Season Woes and Highs
Anyone that has spent any time around motorsport will know just how unforgiving the sport can be and for the Students of Wrexham Glyndwr University's Together, We Progress Racing this has been a season for learning how to keep the chin up!
Having lost two drivers early-on, withdrawing the Lotus from most of the remainder of the season due to lack of funding, onto a run of sheer bad luck, it's fair to say 2019 has been a slog that even the magic of the win at Spa Francorchamps cannot fully overcome. However, that is very much part and parcel of the project with all the lessons learnt valuable life ones. So, onward.
Enough of the doom-and-gloom. That pretty photo sitting at the top of this page. What's that about?
Well, that is Nick Dougill, who was our first driver at our first race as a 'proper' team way back in 20-something who has stood by us from that race onward, quietly supporting us in the background.
It's also Nick on the final lap in the final minute of the final hour of the Race of Remembrance, taking the flag to secure a Class win, third overall in the Heroes Trophy after twelve gruelling hours.
It's proof of concept that Together, We Progress.
The car is routinely setting fastest laps, has seen it's first pole and then of course there's that win in Belgium. Yet the final Championship result of third in class doesn't particularly reflect this.
To summarise: the car was a clear lap ahead at Silverstone (International) before a firm-but-fair five minute stop-go for a refuelling infringement. At Oulton the car set pole, fastest lap and was again a lap up when, with just seven minutes remaining, the team had to call it quits after a rogue piece of carbon-fibre debris cut an armoured brake-line clean in two. Snetterton saw the car finish fourth having pitted just two laps before a Safety Car enabled the entire class to get a jump on the team, again fastest lap was little consolation. Then Silverstone GP, the final round. Another pole but fired off the circuit on the first lap by a competitor, beached in the gravel and three laps down by the time the car was freed. Once more a fastest lap but even-so, a frustrating Championship finale.
But. Another season, another Championship trophy and proof that we have a very capable car. The winter will see even more development with the aim to come out fighting in 2020.
Credit to: Johnathan Elsey Motorsport Photography
Race of Remembrance
Now in it's sixth year and with a Class win under the team's belt from 2015 and a second and third place finish for the two cars last year both the Mazda MX-5 and the Lotus Elise made the now familiar journey to the ever-beautiful Anglesey Circuit.
Friday testing would prove the start of what turned out to be a binary race for the two entries with the Nankang Tyres Lotus being forced off the track running up to Rocket, turning sideways and being t-boned by a C1 at 72mph.
The resulting damage threatened to take the car out before the race had even started but, with the support of many (including fellow competitor/legend Brian Chandler 'lending' the team a door from his own car whilst a more permanent solution arrived by taxi from Cambridgeshire!) the bodywork was cleared by the scrutineers just five hours later.
The pain continued however, the crash had caused a pinhole leak in a coolant hose running through the sill causing the engine to overheat and the head gasket to fail. The resulting engine rebuild took until 4am.
By Saturday afternoon, the team were already exhausted (ironic as the exhaust was pretty much the only component not damaged!) but at 3pm sharp the little S2 Elise rolled across the line for its first lap in 10th place overall on the grid. Both a remarkable effort and position given the events of the previous 24 hours! Car 72 continued to hold her own, battling for class third and ending the first six hours comfortably in fourth place.
Sadly however, at the end of the Saturday 6hr session, the Team Principle was called to Race Control to learn the team had been excluded from the race. As of the time of writing, this decision is being fought vehemently and will no doubt drag into the winter. On legal advice all we as a team can say is we are bitterly disappointed and feel the decision was unreasonable.
It was a different story for the MX5 Parts MRF Tyres Mk3 MX5. All the bad luck seemed to wash away with the (significant!) rain and the Saturday portion of the race saw the car climb from 12th to third in the first lap then hold both class and overall P1 for over 100 laps!
Sunday saw bright sunshine and the team continued to hold class P1 throughout. The Heroes Trophy was realistically out of reach with the Rob Boston Racing Elise stretching a three-lap lead by early afternoon but the team continued to pound the tarmac, keep the pit-stops clean and tidy and, as mentioned above, the car crossed the line to take the Class E, 2000cc win.
So, mixed emotions, but a double win in terms of the Elise finally proving its reliability - even after considerable adversity - and the MX5 once again proving itself as an outright race winner!
An engaging and exciting, at times painful and frustrating season but one that - on balance - all at TWP Racing have enjoyed immensely. There have been tears of both joy and sorrow, moments of ultimate highs and helpless lows. But that is motorsport.
Moving forwards both cars will see significant investment with the MX5 being re-shelled and a significant reworking of its underside and exhaust. Now that the team have overcome the reliability issues, the Elise will see another engine built specifically with the Championship in mind and putting the power-to-weight at the very top of the Class B limit. Both will see a comprehensive testing programme ahead of the first race of the year scheduled for the Easter weekend.
Our 2020 plans to develop the #ClubEnduro 'Drivers Lounge' will continue with the help of The Awning Company and Caber Coffee including more inclusion and interaction for drivers, teams, guests and families alike.
The new season will also see a new team kit with the help of our friends at Techmax and not one but two new car liveries, one produced solely in-house and one with a new partner. Of both, we must say no more. Just yet...
So, 2019. You were amazing.
To all our friends, family, drivers, sponsors, supporters and of course, the Marshals. Thank you.
2019 Race Calendar:
750 Motor Club TEGIWA Club Enduro Championship
22 April Donington 2hr 02 June Croft 3hr 12/13 July Spa Francorchamps 2 x 100min 11 August Silverstone International 2hr 14 September Oulton Park 2hr 13 October Snetterton 300 2hr 27 October Silverstone GP 2hr
BARC / Mission Motorsport Race of Remembrance
09/10 November Anglesey 12hr (including night race)
That's 30 hours of racing!!!
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