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2016 Brands Hatch Mini Festival

posted 15 Aug 2016, 10:50 by Kieren McDonald   [ updated 15 Aug 2016, 10:50 ]

Better late than never – a month has already passed since the annual Brands Hatch Mini Festival and yet somehow the sunshine is still shining as brightly in the UK.

There were a few things to sort with the car in preparation for the mini festival, following the poor luck we faced at Donington Park. Mini Spares were spot on in delivering some quality parts – motorsport is always last minute, yet the parts are always good and come through at the right time.  The radiator had to be changed as that had pierced after a tap behind Graeme when he missed a gear. Although I pulled over a lap later once the water temperature started rising, Hunter Racetech found some damage with a bent valve so clearly it had got a bit hot beyond the reading I was looking at.  Selby Race Engines soon had the head all back to normal and running sweetly again, ensuring the original performance.  Lewis managed to get my new windscreen installed, which was kindly sorted by Julian Proctor.

Classic & Custom Works turned around the front end repair, new grille, bumpers and arches in a matter of days at last minute. Rob did a great job as always and I love the way the car looks now.

The weather was scorching at Brands Hatch and I made the mistake of starving and de-hydrating myself prior to quali!! Unsurprisingly I didn’t feel completely “on it” but settled for qualifying 7th and 6th out of 34 cars for Race 1 and 2 respectively. No issues and the car was ready to go again. I wish I could have said the same thing of myself – dehydration had caught me out and did not feel at all well. Come Race 1, the bottles of water had started to pick me up a little. Big lesson – make time for eating and drinking at race weekends!

Race 1 went reasonably well but I just didn’t feel like I got into the groove until too late. It was eventful with a safety car period and when the race resumed I felt more with it and could feel things coming to me a bit more. Unfortunately, a late lunge from Tom up into Druids led to a big thump and some sideways action, dropping me back. I managed to finish the race and finished P7 so not too bad considering.  The car was all over the place – the main impact was to the rear right wheel leading to a bent stub axle pin. The alignment was well out on the front and rear and incurred some body damage. Tom, bless him could not apologise enough and helped loads in fixing the car. In true Mini 7 Club style, all hands were ablaze helping me to fix it ahead of the next race on the Sunday.  Big thanks to Endaf for the spare parts. Great work getting it stripped and back together by Lewis, Rob, Greg and Tom. Setup was nicely returned to where it was by Dunc and Greg. Top work guys.
Race 2 started 6th and had a really close battle with Tom and Charlie.  It was a shame we were slowing each other up causing the front pack to edge away. I hung back waiting for a mistake but a red flag ended any hopes of getting past so remained in P6. I felt I had the run but didn't want to make any lunges. The car felt good again following the work the previous day – a very positive end to a challenging weekend.

The next event is Oulton Park 20th August – it will no doubt be a great event but a shame to say I cannot make it. I look forward to watching TSL and watching everyone’s footage afterwards. The next races for me will be Snetterton and then Zandvoort.  Even though we cannot make Oulton we still arranged another really fun “testing” event at Simply Race via our Racing Events Facebook page. Along with some mini7 racers, we had some from the Metro Cup and also British GT, in the young star of Ross Gunn, Beechdean AMR GT4 driver. It wasn’t just race drivers though – there were mixed abilities and the aim of the events we organise are focussed on fun. Simply Race is certainly the best UK race simulator – very well priced, 15 well kitted pods and great service.  If you are ever around Milton Keynes pop in and have a go – from just £8 gets you a drive around a circuit of your choice in a car you choose.

Thank you for all your invaluable support:

Mini Spares
Simply Race
Selby Race Engines
Hunter Racetech
Classic & Custom Works
British Mini Club
MB Race Photography
Rainmac Crafts
Friends & Family (including those over social media)

 

Here are my in car race videos for you to enjoy:

Race 1:

 

Race 2:




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