As usual, I had an 'interesting' day. The car was playing up at the end of qualifying, so in the hour available we threw a couple of fixes at it and crossed our fingers for the race. I got a great start, gained 2 places and headed up to Riches in 2nd place, when the misfire returned - everyone streamed past and managed to avoid me -apologies to the rest of the grid for being a mobile chicane. I got as far as the entry to the pit lane before it would go no further. The race had been red flagged as Kevan Gore had gone off at Riches going into the corner a bit hot, locked up and ran wide onto the grass, he almost made it but just caught the end of the tyre wall and, and was winded by his seat so took a little while to get out, but is fine. a bent steering rack prevented him from continuing. I pushed the car up the pit lane (uphill!!!), where we once again changed the ECU and fired up using an external battery. I joined the grid from the pit lane, but the car died on the green flag lap on the Revett straight. MarcHockin in the Griff 500 was also caught up in the start line incident, and half the paddock rallied around to jury rig the suspension and get him back out for the second race. Unfortunately Elliott Mason and Dave Caroline had a coming together on the restart, with Dave hitting the pit wall heavily. The race was red flagged again to allow the medical crew to extract Dave from the car - after initial concerns about neck injuries; fortunately he had only hurt his thumb (caught in the steering wheel) - and a bang on the head from the roll cage.
The race was cancelled and instead we would run a single 15 lap race. No 6 had a faulty alternator - the car would run for as long as there was charge in the battery, but with the small race battery that meant about 6 laps on a full charge. We didn't have time to change the alternator, so we nicked the big battery out of my step dad's road car, and ratchet strapped it into the race car. We had no idea whether it would last 15 laps. We had another scare on the grid when the car wouldn't restart but Darren's mechanic came sprinting onto the track with an auxiliary battery and got us started.
The race itself was great fun - I got another good start and took two places - held second place for a lap and a half until I made a mistake at Sear which let Tim and Elliot through on the straight. It took me three laps to retake Elliot - and whilst I was then able to pull away, there were a couple of occasions when I hit traffic at unfortunate places on the track. I came up on Graham having a ding dong battle with Mark in the Griff, with both of them overtaking poor George Carter in the very sick Tasmin - three abreast round an oil-covered Coram was not really an option, so I had to sit tight until the straight, then go past. Elliot had now closed right up, which increased the pressure somewhat! In fact George did a sterling effort staying out there in the Tasmin, limping around with the other cars bearing down on him must have been interesting...
Tim and Darren had a great race, with Darren just holding on for the win. To my amazement/delight the battery held up just long enough for us to finish in 3rd - there were some emotional scenes on the pit wall - none of us thought I'd finish The battery was completely flat by the end - we had to jump start Dad's road car!
All in all I had a fabulous day - the usual panic and drama with a great result at the end which made it all worthwhile. It was fantastic to see the flags being waved on the banking - and really good to catch up with the Mid Essex posse. Sorry I had so little time to talk, it was just like the good old days.
We will now start the long job of transforming the Tuscan into a V8 Sagaris racer over the winter (which contrary to some rumours I heard yesterday, is very much a reality).
For 2006 we should be able to combine the two series into a really strong championship with grids of 20 or more cars - something I think everyone would like to see.
Although the race was, as expected, dominated by the Tuscans, the differences were not as stark as some might imagine. If one looks at the times and discounting the class A Tasmin due to its problems, the differences at Snetterton, where they will show up due to the big straights are:
Tuscan challenge spec 1:12-1:19
Fastest B 1:21 ( although Graham W's logger showed a theoretical best of 1:19)
Fastest A 1:26 ( the last time Topless Taz was there)
and the likes of the Thorpedo should have bagged a couple of TC scalps ...
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