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Abingdon CAR-nival – 8th June 2019

Steve: 1st in Class, 5th Overall – 90.38s Watch Video

Zoe: 3rd in Class – 103.21s

Carole: 1st in Class – 93.21s

Zoe: Abingdon started incredibly wet yesterday and having driven the car down to scrutineering and noise testing, I came back covered in mud, water, and stones. We did a quick change of slicks to wets before first practice as there was a lot of standing water on Bentley, our first track of the day, specifically on the corner by the finish! 

The first practice went well, albeit slow, as I was getting used to the track again. It stopped raining during first practice and had dried sufficiently to have the slicks put back on for second practice. Timed runs went well but with the track having completely dried, the single-seaters were in their element! 

After lunch it was onto the second track of the day, Abingdon. This track was more to my liking with fast straights rather than the short bursts and sharp turns of the Bentley course. The Westfield struggled with grip on this track causing gear change issues where the wheels were spinning too fast for the gear change to take place. 

We have been having a few problems with grip with the powerful 1.6L EcoBoost and the car has been wheel-spinning a lot, which has also been causing some problems with some of the gear changes, but Steve thinks he has now worked out what is going on.

Steve managed an impressive 360 spin when showing off for the cameraman, which was caught on the live stream, and managed to get 2 re-runs as the timing beam didn’t acknowledge he went over it! Even with the issues we were having, I managed a 48sec run hitting around 130mph on the last straight. 

Last year I was 94th overall, but this year out of 120 competitors, I finished the day 28th! A great day out all in the name of charity ended with a hog roast provided by the organisers!

Steve: Getting back into the Westfield after driving the Dallara, is quite a changing driving style required. He settled back into driving the car during the day  but had to remember that you can’t jump on the brakes as hard or go round the corners as quickly. As Zoe said we have been struggling with grip but we think this is all down to having the wrong rear roll bar set up on the car. With what we now know, we will make some dramatic changes to the rest of the car spring and damper set up, which should bring some significant improvements to the grip and handling of the car. We need to tame the car’s power during gear changes, which should then give us a great package. Even at the moment the car is loads of fun, whilst sliding the car around for the chicane, noticed the cameraman, thought I would be even more impressive, unfortunately slightly too impressive as Zoe said. Had a great day with loads of fun.

Carole: I always think of Abingdon as a full-on fun day of racing. At no other event do we get to do 8 runs in one day on two different circuits. After Pembury and the fuss of having to change the car when using the Avon wets, I bought a set of Pirelli wets. I was glad I had as the day started with heavy rain so the new wet tyres were used for the 1st practice run.  We did the Bentley course first in the morning, always my favourite course of the event, but there was a huge puddle on the last corner before the finish and Steve Miles advised me not to drive into it as there was a landing light hidden in the water which would do damage if I hit it. A valuable tip, thanks Steve.  My times improved on every run.

The afternoon was on the Bentley course, faster but with a difficult chicane to negotiate halfway through. All the runs showed an improvement on my times for each one. Fortunately, I managed to get away with not bending a pushrod on the rear suspension as there was a nasty dip in the track and at speed the car bounced dramatically, which damaged many of the other single seater race cars. I managed to survive the day thankfully and at the prize giving was awarded a 1st in Class trophy. A nice surprise to finish the day with.