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Silverstone ’17 Race Report

After removing the gearbox and sending it to a specialist, the report back was that there wasn’t actually any major faults inside the box that would’ve caused the issues that were experienced. Armed with that information, the gear linkage was replaced and extra care was taken to ensure correct fitment and positioning. Fortunately, not much else was wrong with the car, so a spanner check, a setup change and we were ready for Silverstone.

Silverstone is actually the closest circuit to us, approximately only 45 minutes away. We were also late in the schedule, so we only had to be at the circuit before 9am, practically a lie in! Of course, we made to make sure to get a motorsport breakfast en route, although we nearly got stuck in the drive through trying to get the trailer through. Once again, Rob was on hand and in charge in the pits as well as Reg, Dave’s Dad, who was there nice and early to help out.

The weather forecast had been changing all week but on the day, it was glorious, another suncream day ahead. Qualifying was scheduled for 11.30, this time Dave was first in the car. An early red flag interrupted the session and despite Silverstone being quite a wide track, it was difficult to find space on track for both drivers. Dave’s time of 1.20.957 eventually put the team 14th on the grid, but neither driver felt happy they’d got the most out of the car, it was a top 10 car all day. A positive was that both drivers were now happy with the gear select0r and no issues were reported.

For the 2nd race in a row, there wasn’t much to do between qualifying and the race, so the team took a bit of time out to watch the other races in the lovely sunshine. As the afternoon went on, the clouds were becoming a little darker and now thoughts went towards whether it was going to rain or not. The race soon came around and the rain had held off, a dry setup it would be.

The races were once again running ahead of schedule and so we were soon on the grid ready to rock. Dave launched the car off the line and managed to jump a whole row before grabbing 3rd gear, as he did that, a huge incident unraveled in front of him as Carl Chambers in the no.72 Peugeot ran along the grass, got tagged as he rejoined, speared across the track and took out the no.85 of Nigel Ainge and the slow starting pole sitter Richard Wheeler in the no.53 Fiesta. Dave managed to totally avoid this and continued to race through the first set of corners. Coming on to the hangar straight, Dave had gained 7 places, 4 overtakes and 3 retirements! Unfortunately, the wreckage on the start finish line meant a red flag came out immediately and the cars would have to return to their original grid slots, Dave’s overtakes wiped out.

As the races were running ahead of schedule and thanks to a great turn around by the club and marshals, the race would now start close to it’s originally scheduled time and still run a full distance. The grid formed again and for the 2nd time in a row, Dave launched really well and gained a few spaces very quickly. He soon found himself tagged on to the back of Mark Livens in the no.54 Honda Civic. A battle commenced and over the next 10 laps, Dave and Mark would constantly trade places as they battled over what was 8th position.

After about 10 minutes, the clouds decided to put a little doubt in the minds of the drivers and a little bit of rain fell, but it wasn’t enough to make any kind of effect on the track conditions.  A few minutes later, Mark Livens took an early pitstop and Dave stayed out to run up to 20 minutes, Ryan eagerly waiting to jump in. The pit entry at the Silverstone International circuit is very quick and Dave tried his best to minimise the total pitstop time as he came in. Rob and Reg were on hand to turn around a strong pitstop and Ryan set off with no issues to report from Dave.

Ryan came back out on to the track in 7th place, as a driver ahead had retired and also, a solid 20 second gap to Mark Livens now after another quick pitstop. Ryan found himself it pretty clear air with a gap of over 15 seconds to the car in front and unfortunately unlikely to close, as this car was lapping around half a second quicker. This didn’t stop Ryan giving it a go and he soon got in to a rhythm, posting some really strong times in the low 1.19s. Towards the end of the race, another car retired in front of us and we inherited 6th place overall. This wasn’t enough to take the class win, Tom Mensley still managing to have the beating of us. He would eventually finish 3rd overall and 1st in Class B.

And so, after a strong, well run race, Ryan would bring the car over the line in 6th place. This was a good result and the team went away feeling they’d had a good day, but recognising there were still some improvements to be made to both car and driver. Also, for the first time in a long while, driving the car off the trailer and straight in to the workshop was a luxury the team always aspire to. Next up is Spa Francorchamps in Belgium and this presents it’s own little challenge. Some prep work of a full spares package as well as ensuring the car meets FIA regulations and of course, the very important National A license acquisition were all on the jobs list.

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