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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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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Mar 232010
 

Pre Event

We made the decision to do the sprint only a few days before the event. It was suggested by Jonathan “Easy Life” Faull that I should give it a go as we didn’t make it to the MLR Brands Hatch Track day earlier in the year because I thought  the rain would be a little tricky with my limited track experience having only done a couple of track days before and never in the wet let alone with worn Toyo R888 semi slicks.

I booked the Sprint event with MLR staff member, Mechell who was friendly, as always. I was initially planning to it as a “T” (test) entry. On the Tuesday prior to the event, when booking, she suggested that it would be better to enter class “B” instead to gain all important points towards the championship should I wish to take part in future sprints. Only after reading the threads on the MLR did I notice rain was forecast for Saturday, DOH!

Journey

The journey to the track was pretty uneventful. We started off early around 6:45 in the morning as the car had been packed the night before and arrived in good time for signing on.

The Event

We had a quick walk down from where the “pits” were to the staging area and the start of the sprint area to have a look at the state of the track. It was rather wet to say the least and I was a little apprehensive as I had only a well worn set of R888’s to put on the car. Fortunately when I got back I saw MLR member Blood Speed that I had shared a garage with at the MLR track day at Snetterton in October; he had decided to put on his R888’s so I decided to use my set as well.

We signed on and was assigned a number (initially this was an incorrect one which we only noticed as we were affixing to the car!) So we went back to get the correct number but by that time there was a torrential downpour.

We drove through the building site down to the staging area but unfortunately missed my first run. This was however useful as it was good to see how well the other competitors were going.

My first run time came and Jon braved it in the passenger seat. Took it easy on the first few practice runs. Was quite interesting and exciting to experience the aqua planing and tail squirm.

The engine wasn’t idling properly and the throttle response felt odd but we continued.

Results

MLRSS Round 1 Silverstone 2010

MLRSS Round 1 Silverstone 2010

Video

MLR Sprint 2010 – Round 1: Silverstone (Stowe) – Quickest Run

Incar footage from MLR Sprint 2010 Round 1 at Silverstone Stowe Circuit on 20th March 2010. Footage taken by Ian ‘Surfa’ Roberts and edited by Jonathan ‘Easy Life’ Faull.

MLR Sprint 2010 – Round 1: Silverstone (Stowe) – Picture-In-Picture

Incar footage from MLR Sprint 2010 Round 1 at Silverstone Stowe Circuit on 20th March 2010. Footage taken by Ian ‘Surfa’ Roberts and edited by Jonathan ‘Easy Life’ Faull.

Pictures

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