We were testing on the Friday, which I wrote about here.
After scratching our heads trying to work out why tyre temps were so crazy, we decided to remove the Gurneys on the front bumper. These were fitted to reduce airflow over the tyres, as the turbulence is bad for Aerodynamics. However, we thought that the benefit of getting air over the tyres would be greater than the aero gains.
The weather was also a little in our favour, since it had cooled massively. It did throw a curve ball, as it meant the testing we did Friday was not indicative of the conditions we would be qualifying and racing in!
Throughout the report, we will be describing the track by corner names. This image should help
The Racelogic VBOX does not count the 1st lap, so each reference to Laps will be from the TSL Results, not the Video.
The session looked to start pretty well, with plenty of clear air since we were first out. Had a little 'moment' into the Deene Hairpin as it was like driving on ice! After getting some temperature into the tyres, we got straight back into the 1:35s, with the best time of the first session being a 1:35.254, enough at the time for 2nd place.
I knew the car had more in it, with the VBOX OLED showing time to be made up in most sectors. It was just a case of stitching them together into 1 good lap!
I came into the pits, we checked over the car, tyres etc and then I went out for another go. First flying lap was a 1:35.047, but this was disallowed due to exceeding track limits! We had been warned at the Drivers Briefing that we could not use too much of the pit entry on the School Straight, out of Tarzan, but I had not realised how strict they would be in Quali. Basically if your wheel was over the dotted white line, those times were deleted.
Traffic was then much worse in the second stint, so I could not better the 1:35.254. Right at the end of the session, the G&M Motors Civic of Sam Gay and Colin Tester in Class C put in a storming lap time of 1:35.075 to pip me to 2nd place on the grid!
Note - The Celica of Shawyer / Traviss is a Class B car, but was showing as C for some reason.
On to the race! It was eventful to say the least! As always with the starts, most seem to hesitate when the lights go off. I reacted pretty quickly, but had way too much wheel spin then bogged slightly into 2nd gear. By turn 1 I was in front of the Civic, and right on the tail of the Celica. I then made a bad decision and lifted slightly, then tried to go around the outside of the Celica. It was a little bit sketchy with cold tyres so the Celica then made up a bit of lost ground. What I wasn't expecting was Dylan Brychta in the Moores Motors Ibiza (which was tuned by us around 4 years ago to the same spec as our Ibiza) coming down the inside like a man possessed. He went from 9th to 2nd in 1 corner!
Into Deene the Civic took a lunge around the outside, but it was a 3 way drag race between me, the Civic and Dylan down towards Yentwood. Into Gracelands I took a very late lunge down the inside of the Civic, luckily they backed out of the corner with millimetres to spare!
Back up to 3rd! On to Dylan in the Ibiza. I went for it into Tarzan, trying to outbrake him from a fair way back, but the back end tried to come round so I had to abort this time. I went again at the Brook Chicane but was too far back. This meant it was another drag race round Turn 1 and into Deene. There wasn't much in it between the cars until I made a last minute attempt on the brakes and got through. The 2nd lap was the fastest of the first stint, with a 1:35.67.
The rest of the laps before the pit stop were pretty uneventful, with times in the 1:36s. The car was being pretty difficult to turn right and pulling badly under braking, which made it a little tricky maintaining a decent pace. I could see the Mini Cooper S of Amery and Gibbs closing in on me, until they had some unknown issues on Lap 12 and retired. They managed to close the gap massively due to traffic, mainly the BMW Z3 of Tuckett and Jeffery, who ignored the blue flags at Chapman Curve and proceeded to try and race me all the way to Gracelands, even though I was lapping them. This car would also come back to haunt me later!
Into the Pits after 13 laps, the MR2 in front slowed me right down before the Pit Entry line (where the 2 minute count starts), so I lost around 5 - 6 seconds there. I asked the guys to check all the usual stuff, as well as to make sure nothing was hanging off, the car felt that bad when turning right! Nothing was obvious so I had to just push with what I had!
I came out of the pits in 3rd, just behind the Class C Clio Cup of Nick White as well as a load of traffic. I had some more work to do! On lap 16 the traffic worked in my favour, as two Minis in the lower classes held him up around Gracelands. I had a clear advantage on the straights, having around 25bhp/Ton more, but the well sorted Clio Cup chassis meant he could brake 2 - 3 car lengths later than me. This was going to be harder than the others!
I locked up badly into the Deene Hairpin, which lost me a little time, but then the Clio locked into Yentwood so it was pretty close into Chapman Curve. I dove down the inside and he left me plenty of space. 2nd place was mine, but he gave too much space I thought. I defended for another full lap successfully. As they say, when something is too good to be true, it usually is, this was no exception. As I pulled onto the banked section to start lap 19, I looked up and saw 'Car 113 - Drive through penalty' - Oh F**k. After the Race Nick in the Clio said he had seen the penalty, so decided to stop racing as I would be back in the pits soon! I drove as fast as possible to get back to the pits, trying not to loose too much time. This was Lap 19 and cost me ~14 seconds. You can see the guys in the pits wondering what the hell I was doing!
I came out in 4th place, behind Dylan in the Ibiza, and just in front of Shaun Woods & Evans in the SW Motorsport Civic, who I learnt had never raced here, so was in at the deep end! Neither had I but I had done the testing Friday so was in a bit better position. Lap 21, unseen on the video footage, Shaun got very close (within 2.5s), but outbraked himself at Deene and dropped back.
By lap 23 I had got the gap down to 2.38s from Dylan in 3rd position, and by 24 I was right on his tail.
Lap 25 (remember 24 on the Video) we were bumper to bumper around Turn 1, and had to negotiate the red Z3 again. For some unknown reason, he decided to try and get back past under braking into Deene, resulting in this:
Luckily, I was able to carry on, and didn't lose as much time as I could have done. I got a great exit from the final corner, and ended up 0.026s in front of Dylan. Onto the Final lap and 3rd Place was mine... for 1 Corner!
In 5th gear flat out around Turn 1, the car jumped out of 5th gear (you can see the engine hitting the rev limiter). I tried for 5th again and could hear a bag of spanners. Down to 4th, that was fine. Tried for 3rd and got another bag of spanners. I made the instant decision to carry on, using only 2nd and 4th gear. This meant revving right to the limiter in 2nd then taking 4th. It struggled to go in a few times, probably due to bits of gear flying around inside. It did not sound nice!
Into Tarzan there was a BMW Z4 who made it difficult for me to get round. If he had not have been there, I would have gone for a late lunge and parked it in front of Dylan, but it was not meant to be, and I ended up -0.724 down.
In Parc fermé after, Dylan questioned if I was trying to unlap myself, which was a little confusing, until I checked a screenshot of the live timing screen that everyone in the pits and back home were watching. It had me down in 18th Place and 2 laps down from the leaders!
Turns out that the second time I entered the pits, for the Drive Through Penalty, was missed, so it looked like I had done one very slow lap, instead of 2 laps, crossing the start / finish straight in the pits. I had to see the stewards who then contacted TSL, the mistake was corrected and I was promoted to 4th! The same thing happened to the other SW Civic, so they were moved from 14th to 6th!
I don't think 4th place and 3rd in class is too bad considering its my 3rd ever race, I got a good smack and did the last lap with half the gears I needed!
I've also copied the Race Report from the MSV Trackday Trophy Website:
Matt Shawyer and David Traviss would take the final Trackday Trophy pole position at Rockingham in their Class B MSDT Race Developments Toyota Celica, joined on the front row of the grid by the quickest of the Class C qualifiers Sam Gay and Colin Tester in their G&M Motorsport Honda Civic. Row two on the grid was a Class B lockout with Scott Parkin in the Team Darkside SEAT Ibiza starting ahead of the SW Motorsports Civic Type R of Tim Evans and Shaun Woods.
The Class D pole looked set to go the way of Ronan Quinn Racing until a late charge in qualifying saw Gary Bradbury and Chris White in the Box Fast Racing Mini clinch pole by less than a second.
Jamie Ward proved the quickest of the Novice Open entries and would start from 12th in the KJL Motorsport Fiesta ST ahead of Hannah Gardin and David Smitherham in their Mini Motorsport MINI Cooper.
Polesitters Shawyer and Traviss made a clean start and were quickly leading the field through the banked turn one and onto the Deene Hairpin; the entire field successfully navigating their way through the tightening hairpin corner. With drivers working their way up to full race pace in a busy field a few drivers capitalised on the gaps that began to open and made real ground over the course of the opening lap; Dylan Brychta in the Big Bear Motorsport Seat Ibiza was up to 3rd from 9th on the grid and in pursuit of the Team Darkside Ibiza of Parkin.
Phil Burden was quickly up to speed in his Ford Fiesta and making his way up to 16th from 22nd in just one lap, with the Mini Motorsport Mini of Gardin and Smitherham making similar moves - gaining nine places from the start. Paul Simpson behind the wheel of the Roca Racing Porsche 944 however was clearly in the zone having made up eleven spaces over the first lap.
By the mid-point it was still the MSDT Race Developments Celica of Shawyer and Traviss leading the pack however a good drive by Nick White behind the wheel of his Renault Clio saw him working his way towards the front followed closely by the Seat Ibiza’s of both Brychta and Parkin who had been locked in an intense battle for position from the start – both drivers putting on a fantastic display of close and competitive racing for the spectators!
The MSDT pairing of Shawyer and Traviss would go on to convert their pole position into an overall race win, securing the top step of the podium in Class B. The battle of the Ibizas would see Dylan Brychta just edge ahead of Scott Parkin for second and third in class respectively. Nick White would hold onto the Class C win crossing the finish line second overall. Jonathan Candler, marking his return to Trackday Trophy following an extensive rebuild, secured second in Class C with Stewart Donovan in the Se7en Motorsports Toyota Celica completing the Class C podium.
The pace of Phil Burden proved too much for his fellow Class D competitors, the Fiesta driver claiming the class win ahead of Ronan Quinn and Will Arif in their Fiesta and the Box Fast Racing pairing of Bradbury and White. Jamie Ward would convert his Novice Open pole to a class win with Hannah Gardin and David Smitherham bringing their Mini home second in class.
1. MSDT Race Developments - Matt Shawyer & David Traviss
2. Big Bear Motorsport - Dylan Byrchta
3. Team Darkside - Scott Parkin