Archive for the Hillclimbs Category

Fintray Hillclimb – 20th and 21st August 2011

Posted in Hillclimbs on August 22, 2011 by Stephen Hynds

Another weekend. Another new B4 record – 0.5 seconds quicker than the old one.

Here’s a wee video of the winning run and a couple of quick clips found on youtube. More photo and video to follow.

Trackside View: Forrestburn in August

Posted in Hillclimbs, Trackside View on September 10, 2009 by Giles Guthrie

Sideways out of the bottom hairpin

Sideways out of the bottom hairpin

Anybody who thinks that the strip-of-tarmac-on-the-side-of-a-hill that is Knockhill is a crazy anathema in today’s business-case-obsessed world, should compare it with Forrestburn. Knockhill looks positively commercially viable in comparison with Forrestburn.

I arrive en famille in the battle bus. The place is rammed with trailers, plus a few spectator cars. Someone’s been out with a can of spray paint to mock up a car park. It’s full. I make my own space, out of the way, where there will still be some traction should the rain come. The Dear Lady’s heart sinks when she sees the container that houses the lavatories. For someone who can just about get out of bed to go to the BRDC club house, this is quite not the thing. But, God love it, for the grassroots motorsport fan, Forrestburn has a magic that Silverstone can only dream of. I feel a bond with the place that isn’t worth going into just now, and when I first came I felt true joy as the cars howled ‘twixt the wall and the bank, negotiated esses that you can’t appreciate from the side, outbraked themselves for both hairpins, and ran the gauntlet of the tunnel. It’s all there for you to see (sadly though, you now need to sign on to get the access). Yes, there’s just the one burger van, and yes, the toilets are in a container illuminated by light from a 12 volt car battery, but just look at that strip of tarmac.

When I took them to Kames, the beast collective (also known as Emma, Jonathan and Jessica) were less than fully whelmed. Emma liked the chips; Jess liked the Bogey revving, but that was about it. At Forrestburn though, we stood at the top of the hill, where the wind was strongest, and Donald, Alan, Craig and the rest did their stuff. While the Dear Lady voiced her distress through an iPhoned Facebook Status update, and Jess froze in the wind, the larger beasts totally got it. There was motorsport, right there.

The beasts and the Bogey

The beasts and the Bogey

Anticipation built as the Bogey trundled down to the start line, its greenness serving as a useful marker to my collective of inexperienced spotters. Away from the line, hidden from view, but the shouting of the Ninja all too evident. To the bottom hairpin, and big sideways on the exit, your snapper grateful for an effective 520mm of focal length. Then, bursting from the tunnel, engine and paint blaring. Braking too late, apex missed, tail out, some time recorded. Beasts enthralled.

Using all the road at post three

Using all the road at post three

First timed run was more of the same. The class system heightening the tension. Paul takes the class record, good enough for the win. The beasts return to the quiet of the car, with its music, Fruit Shoots, warmth and crisps. The Logistics Manager (Windscreen & Washer Fluid) and I sign on, and wander to the ridge. Here, the white noise from the M8 parlays across the valley on the ubiquitous wind, the same wind that ripples the loch in front of us. And then a Ford CVH complains its way from the start line. Second timed run is a go.

The signing-on lady looked frazzled, and we can’t see the start, so we’re playing “guess the running order” again. John H goes through, and we know the Bogey’s a-comin’. Paul’s pushing now, pulsing the throttle between each apex, hunting for time. Neat through the bottom hairpin, then quick up to the tunnel, Paul doesn’t know he’s already won. He’s record-hunting anyway. Another missed apex at the top hairpin and pesky bumps on the exit rob a hundredth off the earlier time.

Hunting Time

Hunting Time

Championship’s safe though, and after we watch the single seaters run, that’s another day in North Lanarkshire’s premier motorsport venue done. Awesome.

A quiet few weeks

Posted in Hillclimbs, maintenance, Sprints, upgrades with tags , on August 25, 2009 by Paul Lawrence

Since Fintray things are looking pretty good in the championships. With only 3 days of hillclimbing and 4 of the sprints to go, I am leading my class in the hills and currently leading the overall Scottish Sprint Championship. I really dont want to jinx things and would love to win both of these titles after a fantastic opening year for the Bogey.

The hills will require John Hamilton (last years champion) to beat me into second place in the three remaining rounds to draw on points but then beat me on the number of wins. So all I need it one victory or for someone else to pip John to take class A4.

The sprints is much more of a surprise with only a few people really capable of taking the title from me unless I really screw things up. Fingers crossed. Graeme Bremner is the primary challenger in his supercharged Exige and needs to take three records out of the remaining four days to pip me to the title. Either way I have had an awesome year and would love to finish with a win. If I can also take records at Golspie (less likely) or Boyndie (more likely) I could take the title.

Meanwhile the car has had an oil and filter change, further suspension tweaks and also a general maintenance session to see the rest of the year out. One major addition which unfortunately isnt working yet is the Racelogic traction control box that I picked up off ebay. The unit is installed but I am having problems picking up a valid rpm feed and also the tests of the ignition cut has shown the age of my spark plugs, so a new set is on order. Essentially the plugs foul and the car ends up running on three cylinders. 

David from team Xoomspeed is helping with the rpm feed and we hope to have the system ready for testing at Forrestburn, if not Golspie. I have suffered in wet conditions to the cars with TC and hope this will level the playing field a little. So a big thanks to David, who is a bit of an electronics wizard. Check out xoomspeed.com to read all about their Vauxhall powered Westy with David’s own traction control and data logging system the Xoombox.

The wheel sensors proved to be tight fit on the Raceleda uprights and extra bolts needed to be fitted to allow enough pulses per wheel rotation. Essentially if you are fitting this to your car, feel free to get in touch. I cant wait to get the launch control working, never mind the full TC.

More posts soon.

Fintray 8th and 9th of August

Posted in Hillclimbs with tags , , , on August 13, 2009 by Paul Lawrence

The Clerk of the Course introduced Fintray as “Welcome to Sunny Fintray”, how right he was. As a resident of Dyce for many years and having watched the Fintray hillclimb for many years as a youngster I always enjoy doing my home from home event.

To win here last year in the blade was fantastic but to lose earlier in the year to Ross due some silliness on my part needed to be remedied. Unfortunately Ross wasn’t to be there for my revenge and was on his stag night (silly bugger) but John Hamilton who is leading class A4 was to be there on the Sunday. So my strategy was to beat the record for a full 6 points on the Saturday and then try to beat it again the following day. 12 points would see me catch John and put it all down to who wins at Forrestburn at the end August, with hopefully Doune not being needed and I could go for the record there too.

The track was in fantastic condition, much respect to Grampian Automobile Club, the track is essentially an access road for a working farm with a barn placed in later year right on the corner of turn 1 – Ruin which see’s loads of cow manure and takes some cleaning. Big thanks to the chaps who put in the hours to make this all possible.

So a nice and gentle 31.06 to start, I knew there was loads more to come, so felt confident. Pushed harder in next practice to beat Ross’s record with a 30.01. Third practice introduced my first 29, which is a bit of a barrier at Fintray and into the respectable times. So a 29.66 left me confident with a Matty and Russ sitting just under 2 seconds behind. Russell was very much on the pace with a 30.5 only a few tenths behind my best time in that car, so I was really happy for him. More seat time and he could really be there.

It was good to see the Morrison’s out again and we all worked away on getting them more competitive over the weekend. It’s always fun to play with a different car, setting up dampers, ride heights and also get those really naff poly bushes working properly. Much respect to the father and son team for improving throughout the weekend, especially good to see young Stuart gunning the car away from the line and dropping by over 6 seconds on day one alone.

Gran and Mum arrived during lunch, so with my 92 year old gran in the crowd I wanted to put on a good show. It was great to have the whole family there, with Jen and the kids enjoying the sunshine too.

So down to the line, much to prove, I did exactly what I needed and set a new record of 29.70. I was now carrying good speed through Ruine and taking a much tidier line through the hairpin . To be honest, I didn’t want to beat the record again and make it harder for myself, so I thought I would enjoy the next run but nearly beat it with a 29.80. So a fantastic day with lovely weather and good banter saw me back to Russell’s tired but confident for the Sunday.

Up early and to the track on Sunday morning. Weather not looking so good, with maybe a few showers due, so I would need to take my opportunities if the entry point was to be realised.

First run saw a tidy 30.30 and I felt on the pace, would the weather hold out. Next run say a slower 30.51 with the weather beginning to break. Unfortunately the third run was with a 35.73 with everyone closing in the wet where I couldn’t use the power of the car. What was to happen after lunch?

I put in a really nice 29.41 on the first timed run to John’s new pb of a 30.59, Matty was back in a low 31 and Russ on a 31.75. Could anyone really help me out and beat John. Matty had been looking better and better and thought he had pipped John with a 30.30 in his last run. This would have been good enough for a win earlier in the year and set a new record which shows real improvement from him. Good going mate. John pipped him with a 30.19 and good enough for 4 points and second place. I put in another good run and lowered record by another 5 100ths of a second to 29.36. This time was good enough for 2nd fastest road car behind Donald in that brute of an Evo. Very pleased with this result and puts the pressure back on John for Forrestburn.

This can be regarded as my best result of the year, with Fintray being such a short hill (around 30 seconds) and taking a whole 0.98 off the record and being second fastest road car was a real boost for Ninja Bogey Racing and leaves me confident for the sprint and hill class awards which are now very possible. Fingers crossed.

One of the many highlights of the weekend was watching the big cars out on track. Good to see the continued presence of two contrasting cars, the Robb’s with the big Judd and also Jonathon Rarity throttling that Ghost of his. Stuart Robb Jnr finally beat the record with a stunning 25.28 with Snr also getting under the record. This record had stood for 20 years and needed sorting. They were not to be in attendance on the Sunday as the last run had bust the clutch, but well done to the father and son team.

Two new cars were also in attendance which by the end of the weekend were challenging for FTD. First the Raptor, developed by Graeme Wight Racing, an all new chassis and design based on the Predator with a 1600 Busa installed. Lee drove very well over the weekend was both surprised and delighted to take the C5 class win the Sunday just behind James Brimm’s in a Gould who took Sunday’s FTD. A car with much more to come and only a few 10th’s behind was the awesome Indy Car Cosworth powered DJ Firestorm of Wallace Menzie’s. This car is very early in development and will in my opinion be the fastest car on the hills next year. Lets just hope that Wallace does some Scottish events to keep us all entertained.

No official NBR photographers were in attendance so I will have a rake around flickr for some shots in include in this post.

Forrestburn. Or is that Foggyburn?

Posted in Hillclimbs with tags , on July 1, 2009 by Stephen Hynds

Rounds 6 and 7 of the Hillclimb Championship were held at Forrestburn in North Lanarkshire. Expectations were high for a strong showing from the Bogey after the excellent string of wins at the previous rounds.

I arrived at the circuit at about half 9 armed with supplies for the day ahead and the evening’s BBQ to find that proceedings were slightly delayed due to the presence of Frogmen at the Resevoir at the bottom of the hill. Once they cleared the scene it was time for first practice on a track that was pretty moist and very green as it had not seen any racing in 9 months.

Things didn’t start off well for the Bogey as the engine was initially (barely) turning over and running very rough before then refusing point blank to catch. Panic set in at this point as the usual suspects of helpful volunteers gathered round the car. The fuelling system was initially suspected of being the issue and checks were carried out to see what was and wasn’t working. The fault was eventually traced to the power commander unit. This was removed from the electronics system and the car fired back into life immediately. The fault with the unit itself is still outstanding and will be covered in a later post. With the engine running standard fuelling maps Paul felt it wasn’t running as strongly as it had been previously. This is likely as it will be overfuelling due to leaving the factory with a safe map.

Paul was slotted into the first run a bit later in the queue than planned after the issues were resolved. As mentioned earlier – the track was damp at best, and as such times were slow to begin with and there was a few people who fell off the track. To make conditions even more interesting Forrestburn’s traditional unique weather system made its presence felt by introducing fog to the equation. Luckily most of the corners are blind anyway, so a bit of fog isn’t going to hurt anyone!

IMG_8979

The track dried and although conditions weren’t ideal the times fell to more normal levels for the second run. There was a touch of rain for the third practice run but it soon cleared for lunch.

IMG_9101

After lunch it was time to set about the business end of the day. The first timed run saw a dry but cool track. Ross (aka Bananaman) was the front runner after this with a 48.19, a whole 0.01 under the previous record. Paul had a 48.24 and wasn’t far behind, with John Hamilton in third on a low 49. It was all to play for in the second timed run with Paul second on a 47.6 and Ross third on a 47.8, but it was John Hamilton with a stunning 46.8x that took the points, a full 1.4 seconds under his record. The top three all getting a bonus point for being under the old record. So a great time, but an end to the winning streak.

IMG_9276

On Saturday evening the planned BBQ with the Napiers and the Ninjabogey Racing Collective merged with another one that was going on. A great time was had by all and I’m sure the wine and beer was still flowing well after I left.

The Sunday morning saw a return of the fog that had made a brief appearance the day before. This time though it was thicker and delayed the start of the event by a while. The call also went out for some extra marshall’s for the day and I decided to give it a try for the first time. Nicola and my cousin Scott also decided to give it a go, so the three of us were scattered round the circuit to help out. I ended up on Post 4, just before the Hairpin. It was a great place to watch, and photograph, from and thankfully didn’t see quite as much action. Nicola was in the tunnel section of the track and saw a couple of cars get acquainted with the barriers, and John Roddick in the Saxo doing a 180 without hitting anything! Scott saw the most incidents at post 9 at the last hairpin with a few cars being collected by the tyre barrier.

IMG_9433

The conditions throughout all of Sunday were changeable – between foggy and miserable! Times weren’t brilliant throught the day with the top runners not able to get down to the record breaking times of the day before. Paul wasn’t quite on the pace and afterwards commented on the unburnt fuel pouring out of the cat, here’s hoping no permanet damage has been done.

IMG_9612

So John took the win with a mid 47, Ross a couple of 10ths behind and Paul on a mid 48. Matty and Russell both put in good times just over the magical 50 second barrier. More to come from those two.

IMG_0275

Doune Hillclimb – National A event 20th and 21st of June 2009

Posted in Hillclimbs with tags , on June 23, 2009 by Paul Lawrence

Doune is a scary place, and the one event on the calendar where I am not on the pace. I know the car has the ability, but that place really is an awesome challenge and with the record set at a low 46s (more than three and a half seconds better than my best time) I have a lot to do.

Last time at Doune, I had terrible propshaft vibrations, so knew I could go faster with the new propshaft in place, but how much quicker would I go?

Camber was reset after Kames and with the new boots on (thanks to Drew) expectations were of getting a decent 48 second run. Hopefully that would be enough to match Ross from earlier in the year. Scoring two 3rd places previsouly really hurt my chances of taking the A4 hills title so the pressure was on.

The main event was a National A event, so I was bumped down into a class of National B license holders and was very fortunate to end up with a paddock place next to Mac, Andrew and a fellow Paul in a lovely 600bhp Evo from Yorkshire. We had a good if not somewhat tight spot but we had a good laugh during the weekend and some good banter on the Saturday night. Due to the number of cars and the big single seaters being in attendance, the Saturday was scheduled for 3 practices and the Sunday had one practice, two timed runs and two top 12 run offs on the schedule.

Under the old oak tree
Under the old oak tree

I was pleased that I had no nerves on the Saturday morning, but with a wet track and changeable conditions I decided that I didn’t need to break any records and to try and get some confidence on the lower half of the track. Analysis of earlier results showed that I was losing all of my time to Ross and John in the first 18 seconds — up to the split at Garden Gate. With new 245 rubber on the rear and very little scrubbing in, I decided to take it easy on the first couple of runs and get my eye in.

My first run was on a damp track, which is often slippier than when fully wet, so taking it easy I put in a rather sedate 57 second run. The earlier A4 runners, John Hamilton and Colin Hodge had dry runs and put in 55 and 54 second runs respectively.

Second practice was on a drying track with the run up through Oak, Garden Gate and the Tunnel being dry – only to discover that the meadow had rain and looked damp. This shook me a little and I slowed through out the later half of the run. My time ended up at 51.82 against John and Colin’s 50.29 and 53.06 respectively. I wasn’t sure where all the time was going, but knew I could go faster.

The last practice of the day was my opportunity to state my intentions for a victory on Sunday and managed to slightly better his last practice time of 49.59 with a 49.52 and a new personal best. Tyres were scrubbed in nicely now and weather permitting knew that I could go quicker.

Without any help from the noisy buggers from the Scottish Kit Car Club (SKCC) I managed about 3 hours sleep and felt pretty tired but motivated in the morning.

First practice was a pb of 48.73 against John’s 50.48. The track was perfect. This run really lifted my confidence and I started to believe that I could go faster again. The car was beginning to come alive and move around underneath me, which was really good but a little bit scary as you don’t want to explore beyond acceptable levels of grip at Doune

Through the meadow
Through the meadow

Time for the first timed run. John put in a fantastic 48.37, his best run for the last few years anyway. I was in the fortunate position of knowing what I needed to do and managed to raise my game and put in a 48.29 which beat Ross’s and John’s times from earlier in the year. I was chuffed and actually thought that I had it in the bag.

Standing in the paddock with GWR and the A6 guys, John put in a stunning 47.60 on his last run and my heart sunk. That was a good six tenths quicker than he had ever been before and way beyond my expectations for the weekend. I was the first to congratulate John and he was clearly elated.

It was fantastic that so many people came up to me and said I could do it, many thanks to them. But also amazing how many people commented on the cooling conditions and how grip levels were dropping by the second. I knew I could go faster, but could I go that much faster?

The big Goulds take priority and due to overheating and double entries, the clerk wanted to leave the Nat B running until last, but after some sense by Vernon the clerk of the course we were allowed our runs. Yes the track was cooler, yes the grip levels were lower but I was up for it. I’m sure that Giles or Stephen will say that I was quiet, but I was in the zone as they say. Melodramatic, but I honestly felt the best I had in the last couple of years. A heady mixture of adrenalin and the challenge.

My start was perfect, just the right amount of wheel spin, then a slight lift over the first bend then buried the throttle right up to 10k through 2nd and 3rd gears taking the first sweeping right bend faster than I ever thought I would, I actually scared myself a little and had to cover the brake before Oak. I was then back on the power through Oak up to Garden gate with the car right on the limit. Never had that amount of movement in the car at Doune before but it felt great. Had a couple of bites at Garden Gate, but I knew it was quick so buried the throttle again and carried loads of speed up the hill with the car going light over the crest then hard on the brakes for Junction. A little bit of oversteer on the exit, perfect I said to myself – now get back on the power. Again going faster than ever before I had to lift before East Brae. Late on the brakes, snicked second and off again after some opposite lock. Brake hard for the Esses, selecting second to help me stop. A good exit and over the line nearly flatout in 3rd gear. Gobsmacked – I had smashed my own best and beat the listed record of George Coghill Snr of 47.60 and sneaked in a 47.30 to take all the points. We all know that Wallace went faster, but for some reason the record is not used. Will have to wait and see if I get the record and the additional point or not.

Fintray May 2009 Videos

Posted in Hillclimbs on May 20, 2009 by Paul Lawrence

Fintray 30.57 dry run – thought I had a speed sensor issue out of combine, but it was the start of fuel surge. Fastest run of the day from me was a 30.47 which also suffered really badly from surge. More to come from the bogey! Enjoy the videos.

Damp run from Saturday

Fintray Start Line Action