Monday, June 9, 2014

A run of bad luck

Sitting down and having a think after the European we decided that there were a few things we wanted to try with the car.  Slick Cars were racing on the Saturday night at Birmingham so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out any changes.  The car didn’t need much work and bar any disaster we only had a diff change to be ready for the Bank Holiday meeting at Hednesford.  Quaife had recalled the new sequential box so we had the old standard box back in.

The Slick Cars were pretty hectic and the races were much shorter than a National race so with all sorts of cars on the track they were certainly action-packed.  I hadn’t gone with racing in mind and changed the car pretty radically each time I went out.  Starting last car for each race I never had any results to speak of but learnt a lot about the car and the limits we could go to with certain things.  John was also down racing a Stox Kart but they were on the race before me so unfortunately I didn’t get to watch him - but reports have told me he spent lots of time bouncing round the track!  My friends Stuart and Dianne had also come down from Scotland so their daughter Taylor could race her little Ninja Kart.  This is such a great formula for the youngsters, and teaches them so much about racing for when they are old enough to race Ministox.  She did very well, finishing every race before heading off to Aldershot to race at another meeting the following day.

We decided to change the car again for Hednesford and spent all the next day in the garage!  The changes worked, and even from the first lap the car felt the best it ever has on the super fast track.  The race was going well and I ended up in the front pack fighting for the lead.  I got a little carried away at this point though and executed a move which the stewards didn’t agree with, resulting in a black flag and retirement to the middle with only a handful of laps to go.  Although I think the decision was a bit tough who am I to argue - I go racing to enjoy myself so will leave the politics and drama to everyone else!

The second race was pretty uneventful really; I finished in the points with no damage and nothing exciting to report.  The final was much more intense though with Shaun Taylor and myself battling lap after lap for second place.  I was on the outside and really enjoying a great race with him.  We both gave each other plenty of respect and in my eyes it was just good close Hot Rod racing.  It ended in disaster though as the pack all came in together going into turn one, resulting in me parked in the Armco facing the wrong way!  Luckily the car was fine and the result was declared from the previous lap so I got the points and a nice trophy as well.

Once again there wasn’t much work to do after the meeting to get ready for the double header.  The new gearbox was fitted and the rest of the jobs went smoothly and we actually managed to load the car the night before the meeting rather than five minutes before we left.  Looking back now I should have known it was all too good to last. . .
The least I say about the following two days the better - in all my years of racing I have never felt so bad.  It started out with the gear ratios being completely to pot in practice but Robert McDonald quickly jumped in and changed them for me ready for the first heat.  I really struggled for the next two races but couldn’t pinpoint why.  Luckily Kym Weaver was on hand and figured it out before I headed out for the final.  Basically, someone had been round and adjusted all the shock absorbers on the car . . . not by a little amount either - 9 or 10 clicks on each corner!  Now I’ve never once pretended to be fast - let’s face it, I’m not really a threat to anyone, so for someone to go and do this is a really dirty trick.  I must admit it left me feeling pretty down and disheartened for a few days afterwards.

The car was back on peak for the final and I was really enjoying the race.  Luck just wasn’t on my side again though and as I crossed under the starters post to begin the last lap I had a mechanical failure once again relegating me to the infield from 5th position.

Unfortunately the car wasn’t going to be repaired for the next day but Danny Hunn very kindly offered to lend me his car so I could try and grab a few points and keep myself up in the qualifying places.  So it was a quick trip home to sort out some wheels and a few other bits before heading off to Suffolk the following morning.

The first problem was that Danny is much bigger than me so we used foam and cushions as padding so I could fit in the car with a certain degree of comfort.  A block of wood was added to the clutch pedal so I could reach that and then I was good to go - or so I thought . . .

Due to a slight technical hiccup the first race was a bit of a non-starter and some contact in the second race left me in the wall with a corner hanging off the car.  Not really what I wanted, two wrecked cars in less than a day!  Back in the pits we got Danny’s car rolling again but decided we’d had more than enough bad luck for one weekend and went to watch the final from the safe side of the fence.

I would like to thank Danny and the rest of the Hunn family for kindly lending me the car and for all their help on the day.  Sorry I made such a balls-up of it!  I would also like to thank everyone else for all their help over the two days.

Coming away from the meeting and letting my head settle overnight, Dad and I have made the pretty tough decision to take a short break from racing - until the first round at Ipswich in August.  I don’t feel happy about it but have lots going on at the moment and it’s the perfect chance to get the car sorted at our leisure and do a bit of testing before we come back refreshed and raring to go.  I love my racing but I know this is the right decision to make for now.  It will also give my wallet a chance to recover!

I would like to thank everyone for their continuing support.  I plan to keep blogging during my break and sharing any other adventures I have with you.  I’d like to wish all my friends “Good luck” for the end of the season and the Hot Rod World Final at Spedeweekend.  I’ll be helping on the 629 car or loitering in the bar.  Remember mine’s a Budweiser!

Thanks as ever for reading.

Until next time


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