Race report – Midvaal 17 July 2010

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Race report – Midvaal 17 July 2010

Postby mrfluffy98 on Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:37 pm

Friday practise
Dougie and I arrived bright and early, and offloaded the car. First session out I realized when I pulled out of the pitlane and spun the rear wheels, that I never deflated the wheels after changing tyres onto different rims. Came in on the same lap and deflated them. I went out immediately again, but just couldn’t get heat into the tyres and I was understeering all over the place. All the sessions were pretty much the same, with the car drifting wide everywhere. I thought it might be the shot tyres (thanx Lichtenburg), so 2nd last session I slapped the new rubber on. This helped a bit, but the car was still understeering. I tried everything from full soft, to full hard on the shocks – no difference. Even went full soft on the anti-rollbar, but was almost tempted to take it off completely. I decided for the last session, I would stay out and drive around the understeer (if on raceday it was still the same, I would need to drive this way in any case). This time round, although still understeering – I “seemed” to be going faster than the rest of the C class guys around me. I wrote the understeer off to the cold weather and left it at that.

Qualifying was much later than usual, and very uneventful. I went out and did a full session of qualifying, which is odd (normally something breaks during quali). Results came out and I did a 1:17.3, 3rd in the class. With Michael Houghton breathing down my neck with a 1:17.32. Grass 1st, Andre 2nd and Glen 5th (right behind me on the line, same as at Lichtenburg)

Race 1 – I got a pretty decent start again, but halfway down the straight Rob Gearing decided to abandon his line in the middle of the straight, and swerved to the outside where I was gaining on the back of the class B guys. This move forced me to go wide, and I ended up with all 4 wheels on the grass and no traction. I slacked off, and made my way in behind him, and then had everyone on the brakes more than usual; turns out Andrew and Klippies had a coming together in turn 1. I made some good ground through the mess that followed, and regained a couple of positions including re-taking Rob. Down the back straight I was behind Andre, and had Ken and a couple of class B cars breathing down my neck. We had the safety car boards come out, and seemed everyone saw them at different marshalling points. Coming through the horseshoe everyone had slowed down, except Rob Gearing who was swerving around everyone, passing Glen and John on their left, swerving right and overtaking my on my right. He slacked off when he realized everyone is stopping, and I re-took my position, but not Glen. By lap 3 we re-started and things had settled, coming down the back straight Rob re-took his position over me, and Glen also came past. Glen and Andre were mixed up with the class B guys, which allowed me to stick with them, but after another couple of laps I just couldn’t keep up and they pulled away from me. I tried my best to catch them, and often felt like I was gaining on Andre – but in the end I came 4th. When the results came out, Grass, Glen and Andre had all broken out; leaving me with a win for Class C.

I had many people asking me what I’m going to do for race 2, “are you going to drive slower??” – and I really hadn’t a clue. Of course I don’t want to break out, but I don’t want to slow down to win either.

Race 2 – I was behind Rob again, with Gary (Shrek) on my right and slightly ahead. I had another great launch off the line, and made a couple of class B guys fall in behind me. I had Gary and Ken around me for the first 2 laps or so, and after having some real good dices with them, the thought of breaking out popped into my head. As it did that, it popped back out again, and I carried on racing with them – trying my best to keep class C behind them. Glen caught up to me pretty quickly and then Lionel passed him. Lionel tried a couple of moves to pass me for about 2 laps, but then he fell out with technical problems. Glen came past me on the back straight, and as usual I had no answer; Grass also passed here. Coming down the pit straight, Glen came into turn 1 a bit slower than normal, and I passed him out of turn 1 into 2, and passed him again with Grass now ahead of me; and Ken and Gary ahead of him.

Something seriously went wrong coming out of turn 4 onto the back straight, and Ken and Gary had a lack of exit speed. Grass went on their inside, and I passed Gary on his outside, and was gaining on Ken. I moved over to the right to pass Ken, but knew Grass was there. Halfway down the straight I couldn’t see Grass, and assumed he was still on my right. I carried on with my move down the right of the back straight, and as I passed the 100m marker (my braking point) I braked, and turned in. Ken was on the outside of turn 5, and I stuck to the inside, and then it hit me (literally). I was shunted in the rear end, throwing me into a spin, and then Grass spun and hit me again; but this time he damaged my right-front suspension. I took off wanting to carry on, but I couldn’t turn right – the wheels were jammed, so I pulled onto the grass. I tried again to turn the wheels right, and they were stuck. Then I thought some French words, and seriously convinced the steering wheel to turn right, and it jolted a bit but gave me SOME right steering. I got back on the track, but noticed that the wheel had serious damage. I continued, nursing the car home with seriously bad lap times. I finished behind Rowan and Rod, but just ahead of Jacques. We had to pull into Parc Ferme, so I parked the TLT behind Rod and saw Grass pull up behind me. Knowing my own temper, I got out the car and went to the bathroom first, to cool off before mingling with the racers again.

I was rather disappointed that race 2 ended the way it did, but when I found out that I had done enough to earn 2nd overall for the day- I felt a little bit better. Michael had taken the win for the day, and deservedly so (something I still long to see). Michael’s lap times were closely on par with mine, and soon enough I’m sure we’ll be having some closer racing, like Gary and myself last year. Maybe We should stick a Blue Smurf on Michael’s car and stick to the animated theme.

I went to the COC to give my account of what happened with Grass, and then headed to prize giving.

Well done to Anton & Lauren for handing team Tornado a win and (me completing) two second places. A 1st & 2nd trophy for husband and wife must be very nice to take home.

I hope the understeering will be sorted by Phakisa (8 August), I’ve got serious revenge to deal out to that track. Last year was a dismal effort, with my crash in the first heat (after qualifying in Pole for C). 2nd heat my rear setup was horrible and I spun the car through every corner, and then could only accelerate after being completely out of the corners. Lastly was the endurance race, which went extremely well until my gearlever broke off in my hand. So come on Phakisa, this time I’m ready for you!!!
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