So we had a bit of a crisis at home and had to withdraw from rounds 1 and 2. I did get an entry in and managed to attend round 3 at Croft in early May. The Super Nationals have the S1600's running with them this year, this made the mixed grids difficult to work out. In the heats we were a little off the pace, I think due to long time since being in the seat. Anyway we made the semis and then finished 3rd in semi 2 to get to final.
I finished 5th in the final but the car had damage on every panel except the roof. Some drivers do not know how to overtake, they just force/push others out of the way if they cannot get past on ability. To that end the needed a new rear bumper, side skirt and front wing, a lot of repair work to the drivers side door and rear arch.
Thats it, I am done with that category. I do not have the time or money to repair the car to that extent after every meeting and if the race officials are prepared to allow that kind of driving standard in a Non-Contact sport to go unpenalised then its time for me to move on.
And then after the Final:
As well as the visible body damage there was also a watts linkage bracket severely bent after big side hit on rear wheel arch at the hairpin, the battery mount bracket in the boot had broken and the rear wheel well split after same incident.
So after the carnage of round 3 the rebuild started again.
So, what was I going to do next then?
Well, for a couple of years now, I had often being asked about moving to a different catageory/series by the organisor of that series. For a while I had given it serious consideration but never did anything about it as I was enjoying being in the Super National category.
But after the last few events and what seemed endless damage I was ready to make the move now.
Shirley and Rob Gibson were the ones who had been asking if I would join their Retro Rallycross championship, I knew quite a bit about the series as Gary Dixon in his Astra had made the move from SN last year for the same reasons that I was moving.
So with the car looking back to its usual self and an entry in for Round 6 (Rnd 4 for Retro)at Croft in late July, there was an air of positivity again.
We arrived at Croft on a fine saturday afternoon but with a wet forecast for raceday on Sunday.
Retro has a couple of catageories based on engine size and having a 3200cc motor that put me in the Super Retro one along with a Turbocharged rwd Beetle, a turbocharged Porsche 911, a BDA engined Gartrac mk3 escort, Gary Dixons Astra along with MR2, Golf GTI, Minis, BDA engined Fiesta.
The rain came and stayed for most of the day, drying briefly in afternoon only for
heavy rain again during finals.
We managed to win each of the 3 heats I was in and that was enough to put me on pole for Final, going quite well considering the competition. In the final I was in the lead but got slightly sideways coming across start/finish line and while on opposite lock the Beetle of James just caught the front wheel and that was enough to break the steering coloumn, shame but we had shown we were competative.
But we did manage to get to Siverstone for the last round of the year. A new circuit for me as I missed the first round here, still it was good to be at a circuit again after all we have missed this year.
And the view from the grid in front of me for Heat 1, won't stand much of a chance in the run to the first corner!
Unfortunately the engine got real hot in heat 2 and I retired the car on the spot to preserve it. First guess is either water pump failure or thermostat stuck shut!
A couple of in car videos below from the two heats I did.
Roll on 2019 and a full (hopefully) season with Retro Rallycross.
A fews modifications to sort and a full check over ready for next season.
First job was to sort overheating issue, water pump removed and it seems fine, tested thermostat in Jans best pan at home and it never budged an inch with water boiling merrily. New thermostat it is then, I also took the precaution of drilling 5 x 8mm holes in the new stat just to help water flow.
Next job was front suspension off and cleanup before inspection. Both top mounts needed new spherical bearings as they were shot. Then on to rear suspension, although both Avo rears were sent away and reconditioned last year, one side was already leaking again and that is after only two and a half events. They have been on the car since I did axle conversion so I thought they could do with replacement, I ordered another pair but the Gaz ones this time. Would like the 3 or 4 way ones but £1500+ is out of my league for a pair of rear dampers.
I also changed the rear silencer and tail pipe setup.
The under side was also looking a little tatty so I thought I would tidy it up a little and try to preserve the old girl a bit.
Before then after.
When I took prop off for a clean up and to inspect I found we had been lucky to get away with this, don't think it would have lasted much longer.
A new one on order, although I do have a used spare I thought it would be better with a new one.