the sidepod where it was smashed up. Secondly, since I've had the new (and now nadgered) silencer there's always been a bit of a problem in that Tony Law made the tailpipe shorter than it used to be. This has always meant that the GRP was getting a bit hot. Intriguingly, and perhaps as another consequence of the airbox, it's clear that the effect is now much much more pronounced and it's clear that I need to lengthen the tailpipe slightly. Hence, I've ordered some 2 ¼" tubing, which is the current size and I'll weld a bit on. When that's done I'll recut the hole (no problem as the new bit of cloth is all that's blocking the hole and probably put a bit of ally around there to try and conduct some of the heat away...

April 15th

Well, I've got the car back together and it's even sitting on the trailer in the garage. I welded a chunk of the tubing mentioned above onto the tailpipe of the silencer and put the sidepod back on. You can see the lengthened tailpipe sticking out to the sidepod here.

With that I put the bodywork back on. I actually moved the bonnet pins that I use to keep the rear tub on. The tub has an alarming propensity to bang and clatter around and I'm trying to hold it on a bit more firmly. It's not as if I thought it was going to fall off, but it would be nice if the car didn't sound so much of a bag of nails when trundling around the paddock.

I seem to have been fairly successful at that anyway and the rear of the car seems firmer.

After that I set off on a mammoth setup operation. I've (re) borrowed the corner weight scales so it was likely that everything was going to change so I just redid everything: ride height, camber on all four wheels, front and rear toe, rear axle alignment and corner weight. One problem is that the rims of the CXRs are sculpted in way that makes measuring the toe and camber quite difficult.

This time I adopted a different approach to the corner weights. In the past I've adjusted things so that the front wheels have equal weight on them. However, on doing some reading around there are other ways of doing it and I've adopted one of these. One that supposedly will be better around a whole lap. It'll be interesting to see how different the car feels, if at all, at Lydden.

Apart from washing and generally making the car look better, I finally got around to adding the Cam7 racing stickers that Adrian had made. They look pretty good. (There's a red one on the other side...)

So, the car's back together and I'm ready to go racing again...

April 29th

Well, we're back home again after the race weekend in Lydden. Essentially, I had a fantastic time. In fact, on the way home Anthea commented that it had been one of the best race weekends ever: great weather, great racing, great socialising.

We went down to Lydden on Friday evening, struggling with the inevitable weekend traffic around the M25. We got there at about 8pm and found the allocated spot in the paddock. For those that haven't been there, Lydden's essentially in a bowl and the paddock is down one side of the hill. Luckily, there are a few flatter spots where they've made a half-hearted attempt at terracing it. Mind you, they have provided some power points so in a way it's pretty good. You can see the terraces on the right of this aerial photo.

Saturday morning dawned bright and clear and a few of us went for a walk around the track. I didn't have much to do to the car as I was pretty much on top of things having put it on the trailer fully a week previously. The circuit was pretty much as I remembered, although it would be interesting to see how quickly I could drive it. Last time we were here was in 2005 when the best I managed was in the last lap of the second race when I managed a 47.64. If I remember correctly, qualifying was wet on that occasion. My fastest lap time having been 60.62 would tend to bear that out. Since then, though, I've done an awful lot to the car such as fitting the ATB.

So, after scrutineering was out of the way, very efficiently for a change, we lined up for qualifying. The classes were split for the Saturday race (although not, unfortunately, on Sunday) we were still going to have to qualify all together and my perennial ability to get blocked in qualifying might well have an effect. That did indeed prove to be the case and I was stuck for many laps (you get a lot of them for your time at Lydden) behind all sorts of people. Fastest lap was eventually a 46.18 which put me a measly 12th on the class C grid. Clearly, the start was going to be important... To put it in context that was still about 1.5 seconds faster than my fastest lap ever of the place but I still felt slow.

One thing I do remember from my early visits to the circuit I had great difficulty keeping my foot on the loud pedal into the dip just before Chesson's Drift. This time, this just wasn't an issue. Amazing how much effect experience makes. In this bit of the circuit the fastest I was going in 2005 was 96mph, and that was a pretty rare occurrance. During this visit the same figure was 103mph, a huge difference. That is, it might be taking ages but I am slowly getting faster as this game.. You can see the difference in the data logs here. The top graph is for throttle position and the bottom one is speed. The blue trace is my fastest time in this sector from 2005 and the other the fastest from this year. There's over a second's difference between those two sector times and you can see why as the black speed line is always above the blue one. You can also see that on the 2005 trace I backed off the throttle over a long period of time, whereas this year I've stayed on full throttle a lot longer, and I've then come off it smartly and onto the brake.

There had been a batch of yellows half way through qualifying when Buzz underdid his braking for the hairpin and rammed into the back of his fellow Genesis driver Steve. The latter's car was OK, or at least so we all thought, but the front end of Buzz's was pretty smashed up. The usual Genesis problem had appeared when he'd run off the circuit and the splitter was smashed to bits, as was the whole front section of the bodywork and the radiator.

Buzz admitted to a "novice error" and came back into the paddock with a sort of "going home" look on his face. He looked amazed when the rest of the paddock descended on his car and started fixing it back together. In particular honours must go to Andy Bates who Buzz had never really met before who did the lion's share of the job. Buzz wasn't going to make the Saturday race but he would make the Sunday one. Fully 10 litres of polyester resin and several square metres of CSM was consumed fixing his bodywork back together. After that our corner of the paddock stank of resin for a few hours... A big chunk of plywood cannibalised from I don't know where was used to remake a splitter and the struts that support the bodywork. I thought for a while that it might have been the base for someone's bed in their motorhome and fully expected a howl of protest at some point in the evening.

Finally, a vast quantity of silver gaffer tape was used to cover up the bodywork and some new sponsorship stickers were acquired and stuck on top of the gaffer tape. Buzz was, needless to say, astounded by the whole process.

Later in the day we got around to the class C race. We'd watched the class A/B race which had been OK-ish, although the track was a bit sparsely occupied and the best scraps were down the field. Best of all was Steve (class A genesis) and Paul (class B phoenix) who had a serious battle. As it was, Paul lost out to Steve by about a foot at the line. But, it turned out not to matter as they decided to check reversing mechanisms and both Steve and Paul failed and were therefore DQed. It turned out that Buzz's ramming of Steve's car had disturbed the reverse. The DQ was inevitable as they're much more serious about this issue now.

So, the class C race came around and we lined up. I was back on the left hand side of the 6th row and come the start got a decentish one. I noticed Colin trying to sneak through on the right and, I have to admit, blocked him fairly brutally. I also managed to get past Henry Carr in the melée around Chessons and got past Marc Nordon at the hairpin having been side-by-side with him all the way around the track to that point.

Things then cleared a bit and I set off after the people in front. Immediately in front of me was Alastair Boulton (new chap who used to race Stock Hatch and bought Tim Gray's car at the end of last season). I seemed to have the legs on him at a number of places and caught him up. After a lap of feinting back and forth I stuck it up the inside at the Devil's Elbow and was past. Someone said that they've got a good photo of me and Alastair side-by-side at that point on the circuit, with both cars sliding and crossed up. Fantastic stuff really. He had blocked me fairly firmly on a couple of occcasions but when I got a good run on him he was absolutely great.

After that I set off after the yellow car in front which was David Wale. I caught him and got him in much the same way so that I could set off after another yellow car in front of him, which was Matt Rowe. It was clear that Matt's rear tyres were pretty knackered as he was even more sideways than he usually is and I fancied my chances of getting past him, although he's usually a ferocious defender of his position. I guess at that point I must have been up to about 6th place and looking good for 5th. Although, to be fair, that should have been 6th as Derek had gone off in no uncertain terms at Chesson's early in the race. Mind you, he was probably knackered as he'd flown into Heathrow at about 7am that morning, from South Africa.

In the middle of all this I realised just how frenetic it was. At one point I looked at the timer on the dash to see how much more time there was to go and was rather alarmed to see that it said we'd done 6 minutes and 10 seconds; meaning that we were less than 50% of the time into the race...

A lap or so later I was right behind Matt and then he got all crossed up in Chesson's. I thought the worst was about to happen and kept out of the way which involved retiring to the grass and, in the process, David and Alastair got back past me. Rats... So, I set off again and again passed Alastair at the Elbow. By this time David had also passed Matt and I was closing in again on Matt. Up the hill to the hairpin and I seemed to have the run on him. Surely I'd get past him on the run onto Paddock?

Luckily, I saw the red flags before making a pillock of myself and slowed down and we were directed off the circuit... All the time that I'd been playing with Al and Matt, Henry and Marc had been dicing behind. According to spectators Marc was taking huge risks on the exit of Paddock going onto the grass at the end of the gravel trap, pretty much as he did in front of me at Donington around Coppice, although Lydden is a much less forgiving circuit than that. Eventually the inevitable happened and he lost it and slammed it into the barriers pretty hard. Henry told me that he did everything possible to get past as fast as he could as he could see the approaching cloud of debris from the accident. As it was it tore two corners off Marc's chassis and the chassis itself, from what I could see as it was trucked into the paddock, looked pretty sad.

Then followed the oddest thing I've ever seen at a race circuit.

After the usual gassing in the paddock Marc's car was brought back in on the back of a recovery truck. Marc himself thankfully looked OK. The truck pulled up by Marc's race truck, which is a lorry with a tail-lift and proceeded to lift the car up onto the tail-list. Because of where the recovery truck was parked this involved lifting the car right over the top of Marc's truck. This looked so spectacular that I went and got my camera. As the car was going over the top of the truck one of the slings holding it up came loose and the whole car dropped onto the top of Marc's race truck. Here it is, parked on top of the race truck....

Marc climbed up on the top of the truck and re-attached some chains to the car and it was lifted down. There was, of course, quite a big crowd by now. Eventually, they got the car back inside the truck and went away. It's bound to take a while to fix it though. From what I saw as the car was coming back into the paddock replacing the whole chassis might be the best thing to do.

Anyway, back to the results. Although I'd had to take avoiding action to miss Matt I was pretty chuffed to have passed Alastair twice. However, when the results came out because of the count-back rule for red flags I actually finished behind him in 8th place! Needless to say he thought that was hilarious! I have to admit that I thought it was pretty funny too, which is perhaps a flaw in my makeup as a race driver. Still, that's 5 points, although it should have been at least 7 really. What was interesting was that I actually got the 3rd fastest lap at 45.44. Fastest of all was John Cutmore at 45.05. If I could stick at being just 0.8% slower than the fastest I'd be pretty happy...

On the Saturday evening we had an RGB BBQ and a great time was had by all.
It had been a hot day but once the sun went down it got pretty cold and we were all huddled around the fire at the end of the evening.

Sunday, though, dawned even hotter and looked like the race was going to be sweltering. So it turned out and we lined up, this time all 3 classes at about 3pm. This time we got a whole "brisk" lap of the circuit before lining up on the grid. I was just behind Paul and got a really good start and got right up the side of him before Chesson's. However, he was much later on the brakes than me and got in front of me. In the meantime Colin had got past and I spent a lap or so getting past him, eventually managing it when he ran a little wide at Paddock. Then I was up with Henry and Tim. From looking at the video I should have hung back a bit as we tripped over each other a bit too much. Eventually, though, both Henry and I got past Tim and I lined myself up on getting past Henry. A lap later and I got a run into Devil's elbow again. Henry's attempt at blocking me merely put him into a half spin and I easily got past him on the run up to the hairpin.

After that it calmed down really. Alastair was in front of me and I tried to haul him in but just couldn't manage it. Interestingly, unlike most of us, whose times were about 0.5 second slower on the Sunday, he did much the same time. I guess that's why I couldn't make headway. Come the end of the race and I saw Gordon coming up behind, I let him past and then we passed the last lap board. In front of me by then was Neil and I thought I might be able to lap him on the last lap. Problem is, everyone slowed down and the marshalls were all clapping. After some thought it dawned on me that we must have actually passed the chequered flag. Looking at my video it does indeed looks as though there's a last lap board and a chequered flag. The latter is rather obscured by the former though...

As trailed elsewhere, the problem with the race really was that everything was getting really, really, hot. I just have to look at the cooling again. Problem is, I'm managing to drive the car harder this season and it's generating more heat.

To add a final joker to the pack we got taken into post-race scutineering, which we'd missed on Saturday due to the red flag. Again, several people failed because their reverses didn't work. (Heaven knows why, you'd have thought everyone would have tested them after the problems on the previous
day.) That meant that two of the people in front of me in the class C race were DQed. Hence, I finished 5th on the timesheets.

So, the final result was 2 good races which were an 8th, which should at least have been a 7th and really something like a 5th; and 5th, which should really have been 7th...

With another race looming up and the temperatures that I was seeing in the last race I really need to think harder about cooling. I did wonder about buying a snazzy aluminium radiator but, to be honest, I'd really like to avoid that, especially as the current radiator seems as though it should work if the airflow through it is OK. However, I noticed that Rally Design are selling a "VW Polo" ally radiator that would probably fit straight in which is worthwhile thinking about.

After a considerable amount of thought (what I really need is a team of trained pixies that I can send under the bonnet while the car's going to check where the air's actually going) it seems clear to me that the air into the radiator is OK. The big problem is how it gets out of the back of radiator and where it goes next. The really nice thing to do, as mentioned before, would be to duct the exit of the radiator out of the top of the bonnet as in the old Westfield. However, I'm not quite sure how that would fit with the regs which have various rules about holes in the bonnet.

However, getting ducts at the back of the radiator is just a non-starter given where it is and all the gubbins behind it. So, I decided to do at least half of the ducting job and tilt the radiator forward slightly, as in the photo. When I've worked out the regs I can let some of the air out of the top of the bonnet. As before, I've ducted in the inlet side of the radiator using a combination of bits of aluminium and some Correx. Hopefully, by doing this I haven't terminally ruined the airflow. If so, it could make the next race meeting a little short.

However, I seem to remember reading somewhere that radiators should ideally be at a bit of an angle to the incoming airstream. I'm not entirely sure why but it's often the case that race cars (for example most single seaters) are done like that.

Before working whether I'm allowed to exit air out the top, and the difficulty of actually doing it, I've cleared a bit of a track for the air flow by cutting a large hole in the top of the driver's side pod and opening up the back of the pod, in the same way as the one on the other side, which carries the exhaust.

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