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Pembrey Weekend Sprint

Steve & Zoe will be sharing the 1440cc Hayabusa powered SBD DJ Firehawk CT004

Carole will be driving her Hayabusa powered OMS CF08

Saturday, National Circuit – 1st in BSC R27: 97.62s, 1st in BSC R28: 96.23s (NR)
Sunday, Clubmans Circuit – Didn’t run, replacing starter motor, 4th in BSC R30: 119.19s
Saturday, National Circuit – 7th in BSC R27: 109.03s, 8th in BSC R28: 107.94s
Sunday, Clubmans Circuit – 6th in BSC R29: 129.03s, 10th in BSC R30: 153.78s
Saturday, National Circuit – 9th in BSC R27: 112.71s, 9th in BSC R28: 111.89s
Sunday, Clubmans Circuit – Didn’t run, replacing starter motor, 7th in BSC R30: 135.93s

Since changing the suspension and aero set up on the DJ, Steve had only driven it at very wet events so had no idea how it was going to handle on a dry circuit. With Pembrey having very fast sweeping turns, it was an ideal test. This was the first drive ever for Zoe in the DJ and a single seater, so thrown in the deep end off the start line. Steve had said that by comparison with the Westfield, it is a much easier car to drive but you have to get used to the higher revs, extra grip and downforce, so she took it easy to begin with in practice but had to admit that it was nice to drive. In Steve’s practice, the car felt very balanced and nice to drive and he had just rebuilt all the brakes as well as fitting new brake pad supplied by DJ Racecars. The car was quicker round the corners for being only a 1440cc but not amazing fast down the straights, it was reaching a top speed of about 128mph. Zoe improved on T1 and was beginning to get to grips with the car a little, however will obviously need to built confidence with what she can do in an aero car. Steve qualified well and was having no pad knock off, which meant he was able to brake reasonably consistently up to the corners, but felt there was maybe not quite enough bite to the brakes with the new pads and there was rather a strong smell coming from the pads after his run. On T2 which was the 1st Top 12 run off, Zoe was disappointed to have not gone any faster but was enjoying the car. Steve was feeling very comfortable in the car and lent on it hard through the complex and the car was feeling amazing, but the brakes were beginning to fad on the second lap. The run was quick enough to win the Top 12, Steve couldn’t believe that he had won a Top 12 as it had been quite some time since he had previously won a Top 12. Over lunch, Steve had decided to revert back to the older brake pads. On T3 Zoe was getting more comfortable in the car even through the times weren’t improving as fast as she would have liked, she was definitely enjoying driving the single seater. The day was getting really hot now and Zoe cleaned the left rear tyre, which was looking in a bit of a bad way. This made a massive improvement to the rear grip particularly through the hairpins, which made it easier to carry more speed. The older brake pad definitely had more bite and Steve found himself braking 10-20m too early for the corners so on the 2nd Top 12 (T4), Steve was able to brake much later. Steve felt he had a good run and was on the limit of what the tyres could do in the heat and it was quick enough 96.23s to win the 2nd Top 12 and got FTD on that run. Unbelievable day, Steve was super pleased and couldn’t hope for anything better. Going down for the 2nd Top 12, Zoe had forgotten her seat cushion and it was until she had got to the start line she realised and she was fully extended on the clutch and throttle. She decided to go anyway, when she came in she thought she had done a rubbish time but in fact in she had done better than all her previous times and knocked 1s off!

On the Sunday, we were expecting a small amount of rain and on practice it started to spit a bit but nothing special. Steve was quickest so looking forward to another exciting day. Steve Miles reckoned it was going to be quite heavy rain but T1, Zoe was first car up to the line. It was spitting with rain but by the time they were ready for her to go the rain was getting heavier and although no standing water, it had a damp surface. Zoe got off the start line ok with not too much wheelspin, through the first hairpin but as she exited the next right hander, she lost the rear of the car this put her into a slow spin and she ended up going backwards. Unfortunately, Steve had forgotten to tell her that you need to dip the clutch really quickly on a bike powered car because if the engine goes backwards, it engages the starter motor and whatever rpm the engine is doing, the starter motor speed is multiplied multiple times. The Marshalls recovered Zoe from the circuit, fortunately all the billeted covers that we use protected the crank case and gears, but the starter motor had reached astronomical rpm even with the slipping clutch design, which can only help up to a degree. We searched the paddock for a spare starter motor but no joy, so Steve contacted Simon Rogers from Raceshocks, he then made an hour trip to his workshop to collect one and deliver it to the circuit. Due to the fact that there is no entry to the circuit while the track is live, the 2 Marshalls on each side of the circuit waited until there was a break in the cars to relay the starter across, so our thanks to Simon and the Marshalls. Steve quickly rushed back to the car, bolted it on. There was 10 cars left to go on T3, the circuit was now really wet, Zoe got out and did her qualifying run and then swapped over and Steve went out as last car before lunch. The rain was now very heavy and he had to concentrate on just getting round and qualifying without crashing. Steve and Zoe put in good times for the conditions, unfortunately the brakes had started binding again, which was obviously slowing it down on the straights. There wasn’t any time to look at this because we only had a short lunch break before the 2nd top 12 (T4). Although it hadn’t rained over lunch it was starting to rain again as Zoe was lining up and she put in the best time for her Sunday even through it was her wettest run. For Steve’s run, it wasn’t as wet as it had been for T3 however it was still raining and quite wet, he was struggling to feel the grip and wasn’t as committed as he would have liked through the corners, but it was quick enough for 4th. A bit of a change from Saturday’s result but can’t complain when you have had such an amazing Saturday.

The event organisation was impressive and the start line organisation and lining up for the cars was just great making it really smooth and easy for everybody competing.