June 7, 2004

Academy Event 2 - Sprint, Harewood

Okay, personal aim again was for the top 5. I was 9th in the first event at Aintree.

Took just (!) 4 hours to get up there on Saturday afternoon, not too bad at all. Good to see a few other competitors at the Harewood Arms Hotel. A few of us walked the circuit, and as I'd been up to the school, I was able to point out a few things including the nasty camber change on the exit of Country Corner - more of this later.

Signing on was at 07:45, so it was an early start but the weather was glorious, just as it was at Aintree. After walking the course again with an instructor, the Academy group were first out for their practice runs.

It had been a couple of months since I'd been up to the school so I took it easy and was pleased to cross the line with a time of 69.64, 4th fastest. I was surprised at the number of people that hadn't been to the school, and I knew that they'd all be getting faster through the day. During the lap I'd overbraked for a number of the corners though so was confident for my second run. I managed to catch this one on my new video camera and bullet cam but was disappointed to be slightly slower, and was now 9th fastest after practice. Not too bad.

I then made the key mistake of the day. Basically, I didn't bother to think why I was fast or slow but just went into the first timed lap trying to keep my foot down. It was a disaster. The lines were very basically okay, but I was struggling to actually hold the line, sawing the wheel all over the place for grip. I put a wheel off the circuit at Country after turning in too early and getting caught by the camber and crossed the line with 70.36. Rubbish. You can see how pleased I was in the video :-). I did manage to get [too!] close to the thwacking stick on the exit of Orchard. A slightly cracked rear wing and the loss of a nylon bolt resulted!! 15th overall.

Harewood 2004 - Timed Run 1 (4Mb Quicktime movie)

Second run. Didn't learn and just did the same again. Tidier round the first part of the course, but turned in too early and lost it at Country again. This time the bullet cam power lead came out so I lost video as well. Crossed the line in 70.13 for a slight improvement in time, but 18th overall.

Harewood 2004 - Timed Run 2 (4Mb Quicktime movie)

The full results can be seen here.

It was a hard lesson to learn. Amazingly disappointed, but if I don't think about what I'm doing and how to go 'faster' what do I expect. Something to bear in mind for Castle Combe.

Congratulations to Chris Rome (cr) who not only won the day, but also broke the class record with a time of 67.21. Chris moves up from 7th to 4th, with Paul Jepson still leading Group 1 after his 4th at Harewood. I've dropped from 9th to 12th :-(.

You can see the full championship (Group 1) positions after round 2 here.

Back to normal on the way home. 5.5 hours!

Posted by charles at 11:21 AM | Comments (2)

Martin said:

Good (honest!) writeup - I discovered at Aintree that you've got to assess where you're losing time, and it's in several places at once ie not just one corner at a time, plus figure it out quickly enough for it to count on the next run. The challenge of sprinting!

Did you also turn in (off?) too soon getting onto the A1? Must have had your foot down because we did a slight detour to avoid traffic at Doncaster and you'd caught us by the M18 junction.....must be running more than 115BHP in that tasty Nissan!
PS ta for the loan - drinks were much needed before travel! See you at Castle Combe...
PPS I can't get the video to play, maybe a QT player version problem....

Charles said:

Thanks Martin. Not sure about the route, I got a bit confused but basically went A1/M18/M1/M25. Seemed to get back alright anyway!

Try downloading the latest player from www.apple.com/quicktime.

June 14, 2004

Video camera wiring, brake pads...

Did a bit of work to the car over the weekend. I changed the wiring of the camera into a permanent circuit - i.e. the horn. This means that I can set the camera to the right mode and not worry about it resetting very time I turn the ignition off. It also means I've got to be careful to unplug it when not in use or else it will drain the battery!

I changed the front brake pads to a set of Mintex 1144s in advance of my test day at Castle Combe on Thursday.

Posted by charles at 3:56 PM

June 17, 2004

Castle Combe Test

Well, my first test day - an afternoon at Castle Combe. The R400s were in the morning, so I was out with (mainly) Formula Fords in the afternoon! My particular session was a bit of a mixture - two R400s, a GT car, couple of saloons.....

Castle Combe Circuit.gif

Bit scary I must admit. Had no idea where to park up but managed to find somewhere out of the way. I couldn't find where to sign on and didn't really want to ask (typical bloke!) but eventually saw Andy Billett who was noise checking. When I went to sign on I saw Mike Blackadder from Roadsport B who came over and introduced himself. He got a call on Wednesday asking if he wanted to race in the R400s at the weekend!!!

Got my lap timer running - best was a 1.25.82. This seems not too bad given that the sprint winner last year was 1.14 odd; it's not the full circuit (stops well before Camp) but is from a standing start. Highest (bike computer) speed was on the run down to Quarry, with around 110.5 mph.

My best 5 lap times were (courtesy of downloadable lap timer!)

20 1.25.82
23 1.25.95
22 1.26.10
19 1.26.73
21 1.26.87

Worst lap was a 1.43.28 with an off at Bobbies. Spent a lot of time in the first few sessions just looking in my mirrors!

Posted by charles at 8:05 PM | Comments (4)

Charles Elliott said:

They were still bedding in, but I think have created a slightly firmer pedal and have a little more bite. Speaking to Nick Potter, the main advantage of the 1144 pads is that they work for longer than a couple of track days as they don't glaze over. They're pretty cheap too and you can change them in 10 minutes!

Andy said:

Charles,

If I remember correctly during your build diary you mention that you purchased a Performance Meter. I have been thinking of getting hold of one of these, possibly a GPS based version and was wondering if you had found yours to be of any use. Also I guess that you are not allowed to use these at trackdays, but they are fine at testdays, is this correct?

Andy.

Charles Elliott said:

Andy,

Yes, I bought a second hand AP-22. I've played with it a bit, but it's only really good for measuring standing starts as it can only derive speed and distance from acceleration so any errors are cumulative.

I do fancy a Race Technology DL1 but they're a lot of money :-)