September 16, 2004

Mallory Park Test Day

Had a really good day at Mallory yesterday. It was a half day test session for around ?90.

Didn't start well with a long queue to sign on before you were allowed to cross the circuit and get to the paddock. This meant a carpark stacked with cars and trailers! The queue was so bad that at least one person (Pete Earnshaw, but I'm sure there were others) arrived in time for the first session at 09:00 but missed it because of the queue! The day consisted of 2 x 30 minute sessions and 1 x 40 minute session. Great to see Fabian back with his 'new' old car. Now aluminium and red rather than BRG, but retaining the original fuel filler.

The first session was wet; Mallory is a pretty fast circuit and going round Gerards at 80 mph with the back stepping out is not a great experience. However, I was more concerned with the fact that my water temperature gauge was showing nothing, especially as this was my first time out with a new radiator. A combination of this, the circuit being wet and me not knowing it just meant that I was a general pain to everyone else with a fastest lap of (don't laugh) 1:00.42. Unfortunately, Steve Marshall went off in the first session, bent the De Dion amongst other things and has got a fairly hefty bill to pay before Sunday!

Back in the pits it was clear that the temp sensor had gone, so for the second (now dry) session it was full throttle. I started to learn the circuit and play around with some lines; in particular forcing myself to go into the hairpin slowly! It was also good to tussle with TVRs and others out there. I also got my best time of the day with a 56.05. This compares reasonably with last year's group 2 qualifying times which were in the dry. I think it was during this session that Patrick S also reversed into the tyre wall, doing some damage.

Out for the last session, great fun playing with the TVRs and putting in several 56 second laps. Then the rain started to come down again.....

See you all on Sunday!

Posted by charles at 1:01 PM

September 17, 2004

Mallory video

Damn! Looks like I've messed up on the video front for Mallory. I filled out the form on Wednesday and was supposed to go back and get it at lunchtime but forget. Rang today and they said they would fax it to me but nothing has showed up....

Posted by charles at 5:02 PM

September 19, 2004

Academy Event 6 - Race, Mallory Park

Event 6! It all seems to have come round so quickly, and the remaining two events come over the next three weeks. Anyway, back to the Mallory race.

I arrived about 08:00 and managed to pick up my signed video form at signing on which was really good news. It was only when I got back to my car that I realised that I'd left both the power and video lead behind, so there was going to be no filming. That turned out to be a great shame.

I got the car up on stands to remove the rear wheels and bleed the brakes and what with the briefing in between and qualifying starting at 09:55 it was all a bit of a rush. Paul Jepson had arrived with a broken windscreen and Caterham set about fitting a replacement but unfortunately Paul missed the start of the briefing and was fined - not a good start to his day.

Qualifying was fairly uneventful, although the times were closer than previous events. Slipstreaming other cars to get around the circuit was vital to setting the best times and I was reasonably happy with my 16th position, especially as my time of 55.827 was a couple of tenths better than my best time in testing the previous Wednesday. Adrian 'Wag' Wagstaff set the pace on his home circuit with a 54.679, closely followed by Adrian Agyros with 54.753 and Luke Dimsdale with 54.890. Championship leader Paul Jepson was down in 7th with 55.178. Less than 1 second covered the top 12 qualifiers, and 3.5 seconds the top 25! Fabian put in a good performance to qualify 10th after his massive crash at Snetterton, but Andrew Blight was suffering from a poorly engine and was down in 20th. An investigation revealed an inlet side flooded with oil but no definite cause. He decided to run anyway :-). See the full grid here courtesy of MST.

Onto the race and we went round for the green flag lap, butterflies building. I lined up on the grid beside Darren Faraway with John Bickell and Chris Rome in front of me. Lights on and then out and start! People around me seemed to make reasonable starts but I managed to get past John Bickell. As we raced round the first few corners traffic made some overtaking possible and I squeezed past Chris Rome, moving up to 14th. Darren who had started alongside me on the grid was up to 10th. At the front Adrian Agyros was leading with Wag in second and Chris Sedwick up to third from sixth. Positions swapped for the next couple of laps and by the end of lap 3, Adrian was still in the lead but with Chris now in second and Wag down to third. Paul Jepson was up to 5th and I was holding 14th. Chris took the lead on lap 4: into lap 5 and Patrick Scharfegger and Wag had a coming together. Paul took evasive action to avoid a serious accident and unfortunately ended up in the tyre wall near the esses. I was up to 13th. On lap 6 the yellow flags were out but only one was being waved and there were a few overtaking maneovures depending on when people saw the flag - including myself overtaking Jonathan Alpine. Sorry! Up to 12th.

On lap 7 Adrian was back in the lead with Chris second and Luke third. James Sykes got past me and I was now down to 13th with John Bickell right up behind me and Jonathan behind him.

On lap 9, Luke took the lead up from 4th on the previous lap. Chris was still second but Jamie Bashall was now up to third. I was still in 13th but finding it increasingly difficult to hold off John. However, on lap 10 I got past James again and was back up to 12th.

On lap 11 I wasn't as quick running up to the Esses and James came past me, closely followed by John Bickell and Chris Rome in the run up to the hairpin. I was down to 15th! Some very close exchanges followed [great that Chris had his rear facing camera going] and into lap 12 I managed to slipstream past Chris. Luke was holding the lead with Chris Sedgewick second and Adrian third, with Jamie having dropped to 4th. As we came round the hairpin and through Devil's Elbow I was so pleased to see the chequered flag as Chris was very close. He made a last minute dive out of my slipstream but I was able to hold on as we crossed the line.

What an absolutely fabulous race. I didn't even care where I'd come, it was such great fun.

Luke finished first, Chris second and Adrian third. Despite his engine problems, Andrew managed to pick up 5 points with a 16th.

See the full race results here again from MST, or the full booklet with a lap by lap breakdown.

Updated results are available to download here.

I've now moved up to 12th, but have Jonathan Alpine, James Sykes and Andrew Blight all within 4 points of me! Conversely, Darren is 11 points ahead so it's going to be a challenge to keep my place.

Posted by charles at 11:19 PM | Comments (5)

Charles Elliott said:

Thanks John and Guy. Yes, true to mention that unlike Snetterton there was only one DNF (the unfortunate Paul Jepson) and much less damage. Patrick and Wag probably have a bit of a bill though :-(. Cannot wait until Oulton now!

Charles Elliott said:

BTW John - Chris' rear camera was definitely working as I got a sneak preview of the footage!

Chris said:

oh it was working alright...Check here:
http://caterham-academy.co.uk/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=630
:)

See you all at Oulton....
Chris

September 23, 2004

New LANC controller

Bought a great new LANC controller (copying Paul Jepson!) for my Sony Camcorder. The previous problem was that although you could control all the record/stop/pause functions from the controller, you had to manually put the camera into AV mode and do the same every time you switched it on. Doesn't sound too much of a hardship but you don't really want to think about the camera just as you're being called to a race.

Anyway, Paul had found one at Skytools which takes care of all this for you and puts the camera in the correct mode. Great! Tested it out tonight and it seems fine, although my camera was a bit unhappy, complaining of dirty heads (had to bin the tape that was in it) and the record button being a bit temperamental. I had been a bit careless, leaving the camera in the car boot overnight quite a few times :-(. Oh well, I'll see whether it sorts itself out before thinking about sending it back.

Posted by charles at 6:36 PM | Comments (2)

John Bickell said:

Hi Charles,
I have also been experiencing intermittent problems with my current LANC controller, hence no Mallory Race footage. Could you please forward or post full details of the source of your new (Paul Jepson)controller as I am fed up not knowing if the camera is recording or not.
Regards John Bickell

Charles Elliott said:

Hi John,

It's the CamEye SPORT (http://www.skytools.m.se/cameyesport.htm). There are three different versions depending on what camera you have so make sure you get the correct one.