August 6, 2004

Curborough Academy Day

Had a good day at Curborough yesterday with around 20 people from Group 1 and few people from Group 2 along for a good day out. It was good to practice on the circuit prior to Saturday - it's much more technical than it first looks!

My best time was 66.19 which wasn't too bad. Roll on Saturday.....

Posted by charles at 11:18 AM

August 23, 2004

Academy Event 5 - Race, Snetterton

Well, what an eventful weekend.

Went up to Snetterton on the Thursday night, ready for a track day with Gold Track on the Friday. Had a good day with sever other Academy competitors, and later heard that I was doing about 1:26.5 laps. This was likely to put me 1-1.5 seconds off the pace, but solidly in the middle of the grid so I was fairly happy. As usual, Pat Gormley seemed amazingly quick.

There was a test day at the circuit on the Saturday but I didn't go along having booked the track day before I knew about the test. Unfortunately, Simon Young from Group 2 had a coming together with Roger Ford and put an end to his weekend.

So, the day of the race and it was early to the circuit for sign on and scruitineering. Qualifying started at 09:30 and ran for 25 minutes so after waiting in the assembly area for what seemed like ages we were out on the circuit. The track felt much more slippery than it had done on Friday and there was a lot more understeer. However, I was pretty pleased with my session and was only overtaken once (by Pat!). On the way in from the session the cars were weighed - unfortunately Pat and John Bicknell proving to be slightly underweight. A stern word from the CotC later and they were put to the back of the grid with a 10 second penalty.

The qualifying results sheet soon arrived. As a double blow for Pat, he had set the fastest lap of 1:25.129 with Paul Jepson close behind with a 1:25.277. In fact the top 10 were separated by only a smidgen over a second. I was, being totally honest, shocked to have been placed 22nd (out of 26 today) with a 1:28.339, especially given my times at the Track Day (allegedly). Oh well. Confirmed qualifying results had me at 20th after Pat and John's move to the back.

So, we line up for the race. It all seems to go amazingly quickly and we are soon off for our green flag lap and then lining up for the start. I had Martin Woodham in front of me and Chris Ross to my right. Red lights on and then GO!!! I don't know what happened - but there wasn't a lot of movement and I jumped up the middle past a few cars and had gained 4 places by the first corner and was behind Chris Rome. It was very tight and I backed off going into Riches only to see the seas part in front of me as Andy Blight and Fabian Somerville Cotton (and no doubt others) made contact. Myself and Chris went flying through the middle making up more places. By the end of lap 1 I was in 12th, with Paul Jepson in the lead, Adrian Argyros in 2nd and Adrian 'Wag' Wagstaff in 3rd.

Bit of a blur after this - need to watch the video :-)

At the end of the 3rd (???) lap, Hugo Jones spun going through the Russell chicane and Pat couldn't avoid him, bending Hugo's front wishbone and doing some serious damage to the front of his own car. Race over for Pat and the race was red flagged.

We lined up for a restart and were told that there was 6 laps to run. I was now 15th with Paul on pole, Wag alongside him and Adrian in 3rd. My second start wasn't so good with too much wheelspin but I held my place. On the second lap after the restart, Chris and Patrick came together at Riches but both continued. They were soon followed by Chris Ross, Simon Fielding and John Bicknell who continued, although Simon had a damaged radiator and Chris soon retired (why Chris???). I then went into the Russell chicane alongside James Sykes and someone else (?), got it sideways and had James clip the front of my car losing his rear wing (sorry James!). I actually thought it was my wing at the time! A spin meant me losing a few places whilst I restarted but the car was on its way again, albeit with a slightly wonky steering wheel (!). Jamie Bashall had a spin at Russell but kept going, and Adrian Argyros did the same at Riches.

Chris Rome got it wrong at Riches, ran over the curbs only to have his inertia switch cut the engine! I expect a lot of people will be moving them to inside the cockpit now!

I think we'd done 4 laps since the restart when I came round Coram to see two cars in the long grass some way off the circuit. Someone (it was Jamie Bashall, but his car was too hidden for me to see at the time) was running at full speed from the first car towards what I could see was Fabian Somerville-Cotton's car, mangled and with smoke coming out of it. I felt sick and slowed right down. There was then that difficult moment of realisation that the race was still on and a decision as to what to do. I accellerated down Revett straight, to be relieved to see the red flags out. The race was stopped there having run over 75% distance.

Apparently Jamie had gone off the circuit and was waiting to rejoin - Fabian collided with him and went over the side of Jamie's car, up into the air and landed on its front, only to then somersault onto the rear of the car and land eventually wheel side down. Both were, thankfully, unhurt and Fabian recovered enough to tell us all that he would 'definitely' be at Mallory. Great stuff Fabian and a major relief.

So, the result. Paul Jepson won with 5:50.315 (for the race after the restart), then Chris Sedgwick with 5:52.837 and Patrick Scharfegger in 3rd with 5:54.574. I finished 12th and was pretty pleased overall. In the Parc Ferme I also noticed that my radiator had been punctured in the coming together with James Sykes and coolant was leaking all over the place....

Martin Woodham noticed some strange behaviour in his car on the green flag lap, and finished 14th only discover a broken ear and bent De Dion(!)

In a final twist, Darren Faraway (who had finihsed 6th originally) and John Bicknell (finished 17th) were excluded due to a technical scrutineering problem - something related to the suspension.

Pat Gormley (damaged front end), Chris Ross (?), Simon Fielding (damaged radiator), Chris Rome (inertia cut off), Jamie Bashall (damaged near side) and Fabian Somerville-Cotton (rolled car) didn't finish.

Full lap by lap times and information is here courtesy of MST. [NOTE: These are the provisional results and don't include Chris Rome's DNF or the exclusion of Darren and John]

Results can be found here:

Download file

including an event by event graph of championship positions :-)

More info, results and videos to follow.


Posted by charles at 11:36 AM | Comments (8)

Adrian Argyros said:

Good report as usual Charles. Some corrections though,(for accuracies sake!) at the end of the first lap Paul was leading, I was in second and Wag was third. Also at the restart as it went on countback to the previous lap the starting grid at the front was Paul first, Wag second and myself third. I think Luke or Henry was 4th , Chris 5th and Patrick was 6th. I has a nightmare start second time around and was 9th into the first corner! Bugger!! Managed to get up to 5th though.
See you at Mallory. Ade

Martin said:

Great report Charles!
I had an uneventful(!) race after realising I had a handling problem during the green flag lap. Hence my slow start. Car was weaving side to side at the back every time I braked or dipped the clutch. I nearly decided to abort, but instead I drove very carefully and smoothly esp with front to back weight transfer. Kept out of everybody's way, which turned out to be a good thing...
The problem turned out to be a broken (compeletely in half) de Dion ear and bent tube - in which case I reckon that finishing was a result, let alone a 14th place.

Charles Elliott said:

Thanks Guys - updates made (hopefully!)