July 11th

Hmm, as usual quite a lot of stuff to write about as I'm catching up again. Hence this is all going to be a bit sketchy, I think.

I the garage, before the trip to Cadwell that was coming up, I finished off a few things. One was to put these indicators into the front of the car. (Note the fake carbon fibre finish! No expense spared, you see.) Hopefully, there won't get broken quite as often as the old ones.

In a totally-disconnected-with-this-photo thought, it looks as if our entry for the Birkett has been accepted again. That's great as that race was some of the best racing fun that I had last year.

Back to the car and here are the new wishbones installed and functional. Kind of hard to tell but that rod end at the bottom is one of the 5/8" stub ones that I bought. I actually an email from someone with a link to an article about not using "rod ends in bending". Whilst this is a perfectly fair theoretical point getting rid of it would be a practical pain in the bum. The obvious thing would be to use a spherical bearing which was contained all around. That would, though be a lot harder to adjust and having easy adjustability is really rather important.

Of course, if the damn things bend again then I'll have to think again.

I also finished fitting the ally radiator. As you can see I've also ducted it in what looks like a reasonable manner with yet more Correx.

With all those things done I could go off to Cadwell Park. I was testing on the Friday and racing on both Saturday and Sunday. The weather didn't look too clever though. Luckily, though, Cadwell say that they've improved the drainage which would be good, to say the least.

At the start of the day my fastest time round Cadwell Park was 1:42.14. I was sure that I could go a deal quicker than this and was secretly planning on getting below 1:40. That would still put me a way behind a lot of the other RGBers but a decent improvement nonetheless.

Unfortunately, the logger wasn't working too well (the new GPS receiver doesn't really seem to have made a difference) so I don't really know the sequence of things. Especially so because I'm rather late writing this and have basically forgotten...

However, the important thing is that by the end of the day I was down to 1:39.5 so I'd made this. This was done with a good deal of help from Tim Harmer; Colin and I were sharing the cost of employing him for the day to tell us what to do. In particular, he managed to speed me up through the Mountain section and the Coppice/Charlies complex which was very helpful.

So, the race weekend dawned and it was clear that the decentish weather we'd had for the test day was not necessarily going to be continued. In fact, the whole weekend really turned out to be a process of dodging showers, sometimes of monsoon intensity, and enjoying the bits of sun in between.

Come qualifying and we had a wet track, but it wasn't actually raining. What's more, the improved drainage didn't seem to be snake oil. Yes, there were a couple of the traditional Cadwell rivers running across the track at Mansfield in particular but it wasn't that bad really.

So, after a fairly decent session in which I did manage to get some half-decent laps in, considering the conditions I ended up with a best time of 1:50.5. Obviously rather slower than the previous day but good enough for 8th on the grid, 6th in class. I wasn't too ashamed of that, to be honest. Better still, my second best time was 1:51.00 which left me 6th on the grid, 4th in class for the second race.

When the time for the first race came around it was actually much wetter and we spent and entertaining 10 minutes or so sitting on the grid getting wetter and wetter. I got a really horrid start with far, far, too much wheelspin in the wet and much of the field came past on the run down to Coppice. At least I think they did because visibility as close to non-existent and I was reduced to looking for other people's rain lights. However, miraculously, we got round Coppice and the race started to settle down. I was stuck in a train, fairly usual for me, behind Steve Robinson. As was usual for the bigger cars, I was way quicker than him through the corners but couldn't get up to him on the straights. Mind you his car looked a real big handful on the straights with all that power. Eventually, the front person in the train, John Cutmore who was struggling in the wet with a dry setup spun out at Hall Bends and bent the suspension on his car. Fairly miraculously that was the only DNF of the race.

As the race wore on the conditions got a bit better and I got a little more adventurous. I oh so nearly got past Colin on the last lap but missed out and ended up going round the whole Mountain section side-by-side with Alastair. Apparently his mum was watching and nearly had heart failure at that point. Luckily on that lap I looked a bit harder than usual at the flag position on the start/finish line. I just about managed to see the chequered flag through the spray.

So, at the end I was 8th, 6th in class which, of course, was where I'd started. However, I have to admit that for the first time ever I'd really enjoyed a wet race. As it was I seemed to have a fair amount of grip which I think was down to using absolutely brand new tyres. It really does seem that once they've worn just a bit they lose a lot of their ability to shift water.

On Sunday we lined up for our race actually before lunch, for about the first time ever the RGB crowd had a chance of getting home early-ish. It was now dry and it looked as though we could have a good race. When the lights went out I got a much better start and actually got the drop on Paul who was one place ahead of me on the grid, albeit in the same row as me. Down Park Straight it was clear that he had the legs on me, he should because he's got a good deal more power in his class B car. So, I went all defensive into Park corner. Of course, this is a daft move, because we weren't racing each other for points so I should just have let him past and tried to get a bit of a tow behind him. I'm ashamed to admit that this didn't occur to me at the time...

As it was we were side-by-side down to the corner and I managed to lock the brakes slightly. Normally, this would just have meant that I'd have missed the apex by a couple of feet. However, with Paul there on the narrow Cadwell track I managed to tip into his car slightly and knocked up both off onto the grass. Doooh...

So, I rejoined in next to last place, Paul was last, and set about catching people up. So for the next few laps I passed a bunch of tailenders but eventually I got myself up to 13th place, 8th in class and couldn't get any further as by now the field had gone. On the last lap I saw Henry in front of me but apparently that was a result of him spinning so I hadn't really caught him.

Bet lap was a mere 1:41 though, which is bad news. In retrospect, I don't think I had my brains about me (obvious really). I'm sure I could have gone faster in that race.

Oh well, next stop Snetterton. Hopefully I can manage not to drive into someone there...

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