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Yet another race car build...

Great to play with you in the race Mark - sorry to have fooled you into thinking you had me after the hairpin - lol I'll post a pic as you go past - bit annoyed with myself...all that hard work wasted on one mistake.

Good result for your first race, well done.

Nice picture Pete. I can see your problem now, the gearstick is lower down than that ;)

Funnily enough I missed a gear into the hairpin 2 laps before after over taking a car and he was all over me. Luckily I managed to hold him off.
Mallory Park Tin Tops 26/8/12 - My First Race

I spent the week before doing lots of minor finishing off jobs, nothing too strenuous.

Loaded the car up Saturday night then set the alarm for 4:30. Got up loaded all the tyres, tools and spares into the tow car and set off. I arrived at Mallory just after 7 unloaded the car and gave it a quick check over. My Dad turned up shortly after and I had a quick chat with Pete and Sam about what stuff I needed to do next. After that I headed over to scrutineering. Only problem I had there was that my rain lights (aka fog lights) didn't work. So they sent me away to fix them. I decided to go and sign on before I looked at the lights. Signed on no problem. Forgot to put a photo on my upgrade card so they wouldn't accept it. But they said if I keep a copy of the results print out they'll get it signed at my next race.

I headed back over to the car to take a look at the lights. As I got there I realised I'd only been turning the switch to the front fogs position lol. So got my Dad to check they were fine when I turned the switch to the right position and then headed back to scrutineering. They were happy so the car was ready to go.

Had a new driver's briefing at 9. Nothing to that really. I can't remember anything he said so I must have been a bit nervous by then!

Practise/qualifying was at 9:30 so I headed straight back to the car and got ready to go. The Mrs, kids and one of my mates arrived about then. All wished me luck and I headed out onto the circuit. They did a quick noise check, I don't have any problems there as I still have a massive centre silencer and only sound off at about 86dB.

On track it was similar to the test day I did the previous week, but a bit busier. It was pretty damp to start with and lots of cars were spinning off so I took it easy. You need to complete 3 laps in order to be allowed to race so I did about 5 laps then came in to give the car a once over. All was fine so I headed back out for the rest of the session. The track was drying out slowly so was getting quicker every lap. It was difficult to find space to do a quick lap so I kept backing off to try and find space.

Gave the car another quick check over and all was still fine. Then headed over to race admin to see what my qualifying position was. 15th with a 58.0 (I think) lap time. I was happy with that, in particular the fact that I was on the inside of the track, which I hoped would make my life easier at the start. I now had a few hours to kill.

My Mum and step Dad had also arrived by this point. The pit stop plan was for my GF and step Dad to do the pit stop with me, so we decided to do some practise. It is really tight for me to get in and out of the car as I have very high door bars and winged seats. But with some practise we got down to mid 20 seconds. Team Burpspeed then came over to give us some hints so we did some more pit stops and with their help got down to the low twenties. I was now very hot and sweaty so we called it a day on pit stop practise. We then walked over to the pits so my pit crew could get an idea of what would happen.

After that we chilled out for half an hour and had a quick sandwich. Then it was driver's briefing time. This briefing was about race procedure etc. pretty standard stuff again really.

Tin Tops were first race so after the briefing it was time to get ready for the race. I gave the car another quick once over. I noticed a drip of coolant on the thermostat housing so I checked the bolts were tight. It was only a tiny amount so nothing to worry about as long as the bolts were tight. Then I got kitted up for the race and headed over to the assembly area. All the guys/gals off here wished me luck. Tony asked if I'd removed my fire extinguisher safety pin and I hadn't lol. So I got him to do that for me. We headed out to our grid positions and then off on the warmup lap. I angled myself to head straight for the inside a la Michael Schumacher ;) The red lights came on and I held the revs at about 4k, seemed like they were on forever. Then we were off. I got a really fast initial start, much quicker than the two cars in front. So I got a shock, lifted off and bogged down. The car behind me was after my inside line so I closed that door and hung on in there round the first bend. My first impression was that this was night and day different from qualifying lol. I was losing places left right and centre and was about 5 places down by the end of the first few laps. Near the end of the first lap I got a run on a rover that had passed me at the hairpin but he cut right back over to the apex for the devils elbow and I only just managed to not hit him. I lost 1 more place on the next lap and spent the next 3/4 laps after that settling in.

By about lap 6 or 7 I had started to get up to speed and was reeling the cars who had passed me back in. Had some good tussles and re-passed all the cars that had passed me except one before pit stop time. The plan for pitting was to do it pretty much as soon as the pit opened. I noticed some boards come out the lap before they opened the pit lane so was looking next lap and sure enough the pit lane was now open. I got my "in" board the following lap and the pit stop went pretty smoothly.

I just knuckled down after the stop. There were several memorable incidents.

At one point I was so busy watching Jay/Tony approach from behind that I missed my braking and turn in for the esses and nearly ended up on the grass.

Another was the 306 that Jay/Tony were chasing shot past me into Gerrards then seemed to lose drive just as I tucked in behind him. I moved out to pass him and Jay/Tony then shot through the gap between us.

I nearly passed a fiesta under a yellow flag, but spotted it just as I drew along side and backed off in time. I think the burpspeed boys may have been caught out by the same flag as they were over taking someone (maybe Pete) just ahead of me.

I could see Pete (Toastfrenzy) towards the end of the race and caught him up in some traffic. His car is a bit faster than mine in a straight line but the traffic stopped him being able to pull away. He missed a gear at the devils elbow (see pic above) and I got past him. Managed to keep him there for a few laps then he got past and managed to pull out a bit of a gap.

Then it was the chequered flag.

I finished 10th so was absolutely made up with that. Was just hoping to finish!

Had a great time, really enjoyed the race. Can't wait for my next outing which will be at Oulton as I cannot make Donnington. The family all enjoyed it too.

Big thanks to all the Burpspeed team and Pete and Sam who really helped us out with what to do on our first race.

It was a big relief to actually do a race after having been building the car for a year on and off with all the ups and downs that go with these sorts of projects. Glad I stayed the course :)

The car behaved itself.

I have some brake vibration. But I've had that since the test day and the brakes were all brand new then so not sure if that is just normal under this level of stress. It is not bad enough that I would think about changing the discs just yet but it is not far off. I'm assuming it is the front discs.

There is a rattle from the engine when I start it sometimes. It only lasts a fraction of a second. I'll just have to keep an eye on it. I have another spare in the garage and I plan to build an engine specially over the winter, although it may not be this winter ;)
  182cup & 172 racecar
Sorry about that Mark, but Jerry in the 306 just came back to me very quickly when his box let go, I had to squeeze through or hit somebody.:eek:
Sorry about that Mark, but Jerry in the 306 just came back to me very quickly when his box let go, I had to squeeze through or hit somebody.:eek:

Don't worry that's racing lol. I don't think I'd even noticed you. It happened to me a few times were I was so busy concentrating on what was going on in front I hadn't noticed what was going on behind.
  172 Race Car
Thanks guys.

Forgot to add my fastest lap was my last lap 55.78. Not far off Pete and Sam but a couple of seconds down on Burpspeed. I'm happy though seems about right for where I finished.
Thats a very good time mate. we did 55.1 iirc our first year there. No diff stock engine with bodies
I was way too polite all day really, that's what got me at the start. Better to start that way and get more aggressive than the other way around I guess.

Jerry shot past, made lots of noise and I started to catch him up. Though umm that's not right he's much faster than me as I lifted off. Then started to realise he must have a problem so moved left. Then I think I saw you and thought you wouldn't have long to realise he had a problem before you went straight in the back of him.


ClioSport Club Member
  R53 GR86
Good race day write up, you have come along way from sprinting, hopefully I will be at Oulton to watch.
Here's my edited highlights, a mere 25 minutes lol.

Jerry loses his gearbox at 13:15, I nearly overtake under yellow at 14:30 and I think I can see you pass a blue car that may be Pete just ahead. Don't know if that's what you got the penaulty for? Pete misses a gear at 17:20.
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  172 Race Car
Great video mate, man that was close with that Rover first lap. Glad you found the pit lane entry this time ;)

Brilliant drive for your first race. Bravery will come
  BMW E46 330ci Sport
Whoa, that white and blue rover at 1:32 wasn't taking any prisoners! Great racing. Would love to do this.
Thanks Phil. Just a few extra mods to your car...

I guess the rover was entitled to the line as I wasn't quite half way along side (that is what they say in F1 isn't it lol?). Certainly was a brown pant moment to for me ;)
  Clio 172
Good write up and nice video Mark, I did lol when your missus dives in through the passenger door at the pitstop. Congratulations on a top ten finish as well in your first outing.
Had the Oulton park race on Saturday. Another good day.

Qualified 12th in the damp. Was 23rd by the end of the first lap!!! Had braking issues, a spin on some oil, trip over the grass, exchange of paint with an Alfa and a problem with my windows. So an eventful race. Finished 17th in the end.

Write up of what I've been up to the last few weeks coming soon.
  172 Race Car
Very eventfull day. Brilliant quali lap mate.

What happened at the start then?

Did notice your passenger window was down when it was on the trailer when you left the circuit.


ClioSport Club Member
  R53 GR86
Is this the one with plates and tax on ? I saw this and thought I had seen it somewhere !! I called in the garage a couple of times but no one was about.

Had the Oulton park race on Saturday. Another good day.

Qualified 12th in the damp. Was 23rd by the end of the first lap!!! Had braking issues, a spin on some oil, trip over the grass, exchange of paint with an Alfa and a problem with my windows. So an eventful race. Finished 17th in the end.

Write up of what I've been up to the last few weeks coming soon.
Is this the one with plates and tax on ? I saw this and thought I had seen it somewhere !! I called in the garage a couple of times but no one was about.

Yes that's me.

Very eventfull day. Brilliant quali lap mate.

What happened at the start then?

Did notice your passenger window was down when it was on the trailer when you left the circuit.

I got loads of wheel spin. Then I got bumped wide on the first corner and lost a load of places from that.

I got the window up using the switch off my 182 when I got back to my Mum's lol. Benefit of having two nearly identical cars.
Had a busy couple of months on and off the car.

Pre-Oulton Race update.

Oulton Park Trackday 18/9/2012

Since I'd never driven Oulton I planned to do a track or test day there before the race and a mate wanted to take his car on a track day so we arranged to go to Oulton on the 18th of September.

It was open pit and quite quiet so we had a garage each which was nice. My first time in a garage :)

It was a very wet day though. Had a lot of fun and learnt the circuit, but every time a dry line started to appear the heavens would open again.

They ended the day 10 minutes early when the hail and lightning started lol! The 30 minute taster session was out straight after us!

The car behaved itself. Although my recurring issue of brake vibration was starting to appear by the end of the day (the discs were brand new for the day).

I had a couple of spins. Once at druids and once at cascades within a few minutes of each other which prompted a visit from the chief instructor asking "what was wrong with my car?". I told him the problem was the driver and I'd try and keep it on the circuit from now on :) I stiffened the front dampers 3 clicks to try and make it less tail happy.

BARS Test 22/9/2012

I'm planning on doing some stage rallying at some point so I booked up a BARS test at Brands Hatch. It is a similar format to the ARDS test, a written exam followed by a short driving test. I'd watched the video and read the rallying section of the blue book but what you would be tested on was not as obvious as it is with the ARDS test. Even google didn't provide me with much info.

The examiner was a very nice chap who had also used the same car for both rallying and circuit racing so we got off to a good start. The test was fairly easy although there were a few very specific questions that you needed to have a good memory to answer. Fortunately they were in the bit were you were allowed to get a couple of questions wrong. There was the rally equivalent of the flags section and you had to get all of those correct. I passed that with only one wrong answer. Then onto the driving test.

He offered me the choice of two cars an ex works prepared 206 or a rear wheel drive escort cosworth hybrid. If it was just for fun I'd have gone with the rear wheel drive any day but seeing as it was a test and I hadn't driven a rear wheel drive car competitively for over 10 years I went with the 206. If I'd had any doubts about the choice they were quickly dispelled by another examiner when he enquired about which car I'd chosen. On hearing it was the 206 he said "good choice" - which made me think the cosie must have been a bit of a handful.

The driving test is basically 15 minutes driving around their mini rally stage. The stage is tarmac but with loose surface at the edges. The instructor said if you spin he is supposed to fail you but that he didn't really think it was fair when you are exploring the limits of an unfamiliar car. He said we'd have a few practise runs with him giving me instruction and then he'd shut up and that would be the test. It was a lot of fun. Circuit driving is very clinical but with this you throw it in, pull on a bit of hand brake and boot it. So it was a nice change. On my second practise session I span the car and nearly got is stuck in a little gulley. The instructor seemed to like this though and was giving me lots of encouragement. At one point I hit the flying finish with my wing mirror and the instructor had me trying to keep up with other instructors around the stage. Was a lot of fun and I passed.

Just need to figure out what to do with my circuit suspension for rallying now?

Llandow 26/9/2012

Next up was Llandow organised by Burpspeed. As the day approached the forcast wasn't looking good and I decided there was no point taking my dry tyres.

The only time it stopped raining was for lunch and the afternoon tea break. The field in the middle got so water logged it decided to drain accross the track forming a nice river at the glue pot corner.

Was a another good event from Jay and Tony though and had a lot of fun.

I had a rear view camera for the first time. I still haven't looked at the footage properly though and seeing as it was so wet and I don't have a rear wiper any more I doubt it will be worth embedding. Was only a 25 quid camera from ebay but seems to be OK, although I half wish I'd spent a bit more and got a half decent bullet cam. I may down grade this one to a bumper/floating cam.

Car behaved itself. Only problem was my exhaust to cat bolts coming undone, I've put some spring washers in there now. My brake vibrations continued to worsen during the day so much so I decided I'd need to replace them for the race.

My front brake discs have only been lasting 2 events a pair for the last 2 sets, the set before that were on for years so I decided there must be some minor issue somewhere.

I gave the front running gear a good once over but couldn't really find any issues of significance. The only minor problem is a small amount of play on the inner track rod joints. It is all still the original stuff from the factory though and 10 years and 139k miles later I guess it could do with a refresh over the winter.

When I fitted the new front discs I was surprised to find that my brake pads were down to about 1mm on the near side but still about 4mm on the off side. The sliders were free so the caliper must be sticking a bit, something else to refurb over the winter. I fitted my spare pads which were my old DS2500s. I had been using DS3000s for the last 4 events. I figured they'd be fine for the race as I'd never had any problems with them before.

I put my direzzas on ready for the Oulton race.
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