Nov 082011
 

Euro Saloons Silverstone 2011 – EVO 5

Class A Champion after round 12!By the time the final round approached we were in first place in A class. All we needed to do was finish the race to still be in the top three of class. I qualified 7th with a 1:13.6. I decided to come in after posting this decent time.  I felt I had successfully shaken down the car after the gearbox rebuild and bedded in a new set of pads.

Euro Saloons Silverstone 2011 – EVO 5

My race got off to a bad start when I was held up at the first corner and it wasn’t long into the race before I knew there was a problem with the gear shift and ended up having to complete the rest of the race stuck in fifth gear. I persevered, knowing that my championship rested on finishing the race, and fortunately this was enough to secure overall class A victory! Euro Saloons Silverstone 2011 – EVO 5 - Ready for the raceAfter the race it was determined that a 5p zip tie would have prevented the shift issues. I had mixed feelings about this: pleased that another gearbox rebuild was not required, but bitterly disappointed that I wasn’t able to race effectively as the car had felt supreme before the gear issue.

Euro Saloons Silverstone 2011 – EVO 5 - On Track

At the start of the year I would not have thought I would be top of A Class, being a complete novice with no race experience nor having driven the car in anger on slicks! Reliability of the car has been paramount although various issues resulted in the car running low power at all rounds except the final rounds.

Euro Saloons Silverstone 2011 – EVO 5 - On TrackEuro Saloons Silverstone 2011 – EVO 5 - On Track

Again I would like to thank Mark Harrison and his colleagues at Owen Developments for all their support throughout the year; Karen Roberts, Jonathan Faull (brother-in-law); Bettina Gallagher and baby Jake for always being there and supporting me every step of the way. Roll on next year!

Euro Saloons Silverstone 2011 – EVO 5 - On Track

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Oct 172011
 
Euro Saloons Snetterton

Euro Saloons Snetterton

After Round 10 & 11 we move into 1st place in class A!

Another round and another track to learn. It was my first time driving the circuit in this configuration although I had been around several of the corners on my first track day several years before in my road car.

Qualified a disappointing 15th overall. Car was suffering fuel surge. No one else to blame apart from myself though on that one as I knew I should have topped up!

Race 1 – We moved from 15th to 7th during the race. I had been chasing down Ian Froggatt’s Subaru but just ran out of time.

Euro Saloons Snetterton - Evo 5

Euro Saloons Snetterton - Evo 5

Race 2 – Started well from 7th place and was pushing hard in the opening lap knowing I had to get past Ian Froggatt. I was travelling down Bentley straight in his slipstream during the first lap and noticed a couple of puffs of smoke out of the Subaru’s exhaust followed by very early braking at the 300 yard marker, and I shot down and around the outside of him going into Brundle. It was a real shame when I realised that he had retired as I believe it would have been a hard and entertaining fight to the end.

Euro Saloons Snetterton 2011 - Evo 5

Euro Saloons Snetterton 2011 - Evo 5

I next set about chasing down Wendt in the BMW and was joined shortly after by Richard Hawken in his Super Tourer who was chasing me down after he had stormed though the field. It was tight lap after lap but I was able to pull away a slight advantage on the straights while his Super Tourer was able to close through the in-field section.

Wendt made a mistake at Oggies and I used the opportunity to get past. Unfortunately I ran out of brake pad material, quickly losing brakes completely resulting in making an unscheduled off-track excursion on the final lap! I finished 3rd in class and 7th overall (it would have been 3rd in class and 5th overall if I had maintained my ability to brake).

 

Euro Saloons Snetterton 2011 - Start

Euro Saloons Snetterton 2011 - Start

The car needs a little TLC as the discs are horrendous after the final lap backing plate to disc action. The gear box also needs looking at which could be expensive!

Euro Saloons Snetterton 2011 - Three Wheels

Euro Saloons Snetterton 2011 - Three Wheels

Again I would like to thank Mark Harrison (Owen Developments) and the whole of their team for all their support in the lead up to the race weekend; Karen Roberts for all the support, Jonathan Faull (brother-in-law);  Bettina Gallagher and baby Jake for helping out.

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Sep 012011
 
Euro Saloons Rockingham 2011

Euro Saloons Rockingham 2011

After Round 8 & 9 we move into 2nd place in class A!

Another round and another track to learn. It was my first time driving the circuit in this configuration although I had been around 3 corners before during the MLR sprint in 2010 in my road car. Very little had changed between the last round and Rockingham apart from just a new set of front pads. I have discovered that they don’t seem to last very long anymore!. I knew the competition at this round was going to be fierce and it was good to see everyone including Steve Linton in his Supra and Ian Froggatt with his new engine after problems during testing at Donington. I only could achieve a 1:32.522 that put us on the 5th row for race 1 hampered a little with the new pads although.

Waiting on the grid at Rockingham

The race didn’t get off to a good start when I hesitated coming into the first corner after darting up the inside of Steve Linton’s Supra which unfortunately let several cars from behind through around the outside of both of us. I was able to take one of the positions back that lap but it was several more before I could take back the position from Ian Craigs BMW. I then set about chasing down the Honda and Marcos of Derek Hale and Doug Ellwood. The sprinkling of rain was the first I had encountered whilst racing and time was lost as I flapped about at 130mph trying to get a good setting on the wipers! After the race, telemetry data was checked and indicated all was well with the car so we packed up for the day and went to enjoy watching some of the other championships racing. We finished the race 5th in class (out of 9 entrants).

The next day we were woken by the sound of heavy driving rain (no pun intended!). Not a good sign I thought and began to prepare for my first full wet race in race 2. Fortunately the rain was short lived and by the start of race 2 the track had even dried out. A slight panic ensued whilst checking the car over a final time when we couldn’t find the top up oil. It suddenly sank in that it had been left behind in error (the oil now lives in the boot of the car!). We asked around several other teams but unfortunately nobody had any to purchase. Luckily we found a Halfords 5 minutes down the road that saved the day with the correct spec of oil!

 Paddock

It was a better start to this race and I was quicker, recording a 1:31.010, although some way off the pace of the leading cars. The race was very intense as I was able to get past the TVR of John Wilson. His attempts to retake the place were relentless however I was able to defend where necessary and was able to stretch out a slight lead when he out-braked himself into the first hairpin. I ended up finishing the race 4th in class.

 

At the end of the race weekend we are currently positioned in 2nd place in Class. It will be hard to retain but we will try in the remaining rounds.

 After Race 2

I would like to thank Mark Harrison (Owen Developments) who prepared the car for Rockingham and the whole of the Owen Developments team for all their support in the lead up to the race weekend; Karen Roberts for all the support, Jonathan Faull (brother-in-law) for race analysis, advising on where I could go quicker for the second race, and other full support; Bettina Gallagher and baby Jake for popping up to watch Race 1.

 

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Jul 092011
 
Pembrey Third Place Trophy

Pembrey Third Place Trophy

We had unfortunately missed the last round of the Eurosaloons at Brands Hatch due to the engine experiencing oil surge issues occuring during the Donington round of the Euro saloons championship. I took the decision that it would be worth missing a round to hopefully preserve the engine for the remaining rounds of the series whilst the Norris Designs dry sump kit was fitted by Mark and the Owen Developments team. We arrived mid morning Saturday shortly before qualification at the Pembrey circuit with a newly fitted and untested system. We were fortunate that both the experience of Owen Developments and the quality of Norris Designs sump meant that the car performed for 90 minutes faultlessly!
Pembrey Eurosaloons Pembrey 2011 Ian Roberts
It was the first time for me at the Pembrey circuit and I had not been able to attend the test session prior to the event. Despite this we managed to get a time that was good enough for 4th row of the grid in qualification. Car was faultless, just the driver a little slow at this point!
At the end of the first race we managed to come third in class and collect my first ever trophy!
Euro Saloons Pembrey 2011 - 3rd in Class

Euro Saloons Pembrey 2011 - 3rd in Class

Euro Saloons Pembrey 2011 - 3rd in Class

Euro Saloons Pembrey 2011 - 3rd in Class

Day two of the race weekend came and although our times were quicker I could only manage a 5th row start for the race. Despite the mix up at the red flag I came third in class and picked up another third place trophy. Looking at the telemetry we later discovered we were running with a low boost situation (identified as a slipped turbo compressor housing). At the end of the weekend efforts we slot into 4th in class.
Looking forward to the next race at Oulton with a fixed compressor housing to hopefully achieve a better overall result and in class position, although the competiton I am sure will continue to be strong.
Pembrey 2011 Eurosaloons

Pembrey 2011 Eurosaloons

Pembrey 2011 Eurosaloons

Pembrey 2011 Eurosaloons

 

Trackside footage from Euro Saloons Championship 2011 (by Jonathan Faull)

I would like to thank Mark Harrison (Owen Developments) who prepared the car for Pembrey; Simon Norris for supplying dry sump kit; Karen Roberts for all the support and telling me to go quicker :); Jonathan Faull (brother-in-law) for being on trailer duty and supporting me throughout the days (including travelling around 700 miles!); Bettina Gallagher and Jake (his first motorsport event at the age of 4 weeks old!)
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May 172011
 

We arrived at a cloudy wet Donington an hour or so before sign on and scrutineering. Fortunately, the rain soon stopped and remained dry for the rest of the event, that was one less thing to worry about.

I was quite excited as it was my first time on track at Donington. I spent the first few qualification laps familiarising myself with the circuit and creating space for a few quicker runs. Although I managed to qualify 13th out of 32 cars, my pace was somewhat off compared to others in class such as the driver Nick Williamson.

After avoiding several spinners at the first corner of the race I eventually ended up moving into third place for a period of the race although a mistake meant I took an off track excursion. By the end of the race I had dropped back into 5th in class although I was pleased to have brought the car home in one piece.

Trackside and Paddock footage from Euro Saloons Championship 2011 (By Jonathan Faull)

 

We are now looking forward to the next round at Brands Hatch and hopefully will be able to put in a better performance.

I would like to thank Mark Harrison (Owen Developments) who prepared the car for Donington; Jonathan Faull (brother-in-law) for being on trailer duty and supporting me throughout the day; Bettina Gallagher for allowing Jonathan to help even though she was due to pop out my nephew any day!

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Apr 302011
 

Having recently sucessfully completing the ARDS test at Castle Combe earlier in the year this race weekend was to be a continuation of a long list of firsts for me:

First time in the car (with the exception of a few laps at a track day several weeks before on 1A tyres); first time with double the horse power that I am used to; first time on slicks; first time driving Silverstone National; first qualification session; first spin; first rolling start; first Did Not Finish; first broken power steering pump; first retirement; first race finish (unfortunately not first overall though!).

We arrived at Silverstone for the event having completed a small amount of testing several weeks earlier, due to mechanical issues after on 1.5 laps (Mark at Owen Developments was able to fit a replacement power steering pulley belt and pulley after the belt was shredded by the explosive failure of the pulley). We had also several untested alterations to the car going into the race weekend including Alcon brakes, borrowed from my road car due to cracked AP rotors, different spring rates, and new geometry settings.

It would be safe to assume that I was both very excited but also quite apprehensive due my complete lack of experience! Looking back at the in-car footage of being strapped in, the nerves were clearly visible. I was quite surprised, however, that this lasted only a few moments after my brother-in-law Jonathan closed the door and a concentration took hold.

Ian Roberts - Car 33 - Euro Saloons - Silverstone

Qualification didn’t go to plan and got of to a very embarrassing start. I immediately entered a spin at Luffield and ended up pointing in the wrong direction facing Gary Prebble who was bearing down on me in his Evo! I was fortunate enough to dip the clutch allowing the car to roll backwards towards the infield and was able to restart quickly once the traffic had passed. I picked up speed and proceeded to follow Ilsa Cox in her Seat and attempted to keep up with so that I could follow her lines around the circuit – this resulted in my best qualification time of a 1:08.

However, I was not able to complete the full qualification session when my car lost power and I cruised into the pits. Some head-scratching followed but the issue was finally identified where the turbo had become completely disconnected due to the rotation of the compressor housing. Again a big thanks to Mark Harrison from Owen Developments who was there to come to the rescue, although I did decide to move away from the car when he came back with a 10 inch cold chisel from fellow competitor Nick Williamson to fix the issue!

The first race soon came around. Although we started at the back of the grid I enjoyed moving my way through the pack. It’s amazing how much time was lost on the opening laps being so far back. I was determined to finish well so that I would have a better grid position for the start of Race 2 on the next day. Unfortunately this was not to be. Under braking coming into Brooklands there was a cracking noise, I lost steering and was greeted by a horrible mechanical grinding noise. So I parked the car at the marshalls post safely out of the way to observe the rest of the race along with fellow competitor Andy Robinson who had spun, stalled, and couldn’t restart earlier in the race. After being towed into the pits it became clear that the power steering pump pulley had sheared off. Thank you to the Westlake Seat team (car 1 Nick Hayes) for helping with getting the car onto the trailer.

Ian Roberts - Car 33 - Euro Saloons - On Track - Silverstone

Ian Roberts - Car 33 - Euro Saloons - On Track - Silverstone

Ian Roberts - Car 33 - Euro Saloons - On Track - Silverstone

Ian Roberts - Car 33 - Euro Saloons - On Track - Silverstone

Ian Roberts - Car 33 - Euro Saloons - On Track - Silverstone

Ian Roberts - Car 33 - Euro Saloons - On Track - Silverstone

Again Mark Harrison (Owen Developments) came to the rescue and replaced the pump with the one off my road car by working late into the evening but at least we were all set for the next race day.

Arriving at Silverstone early afternoon we unloaded the car from the trailer and were ready for the race. Again starting from the back of the grid due to the DNF I made my way through the field and made it to the end of the race to finish 7th in class, making up around 16 positions along the way!

That concluded my first race weekend! It was great to have caught up with Brian Cox (the previous owner of my car) and the other competitors who were all very friendly and welcoming even though I was clearly new to it all! The whole experience was amazing and whilst writing these words a big smile is on my face as I recall the weekend. I am looking forward to the next round at Donington in May and, with a bit of luck, I may be able to improve my finish position.

A big thanks must go to Karen (my wife) for putting up with me, Jonathan Faull (brother-in-law) for being on trailer duty and supporting me throughout the weekend, and to Bettina Gallagher for supporting me on the Sunday on her day off. Also thanks to Mark Harrison and all the Owen Development team who not only spent time preparing / fixing the car but also working with / reassuring me in addition to advising me in the lead up to and during the event.

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Oct 072010
 

Pre Event

We were unsure whether we would be able to make the last round of the MLR Sprint for financial and mechanical reasons but in the end couldn’t resist the competitive yet friendly atmosphere of the MLR Sprint events. We had attended the MLR Castle Combe track day before the big finale and the car had received a quick service before the Sprint event and all seemed well. We had not made any changes to the car between the Sprint events.  Although we were not fighting for honours I wanted to perform well; the excitement grew throughout the week leading up to the event and I wanted the season to end with a bang!!

My EVO in the pit lane

My EVO in the pit lane

The Event

We signed on, having travelled down on the Toyo R1R road tyres fitted to the new Enkei’s that Darin had kindly arranged for me to collect at the Combe circuit track day a month or so before. After a few checks we were good to go, so signed on and sat down in the briefing room where Jon, Karen and myself caught up with Robin D. The briefing went smoothly with Darin clearly explaining what lay ahead and soon it was off for the obligatory sighting lap, trying to make a note of all corners and how best to tackle them. I had been to this track at the start of the season but the layout was now clockwise rather than anticlockwise as it had been for the first sprint which presented some interesting challenges! Due to the rain the track seemed a little slippy and I understand that someone even spun out during the sighting lap!

We only did three practice runs, having changed onto the R888’s after the first practice due to a lack of grip in the drying conditions. The practice runs were cut short when unfortunately a BMW M3 hit the pit wall front and back.

Damaged BMW

Damaged BMW

It took quite some time to open the track again after clean up and moving the start finish concrete barrier back into place. It did however give me an opportunity to have a good catch-up with fellow competitor Bloodspeed. My times throughout the practice steadily decreased from 1:11, to 1:07 to 1:05 although all laps were pretty steady to save the car for the real runs!

MLRSS Final Round Silverstone Surfa's car in the pits

MLRSS Final Round Silverstone Surfa's car in the pits

The time for the first competitive run arrived and I decided to try a launch. The engine sounded a little different to what I had been used to and, looking back, I should have taken more notice of that (it was more obvious on playing back the in-car video footage later). After my first run I had set a banking lap time of 1:01:30 which was fast enough to place me third in class at the end of the first run. I was quite happy with that being my first run as I knew that there was plenty of time to make up as I had not been able to to string all the corners together properly and was still finding where the grip levels were at in addition to having very cold tyres and brakes – I was confident that there was more to come.

First competitive Run

The second run came around quickly but unfortunately the quicker time that I had been hoping for was not meant to be when off the start my engine decided to go out with a bang! You can hear on the video below an initial pop followed by a bang and a fizz, then plenty of smoke, followed by what sounds like falling glass which was the block falling to the floor. The sound and results you see are the effect of a rod exiting the block of cylinder 1.

So that was a premature end to my day!  My third place ranking also slipped as other drivers were able to improve their times throughout the afternoon, an opportunity I was not to have.

Death of an Engine

Surfa's car towed by Darin

Surfa's car towed by Darin

Dead Engine

Dead Engine

Crack through the block
Crack through the block

The car is now with my mechanic and will have a new engine fitted once sourced. It was quite unfortunate timing as I was looking to splash out on a race suit, new helmet with HANS clips, and HANS device. I guess this happens all the time though in motor sport!

Thanks to the MLR staff and other members for making it such an enjoyable day. Thanks Karen and Jonathan for their support throughout the day and the series 🙂 Good luck to all the competitors next year!

Results

MLRSS Final Round Silverstone

It was a shame I could only do one competitive lap before my engine let go and ended my runs. I am sure there was another second or two available with warm tyres, brakes and a little more bravery! It just wasn’t meant to be.

Pictures

Castle Combe Sprint Pics – From the MLR Thread

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Aug 282010
 
Here’s some footage taken from Easy Life’s Evo 8 and my Evo 6 from the MLR trackday at Castle Combe on Saturday 21st August 2010.

We’ve combined the video’s into three parts. Enjoy!

Here is the link to the MLR forum information page:

http://www.lancerregister.com/showthread.php?t=332880

Here is the link to the MLR forum photo page for the day:

http://www.lancerregister.com/showthread.php?t=337300

Below are some images that Karen took on the day. If anyone would like the full size image just let me know and I will make it available.

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Jun 142010
 

Pre Event

The car was in for a little work and I was not sure if it would be ready in time for the sprint. However in the end I was able to collect the car at 20:00 the day before (big thanks to Mark). As we were in Oxfordshire, just 1hr from Castle Combe, it was back home to pack up the car with the various bits and pieces and then relaxing with a beer or two!

The Event

We signed on and as I only had the worn set of R888’s already on the car available to run we were good to go. We attended the driver briefing, followed by the obligatory sighting lap trying to make a note of all of the corners and how best to take them as it was the first time I had been on track at Castle Combe appart from the MLR World Record day almost 2 years before but that doesn’t really count as we were only doing 15mph!

 

Throughout the morning practice my times continued to drop as I gained confidence. I was however finding it hard to keep speed through the the chicanes especially the last one where several times I ended up partially on the grass.

The morning session was cut short as I had to get a set of 888’s fitted to my new set of Enkei’s (thanks to Darin and Mechell for their help organising delivery of them). Protyre had pulled out of attending the event last minute so I had to take a quick trip to the local quickfit!

By then it was time for food and then out for qualifying. It took a little while to scrub in the new 888’s but they were soon feeling better and I was able to push harder and harder with each run. I was several seconds adrift by the end of the day with a 1:17.74 which was only good enough for 7th in class B and 18th overall.

Thanks to the MLR staff and other members for making it such an enjoyable day. Thanks also to Karen, Lesley, Trevor, and Jonathan for their support throughout the day:) I don’t think I will be able to make the next sprint but will hopefully be at the Teeside event!

Results

MLRSS Round 4 Castle Combe

MLRSS Round 4 Castle Combe

Video

MLR Sprint 2010 – Round 4: Castle Combe – Surfa – In car and trackside

Incar footage from MLR Sprint 2010 Round 4 at Castle Combe on 11th June 2010. Footage taken by Ian ‘Surfa’ Roberts and edited by Jonathan ‘Easy Life’ Faull. Itisfrom my second fastest run (didn’t have a spare card for the fastest) which shows some bad lines and with too many mistakes.

Trackside footage from all competitors – Video 1 of 3

Trackside footage from all competitors – Video 2 of 3

Trackside footage from all competitors – Video 3 of 3

Pictures

Castle Combe Sprint Pics – From the MLR Thread

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