Remembering the Race of Remembrance
Updated: Feb 17, 2019
100. The number - rightly so - is everywhere and was very much the focus of the 5th annual Mission Motorsport Race of Remembrance.
For the Students of Wrexham Glyndwr University Together, We Progress Racing and the sister MX5 Parts sponsored Mk1 and Mk3 MX-5s this would be the biggest challenge of the year. 50 teams, 12 hours, one aim.
As is quite usual for the event the beautiful Anglesey Circuit threw the odd curve-ball into the equation with some interesting 'weather' but exceptional planning and execution by both the Circuit and BARC staff meant all TWP Racing had to do was concentrate on the actual racing.
50 cars were due to take to the grid - a veritable bouquet of British club racing - from bespoke endurance builds to open topped MX5s and Caterhams to Citroen C1s (more of them later!) and Friday testing showed the two TWP cars had the pace. But what the next twelve hours of racing would hold nobody could have guessed, or dreamed of...
The MX-5 Parts MRF Tyres Mk1 MX-5 would be piloted by three very proficient MX-5 specialists: Bobby Andrews, Nick Dougill and Greme McMurchie have all raced with the team this season with equally impressive podium results.
Friday testing proved good pace but changeable conditions meant more laps were conducted on the wet option tyre than the MRF that the team knew is so good married to the Mk1 chassis.
Graeme would start the race P15 out of the 45 cars that made the grid; sadly some succumbing to mechanical and/or irreparable damage during quali, proof that conditions were at times almost impossible. The track remained dry but incredibly greasy with all teams struggling to find a compound that worked.
After an hour the car was running 16th overall, more importantly first in Class ahead of two Lotus' and a BMW Compact. As the hours ticked by and darkness settled on the International Circuit all three drivers continued to deliver and, as the flag dropped to signal the end of the first six hours of racing the team was sat comfortably in 10th overall, first in class with a lap in hand.
Sunday morning would see the track damp, but drying fast. The decision was made to stay on the wet option until a dry line appeared, which eventually it did and Bobby Andrews was the first driver in seven hours of racing to enjoy the superior grip of the MRF!
Once again, Bobby, Nick and Graeme just kept on it. The Datum Motorsport '43 Lotus had the edge (but only the edge) on our 23 year old car but, come the chequered flag, the little MX-5 would cross the line second in Class and just 12th overall, a full 27 laps ahead of the third placed car having completed 331 laps and 695.1 racing miles!
The MX-5 Parts Nankang Tyres Mk3 MX-5 would welcome regular driver Alex Duffy and two new faces to the line up: Clive Bailye and Chris Fellows, both experienced sprint and endurance pilots themselves.
Friday AM testing proved a bitter twist of fortune when the car departed the circuit at high speed at the top of Rocket burying itself firmly in the tyre wall. The team set to repairing the front end, straightening panels and replacing the front nose section and splitter but sadly the repairs took time meaning the three drivers would qualify on minimal seat time in the car. Repairs ran into the start of qualifying and, as the sessions continued the heavens opened meaning all three drivers took their turn in biblically wet conditions resulting in a lowly 33rd on the grid.
Come the race electrical niggles caused by the crash and a last-minute scrutineering error meant the car would not make the grid but start from the pit lane. Clive joined the back of the pack on the green flag lap and kept it clean during the frenetic race start on an incredibly slippery track on the NS-2R 'inter' compound.
After just one hour Clive had overtaken 15 cars and as Chris and Alex each took their turn the car slowly climbed the rankings ending the evening fourth in Class, just 20th overall. A herculean effort by both the team and drivers in the most challenging of weather!
Sunday morning would see the car start on wets but by the first stop the drivers elected to go onto the AR-1 option tyre. Lap times immediately tumbled and as the track slowly formed a dry line Alex, Clive and Chris left nothing out on the circuit and the team broke all records with some incredibly slick pit-stops meaning the car climbed to P3 in Class.
With two hours to go Alex radioed in to report he had been clipped by a Citroen C1 leaving the pits putting him into a spin and eventually beaching the car to its axles on the sodden grass. Three laps were lost whilst the Marshals managed to man-handle the car out of the mud and get Alex away without the need for a tow; incredible work by the Orange Army!
With just thirty minutes of the twelve hour race remaining the '999 Civic in P2 pitted and was pushed into the garage, a quick calculation said that if it stayed there for more than six laps we would steal the position. With a lap and a half to go the car rejoined the track, meaning the TWP Racing '27 car crossed the line a very respectable third in Class and 17th overall. Not bad considering the car had started the race, 12 hours, 320 laps and 672 racing miles earlier dead-last!
Two cars, two podiums.
Arguably the dream end to an incredible year with four thirds, a second and that all-important win at Spa Francorchamps in the bag.
Huge thanks to the Mission Motorsport #RoR team, Anglesey Circuit and BARC who manage to make this event more magical every year. And to the 750 Motor Club with whom we have enjoyed a brilliant Championship year.
Huge thanks also to all the folk behind the scenes (many are proudly mentioned at the bottom of this page) who quietly support our little University team with everything from advice and parts, from lubricants to clothing, from our race weekend home to coffee! You are all, quite simply, amazing and we could not do what we do without you!
So, into the Winter. A time of change, growth and some tough decisions for the team to make in terms of direction for 2019. Sadly, our little Mk1 will retire and her sale will free up some equity for the next chapter in our story which, at the time of writing this is yet to be decided.
What we do know is - as our name suggests: Together, We will Progress...
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.