Opening round to the MR2 Race Series at Rockingham.
Rockingham 6th April 2014
The first race of the MR2 race season would be at this under-rated venue. Friday afternoon was spent running in my freshly rebuilt engine as last season’s engine smoked quite a lot. First signs were not good as after 2 laps I got black flagged for excessive smoke. One they’d been informed what I was doing they let me back out onto the circuit. The first 25 minute session i spent not exceeding 5000 rpm’s, second session not exceeding 6000 rpm’s and the final session was flat out as if qualifying. It was in this last session that the engine developed a death rattle.
After dropping the engine and gearbox out the car that night at the workshop and nipping back in the morning to strip all the ancillaries off i was left with a bare engine. A spare engine that had been in the corner of the workshop was the only hope of racing my car on the Sunday, so i set about bolting all the bits to this engine.
That evening I picked up Nige and we set about installing it into the car. It only took a couple of hours to get it fitted and running. However, once we filled it with water it would quickly turn into a nightmare. With water leaking out the mating face of the cylinder head and the water temp housing which all the bolts were seized it was clear that this was not going to be a quick fix, with other various leaks that had to be cured the car was loaded in the trailer at 1am ready for a 6am start.
Arriving at Rockingham for 7.30 and after signing on, I only had time to warm her up and change the tyres before qualifying commenced. On a damp greasy track traction was a big problem, cars were sliding all over the place, a red flag halfway through the session brought things to a halt momentarily. Once back out I bagged a decent lap which was good enough for P9 on this full grid of 34 cars.
Not the best start saw me loose places round the banking and into turn 2, an over exuberant Nathan Wright was unable to slow down sufficiently enough to avoid contact with the lead cars, I backed off as I could see what was about to happen, I passed the incident relatively unscathed other than a bashed in rear quarter when I’d made contact with the Tiger Hyundai of Jon Winter. By the end of lap 1 I’d moved up to 4th position. I stayed here until turn 2 on lap 3 where Peter Higton (car no.4) misjudged his breaking point and drove into the side of me. This pushed me onto the grass where once I had turned around I was able to rejoin the track in 16th place. The rest of the race I enjoyed as I was able to overtake a couple of cars each lap and when the race finished I’d fought my way back to 6th position, 5th in Class.
Another disappointing start saw me hold my own this time and remain in P6 at the end of the opening lap, the replacement engine was starting to slow by lap 3 and I was having trouble keeping the following cars behind, I’d pull a gap on the twisty infield only for it to be gobbled up on the Start/Finnish straight around the banking. Some switching of positions between myself and Neil Hurren (car no.87) in the closing laps kept things interesting, as we took the flag I managed to keep 5th position, 4th in class.
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