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Round 4 – Pembrey (23-07-17)

Hi guys

I went testing at Llandow the week before the race meeting at Pembrey. Well, it was a bit of a short lived test session really, as the left-hand driveshaft broke after a few laps. The car was handling well up until the point of breakage.

I made it out for my second race meeting of the season  and I was back in my little car as well.
There were grey skies at the Pembrey Circuit when I got there and it pretty much stayed like that for most of the day, until the last race of the day when the sun finally managed to shine through.

Qualifying – Lap Time: 1:37.295
It started off wet, but started to dry out as the session went on. My windscreen misted up badly at the beginning of qualifying and it got to the point where I couldn’t see particularly well, so I came in to get it sorted out, it was fine for the last few minutes of the session.
I was also driving on the new part of the circuit (the bit between the paddock control gates and the Senna Esses) for the first time as well, making it even more interesting – more tight twisty corners – being on 17″ tyres instead of my usual 16″ tyres made coming out of corners at the higher pace more of a challenge due to the lower revs.
2017-07-24 10.55.18I only had the 17″ tyres so had to do my best and deal with it.

Race 1:
The first race had a red flag part way through, so we kinda had results for the before and after the red flag.
The race started off dry, ended up wet.
Lap time first part: 1:29.965, Position: 20th, 5th in class.
Start 1: I got a pretty good start off the line, just started to get a good feel for the new layout and how the car handles in the dry when the red flag came out for an incident at the hairpin.
We had about a 5-10 minute delay before restarting.
Lap time second part: 1:26.563; Position: 15th, 3rd in class.
Start 2: Before the green flag lap, my mate Andrew Williams had an issue with his car, with it steaming and leaving a watery puddle on the track , and he had to retire from the race. I got another pretty good start and managed to keep a car behind me for a few corners before it powered its way pass.
I was feeling pretty good, then the heavens opened, my windscreen started to mist up again, thankfully it wasn’t long before the chequered flag came out.
Overall an eventful first race though I improved my lap time by ~3.5secs and somehow managed to get another 3rd in class .

Race 2: Lap time: 1:25.237, Position: 15th
Weather and track stayed nice and dry all race, blue sky and sunshine – got a little warm in the car.
Made an alright start, though I did manage to get into the wrong gear (5th instead of 3rd) heading down to the first corner, I then ended up hitting the back of Andrew Williams at the hairpin. I may have done some damage to my radiator and oil cooler though there’s definitely some cosmetic damage.
I managed to get into some sort of rhythm, going faster in certain areas and braking later – though sometimes a bit too late and locking up, probably a bit too much rear brake bias. I’m still getting my head round the whole brake bias lever thing and knowing where it is quickly so I can easily change the brake bias when needed.

Overall today, after a unsettled qualifying and first race, the second race was more enjoyable
I also came home with another trophy (3rd in class, race 1)

I think I’m slowly getting my race car to how I want it, but it’s not quite there, whether it’s due to the fact it has come to the end of its potential of improvement in the speed department or the fact I just can’t afford the upgrades it needs for it to be good, I just don’t know.
Maybe a change for next year will be good.

My next race will be at Oulton Park in September.

Take Care, Keep Smiling and God Bless
Vez

Round 3 – Mallory Park

Hi Guys

Sorry for not posting for such a long time, but in all honesty I haven’t really done much since October, certainly on the racing/testing front.

This weekend was pretty special (and emotional) for me, as the last time I was going to go racing up at Mallory Park was 10 years ago, it didn’t happen (can’t remember the reason why), and on the day of the race meeting my nan died . So when the opportunity came up again for this year, I was determined to get to race there.

Race season so far:
Round 1 of the season at Pembrey in April was a no go for me as my MG decided to have an oil leak, which couldn’t be fixed in time.
Round 2 of the season again at Pembrey (but on the new configuration) in May ended up being a no go as well, due to my MG having a water leak, and again couldn’t be fixed in time.

By now I was starting to feel downhearted that I wasn’t going to have a good season or have a car to compete in, but I was hoping so much that the car was going to be fixed and ready to race to at Mallory, even to manage a test session before the race!

There was only two weeks between the May and June meetings though. The closer the Mallory meeting was getting the grimmer my prospects of going were becoming and that I wasn’t going to make it again, as my MG was not wanting to play yet again, this time as the engine was getting to its operating temperature, it was distorting the cylinder head and causing a slight leak.

On the Friday on the race weekend I got the news that my MG wasn’t going to be race ready, I was devastated! I’ve been waiting so long to make it up to Mallory Park. I seemed destined not to be able to race there .

Then a light came on at the end of the tunnel, as one of my fellow competitors (Andrew Williams) offered his car for me race. You are an absolute star . After getting the go ahead from Alan (series co-ordinator) and Robert (series secretary), Andrew and I then proceeded to get things sorted for Sunday.

Round 3 – Mallory Park Race Meeting
When I arrived at the track, there was blue sky and the sun was shining , though it was a little chilly.

mallory_park

I got signed on at 8am and got the car to scrutineering not long after, it seemed to take forever, I was still in scrutineering at 9am, and I had to go to a newcomers drivers briefing at 9am before qualifying at 9:30am. A bit of a rush to get changed into my overalls and down to the assembly area, but everyone managed it!
Mallory Park  Mallory Park 2
Qualifying: Lap Time: 1:04.752 – Position: 18th
I was tentative to start with, as I’ve never been on the track before and I was driving someone else’s car. I was just starting to get into some sort of rhythm when a red flag came out, so when I got back out everything had cooled down so had to build the momentum back up again, by then the chequered flag came out.
Not quick by any means, but I was hopeful I could improve and make up some places in the races.
Though when I was talking to someone, and mentioned how slow my time was compared to everyone else and that I was driving an 1800cc 160bhp car, he said that I was doing brilliantly, especially as I had never been to the track before as well, so I felt a bit better about it .

Race 1: Lap Time: 1:04.342 – Position: 13th
It started to spit with rain, but not enough to make the track wet thankfully.
Finished 3rd in class out of 4.
Managed to get two cars off the line, then had a little wobble at the first corner, which lost me the places, I ended up in the wrong gear and wasn’t able to get the acceleration needed to power out the corner.
Managed to go a little quicker, not as much as I thought, but looking at the lap times of everyone no one really went quicker than their qualifying lap, so though a little frustrated, I’m happy enough that I went quicker.

Race 2: Lap Time: 1:03.716 – Position: 11th
Slightly heavier rain just before the race, but stopped as we went out on track. The track amazing was pretty dry and grippy.
Finished 3rd in class again
Managed to get pass a car off the line, but lost it again, as I had quite a slide going into the first corner , I really thought I was going to get hit by the car I’d just overtaken, but managed to hold it together and got decent acceleration out the corner down the back straight, managed to keep a car behind me until we got to the John Cooper Esses though.
I was getting more confident going round the track by now and started to push that little harder, mostly Gerard’s Bend; John Cooper Esses and Devils Elbow.

I got three trophies  – two 3rd in class and a Driver of the Race in race 2 which are the first I’ve got since 2012! I was quite surprised by the response by my fellow competitors – it was a good one – when I was called up for my trophies, especially for the Driver of the Race trophy. It really made my day to know that I was respected and how much they believed in me and were happy for me.

Having a reliable car so I could focus just on driving the track was a big help. Again I want to say a massive thank you to Andrew Williams for allowing me to race his car . Also I would like to say thank you to the Welsh Sports and Saloon Car Championship a) for allowing me to race someone else’s car, b) for all the support I’ve got from everyone involved in the championship – officials and competitors. Thank you so much for being there and believing in me.

Overall I had an enjoyable day racing.

Here’s hoping I can enjoy the rest of my season. Still got three more races in July (Pembrey), September (Oulton Park) and October (Pembrey).

Keep Smiling and God Bless
Vez

Hi guys

I went testing on the 4th of October at Llandow. It generally went well. It was cold, but dry, I didn’t really get any heat into the tyres, so it was a little twitchy round the corners at times. Also didn’t know how done in my air filter was. The first couple of sessions out, the car didn’t really pull out the corners as well as it has done, and was a little hesitant to get up to top revs, Tony took the air filter off and… WOW! What a difference it made, the revs ran smoothly throughout the whole range, with no hesitation, plus I seemed to have so much power I didn’t know what to do with it all – which was interesting with limited grip. The new air was ordered and fitted to the car ready for the race meeting. I had lots of fun and came away with a big smile on my face 😆 I was hoping it would be the same for the race meeting, but…
llandow-testing-04-10-16

I had an early start on the Sunday, having to get up at 4am 🙈. Got to the race track in good time, but trying to find where the Welsh Sports and Saloon Car Championship guys were, well, was interesting, as we happened to be spread out all over the inner paddock.

We had a mixture of intermittent heavy rain ☔ and sunshine 🌞 equalling rainbows 🌈 (and not just in the sky).
Well racing didn’t go to plan, I was all geared up, and feeling really pumped up for a great day of racing, but my little car decided otherwise. The head gasket blew on the 2nd lap of qualifying. I first knew something was wrong when smoke started filling up the cockpit and then looked out my wing mirrors saw smoke coming out the back of the car as well. I managed to get back to the pits, very slowly mind you, and Tony lifted the bonnet and told me it was terminal and that the head gasket had gone. I slowly drove into Parc Ferme, then back to my paddock space. The worst thing of all was that the car was feeling good before the problem occurred.
This resulted in the end of my race weekend 😔 and any chance of scoring some decent points. It was so frustrating, especially as I had had such a positive test session.

On my way back home, me and my dad decided to stopped off at Coate Water for a nice walk in the sunshine, to enjoy the afternoon, after such a disappointing day.

Lots to do over the winter to get the car reliable and competitive, though I will come back (hopefully stronger) and fight hard in 2017 💪.

Take Care, Keep Smiling and God Bless
Vez

5k Pretty Muddy

Hi guys

Well I’ve done another first time event. This time it was a 5k Pretty Muddy for Race for Life.

pretty-muddy-logo

All tattooed up ready for action 💪

I was feeling quite nervous about doing it as I’ve never done anything like this before, the closest was a cross-country run when I was at school – that was a while ago 😕 – but I was also feeling quite excited about it, as I’ve been looking at doing an obstacle race for a while.
I arrive at 9:10am way in advance of my time slot which was 10:45am – though we were told to arrive 45 minutes before our time slot.

There was 10 of us in the group I was with – the Konga Lovelies – the weather started out with sunshine, but that quickly disappeared and we were left with an overcast and cold day.

unspecified-14The warm-up before the race

unspecified-39 The Start Line

We went out in the 4th wave and it started to drizzle ☔ just before our warm-up session. I managed to jog most of the way round, so I’m pretty happy with that, as I’m not a runner.
The course was pretty easy to negotiate – well for me anyway – not too much slippery mud when we went round, but enough to make you pretty muddy 😉. The course went up and down hill, though gentle inclines and declines and there were about 13-14 obstacles to negotiate.
Below are some of the obstacles, there were also some obstacles which you had to climb over, jump over and walk over.

The space hopper section was probably the most difficult part, after getting off my legs were like jelly and I struggled to get my legs to move up the hill 😁, so I ended up walking the short distance to the top, and started to jog again when I got there and to the next challenge 😊. I’m not in the photos for the obstacles unfortunately, as I was too far ahead with one of the other team members.

unspecified-199
Before the big slide

After the big slide

I generally felt good at the end and still had a fair amount of energy, shame it was so cold though, at least the rain had stopped – not that it really matter by then. After going down the big slide, that was when I really felt the cold and got chilled very quickly, plus feeling like I had a soiled nappy on 😂 that wasn’t fun. The drive home was interesting to say the least, with being so wet and muddy. Before getting in the car my dad wrapped me up in an old curtain – yes you read that right a curtain! – and then drove the hour home.

I had a great time doing it, it was lots of fun and I would so do it again 😊. The Konga Lovelies are great bunch of girls, who all nailed it and had smiles on their faces, even at the end 💪😊. Thanks to Jan who organised this group to do this event 😊.

All the photos (except the first 4) are taken by Jan’s other half Oliver.

That’s all for now.
Take Care, Smile and God Bless
Vez

Round 4 – Pembrey (21-08-16)

Hi guys

I went testing last Monday at Llandow 🚘 and it was pretty successful, the car was running nicely, handling well, no major issues, just a couple of hiccups though with the exhaust falling off (easily fixed) and I had a small spin though the grass, which I’m still not quite sure what exactly happened to cause it.

On to round 4 of the Welsh Sports and Saloon Car Championship. We were guests at the Vintage Sports-Car Club Meeting for The Welsh Speed Weekend. There was 29 cars on the grid for our championship this weekend.

Qualifying – Position: 29th; Lap Time: 1:21.71
The track being slippery, plus coldish tyres equals interesting session. There was also a red flag part way through and with extra oil was put down on the back part of the track which made it even more interesting. I didn’t have 100% confidence to push as hard as I would have liked due to the conditions of the track. At the end of the session I lost all response of the rev counter and speedo, which was a little worrying though. The weather was nice though, dry and sunny ☀.

Race 1 – Position: DNF
The rain came down 💧☔ so we decided on putting on my pink rimmed front tyres, as they have a bit more tread on them. They gripped beautifully ☺.
The alternator let go early on, which lead to no power and only just had enough grunt to pull into the pits, after about 2-3 laps into the race 😔. Also forgot to open up the back windows to let some air in and my windscreen misted up badly, so couldn’t see properly.
Trying to race when not being able to see and then driving into the pits was very interesting indeed 😕.

Race 2 – Position: NC
Another wet race 💧, though the rain was starting to ease off a little by the end. Had two batteries (car battery and battery pack) to run my car, it worked! Car behaved beautifully 😊 but my rain light decided not to work and I was shown the black with orange disc flag, so had to come in have it fixed before being allowed back on track, losing 3-4 laps in the process 😕. Though I saw the chequered flag, I wasn’t classified as I hadn’t done enough laps in total – only completed 7 laps, while the leaders did 14 laps.

A frustrating day, the wet weather didn’t help, but I think we have finally got all the niggles now, and the grip I had with the pink rimmed tyres gives me some confidence if it rains again in the final race meeting at Pembrey in October.

I will be out testing again soon. Hopefully to iron out, once and for all, all the problems I’ve had, and means I can have a race meeting without any issues and can have some fun 😊. Please let me have a good finish to my season 🙏.

Take Care & God Bless
Vez

Hi guys

Well I was back out on track this weekend at Castle Combe for my second race meeting of the year (the third of the Welsh Sport and Saloon Car Championship). We had a 32 car grid!

It was a gorgeous warm sunny day ☀, well mostly, we did have a few spots of rain in the early afternoon, though it only lasted 5-10 minutes.

Qualifying: Position: 32nd; lap time: 1:44.693
It didn’t go well, I only managed 5 full laps during the 15 minute session, as the misfire materialised again (yep the same one I had in testing at Llandow), reducing my power output to basically 3 cylinders instead of 4. I was in and out of the pits to try to secure the wires from the vibration, but it wasn’t lasting 😔.
Got back to the paddock area, Tony opened the bonnet up to see if he could reposition the wires and tying them to a different part of the engine to see if the issue went away.
A few minutes later the water hose split and sent lots of hot seaming anti-freeze water everywhere, which was quickly sorted out.

We do rolling starts for our races, and each one this weekend was poorly executed, as the field was strung out instead of being nicely compact, a little frustrating, but you just have to deal with it the best you can, and the organisers have to do what they have to do to keep the racing on time as best they can, I don’t envy them. I can understand Race 2, as we were pushed for time, but even so the back of the grid were still coming round Bobbies as the front were going over the start line 😕.
Race 1 was shorten by 2 minutes as well, but so were most of the other championships racing on Sunday as they were running late, due to an incident earlier on in the day.
castle-combe-circuit-map

Race 1: Finished: NC; Lap Time: 1:49.273
Though I saw the chequered flag I was not classified, as I hadn’t done enough laps. On the green flag lap the car was fine, but the misfire came back at the start of the race. I came into the pits to see if the issue could be sorted to at least give me enough power to go round at a reasonable pace, but it wasn’t to be in the end 😔.
Got back to the paddock and had the coil packs changed, in the hope that would fix the problem.

Race 2: Finished: 21st; Lap Time: 1:40.234
Better race 😄, even though the race was shorten by 5-6 laps, due to the lateness of going out on track and with the track having a 6:30pm curfew. I actually got to race with another car for a most the race! Still with a slight misfire, but nowhere near as bad as before.
We believe the misfire issue could be due to the battery dying – well it is 3 years old – and it struggling to provide the correct power to the coil packs.

Overall mixed emotions from the weekend, mostly frustration, but that second race has given me hope for better things for the next race at Pembrey in August.

I’m staying positive, as we may have finally found the problem to my issue. When a new battery is found, I will be back out testing, to confirm if it is or isn’t the battery, fingers crossed that that is the problem and I can enjoy the remainder of the season 😊.

Until next time.
Take Care and God Bless
Vez

Hi guys

Finally I’ve got back on to the race track!

Went testing in this beauty on Tuesday (10th May) on a damp Llandow track. The car felt good, it was running smoothly and I was happy 😊.
Llandow Testing (10-05-16)

Pembrey  Race Meeting – 15 May 2016

The weather was beautiful and sunny 🌞 for most of the day, the clouds did start to come over and the wind started to get up, but not totally hiding the sun, in the afternoon.

Qualifying: Result: 21st out of 24; Lap Time: 1:21.935
Just getting back into the swing of things, after not being at a race meeting for 13 months (Castle Combe April 2015), and getting the feel of the car on the Pembrey track again (18 months since I last raced at Pembrey October 2014).
The car felt good, and was responding well. I was slower than I would of liked, but that was probably just me being a little race rusty I suppose 😉, but I wasn’t last on the grid 😊💪.

Race 1: Result: finished 18th; Lap Time: 1:21.710
I started ok, had a good little battle with Holly for about half the race, until her engine let go 😔. My car started was starting to develop an issue, it wasn’t running as smoothly as it should have been or producing its full power output, though I came home in one piece and finished the race 🏁😊.

Race 2: Result: DNF; Lap Time: 1:20.876
Managed to make a goodish start and overtook a couple of cars off the line, but that’s where the good part ended, coming out of the hairpin my car wasn’t revving properly and never recovered, I came into the pits and got my mechanic to check that everything was still attached as it should, when out again found that the issue wasn’t any better, came back in and had to retire – DNF for me 😔 – one of the coil packs had decided to give up the ghost.
On a positive note though, I somehow managed to go 1 second quicker 😊 which means that I know I have the pace to run with the pack when my car is running smoothly 💪.

So mixed emotions for the day, but staying positive for the rest of the year. Fingers crossed all will work out and I have a good year 😊.

So new plugs and coil packs for the next race, plus some new brakes as well. I’ve got a couple of months now until the next one, and hopefully get out again for another test session.

Next race is at Castle Combe in July 😊

Take Care, Smile and God Bless
Vez

Delayed Start To Season

Hi

Well, my race season hasn’t got off to a good start. Electrical issues strike again, so I didn’t manage to get out for my test session or the first race meeting of the season :(.

My mechanic and some of his mates spent a lot of time trying to find the fault, and came to some conclusion that it was a component part that was the problem, Tony ordered the part on the Friday hoping it would arrive in time for the race meeting on Sunday, but it made a no show, so hence no racing. Gutted I couldn’t be there racing with the guys in the Welsh Sports and Saloon Car Championship for the first round :( I think my car has a phobia of race tracks 😉.

Though hearing of what happened in race 2: launched cars, a almost roll over, flying wheels and a smashed windscreen (due to the wheel, with its front hub, brakes, part of the driveshaft and suspension still attached), not what you want to be seeing at a race track, and especially at a race start. I’m kind of glad I wasn’t there, otherwise I might of got caught up in it and I’d be back to square one again. Glad to know that everyone involved in the accident are ok, if a little sore and shaken up.

I hope I’ll get some good luck soon, I’m sick of all this bad luck, here’s hoping the new component part is a success and I can get out on the track :).

Below are the dates for the rest of the 2016 season.
2016 WSSCC Race Dates
Well that’s it for now, roll on May for the second round of the championship at Pembrey. Fingers crossed that I’m out and ready to race 🙂

Take Care and God Bless
Vez

Hi guys

Where has the time gone, I can’t believe it has been 6 months since I lasted blogged!

What have I done in that time, well going back to last year a couple of things;

November 2015
I went with my mate Elz to see the Rapha Supercross at Kings Cross – which in the end was cancelled due to bad weather – but I did take these photos of the outside part of the circuit

and the Revolution Series at the Lee Valley Velo Park, I have never been to a velodrome before, it was great fun, and I enjoyed myself a lot, the atmosphere was buzzing! 😊

I went to see a Lost Innocence gig at The White Swan in Aylesbury, and I have to say these guys are amazing! – and I’m not just saying that because my brother-in-law plays the keyboard for them – I would definitely recommend going to see them if you get the chance. They are a covers band, and they do covers of Within Temptation, Nightwish, We Are The Fallen, Evanescence etc

December 2015
I did a Taekwondo grading for my green belt, which I managed to pass and gain yay J I was pretty nervous, the higher up I go the more nervous I seem to get, I think it’s due to having to remember more stuff and each pattern/form gets just that little bit more complex.
Green Belt Certificate (12-12-15)
January 2016
Went to watch my mate Elz at Dalton Barracks for a CX race. Well impressed with her performance, especially as she was suffering with a cold. Met a couple of her riding buddies too, Toria and Caroline – great guys! ‪#‎amazingride ‪#‎soproud 😊

At her next CX race I actually helped out in the pits for her – very muddy, but a lot of fun. I’m so proud of her, she is doing great! 😊

February 2016
Panto time – Beauty and the Beast 🎭
We performed three shows, all three went well, with the obligatory minor hiccups of course, though very funny ones 😄 The cast were all amazing and the backstage crew did a great job too!
The audience, on all the nights, were great with all the interactions of the show as well. The whole production just seemed to flow and – though a lot of hard work was put into it – be quite relaxed.
Well done to all the cast and crew for an awesome show, you guys are amazing!

Now that I’ve got up to date with what has been going on in the last 6 months. It’s almost time for my race season to start. I’m racing in the Welsh Sports and Saloon Car Championship again this year, as it’s such a relaxed, fun and friendly group to be with 😊

I’ve got a test session next Thursday (21st) at Llandow, which is leaving it a bit late I know, as my first race of the season is on the 24th April at Pembrey. Hopefully all goes well, and I can ease myself back in to the car before the race, instead of going in cold.
I will keep you posted on how the test session goes and the first race.

Take Care and God Bless
Vez

More Bad Luck

Hi Guys

Well bad luck seems to be my friend at the moment in my racing. As you might have gathered I didn’t get out for the season finale at Pembrey in the Welsh Sports and Saloon Car Championship; disappointed, that is an understatement. This time it was the gearbox and differential playing up. I suppose increasing the power output of the engine is going to put a bit more strain on other components, so I shouldn’t be too surprised that there were issues, but…

The plan was to get the car ready to go on the rolling road, to check it was running fine, so I could then have time to do some testing before the race weekend, but with the delay in getting the ECU back after that was damaged – TNT were a week LATE in delivering it, we was supposed to of got it end of September, but it wasn’t delivered til the Monday before the race – it put everything else out of sync.

The car was put on the rolling road, the first two runs the car was running beautifully smooth, and sounded great, on the third run, it was rolling along nicely then the wheels suddenly locked up! The initial thought was the differential had seized up, if that was all, it would have been a relatively easy job to of rectify, and I would have been racing, but there were other issues relating to the gearbox, the problem couldn’t be found, but something was definitely wrong. Putting the car back together (after stripping it down to try to find the issue), started it up, and it was sounding rough and clunky and not good at all.

Though the car was running and we could get it to start this time, the knocking and the unknown cause for the locking up of the wheels was a concern, and so the decision to not race was more down to safety.

Well this year hasn’t gone well, but here’s hoping the 2016 season will bring better luck, and I can finally, after three tough years, have a good year of racing 🙂

Take Care and God Bless

Vez

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