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My first (real) race.

Discussion in 'Motorsports' started by Simon Bacon, Jul 24, 2010.

  1. Simon Bacon

    Simon Bacon
    Premium Member

    Hi all,
    those that know me (mainly over at GT Legends ville) know that I haven't been around RD for a while. A lot has been going on and without boring you, the culmination of what has been a bad year was to be my first adventures in motor racing. Last Sunday (18.07.2010) I achieved what I set out to do, driving for Blendini Motorsports Mazda MX5 in the Ma5da championship run by the BRSCC at Mallory Park. Couldn't have done that bad as they've asked me back to Rockingham at the end of August.:D

    The day started off quietly enough, a 20 minute stroll to the circuit from my parent's house at 7am, meet the team and my mechanic, tea, sign on all very calm and civilised. From there to the chaos of qualifying seemed to snowball quickly. Scrutineering found me underweight by 7 kg.....add some lead.....still underweight.....bit more lead.....0.4kg under....bugger!!!! Oh an electrical fault as well, whilst my mechanics valiantly bolted in more lead, traced wiring and prepared my car, I decided to support the weight gain plan by having the biggest full English I've seen in my life!!! (and two mugs of tea) By the time I'd changed into race gear they were calling my qualifying group out to the pits, we were still fractionally underweight! Sod it!!! The decision was made brim the car with as much fuel as possible, add weight but load the backend, I was quickly briefed - it WILL understeer, try and keep my right foot planted, burn off as much fuel as I can early in the 20 minute session, try and get as much heat in the front tyres by breaking as late as you can - the first cars were moving out on track and I was still under the awning, not even fired her up yet. Suffice to say I made it....JUST!!!

    38662_1582001309247_1212147180_31658434_4913391_n.jpg


    Driving a real, race prepared car is like nothing I've ever experienced, the "rawness" and the simplicity are staggering and yet it is more responsive, more tactile, more communicative and more predictable than any road car I've ever driven that has been loaded down with ABS, PAS, Dynamic Stability Control and all that other crap!!! The acceleration (combined with the noise) is mindblowing, the braking hard and vicious, the cornering (when the tyres were up to speed) was incredible and the sense of connection with the car, once mastered, was like nothing I've ever experienced, being able to "feel" what all four corners were doing independently and to be able to "catch" the left rear as it started to drift out left me grinning like an idiot time after time:D
    34665_1576468050919_1212147180_31644503_5762_n.jpg

    So qualifying was over in a blur....had my "cherry' popped with a few taps on the back bumper which I survived, gone from the 1.08.xxx in my early laps to 1.03.598 for my final time, certainly not the quickest but not the slowest either which pleased me. I was so wrapped up in it all I hadn't noticed the steady rain that had started to fall 5 minutes into my session. So now the waiting game began..............

    Suffice to say waiting for your first race is tortuous, but I did have time to reflect on the circuit itself. Mallory, despite it's looks is not an easy circuit to drive. It is high speed, but the commitment to braking late and having the faith to tackle the corners at speed is where the difficulties lie. Gerrards, the first 200 degree right hander, is a corner I'd put on par with Paddock Hill for the fear factor. After pelting down the start/finish at about 110mph you suddenly see the bend looming, taking the speed in beyond the 100 metre marker.....left foot over to the brake and a firm but progressive touch is needed to scrub off speed and turn in, easy you think,.....but there's a bump right on the turn in point and the already light back end starts to squirm as you ease back on the accelerator, still in fourth, the first third of the bend is about settling the car on the line whilst around you 5 other cars are doing the same!!! Then it's a waiting game, easing on the gas, looking for the apex which takes for ever to arrive, it's only then, as you fight to hit the first apex, you realise the radius of the bend has tightened considerably and you're now drifting wide!! DON'T ease off.....you will spin, hold the throttle and gently tighten the steering looking now for the exit.......the exit that is hidden beyond a slight crest so you can't see it..... by now you should be back up to the 95-100mph mark....so are the other 5 cars around you - close enough to see what brand of gloves the driver's are wearing!!! Suddenly you are spat out over the crest and heading at speed towards the run off on the opposite side, hold your nerve, clench your arse, swear at the top of your lungs and you're off down the back straight towards the Esses. Every bend has moments like these (the completely blind and viciously cambered Devil's Elbow being another squeaky one.) The one thing I'll take away - Mallory is not easy!!!

    So to the races - Race 1, being my first I enjoyed the most, apart from my awful get away, wheelspin up to third, locking the diff a couple of times into the hairpin and kicking up dust and a spot of fishtailing on the exit of Gerrard's:tongue: I battled with Phillipe Retourne at the back, letting the leading guys through and resuming our little scrap, for 7 laps I was stuck to his rear bumper, then with two laps to go I got my best exit out of Gerrards and moved myself into his wing mirror flying towards the Esses, the Esses arrived too soon and Phillipe took his line with me tucking in behind. Then I felt the magical 'tow' up to hairpin, this time I went a little more banzai and got my nose up level with his door as wee turned in. Phillipe, to his credit gave me the room but I was too tight on the wall, fearing a coming together we both eased, drove the bend and resumed our scrap down through the Devil's Elbow, another lap of the same, had my racecraft been more developed I may have got past but, to me that didn't matter, another move up to the hairpin and again we both showed each other serious respect, down through the Elbow and the chequered flag, 28 out of 29 and 0.691 seconds behind Phillipe. I think I may have punched the air, I know me and Phillipe found each other in Parc Firme and grinned like fools, jabbering our points of view out - we had Fun!!! And I improved on qualifying with a 1.02.361.:redface:
    34665_1576468250924_1212147180_31644508_7093715_n.jpg

    Race 2 was about me pushing myself, to be honest a lot of it was quite lonely as I managed to loose the three people behind me on the grid by lap 4, all about me folks seems to fall off and I ended up P20 out of 29 starters but cut my lap time down to 1.01.761 - a good day, the team were happy (I was the only one of three to finish both my races, the car was unscathed) and now to do it all agin at the end of August at Rockingham. I can't wait:wink:
     

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  2. Knut Omdal Tveito

    Knut Omdal Tveito
    Premium Member

    That sounds like so much fun! A great read too. Thanks for sharing Simon!

    Wheelspin up to third? Are these engines tuned? I've never had wheelspin in third in our MX5 (except on snow lol)

    BTW what is the weight of these cars?
     
  3. Simon Bacon

    Simon Bacon
    Premium Member

    The regs say 960kg including driver is the minimum weight, so take me out, the car weighs about 885-890kg. The engines are all Mk1 1600cc with modification to the air filters and skimming and general tweaking, original induction, manifold/exhaust system, control tyres and springs and dampers (Avo or Spax) and literally everything else stripped away from the original car. Not sure of overall performance but given the total number of laps I did all day (around 56-57 laps) at 1.35 miles a lap, I consumed just over 40 litres of fuel (about 9 gallons) meaning I averaged around 8.5 mpg (if my maths is correct.) Very thirsty!!!
     
  4. You lucky SOAB :D

    Thanks for sharing with a very good read, roll on Rockingham, can't wait to read ya exploits there and good luck for it!
     
  5. great stuff Simon & a great write up. i bet you`ve got jaw ache with all the grinning lol :)
     
  6. Omer Said

    Omer Said
    Weresloth Staff Premium Member

    Epic write up mate, read the whole of it with fun :) Also i'm a little bit jealous lol. That must be a fantastic feeling, even it's not your writing feels like it's. :D

    Good Luck at Rockingham and i expect a My second (real again) race thread ;)
     
  7. thats awesome and really enjoyed reading that. Be nice to hear updates and more reports from ya next races simon.
     
  8. Simon Bacon

    Simon Bacon
    Premium Member

    Thanks for your kind comments fellas, to be honest I'm still on a complete high and itching for the next 4 weeks to go quickly. It was something that myself and my Dad set out out to achieve long before circumstances got the better of us both and last Sunday was a bit of a victory for us. Hope things go as well at Rockingham , if not better, as I'm doing the full test, practice week. Let you know how it goes and, again, many thanks for the positive comments - means a lot :)
     
  9. Dave Stephenson

    Dave Stephenson
    Technical Administrator Staff Premium Member

    Sounds brilliant, glad it went well you lucky erm thing... :p

    Rockingham will be interesting, are you running the full course?
     
  10. Stuart Thomson

    Stuart Thomson
    The Stoat Without Fear ™ Premium Member

    The Baconator Rides!

    Top job Si, last I read I thought you were going Metro racing, but the MX5 looks sweet :good:

    Motors TV often has BRSCC meetings on, they were showing the one at Brands Indy over the weekend, so I'll keep an eye out for the Mallory one.
     
  11. Simon Bacon

    Simon Bacon
    Premium Member

    Not sure yet Dave, revising all the layouts from the Circuit Guide just to be safe but should find out this week:eek: Get one test day on the Wednesday before the meeting to..err...put it all into practice.

    :Update: Found out this morning we'll be using the International layout

    rockingham_large.jpg
     
  12. Simon Bacon

    Simon Bacon
    Premium Member

    The Metro thing would have been an easier intro but after contacting the Blendini team I sort of went with gut instinct, the mechanics, staff and drivers are all fantastic people, really committed and enthusiastic and endlessly helpful to a novice like myself. Plus, once I'd driven the car....there is no words I can think of to describe just how sweet that car is:love:

    MotorsTV are covering it and it'll be shown, not sure when. Hope they don't show my two wheels on the grass on the exit of Gerrards moment, you'll probably hear the cursing (and fear) over the sound of the other engines:redface:
     
  13. Hans Sneep

    Hans Sneep
    Premium Member

    Congrats with your first real race Simon,great story nice read, looking forward to the next real race report.

    O, to solve your weight problem, put a camcorder in the car, lol

    Good luck at Rockingham Simon
     
  14. Dave Stephenson

    Dave Stephenson
    Technical Administrator Staff Premium Member

    That layout has lots of them corner things in it. Good look with that :wink:
     
  15. Simon Bacon

    Simon Bacon
    Premium Member

    Yeah, had the circuit guide for a week now, some of them look rather tasty. The chicane in the middle of banked section however...:eek:
     
  16. Stuart Thomson

    Stuart Thomson
    The Stoat Without Fear ™ Premium Member

    You were on Motors TV last night mate! :good:

    "that's debutante Simon Bacon's car there, driving for Blendini this week, moving nicely out of the way. He learned those manners off Warren Dawes, you know."

    I may have made that last bit up.

    Keep em peeled for Mazda MX5 Championship programmes over the next few days, as they love a repeat on Motors :good:
     
  17. Stuart Thomson

    Stuart Thomson
    The Stoat Without Fear ™ Premium Member

    Update - repeated tomorrow (6th August) @ 12:00 noon UK time
     
  18. rushes off to set his sky+ box :D
     
  19. Simon Bacon

    Simon Bacon
    Premium Member

    Rockingham under my belt last weekend. 4 days of practice, qualifying and 2 races. Big improvement, personally, on Mallory and an absolute blast of a second race (some bumper to bumper stuff!) Brands Hatch looking like a reality in November and a mention/offer of very, very exciting opportunity next year - 24 hours, Ginetta G50, UK - need I say more???:D

    Will do a report when I've got some photos.