Anglesey, There's lovely.
Friday 20th August saw us head to Anglesey in North Wales. A long 5 hour journey with some beautiful scenery on the way. The circuit itself is next to the sea and there is a beautiful view as you head down in to the corkscrew corner across the sea towards Mount Snowdon.
The car was running really roughly, barely drivable when I got it off the trailer so after a quick refuel in the excellent cafe (Pie, chips and gravy) and a track walk while still in daylight I set to work. The diagnostic equipment showed up an air flow meter fault so it was removed, cleaned and reassembled, and then ran perfectly.
Saturday 21st dawned and there was a long morning's wait before our session at 11:50. We have 2 sets of wheels and tyres and the conditions led us to shuffle things around to give us the 4 with the most tread, hence the mismatched wheels. The track was still quite damp and as has become normal I set out first to get my 3 mandatory qualifying laps in before a couple of quick ones and then let Jack in. I set out on track and followed a couple of dawdling cars, passed those and set to work. I was surprised to see I was 5th quickest at the time I came in. Jack and I didn't do the test day the day before, it was held in dry conditions and I think those drivers that did it went out very cautiously in the wet conditions, I had nothing to measure it against so went quick from the outset. Jack then went out and had at one stage the 4th fastest time but a mistake on his last qualifying lap on what was then a rapidly drying track saw us qualify a disappointing 10th, out of 18.
The race started at 5pm, Jack would take the opening two stints and I would finish, heavy me in when the car is at its lightest. Jack set off and by the end of the first lap was up to 8th, he had some great racing in the opening laps and a scare when hit sideways at one point at about 80mph, the car that hit him helped push him pack on line though, he continued to set a great pace and came in for his first stop after about 35 mins. A quick drink during this mandatory 60second minimum stop and an adjustment of the sky high tyre pressures and he was back on his way. Great driving saw him up to fourth at one point and then the safety car appeared following a shunt at the top of the hill. The Safety Car normally picks up the leader but will sometimes, for safety reasons pick up the first car it can, which in this case was Jack. We had a discussion on the pit wall about the best strategy and decided to bring him in for me to take over. I got in the car with about half an hour to go and unfortunately didn't make it out in front of the safety car, we had to queue at the end of the pit lane for the train of cars to go past. Once its was all sorted we were down to 9th place, so I set off, driving for the first time on this track while dry. On my second lap I was hit on the rear wheel by a car I hadn't seen in the mirrors (the gradient makes it difficult and I was also watching the two cars scrapping right in front of me looking for a chance to get past. The car seemed to be handling OK so I carried on and am please to say I gained a couple of places during my stint. I also had the pleasure of seeing the car behind me trying to outbrake me and watching him overshoot the corner in the review mirror. In the end we finished 7th. It was for both of us our best result and also a missed opportunity. The guys in 3rd place Jack had been ahead of when the safety car came out. A fantastic track though that we want to return to, even though it feels like the middle of nowhere, there's almost no phone and internet signal and its miles away from home.
Thanks must go to Alan, Vanessa, Rachel and Lily Swain for putting us up in the truck, and putting up with us too. Alan and Rachel helping out at the pitstops and Alan pointing out all the things I ought to be thinking about when running a race team (like water for the little driver). Rachel was racing her Formula Vee the same weekend having a particularly good result on the Sunday after we'd gone (which may not have been coincidental). Also thanks to Mark, Maddie and George next door for Marley sitting ( and apologies for his behaviour).
Damage to the car was fairly light, I've managed to tidy the doors up to look presentable enough through a camera, not so good if in a showroom. We also have one wheel that though useable is very chewed up. We'll need some new tyres for the next round, and probably brake pads. Another exhaust hanger has broken, it seems to eat one every meeting but other than that it seems to be in good health. Brands Hatch next on September the 11th.
Jack's opening lap