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Croft Report

posted 3 Oct 2011, 12:13 by Kieren McDonald
Sorry for the late blog, been a little busy...but no excuses!! :-)

Well as the pic to the left suggests, no longer a cross-wearing Novice!! Never thought I'd ever finish 6 races with all the bad luck we have had but we made it :-)

The final rounds of the Mini7 championships were contested at Croft - Mini Se7en 's' class, Mini Se7en Novice, Mini Se7en, Mini Miglia.  The titles were all up for grabs, and with championship points very tight, many were in contention.

It was a long drive to Croft - much longer than it should have been with several accidents on the way up, slowing things down.  Once thing was for certain, it was pretty gusty in the chilly North :-)

Unfortunately Simon had a few things to do to the car before qualifying on Saturday morning but after a late night/early morning we were all set.  The weather held up as promised so off we went on our dry tyres.  Qualifying went smoothly, although I wasn't pushing it as hard as I should have been and was struggling quite a bit with the back section of the track.  I steered the car around too much, as opposed to allowing the rear to do the steering, and was on the brakes far too early for a couple of sections.  I managed to qualify 13th for the 1st race and 15th for the 2nd race out of 21 entrants.

The 1st race started well with probably my best grid start yet, actually made up places, rather than stalling or bogging down!! I was soon blocked from making any more progress before the 1st corner into Clervaux so waited patiently forming single file before then making my next move on the inside of Affleck into Hawthorn.  My momentum was lost after having to brake on the outside of Dyer at Chicane so from there tried to settle into the race.  By the time I had reached Tower Bend, I had already found out a brake issue, similar to that I experienced at Donington, had returned!!  I was having to try come off the gas earlier and pump the brake pedal to try and get some pressure - all of this was causing me bother.  It affected my timing for pretty much everything - over driving corners as not being able to slow it down enough, down-shifting with revs too high on a couple of occasions, missing apexes and for some reason I kept pressing the throttle when heel-toeing too!! All this led to many lairy moments but certainly helped me gain more confidence in how the car behaves under the limit!  I visited the grass a couple of times, which lost me a couple of places.  I crossed the line in 11th place so not too bad considering!

In between races there wasn't an awful lot to do - the brakes were checked out but nothing could really be done in the paddock so I was to expect similar issues in the 2nd race.

The 2nd race again started very well - almost got blocked in but made a decision to change sides, which paid off.  I held back, got through the 1st corner and similarly to the 1st race, made my next move on the inside of Hawthorn but this time on Smith.  Coming out of Chicane, I was behind Proctor and by the next lap tried my luck down the inside into Tower Bend but with my dodgy brakes, it was so difficult to slow it down, had a tight entry into the corner and not tidy enough on the exit so Proctor took the place back before heading into the Jim Clark Esses.  I found the larger capacity engine of Proctor's 's' class car pulled away quicker on the exit of the tight bends so any momentum I had to make a pass fizzled out, with it being a difficult track to overtake on....the braking issue certainly didn't help!!  A couple of laps from the end and rain started coming down, leading to some slippy moments - especially at the Complex and Hairpin!  I managed to bring it home in the final race of the season in an another 11th place but of course this time from 15th!

Reliability and consistency certainly improving, still plenty to work on, lots learnt, we can only keep improving!

So that's it - a full season over!! Crazy!! Didn't seem so long ago that we were looking at what championship to enter!!

Championships Standings in Dunlop Mini Seven Championship 2011
2nd in Novice Championship (6 entrants)
14th in overall Mini7 Championship (36 entrants)

Bearing in mind I have never raced competitively, never even driven a mini (let alone race spec), only finished 8 rounds out of 13.  In most of the 8 finishes, we have had major reasons that have affected the pace/position (electrical & braking issues) and of course stalling off the grid and penalties haven't helped :-)  All in all, we are very happy with how things have gone results-wise.  Full championship points can be seen here.

Aside from results, we have loved every minute of the social aspect and have formed many great relationships!

Many many thanks to all those that have made BigMacRacing happen - all of the BigMacRacing team, Rob at Classic and Custom Works, Rob Selby, Hunter team, A L Motorsport team, Ralph....and the list goes on!! 

Big congrats to the following 2011 winners:
  • Endaf Owens - Mini Miglia champion
  • Paul Spark - Mini Se7en champion
  • Ashley Davies - Mini Se7en Novice champion
  • Julian Affleck - Mini Se7en 's' class champion

To next season....but 1st....the Mini7 Awards Evening and AGM to look forward to!! see you there! :-)

Croft Pictures still being edited - check back again soon for more pics from Croft!
Check out in-car video footage from Croft
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