January 4, 2005

Rolling road update

Since our engine tests, Chris and I have both raced at Mallory Park with no particular issues (in fact, my best lap was a 54.84 and Chris' a 54.37 which was the fastest Class 1 lap). The times we put in were both better than the pole times from our race in September - probably due to the cold air.

We have also since discovered that the rolling road didn't have an accurate way of measuring RPM - which sort of makes the whole thing pointless (RRs measure torque, and calculate HP from the torque; so if you can't get the RPM right, the HP is also wrong).

I have redrawn the graphs to rebase them over a consistent rev rage although I wouldn't say that these are any more or less accurate that the original traces. However, they do make more sense. You can view the file here (Excel). You can see that I have more torque/power up in the rev range, which may explain my slight advantage down the straights.

Posted by charles at 4:26 PM

January 5, 2005

Mallory Park 'Plum Pudding' Race

A few of us brave souls made the trip to Mallory Park on a very cold but bright and sunny Boxing Day for the annual Plum Pudding race. Although primarily a bike event, there were also single seaters and Caterhams on the bill. The Caterham grid was around 20 cars with a mixed group of Academy/Graduates, Super Graduates/Roadsport B and Mega Graduates. Myself, Chris Rome, Patrick Scharfegger, James Sykes and Roger Ford were in Academy (Class 1) with Wag in Super Graduates (Class 2) and Charles Bateman in Mega Graduates (Class 3).

In the end the bikes never raced. Ice in the tarmac or something.

We went out for a short practice and the grid was drawn at random - I was last alongside James Sykes, with Roger and Chris in front. Had a reasonable start and started to try and make some headway through the field; it wasn't long before I was battling with Chris and Roger. As we went into Gerards on lap 3, I ran wide and onto the grass but was very fortunate to keep it straight. After a couple of heavy bumps I rejoined - Wag then proceeded to spin at the hairpin and hold the entire field up for me which was nice :-). However, as I went through Devil's Elbow and onto the main straight I noticed the oil pressure sensor showing zero. I reached to turn the engine off but realised that there obviously was oil in the car. I eased back and as I came round Gerards saw the slippery surface flag. Worried for my own sake and everyone elses that I was dropping oil, I pulled off onto the grass and back into the pits. After spending around 30 minutes removing the acres of mud and grass I had collected, it was clear that the oil pressure sensor lead had come adrift. Reconnected it and everything was fine again. Lucky, but it was very frustrating to have missed the race!

See the video (from Chris' point of view) of the battle round Gerards and Wag's spin below.

Plum Pudding - Off and Wag spin (4.5Mb Windows Media File)

Some excellent racing ensued, with Mega Grad Mike Wellburn coming home first, followed by Nick Frost and John Parker. Toby Briant took the Class 2 (Supergrad/RSB) win in overall 5th and Patrick Scharfegger won Class 3 (Academy/Graduates) in a very good 6th overall. Roger Ford was second in Class 3 (10th) with Chris Rome 3rd (12th). You can see the full results here.

So, onto race 2 and this time I'm on the front row alongside James Sykes with Chris and Roger behind. This should be interesting. We're off and the Megas start to come past me as the laps build up but I'm still holding the class lead. On around lap 5(?) it all gets a bit tight going into the hairpin; Mark Gregory is battling for position behind me and gives me a slight nudge. He gets past as we go through Devil's Elbow and down the start/finish straight. I'm sure I have the place back as we go into Gerard's but much to my surprise Mark is still ahead! I push round the corner and end up sliding sideways, losing speed. I blame my CR322s vs his CR500s :-). The worst thing is that Roger and Chris come past me so now I'm down to class 3rd!!! Racing continues and by the last lap I'm right up on Chris and Roger but I overcook it a little into the hairpin and miss my opportunity.

Meanwhile, Patrick Scharfegger was making rapid progress through the field until he clips another car on the run down to Gerard's and goes off, into the Armco. Unfortunately there was quite a lot of damage to the car but Patrick was unhurt. Watch for the flying light cluster in the video!

Plum Pudding - Patrick off (3.5Mb Windows Media File)

Mike Wellburn takes the win (again!) with Michaele Apostolides in second and Toby Briant in third, taking the class 2 win as well. Roger, Chris any myself were in 10th, 11th and 12th overall taking the class 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

Full results are here.

Video courtesy of Chris Rome

Posted by charles at 7:37 PM