Weatherwise we were afforded dry conditions throughout competition all weekend, but without the overbearing temperatures competitors were confronted with on the last outing.
The weekend saw the return of a competitor, Simon Keen, who had been absent from us for three seasons. He took this opportunity both to experience a new track to him and introduce the TKD V8 engine, which his car had acquired last year, to top-line Sprinting for the first time. Terry Graves remained absent, his new acquisition undergoing tender loving care from a number of different sources. Peter Howgate was back, his car's engine having returned from attention being afforded it. Mike Musson also returned, its nose and front wings now no longer made from the papier mache form they previously took. His target now was to learn the car all over again!
Most of the SBD Motorsport British Sprint Championship entrants were sharing cars but amongst those who drove alone were the three sports racing car entrants. Matt Carter, Kurt Ramsden and Jim Belt battled manfully but were rarely far apart throughout the weekend and all of them on the cusp of qualification for the Top 12 Run Offs but never quite achieving it.
The development of the SBD Dallara continued, particular attention being paid to its suspension, and although upgrades in springs were installed unfortunately it was apparent that area needed even stronger springs, which were not on hand. The Mugglestone family had come along with their new acquisition, an MSV F3 Cup Dallara, and the opportunity was taken to compare issues such as suspension as a guide toward future development. Such development is a particularly difficult task because, whilst comparable corner speeds may be known, they are of a car with many laps under its belt and so heat in its tyres. This being an explanation of the disparity between F3 lap records and comparable BSC lap times. The latter being available on occasions such as this weekend, when the timekeepers offer "split" times allowing full lap times to be calculated.
In the timed runs Colin Calder seemed to be in a class of his own, with the next four drivers being covered by a little over a second. Had this anything to do with him not having to drive from the very North of Scotland? After Snetterton he left both van and trailer close to Bristol Airport and flew home, and then flew back again on Friday. These four drivers being Mark Smith, Craig Sampson, Heather Calder and Terry Holmes. Then there was a gap before the next group of seven drivers were covered by 2 or 3 seconds, but battling. There were a number of factors, drivers becoming used to the circuit again, the track rubbering in (a significant factor as a fortnight before the circuit hosted truck racing!), that lead to times developing as the weekend progressed. Indeed strangely many of the 2nd timed run times were slower than the first.
Now times really began to make progress, as is customary. Only two drivers failed to improve on their second run. One was Terry Holmes whose second Top 12 run was one hundredth of a second slower, but that was to prove valuable ultimately. Mark Smith failed on his first run, so was under pressure come second run. Matt Hillam seemed not to be making any significant progress, both his timed runs and his Top 12 runs all being covered by little more than a second. John Graham, as he learns the nuances of his Gould GR55, improved noticeably in the Top 12 Run Off, albeit with a thought in the back of his mind that he was, like Terry Graves earlier in the season, suffering the restriction of "hillclimb" ratios. Next up was the other driver not to improve in Run 2, Steve Broughton, but his first run nonetheless was his best of the day. Graham Porrett's wife was the fountain of all knowledge in the assembly area, having her ipad "linked" to the Championship Co-Ordinator's workbook, so had an update of times as soon as they became available. Graham finding a second and a half from his first run time on run 2. Then came Simon Keen, who had found it necessary to install different gear ratios during the day (what he had used before at Loton Park & Curborough being far from valuable)was improving steadily as the day went on and seemed pleased with his day one result. Mike Musson was, over the course of the day, finding times in huge chunks, demonstrating the value of the chassis work the car had undertaken since its last outing. Steve Miles, in mid pack, was simply finding the benefit of his "run off" tyre set to find his improvements. Heather Calder was simply puzzled. She seemed unable to discover any time improvement at all, a matter she discussed with the Championship Co-Ordinator between runs. It was pointed out to her that she tended to make real progress on Run 2 customarily, but she retorted that generally she knows where time is to be gained but was pessimistic that would be the case today. She returned to the car and found five and a quarter seconds to finish as runner-up! One driver who was enjoying his weekend significantly was Craig Sampson who ultimately concluded on a time less than a tenth of a second outside the 2 litre record for the venue, which secured him third spot. Then we had the unusual occurrence of a tie. The best times of both Mark Smith and Terry Holmes were the same, however as Mark Smith had posted a "fail" on his first run and Terry Holmes worse run was only 1/100th of a second slower than his fastest that secured him 4th place points. Colin Calder improved on his 2nd run, although he had already by that time secured the win, but the record he was after proved beyond reach.
|1||Colin Calder||3.5 Gould GR55||87.30secs|
|2||Heather Calder||3.5 Gould GR55||89.59secs|
|3||Craig Sampson||2.0 SBD Reynard DBMH2||92.22secs|
|3||Terry Holmes||3.5 Lola Tegra Judd||93.12secs|
|5||Mark Smith||2.0 SBD Reynard DBMH2||93.12secs|
|6||Steve Miles||2.0 Van Diemen RF96mm13||95.80secs|
|7||Mike Musson||4.0 Pilbeam-Judd KV4 MP97||96.02secs|
|8||Simon Keen||2.0 Dallara TKD F302||96.45secs|
|9||Graham Porrett||3.5 Lola Tegra Judd||97.77secs|
|10||Steve Broughton||2.0 SBD Dallara F399/01||98.57secs|
|11||John Graham||2.8 Gould GR55||98.76secs|
|12||Matt Hillam||2.0 SBD Dallara F399/01||100.69secs|