TCF goes racing: Part 13 – Making Ground at Oulton Park

It’s fair to say we had all of the best intentions after Anglesey to get the steering sorted, fit a new gearbox, sort the brakes out and start looking at new shocks – we even planned to repaint the car – but our normal lives took over and the week before the race it was still touch and go if I would be out, especially as my Cooper Poole Racing teammates Justin and Steve had other issues which would mean that they would also be fighting to make the race….

Fortunately, Steve and I made it, unfortunately Justin didn’t, but he will be out at the next race meeting at Anglesey in September.

Qualifying and practise – started badly as the steering felt even worse that Anglesey which gave me little confidence in the car, and saw me qualify in a disappointing position. Though it’s fair to say that whilst the steering was awful, potentially now closer to 4 O’Clock than 3 O’Clock, the new gearbox which Steve fitted was incredible!

But after a good talking too from my mechanics Jordon and George – I was motivated to give it everything in the race.

As for the race – Wow it was epic! In the first few laps I got past Theo Bridgeman-Williams (Si), Dave (XR2), Paul Brettel (XR3), Tony Mumford (XR2), Christopher Rowlands (XR2) and whilst I was quicker (based on fastest laps) than Michael Taylor (XR3) and Mark Noble (Si) I could not find a way past! Even so I managed to finish 5th in class – my best performance and best result by a long way!

Though it would not be racing if both races went well! The second race started well and again I made a number of places but coming into Shell Oils hairpin on Lap 2, the steering made a very loud crunch, and as I came out of the corner my steering was now pointing at 6 O’Clock! I managed to keep going at a reasonable pace and without losing any places, until I approached Cascades (the first left hander since the steering went!), and needless to say the car did not want to turn, and I went very wide!

However I managed to limp home and score a few points. But even with that disappointment it really did feel I was starting to make progress. And with a commitment from everyone we are going to make a number of changes to the car before the next race weekend, I am really hopeful I can further improve during the next race weekend.