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Castle Combe, Dick Mayo Sprint

Steve will be driving the 1440cc Hayabusa powered SBD DJ Firehawk CT004

Carole will be driving her Hayabusa powered OMS CF08

Steve: FTD – 67.35s
Carole: 5th Overall – 74.40s

Steve had been working on the SBD DJ since Pembrey and had changed the suspension set up as it had been crashing into the ground particularly at the rear of the car, so much stiffer springs had been fitted and the dampers had been adjusted to suit the changes. Colin had stripped all the oil tank out and we finally discovered that the oil leak was coming from a fracture around the oil outlet. This had been welded up and fitted back in the car. Unfortunately, when the car was put back on the floor, we found a water leak from the radiator and had sent it off to be copied. However the core had taken weeks to get manufactured so we were unable to use the car at Lydden, but it still wasn’t ready in time for Castle Combe, so the radiator was pressure tested and the leaks were found to be small so some careful application of JB Weld gave us a temporary fix. Matt had designed some new wheel speed triggers because the original versions were badly distorted and the new ones were fitted a couple of days before the event. John Hansell had made us a new deeper wing end plates based on our SBD Dallara design to improve the efficiency of the front wing and modified the double flap element to increase the front downforce whilst still giving more airflow to the floor.

There was a lot to test at Castle Combe. The weather looked like it was going to be wet all day so the wets were fitted before loading the car in the trailer. When arriving in the morning, the circuit was dry but the Met Office was showing that it would be wet by 10.15am, everybody else was saying it would be dry until lunchtime so we fitted slicks, but as the time drew nearer for us to go, there was a light spit of rain and by the time Steve and Carole got to the start line the heavens had opened, so we had to run on the slicks! It was interesting to say the least with a completely new set up on the car having no idea how well it would handle in the dry let alone the wet. Not wanting to push car too hard, Steve did a steady practice which is not something he is used to doing and put in a reasonable time. Come the first timed run, it was only getting wetter and there was standing water everywhere, fortunately the new wheel speed trigger pick ups were working perfectly and Steve was then able to implement the traction control, which was helping but couldn’t do much when you were aquaplaning over the deep water in certain parts of the circuit. When checking the times, Steve was 8s behind Philip in his supercharged OMS and also behind a couple of road cars, which had admittedly gone on a slightly drier track but even was a bit of a shock. For the 2nd timed run, Steve decided he was going to drive a lot harder and was getting more confident in the set up, but was still a 1/10th behind Philip. So come the 3rd timed run, Steve decided to go flat out even through the track was getting wetter and went flat over Avon Rise so managing to knock nearly 3s off his time. This was quick enough for FTD, Steve couldn’t believe the amount of grip the car had even in the torrential conditions. The modified strategy of the traction control was working better with the wheel speeds, now which were reading correctly. Steve still needs to do some more work on the launch strategy but this will come in future events.
Although there was a 4th timed run, most cars had already given up and packed away as the track conditions weren’t getting any better.

Carole decided to go for a 4th timed run and managed to improve her time again finished 5th Overall. We all had a good day despite the weather and everything ran smoothly thanks to Bristol Motor Club.