Category: Racing


Test Session at Llandow

Hi Guys

I went testing at Llandow on Thursday in my Ford Focus.

The handling and balance of the car was pretty good – good hold on cornering, good power out the corners and down the straights and no heavy nose diving under braking.
Though I did end up overheating the brakes slightly and the exhaust gasket was starting to go, so had to call it a day a little sooner than hoped, but I still managed to get a good idea of the car’s potential.

Need to adjust the seat to a more comfortable driving position, bleed the brakes and replace the exhaust gasket.

I’m looking at a couple more test sessions again at Llandow in the Focus, to give me confidence in the car’s reliability, before going out racing in it, hopefully the last two Pembrey rounds, and the potential Castle Combe round.

So I’ll be racing the Peugeot, which I tried out at Donington Park at the French Car Show, at Donington Park on the 29th July.

I will post about my test sessions and race meeting when they happen.

Take Care and God Bless
Vez

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French Car Show

Hi Guys

I was invited up to Donington Park yesterday to the French Car Show by Tyrone and Fabio to try out their Peugeot – which they are hiring out for racing.
20180707_130100
As it was a track day style event there were time slots for going out. I was in the 1-3pm time slot.
20180705_173348
Before being allowed on track I had to sign-on and have a drivers briefing.

Blue Band-Drivers Briefing; Pale Blue Band-Entry into Event; Yellow Band-Sign-on

It was a hot day ☀️ 🌡, so getting all kitted out in my race suit and helmet was a little warm. I had two outings in the Peugeot, once in the first hour and once in the second hour, though I was out only for a few laps each time, it was enough for me to get a feel for how the car handles and get accustomed to the track again, after 8 years!
Donington is a great track, as it has undulations, it flows from corner to corner nicely and a track you can really push on.
First session out, Tyrone did a couple of laps with me in the passenger seat, so I got a feel for the car and track, then I got in the driving seat, with Tyrone in the passenger seat.
I’ve been so use to power assisted steering, that it was a bit of a shock when I found the Peugeot didn’t have any, though I slowly got use it.

Letting the car (Tyrone and myself) cool down before going out again, as it was so hot out there.

Second session out, I got straight into the driving seat, with Tyrone in the passenger seat. I was getting a bit more use to the car and how it handled, so was able to push a little harder, but I still had to watch out for the other cars on track – some going slower and some going quicker.

I want to say thank you to Tyrone and Fabio for allowing me to drive the Peugeot, it was fun to get back out on track and especially on one I love.
I had an enjoyable day, even if I did get all hot and sweaty.

I will be out at Donington Park at the end of the month, for my first race meeting of the season.

In the meantime I will be having a test session in my Ford Focus at Llandow in the comin week.

Take Care and God Bless
Vez

Frustration 😠

Hi guys

Well what can I say, another failure to my car to end my chances of racing again this weekend. This time one of the brake lines split as it was being tied down on to the trailer 😡.

I’m gettin pretty pissed off about this now 😠, I’m beginning to think I’m not going to get out racing this year, and if it doesn’t improve then maybe I just need to take time out and stop racing for a bit, without having to pay for a car I’m not going to race.

Now I won’t say no if an opportunity comes up to race with someone else, who can give me the chance to race and race competitively. My problem lies in the fact I’m on such a tight budget, but I’m willing to pay just a little more if it means I get out to race.

So instead of racing this weekend I spent time with my best mate @elzrocks – even though she was going to be coming with me to the race meeting anyway, and watch me race for the first time.
We went out on the bike, not on the road bike, but on a mountain/cyclocross bike and riding around on the Ridgeway; we did some baking, tidying up and a couple of pub visits 😊.

We went to have a drink at the Fox and Hounds – our local – on the Saturday after I was told about my race car.

I had fun being on a mountain bike again 🚵‍♀️ – even with the handle bars being extra wide! plus it is a borrowed bike, so not quite the right fit for me. Learning a new skill is always fun, if a little scary at times, but I enjoyed myself, and just being out and about in the countryside with my best mate and is the best therapy one can have.

We tidied up her parents’ house and shed – from what I can tell they were quite happy with what was done. I was tidying up my parents garage, we got somewhere, not quite as far as I would of liked, but it’s a start.

We did a bit a baking, Elz and I both enjoy baking 🍌🍞🍪, though Elz doesn’t get much chance to bake herself, so baking together at mine was a lot of fun. We made a chocolate banana cake and a rocky road cookie slab. Both were very tasty 😋.

20180610_114535

This isn’t the whole of what we made, by the time I got a chance to take a photo, we had eaten some, plus Elz had cut up some to take back to her parents.

We went to The Swan in Radcot to have dinner on the Sunday, the food was really good, and the atmosphere was chilled, relaxed and very pleasant 😊.

So not the weekend I was planning on, but I still managed to enjoy myself.

Onwards and upwards, and lets see what next month will bring in terms of racing.

Take care and God Bless
Vez

Third Time Lucky

Hi guys

Well, as I said in my previous post – ‘barring any late onset problems with my new car, I will be out racing with the guys again’ – as you may have gathered I didn’t make it to Oulton Park in May . As an annoying little problem cropped up

Basically what happened was, as Tony was putting my car onto the trailer it started to leak fluid from the clutch/gearbox area. Now he had driven it around to make sure it was working and yes everything, at that moment, was sound, but obviously in the loading process something got dislodged or something and created a crack which lead to a leak.
Tony did try to find a replacement for the defective part, but unfortunately the part wasn’t available in time to fix the problem to be able to go racing.

I can’t tell you just how gutted I was, just that I was so looking forward to racing back at Oulton Park and wanted to cry .

This coming weekend is the third race meeting for the Welsh Sports and Saloon Car Championship (WSSCC) and hopefully, third time lucky, my first. The problem from May has been fixed, so fingers crossed I will be at Pembrey.

I really do hope I will be posting about the race meeting in a few days time.

Take Care, God Bless
Vez

New Season 2018

Hi guys

Sorry about the long gap between posts. I haven’t done much really, certainly not on the racing front so far.

The season so far consists of a test session at Llandow in March, trying out a Ford Focus to replace my MG ZR; and missing the first race of the season at Pembrey.

The test session at Llandow went well, beautiful blue skies and sunshine, and managed to get a good feel for how the Ford handles – the Ford was still in full road legal state, so couldn’t push as hard or for as long as I would of done normally – but I still did a reasonable session in it.

The first race meeting of the year was at Pembrey in April. I ended up missing it due to having sold my MG just before and the Ford wasn’t yet ready for racing. I kind of knew this might happen as my MG was put up for sale in February/March time and someone became interested in it quite quickly, and not long after that put down a deposit on it.

My first race meeting of the year (second one for the Welsh Sports and Saloon Car Championship (WSSCC) will be this coming weekend at Oulton Park, barring any late onset problems with my new car, I will be out racing with the guys again.
Fingers crossed all will be well.

Race dates this year:

  1. April 22nd Pembrey with Trucks
  2. Saturday May 12th Oulton Park International Circuit
  3. June 10th Pembrey with Citroen C1s
  4. July 29th Donington Park National Circuit
  5. August 19th Pembrey with MSA Time Attack
  6. Oct 14th Pembrey with Trucks

With a possible race meeting (non-championship) at Castle Combe in September.

Well that’s it for now, I will post again after the race at Oulton Park.

Take Care and God Bless
Vez

WSSCC Awards Evening – 18-11-17

Hi guys

On Saturday I went to the Welsh Sports and Saloon Car Championship Awards Evening at the Cardiff Copthorne Hotel.

DSCF2688
Just before heading out

It was a lovely evening and seeing the guys outside of the race track environment was pretty cool – even when I’m a socially awkward person, due to my anxiety – the food was great too .

I was surprised at getting a trophy  – 2017 Presidents Award  – but it was nice to be acknowledged for my ‘never give up’ attitude, after having a few disappointing years of the car not handling as it should. This year, hopefully, was a turning point of some good luck coming my way and I pray it continues into the 2018 season .

Well that’s it for now, hoping to do a test session soon, I will keep you posted.

Take Care & God Bless
Vez

 

Hi Guys

I got to the track at 7:15am after leaving home at 4:30am and it was still dark! It did brighten up though thankfully.
Pembrey - 15 Oct 2017
(Sorry about the quality, I took the picture from inside the car with the window up).

The weather, though grey and cloudy, was dry all day . I was happy with that, as it meant I could focus on driving in consistent weather/track conditions.

We had four sessions instead of our usual three sessions, which was interesting and it also meant less waiting around in-between sessions as well .

Practice – Lap Time: 1:26.340
As we don’t usually have a practice session, it was nice to get some extra track time.
The car felt good, plenty of grip, handled well round the corners and powered out of them nicely too.
Though the last couple of laps I started to get fuel surge, not great, as we put in the same amount of fuel in as we usually do but ended up with less in the tank after the session then we usually do for a session of the same length. There was a bit of a worry that I wasn’t going to have enough fuel for qualifying and the two races.

Qualifying – Position: 31st of 32; Lap Time: 1:27.382
The session went well, and I seemed to still have good pace in the car. Though somehow I went a second slower 🤔.
Sorted out the fuel issue, but gained a brake issue by overheating them on the last few laps of the session .
It was fingers crossed that I could get it all sorted out for the two races.

Race 1 – Position: 31st; Best Lap Time: 1:18.538
I had a reasonable start, managed to get passed a couple of cars off the line and got stuck in going round the hairpin, which resulted in damaging my left wing mirror, from contact, but with no lasting damage thankfully.
The car was handling well, no fuel surge and no brake fade, yay .
Had a little rub from one of the leaders as they were coming through to lap me, but again no actual damage – I now have white paint on the left side and red paint on the right side of my black car.
Massively surprised  but happy with knocking 9 seconds off my qualifying time  not sure where I managed to find that lap time, but it certainly surprised a lot of other people as well.

RACE 9 – LAP ANALYSIS (our first Race)
P31   53 Verity BANKS
LAP  LAP TIME       DIFF     TIME OF DAY        MPH
1 –   1:45.281      26.743  14:05:31.715       50.99
2 –   1:28.013        9.475  14:06:59.728       60.99
3 –   1:18.538                  14:08:18.266 (1)  68.35
4 –   1:35.777      17.239  14:09:54.043       56.05
5 –   1:19.779        1.241  14:11:13.822 (2)  67.29
6 –   1:38.105      19.567  14:12:51.927       54.72
7 –   1:34.097      15.559  14:14:26.024       57.05
8 –   1:21.843        3.305  14:15:47.867 (3)  65.59
9 –   1:32.699      14.161  14:17:20.567       57.91
10 – 1:22.264        3.726  14:18:42.831       65.26
DIFF = Difference To Personal Best Lap
This is taken from http://www.tsl-timing.com/event/174121 (Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Championship PDF) where you can find all the results from weekend.

Race 2 – Position: 30th; Best Lap Time: 1:24.304
I had a brilliant start, passed multiple cars, got round the hairpin with no contact this time.
Had a great little battle with Alan Smith for much of the race, hard but clean racing.
Unfortunately the red flag came out for the car of Martin Davies after he crashed heavily into the barriers at Honda Curve – one of the fastest corners on the track!
Thankfully he got out his car by himself, but had been taken to hospital for a check up. I have heard that Martin is back home now . Hoping he is ok and hasn’t sustained any serious lasting effects. Wishing him a speedy recovery .

Overall for me, I had quite an enjoyable day, with setting some of my fastest lap times around the track and having some little battles . It has definitely the most fun I’ve had for a while behind the wheel of a race car.

I’m now looking at what I want to do for next year. I have a few options, though it will depend on finances as to which is most viable.

Take Care and God Bless
Vez

Round 5 – Oulton Park (09-09-17)

oulton_park
Hi there

Well I made it out again (3rd time this year) and this time I was at Oulton Park. The weather was a bit mixed, rain ☔ and sunshine 🌞 throughout the day, with it being more rainy in the morning and more sunny in the afternoon.

Qualifying – 28th of 29; Lap Time: 2:48.040
With heavy drizzle to start the session, which did ease up, the track was wet and slippery. Relearning the track was ‘fun’ in the wet, especially as my windscreen fogged up, so had to come in to get it wiped.
I had a couple of interesting moments going round Hislop’s and Kickerbrook – twice locking up and having to take to the escape road and once having a four wheel slide coming out and going off road.
I came back in one piece though.

During the lunch break I had a couple of fans come by and have a photo sitting on my car. Thanks for cheering me on Teddy and Rocy (@pothole_ducks) 😊


These photos were taken just before Race 1. Sunshine had appeared 🌞

Race 1 – Position: 27th; Lap Time: 2:33.645.
The sun came out for race 1, though the track was still damp in places.
Got off the line (from a rolling start) fine, but ended up going into the wrong gear as I was changing up (5th instead of 3rd) going across the start/finish straight. It wasn’t a problem though, as I went round the first corner I came across a rather smashed car, which had come to grief hitting the barriers. I not sure what actually happened, whether they had ‘help’ or just lost it by themselves. Sadly that was the end of racing for them for that race meeting.
The red flag came out, and we had a slight delay for the car to be removed and the barriers to be mended.
We all got lined up again on the grid ready for another green flag lap, and off we went again. I got a better start the second time round and had a good little battle with Melissa for about half the race, until she got more confidence in her car (plus she generally has more power overall).
I struggled a bit with rear end grip – I just couldn’t get heat into them – but slowly got a little more confident to push harder as the race went on. I also had the water temperature get a little high, so had to put the fan on about halfway through the race.

Race 2 – Position: 25th; Lap Time: 2:44.312.
Race 2 was made interesting by the weather, as it kept changing from rain, sunny or both at the same time. It started to rain as we were in the assembly area, after being dry for the last half hour or so.
On the green flag lap a car hit the barrier down at the Shell Oils Hairpin, so we had a delayed start for that car to be removed. Another green flag lap and we got the race going.
I somehow manage to be in the wrong gear (3rd instead of 2nd) to start the race, though I bogged down a little I didn’t seem to lose too much to the cars in front.
I had a little off into gravel trap at Lodge Corner – I locked up, then coming off the brakes to get some traction the back end came round and sent me off. – I slid sideways through the gravel 😲, but managed to keep going and get out. A couple of laps later the red flag came out and the race was declared.

I had a squeaky noise coming from my engine, which was caused by a pinhole in one of the rubber pipes linking the inlet manifold and engine. We weren’t sure if it would survive the race, but it did.

Overall an eventful race meeting, but managed to make it round in one piece.

Roll on the final race in meeting in October at Pembrey.

Take Care
Vez

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

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