Updated: Feb 17, 2019
Race weekends are always a busy time for the Students of Wrexham Glyndwr University Together, We Progress Racing but this one was even more-so than most!
With little regard to the 750 Motor Club CARTEK #ClubEnduro race calendar two of the team stalwarts Zoe and Mark decided that the day before testing was the ideal date to tie the knot! So, ever the generous types, the Team gave Mr & Mrs Little-Sharp the weekend off to enjoy their racing-honeymoon from the other side of the fence!
From all of us CONGRATULATIONS!!!
Car 72: Fresh from its post-Oulton rear-end rebuild the pairing of Graeme McMurchie and Nick Dougill took the MX-5 Parts MRF Tyres Mk1 MX-5 to a respectable 6th in class (26th overall) in qualifying.
Sandwiched between a Lotus Elise and more powerful Mk3 MX-5s the 23 year old car looked poised for a hard race
With two compulsory pit-stops during the three hour race the team elected to run a heavy fuel strategy and 'go long' in the hope that a Safety Car would allow the jump and a 'free' stop. Nick drove both consistently and cleanly and, as the more thirsty cars started to pit had pushed the car up to 3rd overall by lap 24! At the programmed 90 minute stop with 50+ laps completed Nick handed the car over.
As the race developed the attrition started to show with many of the more powerful cars suffering from the mid-forties track temperature. Then, bad luck (actually our only bad luck of the weekend); Graeme, along with one of our class competitors spun off on coolant dropped on-circuit, damaging the nearside-rear suspension. Thankfully both cars span away from one another but the altered geometry meant that the car started to loose valuable time lap-on-lap. Graeme made the wise decision to pit early and the car only lost a lap whilst the suspension was realigned with the second and final pit-stop (by this point just a splash-and-dash) being thrown too.
With tyre wear affecting almost every car on the grid the MRFs finished the race ready to test at the next meeting, testament to their durability.
Come the flag a very respectable 5th in class and just 11th overall. Ironically, had the car been entered in the higher Class B it would have podiumed! --- Car 27: A new driver line-up for the MX-5 Parts Nankang Tyres Mk3 MX-5 saw Bobby Andrews, Pip Hammond and John Munro share the car with an equal third share of the race strategy.
Friday testing saw some very positive figures with the AR-1 tyres working well and full race distance achieved with only aero-tweaks being made to the set-up.
Bobby would start the race with the car qualified 3rd in Class (dropped to 4th after a Class restructure), 22nd overall and he took his first ever rolling start keeping the car out of trouble during the frenetic start. At the one hour point and 34 laps Bobby pitted, handing over a straight car to Pip who continued to show his test day pace slowly bringing the car up the timing screen. The final pit-stop and driver change saw John take to the track in the knowledge that we had 3rd place plus half a lap in hand. By the time he crossed the line (with a little help from a well-timed Safety Car) that would be a full lap in hand.
At some point the drivers picked up a five second penalty for track limits; given that the Team only realised this whilst trawling the data post-race we'll just leave that one parked!
It's testament to the Team that we've been getting inpatient for a trophy, after all with the Donington round cancelled due to the atrocious weather this is actually only our second competitive round of our 2018 campaign!
But the Team remains hungry for more silverware this season with various upgrades in the pipeline and known improvements waiting to be actioned.
This season has seen some big hitters join the #ClubEnduro Championship across every Class not least the lower BHP 'C' where the true 'club racers' reside and everyone has raised their game. But we're not done yet...
There's less than four weeks before the Team cross the Channel and head for the revered Belgian circuit.
We'll be leaning on our partners FUCHS Lubricants (UK) for fluid spectral analysis and both cars will see the rolling road before the next race, plus there's some new bits to drop into the Mk3 so hardly a quiet time but for a change everything goes back into the workshop damage-free!
Spa holds mixed emotions for the Team, returning last year with two broken cars and no trophy, but a lot has changed in the past 12 months and hopes are very (very) high.
As for the weekend, a huge thank you to the 750 Motor Club, in particular the Marshals that keep us all honest and safe out there on track.
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.