Don't count your laps until they're Hatched (Brands)

A visit to Brands Hatch in September and after our pace in Anglesey we had high hopes for this race. Qualifying didn't go well, I did three laps to qualify and bed in some brake pads before Jack got in the car, sadly he didn't get a clear lap and we qualified 20th out of 30 ish starters. We'd had to stop as the rear silencer came loose and needed rehanging so didn't manager the last lap or so of the session.

On the run to the assembly area 2 things became apparent, one the engine management light was on and secondly the exhaust was blowing somewhere near the front. I managed to reset the light in the assembly area but couldn't do much about the exhaust. Jack took the start and in the first lap or so made up about 6 places, not bad in such short lap. He then drove his heart out dragging what was becoming an increasingly noisy car up to 3rd place by around mid distance. At that point the exhaust fractured just below the manifold and dropped on to the track. At this time you realise how good a good pit crew are. We got the car jacked up and Alan climbed underneath with a leaf blower he usually uses to cool his daughter's air cooled formula fee down and started cooling the pipe off enough to handle, Rachel and I set off to look for jubilee clips and things to fix it. After about 5 minutes the car rejoined the track with the exhaust held together by an old motorcycle tyre lever (it was my dad's), two jubilee clips and a load of aluminium tape. Jack set off again in a less noisy car having dropped down to mid 20s position. He slowly gained places but the car was becoming increasingly noisy, we were called in for a noise test but it just passed the 105db limit, we were 104 ish, out it went again, sadly after about 10 laps we lost the entire exhaust system at Clearways corner and had to retire the car with about a half hour to go, car was now deafening. Jack was also exhausted, the heat coming in to the car from the open pipe just behind the bulkhead, it was a hot day, the noise and the effort of driving the car combined with the retirement completely knocked him out, the fumes may not have helped either.

Two postscripts though, the recovery crew brought the pipe back and also, brandishing my dad's tyre lever, asked if this was part of our car too. I was quite pleased to get it back.

Additionally we won the most entertaining drive of the day award, the prize was a set of race suspension which I was able to swap for a new exhaust system. Not all bad then!

Thanks to Alan and Rachel of course of RCS racing for their help in getting the car to the end. Also to Victoria for Marley sitting that weekend.