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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Brands race report

An enjoyable day racing. It was quite a relaxed morning with scrutineering in the garage at 10:20. Practice kicked off an hour later and I think the marshalls had had one too many coffees and were energetically waving flags all the time. Mostly yellow and blue but then a red one at the end. It was difficult to get a clear lap and I tried to latch on to passing cars of the top guys to pull me a long.. My cockpit timer was still configured for silverstone - so it would wait 1 minute before checking for a timing beam and since the lap around brands is less then a minute I was getting lap times of 2 laps. So I had no idea what I was doing. A time of 56.68 was ok considering the last 3 laps were all under yellow at MacCleans because a car was parked with driver in on the outside.

Mid race tweeks involved putting in the right amount of petrol. I pumped about 10 litres and put back in exactly 10. We also lowered the car, gave it a clean, fitted some shoter air intakes and got the camera working. For the race I got a good start and passed a couple of people further up the field who must have started in third or did the classic 1st to 4th change. After we sorted outselves out I was following Lee Levett going into Paddock Hill Bend and I could see in front 2 cars spinning. Lee started to spin which made me think there must be oil on the track but my car stayed rock steady and I slowed a little while Lee did his spin and exited the track. Another half a lap and the red flags were out. So having made up 5 places in 1 lap it was back to square one. On the restart there was a huge gap in the grid on the right hand side. I think the spinners had been allowed back into the race but not in the original grid slots which is a good decision. In the past drivers who have stopped a race then have got a second chance by going back to the original grid slots was wrong and unfair for the rest of us. On the restart I passed another 1st to 4th gear type starter but was passed by a green car and that's where I stayed for the rest of the race. We quickly pulled away from the group behind me and I came close to overtaking a couple of times but I didn't get alongside in a good place to make it stick. Showing my slight lack of racecraft and also I am not good enough on the brakes. Both I need to work on for the next meeting at Snetterton. I finished 17th and I improved my lap time to 55.48. I was also under my qualifying laptime for almost every lap and I did 5 laps within a couple of tenths of my fastest lap - so good consistency. Throughout the race I could see a group of 3 in front and my target for snetterton is getting into that group.

In the scrutineering after the end of the race we had to remove the restrictor plates - why bother. If I am finishing 17th and breaking the rules then I am very poor at cheating. Anyway we duly took them off and checked.. Got the ride height checked and finally the weight. Without driver 391 (minimum is 375) and with driver 488 (min is 465). 97 kilos for the driver - that will come down as the summer comes and I do my other hobby - cycling both on and off road but I am 6ft 4 tall so there is a limit to how much weight I can lose without looking like a bean pole. Since it was London Marathon weekend I'll mention that I did the marathon and soon after completing it I joined a gym and I found the gym assessment the other day - I weighed 12.5 stones or 80 kilos. So with helmet and overalls that would come up a couple of kilos to 82, so I could take off 15 kilos which would bring me down close to the weight limit. Food for thought......who mentioned food !!! Also be looking at how much petrol was left in the car to get an idea of fuel economy and maybe save a kilo or two there.

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