Thruxton round 3 brought a random draw of POLE for Axiametrics. Chris started again as usual and kept mostly out of trouble, which is tough at Thruxton a new track to Funcup, but with so many flat out corners it was always going to a bun fight to end all bun fights!
Staying in the lead pack through the stints it came down to final stint. We had broken away and had a few seconds gap. I pushed on and was pulling away after some rain had made things lively! 10 minutes to go and a 10 second lead.... surely this one was in the bag!! Not so as a safety car was deployed for a stricken car at the back of the track, bunching everyone up to the back of me this was going to be a last minute bun fight... On the restart I managed to pull a gap to UVio, but WASPP was flying on the dry track and caught and passed me down the back straight in the tow. 3 minutes left on the clock, so 2 more laps. I had a look up the hill but could get enough in the tow. Then the engine just died coming into the chicane and UVio had a go around the outside, pumping the throttle for all I was worth the engine restart and we passed over the line to a surprise chequered flag. Apparently Thruxton's noise curfew was rapidly approaching and they had decided to end the race slightly early. This meant to chance to drag back passed on next lap, but also allowed the engine issue to be found.... which was down to running out of fuel so a lucky P2 in the end! We live and learn...
Finally got to go racing. Its a new team for this year and I've joined Kris Rose and Chris Dovell in team Axiametrics.
First round is at Snetterton and its a Double header, Round 1 is a 1 hour sprint race and a Round 2 is a 4 hour endurance, Both with pitstops and driver changes.
The format for round 1 was Qualifying would actually count and decide your starting position. The fastest driver would then have to start the race. This format seemed to favour the two driver teams, anyone with a quick driver in the pair would start and finish. It looked like teams like my old team Despatchbay would fair well with Marcus Clutton starting and finishing would make them a force to be reckoned with. For Team Axiametrics as I set the fastest time and put the car in P4 on the grid, just 0.006 off P3, but 2 tenths of Pole. I must be rusty!
With all the fastest drivers in the first stint it was going to busy at the front for sure. I managed to hit the front early on, but it was a continuous bun fight with no escape from the drag-factor. Still I brought the car in P1 with a gap and Chris Dovell took over and managed to lead for his stint. Viking had put in a good stint and fast pitstops to jump in front. So Kris had to do battle over the last stint for the win. It was close, but a small mistake let Viking take the win with a valiant and second place for Team Axiametrics.
A great start to the season, and quiet surprising given the format, showing that the team definitely had the speed to complete with the best of them.
Back in the car in the afternoon for Round2 Chris start and I would be taking stint 3 and 6 to finish.
Random grid draw gave us P15 on the grid, which is right in the mix. Chris would need to keep his witts about him to avoid mishap.
Unfortunately there was quiet a big first corner incident which dropped Chris to the back of the grid, it was a hard fought race with a number of unfortunate incidents on track, and despite the best efforts of everyone we could only manage P10 at the finish.
On the whole, I am happy with P2 and need to celebrate that. It's a great way to start the season and its been fantastic to work with the new.
Le Mans 12hr eSports SVR race
Proud to of won the SVR 12hr Le Mans race with my racing partner Leandro Schafer.
In the end we won by a lap after being in the top 2 all race we managed to put some distance to second place to pull off a dominate win for Team Yellow Wingers. Wingers put 3 cars in the top 6 with Wingers Red and Blue coming 5th and 6th. I think the livery looked great as well.
The Funcup awards dinner is a bit of a different night. It's probably the silliest and most fun awards night I've been to.
So 2 wins and a second and finishing 7th in the championship in your first full season will get you best newcomer. I'll take that. It's been a big season, in a lot of ways it should have been so much more, Despatchbay led every race apart from Silverstone. In another way being the youngest ever winner in Funcup history, being part of the closest finish in history at Zandvort and winning the last round to stop 2Rent from being champions by a point.... well its doesn't get much bigger than that...
What will happen for 2020... and who with, that is the question
Oulton Park round 8. I can't believe this is the end of season!
The engine still wasn't pulling like it used to although the car was well balanced and all 3 of us like Oulton park and having won the first round here it was time for some luck like a pole position? Fat chance 14th in the draw, putting right in the trouble zone!
Andy had decided that the pro-shift needed to go for reliability reasons and he had fitted power steering to help his old arms or something! The big seat had gone and we had a Sparco sliding seat. To be honest there isn't a lot more you can change on one of these cars! It was going to be a learning experience! I have not driven sequential stick shift since 18 months ago in a the twin seater and only then for 2 practice sessions. Any way as a driver you need to be "adaptable" and heel and toe was getting there by the end of practice.
The team and I worked on pit stops with the new seat and gear change being in the way. It's important to get all the mechanics happy as well as yourself, pit stops can save big chunks of time so it was worth banging my knees, elbows and various other body parts to get everyone happy with the new sequence.
Oulton was one of those races that went to plan. We started quite far back, but just kept making progress every stint, while others got over excited we kept pushing forward and staying out of trouble. By my second stint (the 5th stint of the race) I hit the front. I expect a few people said "where did they come from?". Given this was the last round and it was tight between 2Rent and UVio it was all to play for. 2Rent caught up and started to fight for the lead. I knew it could get silly and that 2Rent needed to win to have a shot at the championship, so having had a chat with Piers on the radio we decided to stay in second and push to get a gap. If we kept fighting we could let others catch up and then have a right bun fight on our hands.
I would hand over to Marcus to finish the job, if there was only 2Rent to deal with it would be better. The team had setup the strategy so it was a no fuel stop for the last stop as well. I kept my concentration and pushed hard behind Chris Hart. I could have passed a couple of times but kept safe behind. On the pit stop the team were ace, it was probably our best pit stop ever and felt quick. This was proven as Marcus exited the pits in the lead.... Job done! So, proud of the team and the practice we put in.
Henry in the 2Rent car got lucky with some back markers which held up Marcus and had to go for the lead. He couldn't let Marcus get away. He had a go and they both out braked themselves on the damp track and went off, Henry spun and Marcus just cut the grass. It was all over then and another win racked up for Despatchbay. Only the now crowd new champions UVio had won twice this season, which shows how good the team could be.
That put Despatchbay 7th in the championship 6 points behind 6th. We need all those other bad results to be top 5 to challenge the top teams though and that is tough!
With Uncle Glenn and Aunty Sally over from Texas and Grandad Burgess and Glenda also up to watch the pressure was on. Also after disappointment at Anglesey with major electrical issues the team wanted to hit the front again.
The usual tri of drivers was in, with Marcus back to sort the setup out. The car still wasn't it's usual self and the pace was still not where it should be.
Also starting down the back end of the grid again wasn't going to help matters. However, by mid way we where up into 5th. A front pack had broken away and were working together to escape. As Marcus said we needed a safety car to bunch the pack back up again so we could attack the front, but Silverstone would be safety car free! (The only race this season)
I had a good couple of stints, but struggled with understeer in the last. The pace wasn't quite there in the engine and I started to over drive the car to make the pace and over heated the tires making it worse. Lesson learned...
In the final stint Marcus made it back to 6th, there was no hope of catching any more places. Then as Marcus said “I was turning in and he just hit me hard on the back wheel,” and just had to limp back to the pits to retire.
“I had pad knock off at Copse and total brake failure at Becketts, I took to the grass to avoid Nick in the Viking car but couldn’t avoid Marcus,” Craig Butterworth explained after dislocating his shoulder in the incident.
That torpedo event knocked us down to 10th. I have to say I was gutted, just too much bad luck and even finishing in the top 10 in the championship looks pretty tough right now.
We were all prepared for the 8 hours of Anglesey, with 4 drivers to share the the load, Andy Bicknell, Harry Miler, James Littlejohn and myself. We had some electrical issues with continued battery issues. The team replaced the battery after practice and change the alternator. Pink underglow fitted we were ready for the race into the night.
Unfornately the car setup wasn't good and we had struggled to find pace. Working our way up from 14th towards the front I handed over to James for the start of the darker sessions. That was pretty much the end of any challenge from us and teh start of the drama of getting the car fixed. James came in stuck in gear, the pro-shift refusing to change up. Probably a power issue (surely not!). Mechanics Chris and Monge swoop into action and find the alternator lead had snapped. Re-connection done in seconds and a jump start from the mains powered jump starter to get us going. Crack and nothing... 40 minutes of feverish action and replacing of various blown electrical components and 221 was back out fighting for 18th place... Not what we wanted. 45 seconds to make up to take 18th place in my stint, so I got my head down and carved my way back to 18th. On a packed track like this it is a lot of overtaking and hard work to gain that time back. The rest of the team did a great job into the night, but 18th was not what we wanted.
My first night race was amazing, in some ways more concentration in others as there is nothing else to see other than a dim track, its easier to focus. There is plenty of action to watch in the highlights below...
Well the TV coverage is out and it's well worth a watch, plenty of action and Despatchbay.com has a camera on board as well, so you get some of me wrestling the wheel, making my way to front. Lets just focus on the second place and leading the race and forget the end to round 5...
It was dry and brighter for the second race of the weekend, with Hart setting the pace from the start for 2RentDominos, from Raw’s Paul Rivett, GCI, DespatchBay.com’s Riley Phillips, Trumans Hoad and Viking’s Holme.
DespatchBay.com were first on the move, working their way up to the front by lap six, with Trumans following. But as it became a three way battle for 3rd with 2Rent Dominos, Rivett and GT Radials Gies came back into contention.
But on lap 12, Hart was off, “I had a problem as the paddleshift had virtually dropped off, then I had a straight on and picked up some damage,” he explained.
For the next few laps it was a constant exchange between Phillips and Hoad, with Rivett and Gies still in touch. At the end of the first hour though, less than a second covered the top four, with GT Radial heading FNS, Apollo and Viking, with RAW and DespatchBay.com having slipped down the order during the stops.
FNS took charge as the second hour started and led for five laps, before Hadley took over for GT Radial. But race one winners Axiamatrics were back in contention too, as were JPR UVio after their race one problems. “We were down on power but it was ok in the tow,” said Randaccio.
UVio and Viking began to share the lead, but it was still wide open, as Apollo and Trumans duelled for third, but there were still 14 cars on the lead lap.
The Apollo trio of Guy and Zoe Wenham, with Ryan Burke, pitted again on lap 39, quickly followed by Trumans, Viking and FNS. But DespatchBay.com had gained during the stops and they lead to the start of the final hour. This is all about who doubled fueled when or double fueled so you really don't know where people are until the last stint, not fully anyway. But we were right there leading the race. However, about 10 minutes into my stint the exhaust blew again, I couldn't believe. We had a chat about it last time and I knew to just stay out until I got flagged. I could just hear Pier's on the radio and he confirm stay out. It was noisy!! But i was catching the front pack by nearly a second a lap.
After the penultimate window Apollo led the way, but were then usurped by Axiametrics and Viking. They managed to jump us in the stops,” said Viking’s Holme.
The battle was on to the finish, but there was still another stop still to be made, Axiametrcis were in front, as Viking and Apollo traded for second and third, with DespatchBay.com and GT Radial looking on.
DespatchBay.com were in trouble though, “just after Andy had handed to me for the last stint, the exhaust blew and eventually was either resting on the shifter or over heating it and I couldn't shift up so had to come in and it took six minutes to repair,”
Axiametrics pitted from the lead, with Holme following them in, but as they rejoined, Nunn, had the advantage for Viking. “When Nick rejoined with the lead he was very determined and we have waited five years for this. The car was great, the strategy and fuel stops had us just where we needed to be, but it was a real fight with Guy Wenham at the end,” said Holme after the conquering Vikings claimed that elusive maiden victory.
For Apollo it was a reward for almost a year of misfortune, second place and only 0.262 secs from victory, a super send off for Ryan and Zoe, as she raced under the Wenham name for the last time.
JPR GT Radial completed the podium. “We gave it everything and fought like lions to get that first win, but small pit issues cost us,” said Gies. “We led for so long, but learned a lot ready for Anglesey,” Hadley added.
There was no repeat for Axiametrics, however, “Viking had jumped us at the last stop, but we were still in there until the clutch went and Chris (Weatherill) stopped on the start and finish straight,” said Rose.
So FNS got yet nearer to their first podium with a solid and hard fought fourth, while a second half charge from Team 7 Fun: Bikes rewarded Jon King, plus Ed and Chris Bridle with fifth.
GCI’s Craig Butterworth/Ian Wood had been strong runners all weekend and finished seventh, while 2Rent Dominos Hart and Neil Burroughs finished eighth. Agua Caliente and Track Life’s Gary Bate/Simon Smith completed the top 10.
And that is racing one day you are up and have a shot at the championship the next day we get a kicking... It's brutal, I am gutted for everyone.
I think I just focus on the second, as you can see it doesn't get any closer than that... Anglesey 8 hours next, will the exhaust stay on ???
Two radio interviews this week and then fly out to Zandvoort for round 4 on what will be an F1 track next year, so it was pretty exciting.
Practice was good and I made some good progress getting the lines the corrected for the funcup. Harry was super quick and I was off his pace, but it was all fine for the first practice session at a strange track.
We did qualification later on Friday instead of on Saturday which was a change. There was also a change in the weather as it rained and rained. I was happy in the wet and had mega times compared to every else, like 3 seconds a lap faster for the first 15 minutes or so. The track was ever changing with a strong wind one minute drying the track the next bring more rain. Harry managed to stick us fastest in qualie, but as you know we all get a random draw anyway. We drew 6th for round 4 and 8th for round 5.
We had a tactical discussion on who goes where and I ended up starting for both rounds and having the second to last stint to then hand over to Harry to take the last charge to the line.
Round 4 Saturday and the track dried which was a shame as I thought my wet times were more competitive than my dry. I think I just needed to let the data analysis Harry went through settle in as I was lite for the start and went to the front pretty quickly handing over a lead to Andy, which he held through his stint. We did a fuel and lost a few places and Harry had to work his way back and had an amazing fight to finish the closest ever Funcup race in second. I was happy with that it was good championship points and we needed the car in one piece for the round 5 on Sunday!
When Riley started karting we knew nothing of the different karts, equipment, clubs, teams, series etc etc. Or where it woud it lead!