WHAT A WORLD WIND WEEK (OK Month but it did not go with the title)

I feel like it has been a while.

OK so it has been a while. There has been so much going on that I am really unsure where to start, so I have decided to break it down into bullet points for you:-

  1. We took on the racing world by storm and sharply learnt what over a 1000 miles a weekend felt like in reality. Because in theory it went something like this: Go on a night out then drive 5ish hours to our hotel, have a few hours sleep and then go do some racey things, maybe have a nap and finish the day topped off with an early night. NO. That was the biggest lie ever. It went more like drive for 7.5 hours and then have 45 minutes in the hotel bed before dragging myself up, drinking my body weight in coffee and then going to the race track and being thrown in front of the TV camera for the first time. That footage of the weekend was an eye opener, mostly because watching it back my eyes were never open. I think it would be safe to say we might be getting a little old for this.
  2. We then decided to head on down to Silverstone to take on the TCR's!! This was exciting as it was the first of the first, in the UK at least..... well, it would have been exciting if it did not rain for the entire weekend. I found the TCR's intriguing and a good contender for an alternative Touring Car Championship. However the expected 'we are the top dogs' feeling in the paddock was more than I could chew but my personal opinions on that will remain personal. In fact the whole weekend felt quite lacking, something felt off. It was our first weekend with out the MK1's as the MK3's are moving from under the BRSCC Mazda squad and are going out on their own supporting the TCR's this year. There was just no umph. I drove home expecting to be counting down the hours and minutes untill Knockhill which is where we are coming back from this weekend, but I’m more in love with the idea that it’s closer to home rather than the actual racing. That was not a good sign, but I was happily proved wrong.
  3. Real life took over and so did the sunshine, it was a grand weekend off for once, but there was a very good reason, we had a special wedding to attend. There was celebrations, tears and dancing in the moon light. It was such a fine and natural sight. I am going to keep the details private but we do wish them all the happiness in the world.
  4. Van life. There is a certain place in my heart for our ex-ambulance that we are attempting to convert and that place is located in a very very dark, very hidden corner where I try to ignore all large, rusty, obnoxious objects. Like all things in this category I walk past them with a smile and eventually my brain just poofs them out of existence.
  5. Renovation time. The weather may be much more acceptable for the month of May, however I believe this called for the hammers and saws to be broken out. So far I have spent the majority of this month under a van that flakes rust like £!#%. It currently has no walls, no ceiling, half a floor and lots of holes that need filling in. I have heard a rumour throughout the workshop that we have some boat sealer? I stopped asking questions a long time ago.
  6. Filming is becoming a huge thing in our camp, and we may not be posting a lot for public to view right now, but please know this, they are terrible (you really would not want to watch them anyway!). Most of them are just shots of the two company mascots, Pip & Lucy. They are cute but terrible with a spanner (they use having no thumbs as an excuse, terrible). We are filming so we can see our progress and have the memories of how hard it was to get by so we can remember all our achievements. It will make a belly-jiggelling end of year reel, but maybe not so much for a full video.
  7. Accounts and paperwork. I may be a wiz kid at filing systems and enjoy a good organisation sesh' as much as the next pocket protector wearing geek, but my life, this was a mission. Although, in the process, we have come to meet some wonderful people and  some great teams, who, I believe that Close Racing Ltd can count on in the coming years. 

There has been a lot of talk about changes and new projects. These have been great fun to work on and most of it shouldn’t be hitting the shelf (tarmac?) until later this year but hopefully you lot will jump in the car with us once we do. It is definitely a fast way of learning how to have fun. 

See you on the track.

L

Where are we?

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Well, I’m currently sat leaning over our coffee table in the living room with a candle burning next to me. That sounds a little bit too ‘romantic’ for a motorsports blog. However it is necessary with it being mid-jan after the AutoSport International Show and here’s why. The candle is a light producing object which means my electric bill can stay where it is, safely hidden in the back of the pancake draw (if you know the reference, you’re a legend *electronic fist bump*. Yep, January, the time that all motorsports return after a long 6 weeks off and rejoice in the Autosport show so we can have a fix before the season starts. That is if you dont have a mortgage to pay, or two dogs, or a hungry husband, I think you get my point.  

On a more positive note the Autosport show was really productive this year. We arrived all prepared with cards and presentations in hand. Quick side note - what is with the motor industry making us very aware that we need to hit the gym. Is it just us or do you notice that all these events and trips are just hugely spread out!  

S O   M U C H   W A L K I N G  ! 

Ok back to where I was, the show was fun this year. We decided to take the pressure off ourselves with going on the Friday which is a trade only day, we normally go with great intentions of obtaining sponsorship. Although with the team taking a sabatical in 2018 from competition; we really were there just to speak to people, find out what they did and what kind of mutual7 benifit we could be, that and a lot of stands have the good biscuits on the Friday. 

I can not explain the need I (Lyndsay) had for a foot rub and a pillow. We left at 1800hrs on the Friday to go back to the hotel and recap on everything that had happened that day.

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Back at the hotel we caught up with the rest of the team and told them all about our meetings and the up coming year. Food. Bed. This time we felt the difference between sleeping in a clean warm bed and not collapsing into the back of a van which is normally, well, the standard at anything that has anything to do with racing. We swung by the AutoSport show on the Saturday for the first of the public days, and we took the rest of the team to see what all the fuss was about. 

Saturday at the show was so much busier as you can imagine but at one point I swear all of Birmingham has come along to join the que for the live action show. We ran into a few friends we have made along the way, Martin Tolly from Go4ItRacing, Brain from BC Cars, Tom Roche from Blenidi Motorsports & Car Chase Heroes, and the whole squad from the BRSCC including that of our illustrious leader and goddess Mandy Andrews. Not that we Spoke to him, but we also got to see the now legend Billy Whizz do some stunt driving in the show. 

We had fun, we played some games and we generally drank a lot of coffee. You need to understand that as a team we all run on a steady flow of bacon, biscuits and brew's. I'm sure when we get a bigger office we will have the mantra of the three B's plastered on the wall. A rule to live by for almost everyone under the Close Racing banner.

The evenings were filled with the usual face-planting-pillow manoeuvre we have come so accustomed to over the years. Yep, no big parties, no fancy outfits, we are a bunch of simple northerners who enjoy the little things in life. Not quite what everyone thinks A) Northern's do or B) the racing industry does on a big weekend away but that just how we roll. 

Home bound and reflection time.

It was good. The end.

 

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Nah, on a serious note, I (lyndsay) should never be trusted to drive after a full day's work again nor shall I entrust Mike to give us directions. We got lost only once which was impressive. Our feet will not be speaking to us for at least the next week, however we had a few spur of the moment offers fly up and we accepted. So, you'll have to wait and see where we go this year and what on earth we do when we aren't racing.

 

This should be interesting for both of us...

 

Speak later,

 

 

 

 

New Year, Same Goals

Where do we start.

Well I guess we will start as we do with all our old friends, “Ola! Oh my it has been too long, how are you, how are the kids? (clearly meaning the race cars)”. But on a serious note, it has been a while since we took the time to sit down and really talk. With saying that though, we have not had much time to sit down recently. We finished racing in October, awards night in November which if any of you have attended, know it takes a little while to get going again, December seen us welcome happy celebrations into our HQ with the marriage of our co-founders, Christmas then New Year, a constant flow of eating too much and sleeping way more. Which brings us smoothly up to now. 

 

In between all the excitement in the final few months of 2017 we decided to get a little more focused. We started planning for the new year, well it is just the year now. As I write this it is currently the 2nd and soon to be the 3rd of Jan. I will be honest that weird time of year in between Christmas and new year is just a no go, no effort, practically no movement - kind of a time, but now the New Years celebrations have been and gone we’re having our shakedown (in the office at least). Our focus has turned toward the Autosport show and what we can take from it, just a ‘heads up’ we plan on doing a vlog of our time there so keep an eye on our YouTube channel.

 

This year as a whole we have some exciting, but very different, times coming and we can’t wait to see how they turn out. With our driver taking a sabbatical this season we are looking to turn our attention to you lot. That’s right! We are looking at giving support to others, if trackside support is needed then we can be there, if you are looking for guidance or a different view on why you just can’t seem to carry the speed through old hairpin, we can be there, or if you are sick of watching we can be there. So don’t shy away get in touch and who knows what can happen? After all “shy bairns get nowt”.

 

We have over 16 events booked into our diary and we are still being asked to check out more. But it does not take much arm twisting to get us to down to a track. We have alot more videos coming up and we are focusing more on getting out there and taking you guys along for the ride. After a brainstorming session in the middle of the night, we came up with the idea of creating a space where we show what it is like to be a starting, a young race team. 

 

Three years ago we starting trailing the Internet, lurking in the back of Waterstones and speaking to everyone who would give us 5 minutes of advice. When you start tipping your toes into the big world of race tracks and spanner sizes (who knew they had different sizes) it can be very daunting. There is very few sources out there that will highlight the positives and demonstrate the negatives. We find we learn from our mistakes and come up with the most ingenious solutions, so why not show the drama’s the struggles and the laughs along the way. You might learn something. 

 

#117

Donington Park 2017 - The Last Minute of the Last Minute

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The final round for 2017 arrived and flew by so fast. It is one I think I will remember for the rest of my life. The championship is not one thing I really talk about and this will not be any different, however the weekend was one that came down to the wire for our driver. 

 

Now I need to give some back story. This weekend is going to be one that goes down in history of the championship. There was 6 written off cars in one race in one accident, then two in another not even to mention how many trips the ambulance had to do. It was especially panicking for myself. I work for the BRSCC Championship as a Co-ordinator & Social Media Person.... it's kind of unofficial helping with a lot of my face. Anyway, I also have some beautiful ladies that I do it along side me. All of us have partners that race, all of their partners were involved in the accidents, one of them even had to be sent to the hospital. Worse moment in my career to date. Both cars written off. 

Then it was Mike's turn to race.

...

But it was all OK because I took the hit for him, literally.

**FREAK ACCIDENT**

There I was just minding my own business getting some states and photos on the pit wall, when a stone fell off one of the cars, hit the tyre and got thrown through the gap of the pit wall exactly where I happened to be standing. BANG - right on the head. So after I was finally cleared to continue for work I felt the hex was over. 

Mike came second in class in the final minute of the final lap in the final race of the final weekend of 2017. 

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It was another hard weekend as the car had a mass water leak which we only found when pulling the car onto the trailer to GO to the event. I swear there is a pixie that lives in this car only breaks things as we are going to the events. 

But as per usual the guys are great and spent most of the Friday night fixing it. I also spent most of Friday night setting up HQ. Swiftly followed by my face becoming acquaintances with the pillow.  I have become quite comfortable now sleeping in a van with the doors wide open and strangers walking pass and seeing me curled up in a ball. 

The next night we had planed a little thank you surprise of a movie projected on to the pit wall with pizza. However we all fell asleep within the first 5 minutes of the movie and woke up freezing cold with sore necks. 

Race weekends are a thing of beauty. 

I shall see you guys soon,

L

 

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Croft Circuit 2017 - SURPRISE SURPRISE

As the title may state there was a little bit of a surprise going into Croft.

WE GOT ENGAGED!!!

 

I know that this is a racing blog however this is a massive part of Close Racing history. We are finally making Lyndsay an official 'Close'. 

 

Anyway onto the racing. 

There was a lot. 

To be honest, whatever happened and whatever I write next, does not matter. Its a local track. You have no idea what it means to us to be able to say that, Croft is a great circuit, not great on the facilities but it is northern. OK so it is still two hours SOUTH for us but we knew no matter what happens or when we leave we are still going to be home in pjs and a brew before midnight. Hence why this is our favourite part of the racing calendar. 

Anyway, yes, mike drove, mike drove well. No spin outs this year thank lord. He started in the B group which was no surprise as yet again Rose was starting to act out. As a young team we do not have any time or money to test so normally when we go out for qualifying it is our 'testing'. After looking at the results from race-to-race, year-to-year you can clearly see Mike always starts off lower and then gains dramatically by the end. So, again starting in the B's in 10th for race two, by the first corner he was already 3rd. Sadly, due to a racing incident you seen Mike finish in 6th. What a race though, I've never seen so many guys cheer him on lap after lap. As I keep drumming on and on, its a local track, which meant we accidentally ran into people we have meet over the years which came out to support us. 

 

We did have our completion winner join us and a few familiar fan's faces, even some younger fans to! 

On a side note, a little message for Croft itself -

"WHY HAVE YOU CHANGED THE ASSEMBLY AERA TO BE SOOOO FAR AWAY. PUT IT BACK!"

I did not enjoy the endless walks. 

I didn't take my bike or scooter or walking shoes as I was not expecting this. I was not a happy bunny. 

 

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After Anglesey we were really hoping to have been finished with the wet conditions. NOPE.

I was wrong. 

Croft is a very special place that you only truly understand if you have attended. You find it rains all day but somehow walk away with sunburn. Scientists have less answers to this than the Bermuda triangle. So the weather, it rained as everyone was preparing the cars to go onto track. It then got very warm and fry, very fast, as they went onto track. Typical. 

Mike found his weekend was a good test run for the F1 tyre changing team. He was always out on a dry track with his wets on and vice vera. But to say he still managed to run with the front pack all weekend on wets in dry and drys in wet is pretty impressive. 

So, we made it home, pjs on and brew in hand by 23:54.

I was impressed. 

 

 

Can someone please build more tracks North? Oh and if we are doing this, closer to a Domino's. I did not like having to wait 2 hours for it to be delivered. 

Best,

L

 

 


 

Anglesey Circuit 2017 - IT'S RAINING SIDEWAYS!

Yes, Anglesey was really that long ago. 

But I don't care, I loved Anglesey and it will forever be one of my favourite circuits. Not because of the track, mind you I have never driven it so I cant say for certain but it looks boring. Straight - Hairpin - Straight - Hairpin.... I mean would it kill someone to chuck in chicane. It is one of my favourites because of the memories we all find ourselves making. Lets all get a brew, tuck in the blanket nearest us and get comfy.

FRIDAY 04:00 - BEEP BEEP BEEP

Up so early that our dogs told us to go away, the sky was still black and mikes face was firmly still in a pillow with no intentions to of going anywhere. Large cold glass of water not only panicked the dogs but also assisted with getting Mike out of pillow land. Typically we left late, but that was our fault, and the local take away for being so close to our house leaving us with no will power, or any form of motivation to pack the van the night before. This time round we had a stowaway in the van so I got my best hostess face on and made us a nice little table between the seats, pillows and blankets. Matty as he is called was coming with us to support Mike and Anthony with a few technical issues. 

WAIT!!

Right, lets draw it back a bit.. last year we had a lot of issues with the race car after a big accident which just so happened to be at Anglesey. Mike blew his radiator and we ended up having a strawberry smelling coolant filled race car for a while, see my blog about burping the car for a recap. But what we didn't know was poor race car Rose was sadly fighting a losing battle ever since. We finally sourced the reason for the lack of power... Timing. 

No, it was the timing of the Crank, not that we have bad timing.

So, we take apart the race car with less than a week to go before we are supposed to be at Anglesey to find Rose's engine is old school and the timing pulley was not in commission anymore. The pulley had teeth missing and the belt was damaged. Leading us to have the dreaded, None-Starter. We ordered the part off a website and prayed it come in time before we left. Nope, came 2 hours after we hit the road. However in the panic, a life saver moment appeared from Martin who owns Go 4 It Racing (http://go4itracing.co.uk) came to the rescue. 

Van journeys can get a little crazy up in Close Racing. I mean when you realise that you are heading to wales you need to learn to speak like local. After all, how do they say cow anyway. We decided that its pronounced 'K-uew-a'. 

13:30 - ARRIVAL

Finally.

We got here much later than intended. 

Now time to get the water pump, timing belt and all around enginey-ness sorted.

 

SATURDAY 05:11 - WE HAVE LIFE!

The guys worked through the night, while I slept, with the van doors open, probably with my mouth open to. But the good news is we have a engine that starts. 

However.... due to it being built through the night we are unable to test it. 

Here goes nothing. 

AT SOME POINT DURING THE DAY

The car lives and runs pretty well. Mike took it a bit gentle to ensure he got the car home. But come the first race that was it, mike took about a billion places by the first corner, man that lad can start. We did alright through out the day, car still running ok. Check list complete-ish. I even got roped into sandpapering the wheels to clean the marble off. Yes I said sandpaper, no not a sponge. Because of the conditions the car goes through it has so much stuck on the white rims it is a bugger to get off. 

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Beer was opened. Feet up (for the women) and time to cook tea.

Not to go off on a bit of a tangent but why is there no cooking recipes for those that travel and have limited access to cooking utilities. I really want to make sure that we as a team eat healthy and give us the nutrition to keep us all going. Plus have you ever tried racing with heartburn? Its not easy living in a paddock. 

So, I decided on making fajita for all. 

One of these days I am going to invest in making a cook book for paddocks, quick tips and advise on food. Nothing fancy as I don't really understand all these micronutrients and calorie counting malarkey.

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SUNDAY 19:02 - going home

 

It rained,

 

It rained a lot.

 

Do not wear UGG boots in wales, they do not survive.

 

We did not come away with any trophies this time round however we did win the battle against the odds. We left Northumberland without anything to make the engine turn on. The only thing that moved the car was these feet of mine. By the way how heavy is 960 kilos!! That's mike and rose's combined racing weight. Fat git. 

So with no formal training, no equipment, no parts, we still succeeded. 

It would not be possible without the community of the BRSCC MAZDA's, thats why we always still go. As long as you go with hope there will be someone waiting in the paddock with a spanner in hand and just enough knowledge to 'get away with it' and if your really lucky, someone has a half stuck together, ripped, loved and battered Haynes Manual for a Mazda Mk1. 

 

Thanks lads, 

L