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2012 Round 5 Race Report - Brands Hatch Mini Festival

posted 30 Jun 2012, 02:41 by Kieren McDonald
Brilliant weekend, lots of friendly faces and all things mini...well with the exception of the GT's and Radicals (supporting us of course!!).  Was great to meet those of you who came over to chat and well done especially to those that travelled many miles to be a part of it all.  The Mini7 club even had competitors travel from France and Switzerland to race with us.

Dave Yardy and Rob Selby had an absolutely manic long few days getting my car sorted - most of which I mentioned in my last blog (click here to read).  There were more last minute issues the night before heading off for testing so we decided to have a couple of hours sleep (40 winks for Dave!) and travel to Brands in the morning.

We missed the 1st session but made the rest of the sessions through the day - allowing to try out the dry and wet tyres, as it pelted it down later in the day.  Testing was a success, as it allowed me to give the car a good shake down and iron out any minor issues - a couple of the things included the main coil plug and a clutch oil seal.  Also importantly I had some time in the car to try and get a good feel for it and restore some confidence; after all it was pretty much a different animal after most things having been changed.  It did drive totally different, felt like I knew where it was going to go and just allowed me to push it where I wanted.  The power delivery was also different and something to get used to.

Qualifying went quite well, although was slightly disappointed not to make the top 10. Although when looking at it, there wasn't really anything to be disappointed about - p12 out of 28 cars, my car had been transformed from the vast amount of work that had to be done so virtually a new car to get used to, my mental state probably wasn't where it needed to be following all the issues previously, the grid timings were so close and I was only 1.6 seconds off pole...so all in all, we were pretty happy.

It was again a pretty hot day for Race 1 on the Sunday, as I lined up in p12 on the outside of the grid.  Thoughts of what was going to happen with the daunting Paddock Hill 1st time round...!

I had a pretty good start, deciding to take the outside line around Paddock Hill, gaining a few positions but heading back up to Druids there was nowhere for me to go.  I opted to stay on the outside, brake late and drive it around but that lost me a couple of places; I didn't have any choice as there was no room to get in on the inside.  I had a better line going into Graham Hill behind Damon Astin but then lost time and momentum changing gear, allowing Ian Deviny and Leon Wightman to gain and pass me before Surtees.

Positions were chopping and changing, not helped by a few mistimed gear changes!! I ended up being in an exciting battle with Ian Deviny, Leon Wightman and Adam Smith for the majority of the race.  Some extremely close calls but in true Mini7 fashion, a very clean battle.  I would drop back slightly but then get my head together, close back in and just see what happened, ready to pounce...unfortunately on lap 17 something in the gearbox let go so had to retire to a marshall post.  Extremely gutting with all the effort, the past issues...but as they say, this is racing!!

Post race investigation was suggesting a problem with the diff and later chats with Rob, the thinking is that this is likely to be another problem surfacing from the Castle Combe incident...all due to a loose hub nut! Just extremely bad luck, as Rob and Dave had already spotted a cracked pinion last minute when dyno'ing it prior to this event and yet something else let go in this area.  The gearbox was probably the only thing not replaced or looked at in great detail as it wasn't a problem area but what were the chances of this happening after everything else..!

Upon reflection, yes it was extremely gutting but so many positives came out of the weekend - the car felt great, engine went well, good relationship built up with Dave and Sam (Dave's helper), the car is in a great position following all the work...the gearbox should now be the final untouched area which will now need to be looked at and sorted.

The highlight of the weekend though had to be seeing my boy in a BigMacRacing top :-D

Thanks to all that came to support and also those that helped get me there - Dave, Sam and Rob - top job!  Great to see my family there and also Rob from Classic and Custom Works - do click the link and give him a call if you need any work doing!

Results/timings can be found on the Mini7 website by clicking the links below:


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