Good Friday – Skegness
We arrived at Skegness on Good Friday and it was nice and dry! This was my first meeting on tarmac in this car so I went out for practice. When I was coming out of the bends the engine was popping quite badly, I tried to clear it but it wouldn’t. When I got back to the pits we had a look at the engine and it wasn’t getting enough fuel, Karl and my dad managed to sort it and the next time I went out in practise it had cleared and the car felt quite fast.
Then the heavens opened and absolutely drenched the place! I wasn’t complaining too much because I did go well in the wet in my V8 so I was excited to see how I got on in the F1.
In Heat 1, I got a good start and was going quite well, but just before half way my battery cut out and I had to roll… very slowly… towards the fence and wait the rest of the race out there.
Heat 2 and the track was drenched by this point and could have been used in the Olympics for the 400m free style! I had mesh goggles but they didn’t really do anything, when going down the straights it was like someone just throwing a bucket of muddy water straight into my face! I kept going as best as I could but not being able to see where you’re going is quite scary! You just have to hope that there isn’t a parked car at the end of the straight. I managed to finish the race without a place but I was pleased anyway, given that I couldn’t see.
The Final was pretty much the same, very wet and I couldn’t see where I was going at all! Someone hit me going into the bend and my car came out of gear, I pulled it back into second but my gear knob came off in my hand! I was holding it in my right hand going down the straight and only had my left hand on the steering wheel. I didn’t know whether to throw it out of the car like a grenade or down into my foot well… I ended up throwing it down by my feet and could feel it rolling around for the rest of the race. I finished the race and was pleased as Karl said that I was going really well! I enjoyed the race so much!
I had a good start in the National and again, just kept going without being able to see where I was going. I could tell that I was getting quicker though, it took the leaders a while to catch me up so I was really pleased with that!
Even though I didn’t get any places, I was so pleased that I had finished 3/4 races and managed to get some laps in. After looking on MyLaps it turns out I was 17th fastest out of 32 cars, can’t complain about that! Although I was soaked through to the bone I was so pleased with how I had driven in the final and national and still enjoyed the meeting and I am just glad I didn’t drown!
I just want to say what an awesome job Rob Speak has done with the place too!
I was excited to race at Stoke because I loved it there in the V8 and couldn’t wait to race there in the F1!
In the first heat my goggles had steamed up at the start of the race, on the rolling lap I tried to wipe them but they just steamed back up. I decided to try and race without them… what a mistake that was! The stones were hitting my eyes so fast and it actually really hurt! I tried putting my goggles back on but I would have seen more if I put my hands over my eyes so goggles weren’t an option. I decided to pull off because I couldn’t see either way, but because I couldn’t see where I was going it took me 5 laps to manage to pull off! I’m not going to lie I did get a little bit scared, not being able to see where you’re going is really awful, I was so relieved when I managed to pull onto the middle!
My dad kindly bought me some new goggles so that I could see where I was going in Heat 2! What a difference in my confidence it made too, I was really really enjoying that race however, my car felt to be pushing into the corners a little bit instead of going in nicely I had to fight to get the car around. I still finished and enjoyed the race though.
When I came off and explained to my dad that I thought it was pushing, he explained to me that I was driving it too much like my V8, which is all I’m used to racing, really. He explained that mid bend I have to control the car with the throttle rather than the steering. In V8s you have to wait for the car to straighten up and then get on the throttle.
So with dad’s advice in mind I went into the Final, and driving the way that dad told me was SO MUCH MORE FUN! I could feel that I was so much faster coming out of the bends and understood what dad had told me about controlling the car with the throttle! I finished the race and came off absolutely ecstatic with the biggest smile on my face ever!
In the National I could tell that my confidence had grown since the first heat, I was going really well and was very much on pace! Stuart Smith passed me and I managed to stay with him for nearly a lap and then my dad passed me and I kept with him for nearly a lap as well which was so cool! I finished the race and got 11th which I was over the moon with!
I was so so happy with today’s racing as I could tell that I was getting faster and faster as the meeting went on and being able to keep up with my dad for a lap was such an awesome feeling! I finished three races again which I was very chuffed about!
We got to Belle Vue and the pits were flooded and the track looked nasty but I was still looking forward to racing as I love shale!
I lined up at the back of the yellows for Heat 1. I didn’t get a very good start but I kept going and making my way through traffic. The conditions were really tricky, it was very hard to see and cars were spinning out left, right and centre. I managed to finish the race in 9th place to my surprise. And Daniel won it! When I came off, it turned out that I was the only car that didn’t spin in the whole race, very chuffed!
Heat 2 was actually worse that heat 1, it had started raining quite heavily which made the track chaotic! Again, everyone was just spinning and crashing so I just kept to myself and tootled along. My goggles had packed up due to all the shale clogging the film up, so I decided to take them off and finish the race without them. Some laps I literally couldn’t see a thing and my eyes were hurting so much! I managed finished the race in 5th beating both my dad and my brother!!! I was so pleased with 5th place, I couldn’t have been happier!
I got such a good start in the Final, beating the three other yellow tops, I caught 1 white top and passed him and then I was starting to catch the leader. Then another yellow top had spun coming out of turn 2, I went to go around him but he reversed straight into my line and I stopped dead on him. I managed to get going again but a lot of cars had passed me. I had taken my goggles off as they had packed up again, I think everyone was in the same boat, and at one point I felt like I was actually going blind… I’m not even exaggerating!
I could hardly see anything and my eyes were so sore, I could feel little stones in my eye lids… It wasn’t pretty! Then my little brother decided it would be hilarious to spin me out coming out of turn 2! Luckily this was on a yellow flag so I re-joined the grid at the back. When the race started again, I had absolutely no idea what place I was in, I was just driving around hoping to finish without any damage, which I did.
I then realised that my brother had won! I went around to the start finish line to congratulate him when Karl leaned in my car and said to me “Stay there, you got third!” I couldn’t believe it, I honestly thought I was dead last, I was just happy to finish the race and it turned out I had got third!
I had to go to the ambulance to get my eyes rinsed out after the Final because I could hardly open them, there was so much shale in them! My brother actually had to go to A&E to get the stones scraped out of his eyes…vom! Luckily it hasn’t done any damage, and it was worth it anyway… HE WON THE FINAL!!!
I didn’t go out in the National because my eyes were really playing me up. I couldn’t see anything or open my right eye and was just soaked to the bone and just wanted to go to KFC for my tea. I am still completely overjoyed with my results at Belle Vue and also for my brother winning the final! I still can’t believe that I actually finished third! Hopefully the next time we race there it won’t be as wet?
The track wasn’t as good as we had hoped but we thought we’d give it a go anyway.
I managed to get a sixth and an eighth in the heats but the car was not running properly. We had a big misfire but my dad just told me to go out and try finish the Final. The first lap my goggles broke so I stayed at the back were there wasn’t any shale getting thrown in my face. It came to a waved yellows and I counted that I was seventh so I was well chuffed with that.
When we set off I followed my Dad and we got though a load of pile ups and came through to first and second. I could barely see so I passed him to not have anyone in front. I couldn’t see behind because my mirror was covered in shale.
I managed to finish first, but I could barely open my eyes they were full of shale! After the race I went to the ambulance but they could not do anything, so I went to Manchester hospital where they took four stones out from underneath my left eyelid and two stones out from underneath my right. The nurse asked me if it was worth it, and I said all day long!
We had a very busy week leading up to the Easter weekend, we had a lot of work to get through at the start of the week, so never got time to look at the cars until Wednesday night, and when there’s a meeting on the Friday night you’re definitely going to be busy!
We got stuck into Phoebe’s car first as she got a fair bit of damage at King’s Lynn and we needed to check how bad it was. We soon realised we could get it sorted, and as she was mega keen to race at Skeg it made my mind up to change the shale flying machine into a tarmac supercar! Well, tarmac supercar might be pushing it a bit… as far as putting a tarmac tyre on the right front and swapping the brake pipes at the front to move the brake bias from right to left sort of doesn’t really make it a tarmac supercar, but I left the shale wing on coz I don’t actually have a tarmac one, that must make it some kind of shale/tarmac car?
Maybe? Actually, probably not at all, but I’ve driven stock cars long enough now to know anything’s possible, so we went to Skegness with optimism in our minds and we weren’t disappointed.
A quick run in a dry practice was actually very promising and filled me full of confidence. Obviously I wouldn’t have the speed to match the top tarmac cars racing, but I’d definitely make an impression on the meeting. Then as the heavens opened, the playing field suddenly came very fair. A superb heat win was very welcome, followed by good places in every race made it a very satisfying evening for 515.
Luckily we had booked a night out en-route to Stoke coz we were all very wet and needed somewhere to dry out and try to get all the race gear dried too. Our rooms looked like a laundrette, but well worth it with all dry stuff to wear following night.
So onto Stoke and we got there nice and early as I needed to swap my shale/tarmac special back into a shale-only supercar. I think we can class that as done as a nice heat win followed by second in the Final, and third in the National ended a good nights racing. The only down side to the evening was Stu Smith was mega fast so we need to find some more speed!
The rally tyre job is very up in the air at the minute as we are still waiting for the American Racer rally tyre to be produced for us as a control tyre. I think Stu had hit on a tyre and compound that worked really well at Stoke. Note to self, if I have time, try look at what tyres the fast cars are using….ha ha.
So a good evening and plenty of qualifying points made for a nice drive home after a stop at the Chinese to chill and have my dinner, tea, supper, or whatever you wanna call it.
Not too much damage meant Sunday wasn’t too stressful luckily, as a shortage of mechanics at the moment meant only us lot to get all three cars ready, and as Karl had gone down to his house to get on with his new V8 was a family day on the wash and in the garage followed by nearly getting all three cars loaded as the threat of lot of snow overnight meant we wanted to be organised! We only had Phoebe’s car to load Monday morning, bloody good job, coz yes we had snow! A fair bit of it too.
An early drive out in the pick up Monday morning to check the road conditions and a big thumbs-up cos we could get out, so Belle Vue here we come!
Another really wet meeting meant couple of results in the heats, but broken goggles and the car stopping in the Final ended my evening as I couldn’t even see the engine, let alone fix the bloody thing, ha ha!
Only three cars made the National. A poor turnout but it was an awful evening. A superb first ever Final win for Ted and an equally superb third place in the final for Phoebe made everything alright, and the feeling driving home of having a slight hand in producing these 2 megastars more than made up for the fact I couldn’t actually see a bloody thing…
My eye has been good since my accident and I’m probably the luckiest man alive, but I was secretly worrying inside in case I had scratched or damaged it in any way by racing with no goggles on, so it was a massive relief Tuesday morning, as although they were both red raw, there didn’t seem to be any damage.
I probably should have gone with Ted to hospital in Manchester as he had four stones removed out of one eye and two out the other. Although he spent most of Monday night in hospital his eyes looked a lot better than mine. But on the other hand there would have been no-one to drive the truck and the rest of the family home, so a slightly blurred trip home was the way to go.
A massive thank you to Samantha for getting stuck in over the weekend and helping keep everything on track, oh and also helping to navigate the truck home!
So that was it for another busy weekend. Two wins, two grade awards, and plenty of points… ooh and the right to be the proudest dad at racing again!
Thanks for the photos to Colin Casserley, Dave Pyke, Jordan Cooper, and James Bowles