Just like last year, we decided to skip the very first round of the CSCC season at Snetterton due to budget and travel distance. So, we arrive at the 2nd round of the season for our first outing and most notably, the first race outing for the new engine. With Ryan away for the next race, he would take this race on as a single driver and Dave would do the same at Oulton Park in a month’s time. We’ve only done a couple of single driver entries over the years and haven’t actually ever finished one, so if Ryan just crosses the finish line today, it will be a success!
As mentioned in the last post, we had some noise issues on the trackday and had replaced the rear silencer with a new unit. Of course, that meant we were keen to find out if the change had fixed the issue. Guess what… It did and we were back down to 100dB once again, good news.
After another fault free scrutineering, we had plenty of time to relax as we were last in the schedule, this meant by the time we were ready to go, the ambient and track temperature were both quite high, it was a very warm day!
Ryan headed out for qualifying, steadily getting up to speed. However, as he pulled on to the back straight he seemed to be getting quite a bad case of fuel surge. This didn’t quite make sense because the tank was now full of foam and we hadn’t seen any problems when we tested the car. He came in to the pits after 6 laps to report this but unfortunately, we didn’t have much time to do anything about it. So, we sent him back out and he tried his best to drive around it, eventually putting in a lap of 1:21.1, this gave us 15th on the grid, 4th in class. This wasn’t where we expected to be and in fact was some 2 seconds slower than last year’s fastest lap.
Post qualifying, we opened up the fuel tank and pulled out the foam, our diagnosis was that the foam was actually blocking the outlet of the pump after it had shifted a little during use. We pulled it all out and refilled the tank, let’s hope it works.
With that done, the team settled in for the afternoon to watch all the other races, Tin Tops was the last race of the day of course. A few ice creams later and it was time to get ready. It was still roasting hot, so Ryan was waiting until last minute to zip up his overalls and get in the car.
We knew that if the car was sorted, Ryan would pick his way through in to the top 10 quite quickly. He certainly did and after a storming first lap, he was up to 8th!! He preceded to have, what was to be a 9 lap battle with Dan Fisher in the #52 Civic. During those laps, unfortunately Tom Mensley in the #1 Clio dropped out, so Ryan was up to 7th heading in to the pits.
After an early and quick pitstop, Ryan came out ahead of Dan Fisher and found himself in 6th. As soon as he came out of the pits, Billy Hardy in the Corsa and Nigel Tongue in the Peugeot 306 retired on the same lap with mechanical issues and Ryan found himself in 4th overall, 1st in Class B. As the laps ticked down, he got quicker and quicker as he spotted the #61 Integra of Russ Hird slowly coming towards him. With 5 minutes to go, he’d pulled a 9 second gap down to less than 2, flying passed back markers in the process.
Time was running out, but on lap 29 of what was to be 31, Ryan made his move and pulled it off, he was in 3rd overall. He hung on for the remaining 2 laps and brought the car home successfully. The whole team were really chuffed with the result, especially seeing as this was the first race since the new engine. Proof that it works, it’s quicker and it didn’t blow up. Unfortunately, for the first time in a long time there was a problem with the camera and no footage was recorded, so no video from this one.
Ryan drove a fantastic race and the result was a just reward for that, bring on the next one!