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2012 Round 4 Race Report - Castle Combe

posted 20 May 2012, 06:28 by Kieren McDonald
It made a nice change for us to be able to arrive early at Combe to get set up and do the required checks to the car, plus fit the new discs and pads. We managed to do a track walk of the circuit as we had not been there before and had a nice relaxing BBQ and chat in the evening - the weather, to add, was lovely!!

The weatherman was certainly right...the weather on quali/race day was atrocious!! No doubt about the tyre choice. Spectators at the circuit and those tuned into the live Motors TV coverage were in for some great action!

Quali was a mixed affair - se7en's with migs, as would the races be. With it being a new circuit and wet, it certainly wasn't an overly enjoyable time out on circuit. Every few seconds I would have to come off the power to allow a safe overtake, not knowing how the track/river conditions would be. I was having to pump the brake slightly before decent pressure, although the fluid had been checked prior to going out. I think I struggled to get any heat into the old wet tyres, as I was just all over the place...understeering one minute and then oversteering the next. It was difficult to try and concentrate on my own drive and build some confidence with the conditions, as there wasn't even one clean lap. I thought I would be right at the back so was surprised to hear I had qualified 11th.

The conditions did not let up for the mixed race - my main mission was to get some heat in the tyres. I certainly wouldn't have minded some fresh wet tyres for some grip but for only a few wet races in the season and plenty of other skills to perfect, it doesn't make sense quite yet.

We started behind the Miglia's and with my positioning on the grid, I couldn't even see the lights!! I had to just watch the front migs and go when I saw them move, not ideal. I made a position or two off the start, even though I was a little slow to get going. The run to Quarry was a bit heart-stopping with no visibility whatsoever (check out my in car video!!)...the objective was just to get through cleanly on that 1st corner, which is known to claim so many victims! 

The grip levels were pretty much the same, although I was getting some heat into the tyres and the grip was coming. My brakes were still the same so I still had to pump the pedal slightly before it felt good....a few entertaining slides through Bobbies and Camp Corner.  Confidence was certainly building with the grip levels as I was having a good clean battle with Darren Thomas....that was until I faced a total brake failure! I pumped the brakes a fair few times before there was any feel and I had no drive so I had no choice but to retire on lap 6 just after Tower Corner - gutted! Up until then, I believe I had been running in 9th/10th and gaining in confidence.

Following inspection when back in the paddock, it appears as though the hub nut split pin had broke so that and the hub nut were non-existent! This had led to severe movement and allowed the outer cv joint to pop out! Upon reflection, we were lucky it did not end a lot worse!

Now we have to look ahead to one of highlights of the Mini7 calendar - double header at Brands Hatch, Mini Festival - check out the incredible line up here. Our aim will be to return Dave Robinson's block, get mine sorted, assembled and fitted. We're also looking to change the brake calipers, drive shafts and give the car a full once over to hopefully sort any remaining issues. We're really looking forward to the next event so hopefully we'll have a great weekend's racing :-)

Good work by Si as always and thanks to Rowenna for taking some great action shots at Combe - fantastic, especially with no experience!! More pics can be found on facebook.

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.

Check out all the in-car video footage from throughout the season!
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