So after two race weekends, which had essentially been as much development sessions as they were races, I decided that before the Anglesey race weekend I would organise for half a day’s testing at the circuit to build up some familiarity with the circuit, the car and to hone my technique.
The test proved to be extremely worthwhile, as working with my teammate and former championship runner up (Justin) we worked our way through different setup configurations, with my times improving in each session. During the last session Justin went out in the car to gain a further insight into how the car is performing, areas of development and to give me a benchmark for my own performance – as at this stage it’s fair to say that my car is somewhat slower than others for a variety of reasons, such as not running a limited slip diff’, the shocks which we are using, brakes and steering issues (I will come back to the later!).
Whilst I am sure Justin could have gone a little quicker, his best time was only 0.9 seconds quicker than mine, which highlighted two things – for an absolute novice I was not doing too bad, and that there was a lot of time to come from the car – as according to Justin the difference between his and my car was a good few seconds!
Back to the steering, as you might remember from last time out I was bitten by a Puma, and whilst we thought we had got away with it – the damage to the steering was far more significant than we had realised – to give you an idea the steering wheel was pointing at 3 O’clock rather 12 O’clock, and turning left was a lot easier than turning right!
Talking of Pumas, we were joined by them again for this race weekend – something I have to admit I was not looking forward too.
The first race (Round 5 of the championship) was going really well, with me overtaking a few cars and with the main pack in my sights, unfortunately when I spotted the Puma’s coming through I focussed so much on getting out of the way I compromised my lap, which allowed the two cars I was racing with past.
I managed to make up one of those places but not both – whilst it was encouraging, it was hugely disappointing, to not do better.
Round 6 followed a very similar pattern – all going well, until the Pumas came through and again that allowed others to gain on me. In addition, I had noticed that my car, has started to make what can only be described as unusual noises, especially when I changed gear, and as the team had a look at it, we came to the conclusion that one of the gearbox bearings must have gone, and without having enough time to do anything about it, we took the decision to race in the third race of the weekend.
As I undertook my out lap, there was no doubt that the problem was getting worse, and as I lined up on the grid, I put the car into first gear, and set off as the lights went out, and as I reached for 2nd gear – there was nothing! My race was over after 200 yards!
To make things worse, on the way home, the gearbox of my van went too, so £150 and several hours later I finally got home!
So it’s fair to say after the first three race weekends down, I can honestly say I am having the time of my life! The championship has such a family atmosphere, with people always willing to help each other out, it is just brilliant, and I can only recommend to anyone who is even slightly considering it! And if you have any questions don’t hesitate in getting in touch with me @nickrmarketing / www.nickrichardson.co.uk