Cats and Dogs.
Updated: Feb 17, 2019
So, let's start with an apology. It was wet. In truth it was VERY wet. The cameras got wet. The Go-pros got wet. The Racelogic got wet. Actually, everything and everyone got wet. So its taken a short while to get the technology dried out before we could give you a half-decent race report! --- The Trac Mon, Anglesey Coastal circuit; Twisty, technical, unforgiving. Especially in the rain. And boy, did it rain! But rain was exactly what the Wrexham Glyndwr University Students of Together, We Progress Racing had been hoping for. After an almost unheard of dry season to date the team had yet to stretch the combined legs of the sister MX5 Parts sponsored Mk1 and Mk3 MX-5s.
With just two 750 Motor Club CARTEK #ClubEnduro championship races remaining it was all to play for with the cars sat comfortably third and fourth overall but with a second and third possible with a strong result here and a race in hand.
Friday testing quickly proved the pace, with both cars over a second quicker than the same circuit last year and wet testing proved particularly promising...
Car 72: Team stalwart Nick Dougill would pilot the MX-5 Parts MRF Tyres Mk1 MX-5 solo for the three hours with John Munro testing the car for him on Friday before a short testing session on Saturday morning by which time the heavens had opened. Qualifying and Nick was struggling to get the car turned in (not helped by a neutral set-up as the team had to second-guess the conditions) but set a respectable 1:31.846 putting him just 16th overall.
The forecast suggested a wet start, drying mid-race. The big question would be exactly when? Starting mid-pack Nick kept out of trouble (even though a replacement gearbox proved to be defective, dropping third gear). As the field thinned, Nick pushed for 15 laps before making his first pit stop - just for tyres, the team having fuelled the car to go long in the hope of a timely safety car.
Once on the MRF tyres Nick's times dropped exponentially with a best of 1:21.752, the team left his second stop as late as possible before bringing him in just after the half-way stage and fuelling to the end. For a reason the team still have not been able to solve, the car received a black-and-orange flag for fuel loss; strange as the fuel level was the same as the start, but Nick had to throw a third stop and after a quick turn-around was back out. That third stop cost dearly, the car ending a lap down on the third and fourth placed cars to come home fifth in class. --- Car 27: John Munro was also running as a single driver in the MX-5 PartsNankang Tyres Mk3 MX-5. Friday practice proved very fruitful and John set a wet 1:28.302 ahead of the #70 BMW E36 328i of Hewson/Nossiter (class & Championship leaders). Having set a blistering time John was sure there was more to find but having gone back out got bitten on turn 2 hitting the tyre wall hard.
With the meeting being a one-day event the team pulled out all the stops to turn the car around in the limited available time for John to take that hard-earned grid place.
Running a similar strategy to Nick, the car was fuelled heavy with the first stop planned for tyres only. John came in a few laps after Nick to swap to his AR-1s and, as fuel burn rates were much slower than expected, stayed out until pitting on the 80th lap, nearly two-thirds race distance on fuel expected to get him to the halfway point!
Just 10 laps after John's stop a safety car meant all those still to throw their second compulsory stop did so, using the slower average speed to gain in terms of lost time. A double blow, John was collected by the safety car, meaning the rest of the field closed up behind him effectively gaining a lap on him for free. Even with him averaging high 1:19's (best lap 1:19.715) for the rest of the race, the lost time could not be clawed back and the car finished 10th overall, 4th in Class.
So, with all the high hopes of a strong wet race, the rain stopped early. Some things just can't be controlled... Ironically just 40 minutes after the end of the race it started to rain again.
Wasn't to be...
Would it have been a different story had the rain stayed? Almost certainly and secretly the team had harboured high hopes of a one-two finish. But it didn't and the team ended a respectable fourth and fifth in class.
So, one race to go; Snetterton in just three weeks time. Needless to say the team has everything crossed for a wet race at the driest circuit in the UK! --- Always looking forward, what this race did provide the team with is valuable data for the Race of Remembrance, just two months away...
2018 Race Calendar:
750 Motor Club CARTEK Club Enduro Championship
18 Mar Donington 2hr 14 Apr Oulton Park 2hr 10 Jun Rockingham 3hr 6/7 Jul Spa Francorchamps 2 x 100min 11 Aug Silverstone International 2hr 8 Sep Anglesey Circuit (cancelled Donington race) 3hr 7 Oct Snetterton 300 2hr
BARC / Mission Motorsport Race of Remembrance
10/11 Nov Anglesey 12hr
That's 29 (and-a-bit) hours of racing!!!
TWP: Together, We Progress. In partnership with Wrexham Glyndwr University.