Monday, 27 June 2011

Doune - King of the Hills - 18/19 June 2011

Photo by Stephen Hynds

Last weekend saw me compete at the fabulously scary Doune hillclimb.

There was a great entry as it was a round of the British Hillclimb Championship as well as the Scottish and Lowland Championships. There was also a smattering of Ferraris which brought a touch of class to proceedings.

Doune Hillclimb Sunday batch 3-5
Paul Webster Photo by Scott Paterson

Also making the long trip from Hampshire was Paul Webster in is highly modified MX-5. Paul is a regular competitor in the HSA speed championship which I contested in 2009 and it was great to see such a well modified MX-5 at Doune.

As this was a mixed National A and National B event, I ended up in a class of my own. This had the advantage of ensuring a victory and trophy (the first and probably last of the season).

The weather was grim at times

The weather was not kind to us and there were several bad crashes over the weekend (fortuately no injuries) which meant that proceedings were sometimes slow. However, I managed to get my times down on each run although my best was in the low 62 second range, well off my personal best of 60.94sec set in April.

Murray simpson lines up for the start

It was great to see three MX-5s competing at Doune - Paul Webster's monster with a 58.25sec run, Murray Simpson in his Mk2 put in a great time of 60.11sec and Kevin Clark not far behind with 63.9sec. All creditable times for their first visits to Doune.

Ben Lyons had an off in Saturday practice in his VX220 turbo and did a fair amount of damage but managed to overcome this to post a very impressive 56.05sec run on Sunday.

Next outing for me is at Alford in July.

Photo by Stephen Hynds

The kids sneek into the racingPug

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Teesside report


Teesside is a great wee kart track on the edge of Middlesbrough city centre. On Monday, it hosted the Keith Pattison Memorial Sprint organised by York Motor Club. This was the fourth round of the Brockbanks Solicitors Cross Border Speed Championship and I had been looking forward to returning to the track after an absence from the calendar last year.

The weather on Sunday night for the journey down was windy but dry and sunny so I was quite hopeful that the predicted rain for Monday would not materialise. However, I awoke in the morning to the sound of rain on the roof of the car (my makeshift motorhome!) so the omens were not good.

The morning session proved to be quite frustrating as the rain came on and off but never stopping long enough to dry out the track. The track proved to be very slippery when wet and this led to quite a few hairy moments as I tried to get to grips with the inherrent twitchyness of the racingPug.

My competition in class was Mike Hunter in his Metro and a wee Nova rally car driven by local entrant Ken Sturdy. Mike spent the whole morning fixing his throttle cable in the pouring rain which must have severely dampened his spirits, if not his times.

I managed to keep getting faster on each run and by the second last run, I had set my sights on getting under 60 seconds. I was delighted to post a 57.89 sec run on my final run. As expected, this was well off the pace of Mike (53.03 sec) and Ken (54.96 sec). However, it was a respectable time and was good enough to beat all the bigger engined road-going cars in Class R2. This was especially satisfying after my defeat to Dave Exton's eBay MR2 at Ingliston.

Talking about the R2 class, they were having a real hum-dinger of a battle with the top 5 separated by half a second. I miss that close competition and it got me thinking that I might need to get back into that class again some day. Or maybe I could just get a single seater.

Fastest time of the day went to Roy Munro in an OMS who had travelled down from the north of Scotland for his first foray south of the border. Turned out to be his first ever FTD and he gave a really good, well thought out, winners speech - nice to see that.

The racingPug didn't have any problems (which is good) although it is smoking quite a bit and is definitely running rich since the Ingliston Ignition Timing Incident. Whether I can be bothered trying to fix that is debatable.

Next outing for me is Doune on the 18/19th June and it looks like that will be the only event for me in June. After that, I'm planning to go up to Alford in mid-July and then Kames at the end of July. August will see me go to Forrestburn with a double header at Harewood in September. I plan to finish off the season at Kames in October.

Maybe, just maybe, the raingMetro will be back in action before then.......