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BRCA national championship round 2 Mendip - Racer's Diary

2015 BRCA national championship round 2 Mendip For me, 2015 presents a fresh challenge. I have normally competed in 3 rounds to quali...

2015 BRCA national championship round 2 Mendip

For me, 2015 presents a fresh challenge. I have normally competed in 3 rounds to qualify for the national championship. This year, I have decided to compete in all 5 rounds
Round 1 was at Cotswolds. Due to previous engagements, track time leading up to the event was very limited, so I didn’t do as well as I hoped. I qualified 15th & finished 18th. Last year, I qualified & finished 19th, so an improved start!
Round 2 takes us to the Mendip R/C raceway which is very close to Weston Super Mare. This is my local track, only ½ hour away from my house. As a club member, I was able to spend a good amount of time at the track & learn my ARC 2015

Day 1

The Arc R10  all ready to race

Practice


We were greeted to a damp track. Although I had spent a lot of time at the track, not much time was focused on damp conditions. Although it dried out for qualifying, the focus was based on getting the wet car to work in these conditions. The control wet tyre works best when there is standing rain on the circuit. In the final practise session, the circuit was getting dry patches, so I tried the dry car with wet tyres. This seemed to work well
Slippery when wet!

6 heats of pro stock 4 heats of open modified

I would start the day in heat 5 due to my round 1 result (car 7)
Racers ready 

Qualifying rounds 1-3

Although the track looked damp in places, I watched some of the previous heats & saw that although the wet tyre was providing a lot of grip,  they sounded like they were overheating and many cars were coming off with heavily worn tyres due to overheating. The track was drying more and more with every heat passing.
Anticipating the qualifier ahead

I gambled on starting my 1st qualifying session on my 1st set of dry tyres. Everyone else in my heat was still on wet tyres, so it was an interesting test to see if I made the right choice. Although the car was a bit slippery in places, it was the fastest car in my heat and I went provisional TQ. The next heat went faster as they all went to slicks and the track was even drier. 9th was my overall result for round 1.
Round 2 was completely dry, so the only option was to use the slick tyre. For rounds 1&2, I was using a Blitz GSF bodyshell. It’s a very stable shell. With the damp conditions and low grip, I felt this was a safe option that wouldn’t allow for any mistakes. Although the car felt controlled, I wasn’t very quick, so took an 8th overall as a result
Round 3, I decided to run a PF LTC-R (the same as most of the field). This is more unstable than a GSF, but a very quick shell. As the grip was low for 1&2, I was using 2k in the rear diff. I switched to a 3k for round 3 as the track generated more traction and I was able to get more drive out of the corners. I managed to run a very quick and error free run to get a 6th overall
After day 1, I was sitting 7th overall

Day 2

Chasing to pass

Qualifying rounds 4-5

I used the initial practise session to make sure the car worked from yesterday. Just a quick check of cambers & toe angles beforehand to make sure all 4 corners were pointing in the same direction!
For round 4, I decided to use my 2nd set of tyres as there was plenty of grip and felt my car was hooked up. A small issue I found was that I had too much rear traction. I reduced the rear camber by 0.5 degree and found the car was better as a result. I drove a very quick pace with no real errors. I had a slight slide near the start due to new tyres. I managed 5th overall in the round
At this point, I looked at the results and saw I was confirmed for the A final. I was currently 8thoverall. To get 7th, I would have to use my final set of new tyres and go for a banzai run. If it didn’t work, I would have wasted a set of tyres for nothing. If I had some very bad luck, I may  of went to 9th, so for round 5 I went to my 1st set of tyres
My 1st set of tyres were now 4 runs old after round 5. The car was very hard work to drive and understeered everywhere. My goal for the final round was to see if I can steal points from my rivals and prevent them finishing higher than if I chose not to run. I managed another 9th, so my 8th place was secured
Summary of qualifying results:
  • Round 1: 9th
  • Round 2: 8th
  • Round 3: 6th
  • Round 4: 5th
  • Round 5: 9th
Total points: 19 (best 3 out of 5 to count). This gave me 8th overall and 8th in the A final. My 1st A final ever, you may guess that I was very happy about this!
Tyres getting heated before the race
Due to my tyre strategy, I had set of tyres with 1 run and a brand new set of tyres for the 3 finals. Mendip is known as being hard on tyres. The best runs come from new tyres, so preservation was important to get a good result

Final 1

Taking a wider line 
I put on my 1 run old tyres and took my place on the grid. As I started near the back, I chose not to charge hard into the 1st few corners. A few accidents happened on the 1st lap and I was able to manoeuvre past these to get up to 5th and was prepared for a battle with 4th place. One of the cars who were involved in the 1st lap incidents were trying to make up places and was driving very fast. He came from the back of grid and was making passes when possible. He caught up with me and we were battling for a few laps. He made a pass at the end of the straight, as he had the racing line; I stayed wide to allow the pass to happen. Unfortunately, he decided to steer into me and put me into the wall. I ended up on my wheels and tried to continue, but lost a few places. The car was in a bad way and with dirty tyres. It was pulling violently to the left. Although in a bad way, I decided to continue as a few people had pulled out of this final. The offending car was ordered to surrender his place back to me as the race steward deemed to incident to be his fault. He decided to retire the car anyway. I persuaded the car over the line to finish 7th
Back in the pits, I found that the screws holding a pivot block on have pulled out& gave the car incorrect front wheel alignment. I replaced the screws and checked the car over. Although it was tweaked & some minor body damage, it was generally ok. I de-tweaked the car and checked all camber/toe/ droop angles and got ready for race 2

Final 2

I put my final set of new tyres on and hoped for a better run. My tyres were still a bit shiny on the 1st lap and lost a place to car 9 and I couldn’t find a way past to retake the position. Although 1 car failed to finish, I finished 8th

Final 3

I decided to change nothing and just went out to the grid with intentions of finishing my 1st A final meeting on a high. Another a few errors for some people allowed me to make up a few places on lap 1. A few laps later, there was a big crash on a slow section of the circuit. I saw the incident out of the corner of my eye and hit the brakes hard to try to avoid the incident. Unfortunately, the car behind me (not his fault) hit the back of mine and caused a body tuck, dropping me to last. When the marshall untucked it, I just decided to drive flat out to see what can be done. I had the fastest car on the track and caught up to a chasing pack. I ran out of laps to make and impact, but finished 7th. A small consolation for me was that I had the single fastest lap in that final. Although it is totally irrelevant, it made me happy that I had genuine pace

Summary

Trophy time!
The finals are based on best 2 out of 3 points score. Although I had the following finishes: 7-8-7, I finished 10th overall. I was pleased that I made my 1st A final and never finished last in any final.
The car worked perfectly and I could have not asked any more from it. I just need better luck and I feel I can progress well within the championship

Top 3 Pro Stock




  1. Zak Finlay
  2. James Hart
  3. Chris Gunter

Top 3 modified



  1. Chris Grainger
  2. Elliot Harper
  3. Andy Moore
Massive thanks to the following sponsors/supporters:
See you at round 3!
Thanks to Adrian Jefferies for the pictures
Racing 8540285579451709017

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