August 7th

Well, I didn't actually drive into anyone at Snetterton, although I did made a dog's breakfast of both RGB races. One of them, though, was quite fun... And yes, I know it's taken me ages to write this, but I've been busy and not here, in that order.

We got to Snetterton very late on the Friday night. I'd been working until about 8pm, lucky that Snetterton is pretty close to us. To be honest, I hardly touched the car after Cadwell other than changing the oil and checking the suspension alignment. Although, of course, that took just about a whole day to do. Next time I remake the wishbones I'll see about fitting adjuster ladders so that I can adjust camber, and so on, without actually taking everything to bits.

Before this meeting my FL was 1:21.08 around Snetterton. After spending a while poring over the logs I became convinced that something below 1:20 must be possible. As I was doing 3 races (I'd signed up for the allcomers too) this weekend; one of 28 mins and two of 18mins then surely I had enough track time to get down to that?

Saturday was nice and sunny although the weather forecast was pretty grim. The allcomers turned out to be mostly populated by excapees from the bikesports races (that is, Radicals, etc), us RGB bods and the MR2s. Qualifying was just sort of OK really. I must get better at really trying hard on one or two laps. I know that Derek says that he tries to make every lap in qualifying quicker than the previous one (traffic excepted, I guess) and I really think I ought to start making myself do that sort of thing. As it was the FL ended up as 1:21.6 which left me 12th on the grid of 27 people. There were a couple of the RGB bods in front of me, but there were both class B bods (Paul and Josh, to be precise). (I have to mention Josh as often as I can because he and his Dad have been hassling me unmercifully about the late appearance of this diary entry. I tried to placate them with a nice video but even that seems to have worn off now.)

Come the race later on and it was still nice and sunny as we lined up for the start of the green flag lap (a luxury that we mere RGBers don't normally get) and they waved us off. Unfortunately, poor Josh in front was starting a nightmare weekend and he moved a few feet and ground to a halt with a driveshaft sheared. I looked at it later and there were a couple of grooves machined around the shaft. Whoever made it might as well have added a small sign that said "stress raiser" as well as it had sheared through in exactly the place that you'd expect. Josh and his Dad (Darcy, an ex-RGB chap) were in for a long night in Andy Bates workshop...

When the race itself started we were off in fairly good order. I got blocked for a few laps by a Lotus Exige that was quicker down the straights and slower round the corners than me but he stopped after a while (with a curious left-right-left-right flashing of his indicator lights!) and left me with a clear track. Unfortunately, that track stayed pretty clear apart for the MR2s as I came up to lap them. And, after half and hour it stopped. Probably a decent practice but not exactly a race.

FL in that race was 1:20.74, better but still above the magic 1:20...

Sunday dawned a lot grimmer looking. In fact, there were various stories about pestilential weather on the way so this could well be a really naff day. Sure enough, down in the assembly area it started pissing down. However, it stopped after a while and the track was wet, but it wasn't actually raining in qualifying.

I have to admit that I had an absolute ball in qualifying. I seemed to have way more grip than loads of other people (in fact, I looked at the tyres later, wondering if Polleys had fitted some S compound ones rather than the Ms that we're supposed to use) and was being held up all the time behind other people. I didn't really push too hard though, as I was sure that I'd end up with an OKish grid position. And so it turned out. I was 9th on the grid in the first race (6th in class) and 8th in the second race (5th in class). The times, obviously, were a bit of a non-event given the track condition being down in the 1:35ish region.

Later on we lined up for the start and I got a reasonable start although Alastair barged his way up the inside of me into Riches, almost causing a bit of a problem as I nearly collected someone else as I was avoiding him. In the process I lost a couple of places and Steve Robinson came charging past. However, I got a tow back past Alastair again on the Revett straight and came down to the Russell chicane almost side-by-side with Steve who then got a bit of a wobble on and I seriously over-reacted (see left!) and spun comprehensively myself. Loads of people got past as a result and I got going again in some lowly position, just in front of Josh whose car was now going again.

Then, although we were in umpteenth place, Josh and I had a fantastic time. We passed and repassed each other over and over again. On one lap I passed him into Russell and as we came out there were three spinning yellow cars in front of us. I have no idea how we managed to avoid them, but we did. One of the best bits about racing with Josh was that hid Dad was leaning over the pitwall gesticulating wildly at us. I first noticed him after I'd got past Josh at the chicane and I wondered if he thought I was overdoing it with his son. However, a moment's reflection and I realised that he was a racer too and well understood what was going on.

After a few laps of this we caught up with Doug in the blue Genesis. He held up up severely but due to the vastly greater power neither of us managed to get past him.

Annoyingly, though, when we got to the chequered flag that was one of the laps that Josh was in front. Admittedly he's got a lot more power than me (this is page 434 of the racing driver's book of excuses) but I'm sure I could have managed to stay ahead... All the same, it was great fun.

FL in that race was 1:20.1 (sigh) and I finished a dismal 13th (7th in class) which is all my fault because of the spin.

Later in the day and it was the second race. I got a reasonable start and was up with some decent company for a while. Then I fell into a little battle with Colin Duce and were having a nice time, helped by both of us making mistakes that kept us close to each other and then we approached Riches at some speed and the waved yellows were out, we slowed down and on the exit of the curve Josh was there with his car facing the wrong way with a good deal of the back of the car torn off. He'd come together with Matt and they'd both ended up with seriously bashed up cars. The race was then red-flagged and we slowed down to stop on the grid.

We were then dragged out of our cars to listen to the CoC berating us for not slowing down enough for the yellows. He was saying that the marshalls didn't want to try and recover Josh's car with us going at speed. I have to say that I think this is all nonsense. There as no way on this earth they were going to shift Josh's car and the race had to be red-flagged. Furthermore, I don't know about everyone else, but I went past Josh's car at 40mph, in complete control, rather than the 90mph that I normally was at that point on the track. As we'd had a talking to at Brands (from the same CoC) about not slowing down too precipitously (because of other people running into the back of us) this all seemed a bit OTT.

However, we reformed the grid and we were off again. This time I got a fairly duff start and also nearly ran in the back of Derek who got an even worse one. A couple of laps later I missed a gear down the straight which allowed David Wale to get past me. For the next couple of laps I crawled all over the back of his car trying to find a way past (he's got a very wide car in such situations!) but then going into Sear the car suddenly stopped. It took me a few seconds to work out that I knocked off the ignition switch with the wheel twirling that was going on. Dooooh...

And, when I got going again, there was nothing to race against so I trundled to the end of the race frequently kicking myself. I ended up in 15th in the race, 9th in class. FL was 1:20.8...

So, a pretty mixed weekend really. I now need to get the car sorted for Silverstone. The only thing that I'm aware I really must do is to move the ignition switch out of flailing range... Ho hum...

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