Has he won anything yet? ...Not yet - got some points though!

Update: 25th May 2009 - First Race Castle Combe by Rich

Turns out race-spec rear springs are like hens teeth but John's many contacts come up trumps again and we can now supply new springs made to order or re-temper existing old springs. The car is back together with a whole day to spare!

The weather forecast had a 60% chance of rain and it didn't look too promising at 6.45am as we set off. But both me and the car made it through novice breifing and scrutineering without any problems. Everyone was very friendly and James (parked next door) gave me some handy tips before qualifying.

My main aim for the day was to bring the car back in one piece so rain on the windscreen was not too welcome as qualifying started! The track was dry though and with plenty of class B and C cars circulating I tried to get to grips with the car. Initially the new springs seemed hard and the back end was dancing about but everything quickly settled down and my lap times steadily fell. Not far enough though - 23/28 (11/12 in class) on the grid with a 1:27.7 being the best I could manage from my 8 conservative laps. The car felt really good and I was loving it, so I was looking forward to the race...

The weather warmed up in the afternoon and the tyre pressures zoomed up 1.5psi standing still on the tarmac. By the time we got to the assembly area at 2.30 it was a proper summer's day and the car felt like an oven with me an over-dressed turkey in 3 layers of Nomex, a Balaclava, helmet and gloves. It wasn't till we were doing the green flag lap and I was trying to get the brakes up to temperature that I realised how many spectators there were. At most of the clubman events I've spectated at there's only been a handfull but the banks of Castle Combe were lined with people waving, felt like being a rockstar!

5000rpm and drop the clutch - with my slowish qualifying I was boxed in by class C cars with less power, it was all very close and as we piled through quarry corner I had to make sure to avoid Marty who was facing the wrong way. For the first two laps I held station before getting some confidence and passing two cars in one go round the outside of Folly. The field was quite spread out by this time but I managed to reel in a couple more cars before the end of the race with my best lap being a 1:24.9 (2.8 seconds better than qualifying but still a way off the top guys).

Result: 13th of 28 (7th of 12 in class). Best day ever :)

Update: 12th May 2009 - Testing at Llandow

With the carb problem fixed and an entry in for Castle Combe we needed a test to make sure the handling and brakes were working correctly and to give Rich some time in the seat.

Building up a fleet

Llandow is a short track but ideal for testing a new car with a decent mixture of corner speeds and a long enough straight to top 100mph. With fine weather but a brisk wind, the track temperature was fairly low and the slicks took a few laps to warm up but the car was going very well. After about 15 laps however, the right rear spring went soft and inverted which soured the day slightly.