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

Its Been A Long Time...

Summer is over and the tree's are already loosing their leaves. I only know this as I was still blasting the summer tunes, sunglasses on trying to pretend I was as cool as Plateo drifting round the street corners, only to be brought back down from the clouds with a bang. When I suddenly started spinning round on rather slippy leaves and heard nothing but squeals coming from myself as I remembers that I was not a touring car great but rather a 26 year old girl with now smudged red lipstick and 'I-did-NOT-boss-this' sad look on my face. 

 

However my sins can be forgiven, the absence  from the social media world and continuous carrying of the camera in everyones face was due to some exciting news. 

CLOSE RACING IS NOW LIMITED

EST. 2017

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Oh, and we have been enjoying a lot of summer adventures. We have been visiting our partners around the country and by around I mean, south. We will of course be doing a few (very late) blog posts about the visits and why we chose to spend yet another birthday weekend away 'racing'. Does it count as racing if we weren't running after racing drivers who forgot their gloves and a lot of 'I don't know where the spanner went!' comments. Hmmm, well it was technically racing related so I say Mike owes me yet another birthday. 

I shall leave this blog post here.

Short & Sweet

We are so glad to be back.

L

Mike's Memoir - #1 - A Welcome Push from Behind

It's not every day that I get the chance to do the blog, normally that's because I am normally behind the wheel or under the bonnet of the race car. Well this weekend we aren't racing so I have a little bit of spare time to talk to you guys.

We decided to make the most of our spare time and go out for a trip down to see our sponsors. Although it is still racing orientated it's more a break for us, there's no pressure to make timings and we get to see part of the world we haven't really taken in before, it really is quite pretty down here and with it being central to so many tracks I really can see the appeal. So after a nice walk around the sponsor site and finally being able to put faces to names we head off out into the countryside to find somewhere to eat, a quick check in on social media and the notifications figuratively came pouring in, people asking why we were in their area, advising us to go see certain sites, or even telling us to go round for a brew (as long as we help get the engine out his Porsche). My point is I really love the racing family, I have friends in social circles I could never hope to reach, I know people from parts of the world I have never seen, and instantly both me and Lyndsay are welcomed into a city by the people in and around this area that race.

Its mostly the same at race events as well, watching people struggle if only for a moment before others descend in to offer a hand, some advice, or just a beer. Obviously that changes once the visor is down but then that's the nature of the sport. I understand I'm waffling on but it's my first one, give me a chance.

Basically I am just using this as my chance to say thank you. Thank you to our friends, racing or otherwise, thank you to our sponsors, thank you to my family for rallying behind me, and finally thank you to anyone reading this. By you reading this I am assuming (making an *** out of you and me I know!) that you are a fan or at least a follower, and by that you are one of the reasons I still do this. As you may know from previous posts, at times we struggle with the resources to go racing, I can't lie it stresses me out. This then makes a tough day on the track even tougher. I want to share a quick memory from this season, I was having a tough time at Cadwell Park, I had qualified badly and crashed on the first lap of the first race, when I came in I locked myself away in the van and honestly, I didn't want to go out the next day for race 2. Cadwell was the first time we had tried to go live during a race, I decided to look back through the footage. During this I seen how many people were watching me, ME! why do you want to watch me? but even still you guys (and girls) did, you stuck by me and you literally cheered me on, I couldn't stop smiling. Not to sound like Nigel Mansell but you guy are worth 3 seconds a lap, I was dying to get out there and get going.

So I say this and really, really, mean it.....

 

 

...Thank you. 

#117

Oulton Park - Soo Many Races?!

WOW - I just don't even know where to start.

Right I am breaking this down from my point of view:

Qualifying x3

Races x9

Podium x9

Days x1

Still, I don't know how we fit all of this in in one day. That was each 12 chases, 12 assembly areas, 12 Parc Ferme, 12 Podiums, and 2 sore feet. This is normally spread over two full days however at Oulton Park we always only get one day with it being a Nature Reserve (or something, it is pretty though). I think it was fantastic of the whole BRSCC team to be able to get through this and successfully. Well done them (ok that may be a little pat on the back for me as well).

We [CloseRacing] managed to get a really good space right opposite our newest 'paddock pals' Go4It Racing. We pitched up the awning in all its glorious red colour, unpacked and started working on the car straight away. Rose was in much need of some new shoes (tyres) to go with her new brakes and with the first group of qualifying going out at 08:00 Sharpe we needed to be turned round straight away. Finally we were stripped down and hitting the sack around 01:45 AM. 

BEEP BEEP BEEP  

Alarm goes off at 06:00! Argued with myself at why I do this and then pleaded with Mike to get up to. Ate some cereal out of a cup and using a fork. Suncream on and I was right on my way. The one thing that Oulton provided was extraordinary heat. The sun was just blazing the whole day, closing in on 30 degrees in the shade, and thats without hot race cars and tarmac. 

It was a day timed to precision, no time for mistakes so Mike was up and chasing down his tyres. Finished just in time and managed to hit qualifying. Not a great start but we were not expecting it with new tyres, new brakes and Mike having never driven the track in real life. Rose was sporting our newest decal addition, one we are very proud of. We have partnered with The Royal British Legion to help raise awareness and funds for those that need it. Not all of us are good at asking for help, but with people like this on your side you don't need to. They are always there for you if even if you just want to sit in silence. 

Our driver Mike is a veteran whose career sadly came to a holt when he was unable to continue in the military after a huge injury to his leg. After a year of learning to walk and The Royal British Legion sending him away on trips to get him back to where he needed to be both physically and mentally he found the courage to get the metal work currently holding his bones together removed. Luckily this worked, Mike can now have close to a full life running, walking, racing. 

We qualified towards the rear but flew right up the rankings through out the races, however something is just not right. The car is down on power and there is no sign of where from. However most of the drivers this weekend were all over the shop. We seen the top runners change faces on the podium and those who normally follow Mike up to the A's back down in the B's with him. The heat was powerful and seen even the 'sun seekers' of the paddock taking shelter. 

Mike was seen taking 5/6 places on the start line - by God that man knows how to hit the throttle when the lights go out. However lap after lap he was fighting to hold on. Almost 30 Degrees out there was taking effect on the vehicles with even the Supercups having their regulations on the engine shifted to allow the vehicles to stop over heating. It was a long day and it was relatively calm at our end of the paddock. But it is never calm for long.

Everyone packed up and headed home, to awaken on a Sunday in their own beds. We may have been overwhelmed on the Saturday with the sheer volume of work to do but it is nice to have a day to recover. 

Well... let's see what rabbit we can pull out of the hat at Snetterton in July. 

L x