Sunday, September 16, 2012

Trial and Error

Even though I’ve been happy with the car recently I’m always looking for ways to improve it.  Sometimes the changes work and sometimes they don’t.   What might seem like a brilliant idea in the workshop can quite often turn into a disaster when put into place on the track, and something that sounds ridiculous can often make the car much better.  No matter what you decide, the only way to know for sure, is to try it.

This is exactly what I decided when I saw they were running an open Hot Rod meeting at
Northampton to support the Lightning Rod world final.  It was a good chance to go out with no pressure and change the car without the worry of scoring points. With only four cars booked in it would give us a lot of space on track to be able to make changes and not worry too much if the car was terrible. Unfortunately only one other car turned up though, Classic Hot Rod star Roger Wright in a National spec. Ludlow 206 - a car that had once belonged to Adam Scott.

Considering it was just the two of us we had some good races and spent all day making changes on the car.  Incidentally, I ended up back exactly where I started, but learnt a lot in the process.   It was also the first time I towed the car to the track myself.  Not having use of the lorry I took my pick-up and trailer and, as I’ve  recently  passed my trailer test, it seemed the perfect opportunity for me to take myself racing so to speak . . . although my Dad was riding shot-gun in the passenger seat!

After that it was time to get the car ready for
Ipswich.  I didn’t have that much to do, just the usual time consuming jobs - fitting tyres, changing the diff and so forth. We always work on a Saturday morning then head off to racing in the afternoon; this leaves us plenty of time to get to the track and not have to rush around before the racing starts.  However, things were looking a bit dodgy when we got stuck in traffic on the way up and with rumours flying around about hours of delays we did start wondering what to do.   Luckily the hold-up cleared and we made it to the track with no further problems.

It was a lovely evening and everything was set for a good meeting.  The car flew in practice and felt okay at the start of the first race, but as the laps progressed it started to develop some understeer causing the front of the car to push on.   Dad and Sonny changed the car for the second race and again for the final and thankfully it was back on form.   At the end of the night I had a 7th, a 9th and a 12th, and although I hadn’t set the world on fire I had scored points in all three races and that is what you need to qualify.

The current points chart sees me sitting in 16th position.   It’s all very close and at this early stage it’s anyone’s game!  I’m looking forward to next weekend at
Birmingham.  Whatever the outcome it’s always my favourite track and I really enjoy racing there.   John and Billy are leading the Scottish championship (on joint points) so John needs a good day at Crimond on Sunday to edge himself back in front.

I didn’t realise until talking to my Grandfather the other day just how much I have to thank Stock Car racing for.   When he was younger there were a lot of old Stock Cars abandoned around the family farm and his Father (my Great-Grandfather) told him they ‘had to go’.    Consequently they were scrapped and both our yard and business were born.   Now 50 years down the line the farm is our yard, and there is still racing stuff everywhere!  So maybe things have not really changed that much - but without Stock Cars I might have been working in Tescos rather than doing something I love with my family.

I’ll be back after
Birmingham and update you with all the goings-on as I start a busy three weeks of racing with a meeting each weekend.

Thanks as ever for reading.

Until next time


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