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2012 Round 1 Race Report

posted 25 Mar 2012, 10:38 by Kieren McDonald   [ updated 27 Mar 2012, 15:11 ]
We have all been eagerly anticipating the start to the 2012 Mini7 season and it has already been and gone!

We all headed up to the infamous Cheshire circuit of Oulton Park to find out why so many people rave about it - now I will be joining those other racers asking for it to be part of our race calendar every year.

A glorious sunny day, plenty of paddock space and lots of friendly supporters helped make a rather pleasant trip - a special hello to all those from Leyland Mini Club that showed their support for BigMacRacing - great to meet you all.

Members of the BigMacRacing and AL Motorsport teams again showing what teamwork is all about - Simon, Ed and Greg putting in some hours to get the car prepped in time and Row keeping us all hydrated and fed :-) My wife, Lorraine, our month old son, Lewis and Mum came to support too which is great considering lack of sleep and long journey to Cheshire!

A very foggy morning soon cleared up for glorious sunshine, ready for our morning qualifying session. My main aim was to learn the track and try to develop a smoother driving style and it seemed to work. Typically my qualifying is pretty poor but surprisingly I landed myself 7th position - the best yet for BigMacRacing!!  

We suffered a major oil leak, which made a bit of a mess in the engine bay and could be seen by all with a fair amount of smoke trailing my car as I lapped the technical Cheshire circuit.  This was thought to be due to a mis-aligned head gasket, allowing the oil to leak out; rectified by a new sealed gasket courtesy of Dave Robinson's spare parts box (thanks Dave) :-)

It was a good feeling to be close to the front pair on the grid lining up. I had the quick se7en of Darren Thomas behind me and Adam Smith to my left...I just needed to concentrate on getting a good start when those lights went out!

I managed to get a decent start but Thomas was closing in down the inside but I kept my nerve and kept my line through Old Hall Corner. I was a little cautious with a few corners so dropped off a bit from the front 6 by the end of the 1st lap but seeing them close showed I wasn't doing too bad on my 1st visit to the circuit!

My car continued to smoke as it had done during qualifying but then during the 5th lap I could not select gear, allowing Smith and others to pass without challenge. It finally allowed me to select gears again but then would not allow me to rev the car so had to crawl around until I finally pulled off to a safe marshall post to await recovery! Until then, I had only lost one position to Davies who had stormed through the field in what appeared to be a rocket propelled se7en :-) A very disappointing end to what was looking like the best start to the season I could have wished for!

Despite the bad end to the race weekend, plenty of learning outcomes and positives to take away to the next rounds. The next steps will be to find some time to split the engine to inspect the potential damage and try and repair in time for Donington on 21st April.

I hope you all enjoyed racing & spectating and hope to see you all again at the next round!! :-)

Congrats to the podium winners for the Se7en's and Miglia's - full results/timings can be found here & the se7en's championship points table can be found here.

Pictures courtesy of Beejphoto.co.uk:



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