Golspie 12th and 13th of September

Posted in mnr, Sprints on September 17, 2009 by Paul Lawrence

Just a quick update to say that I did well enough to still be in contention for the overall Scottish Sprint Championship.

Saturday turned out to be a slight dissapointment, primarly down to a poor driver choice of using my really old and worn tyres for pratice and then puttng on the better set and the car handling completely differently in the timed runs. My foot slipped off of the brake pedal on the first timed run and decided to do some rallycross for a few seconds. Got the hammer down on the last run by failed by 0.02 of a second from Bill Lambie Jnr in his new Holeshot 1400 Busa. Boy does that car look quick off of the line. People are now investing serious amounts of money to keep up with the bogey.

On the Sunday, stuck to the better set of rear tyres for the day and managed to take first place and take 30+ points against the bogey. More accurate times to follow.

I am two seconds ahead in the championship and it all comes down to the last event at Boydnie this weekend. Fingers and toes crossed 🙂


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 dab of oppo

Posted in Uncategorized on September 4, 2009 by Stephen Hynds

Forrestburn – IMG_2335

Originally uploaded by Stephen Hynds

All crossed up when coming out of the top corner at Forrestburn.

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.

Kames – 1st and 2nd of August

Posted in Sprints with tags , , , on August 5, 2009 by Stephen Hynds

Kames hosted rounds 10 and 11 of the Scottish Sprint Championship, and also two rounds of the British Championship. The British Championship had previously came north of the border to East Fortune but this year Kames was quite rightly given the nod. The EACC organise an excellent event and I’m sure we’ll see the British guys back for a visit next year.

Paul hadn’t originally been able to make Kames but after a change of plans he managed to get a spot on the reserve list before being promoted into the runners and riders. It was a first for Kames to have so many cars that a reserve list was even needed.

In the time between the last event and this one the car underwent some work including the removal of the suspension. The dampers were sent to Procomp Motorsport who overhauled them and supplied some new springs. The suspension only arrived back on the Wednesday as there had originally been no rush to get it done. However putting it back together was a relatively straightforward. I guess the Ninja Bogey crew are getting pretty used to rebuilding things now. Even I have my uses. Another modification was purchased during the break but this will be the subject of a larger post once it’s installed and working.

The early forecast for the weekend had been for rain, rain and thrice rain but by the time Saturday came the forecast was looking a bit better but not great. As I headed down to the circuit it was heavy rain until we were only about 5 miles from Muirkirk where suddenly the skies cleared and the sun shone through. When we arrived at the circuit Paul had already completed his first practice run on a wet but drying track. By that point the cars that had been out on track and the aforementioned sunshine had dried the track nicely.

Kames - IMG_0748

The second run was much more promising with a time of 77 seconds, just shy of 4 tenths off Paul’s own record of 76.63. By the first timed run the conditions were perfect and a time of 76.33 lowered the class record by 3 tenths.

Kames - IMG_0737

Surely a sign of good things in the second timed run? Unfortunately it wasn’t to be as a small rain shower happened to coincide exactly with class A4 being out on track.

Kames - IMG_1064

A real case of what might have been, but a class win and good points none the less.

Kames - IMG_0612

Matty managed a good time but was pipped for second by British Championship competitor Ian Parr in a rather interesting double entered Sylva Riot. Unfortunately the Lambies suffered a mechanical issue after their first practice runs and didn’t make it out for the timed runs.

Ross and his dad Roy weren’t out with Ross’ Westfield but had instead brought Roy’s Gould GR375 to compete in class C5. The car is a real work of art and very quick. Kames isn’t as big and wide as some of the southern sprint venues but the big C5 cars looked awesome.

Kames - IMG_0959

Ross qualified in second for the run off to decide the British Championship points but was beaten by Stewart Robb Jnr. and Snr. in the end. However his time was nearly a second under the old circuit record and wasn’t too far off the Robb’s which is very impressive indeed.

As is traditional at Kames the track is run in the opposite direction the next day. The Sunday layout is slightly longer trial than the Saturday one as it is run over 3 full laps rather than 2 and a half. If the weather had been good on the Saturday then on the Sunday it was positively glorious. I was sporting the usual red face on Monday as evidence of that. It was even said that for some of the later runs the track was getting too warm for the big single seaters!

Unfortunately the Lambies hadn’t resolve their mechanical issue so there was only to be the four challengers for A4 honours again. The first practice run to shake off the cobwebs delivered a reasonable time but the second saw an 84.74, just half a second behind the class record.

Paul’s dad cooked up a storm with bacon, sausage and egg for everyone at lunch and we were all eagerly anticipating the timed runs to see if Paul could claim the clockwise record to go with the anti-clockwise one.

The first of the timed runs was an 84.31, 7 hundredths of a second shy of the mark. Surely it was on for the second run? I was stood at the far end of the circuit armed with the camera and it looked like a good run was in progress. As Paul rounded the hairpin for the 3rd time I knew it was going to be close. The car crossed the line and as I looked to the clock I couldn’t quite believe it – 84.27. A 4 hundreths improvement, but still 3 hundredths short. So close but yet so far. It’ll just need to wait to next year now.

Matty came out the victor in the battle with the Parrs for second place with a great time of 86.06. If my calculations are correct this is 2.7 seconds faster than his previous best at Kames in that direction. Very well done indeed.

Ross managed to dip a tenth under the circuit record on his second practice run in the Gould but the timed runs and the run off weren’t quite as fruitful. A 4th place finish is certainly nothing to be sniffed at against some very experience competitors. Stewart Robb Jr once again took the overall honors as he dropped the circuit record by 1.3 seconds.

So all in all a great weekends racing at Kames, and a good points haul for Paul.

For all my pictures from Saturday look here.

I’ll update the post with some pictures from Sunday when I get them finished.

Alford 11th and 12th of July

Posted in Sprints with tags , on July 23, 2009 by Paul Lawrence

I didnt do Alford last year, too many people saying that it was boring and just a simple oval. Alford isnt a classic sprint venue like say Boyndie, but it is fast, grippy and good fun. Also good for spectators and a overal was a well run event hosted by Grampian Automobile Club.

Alford is about 26 miles West of where I was dragged up in Dyce, so decided to go and see Gran and the folks on the way up and discuss the next set of upgrades with Dad. After a good nights sleep in my old bedroom from 20 years ago I was up nice and early and very much ready to take on a new track. The record looked unattainable which turned out to be the fastest of all the road car classes at 51.50. So I thought I was unlikely to make any massive inroads in to Mr Bremners lead in the sprint championship this weekend.

Walked the track as a newbie with the ever helpfull Alan Nicol and thought the layout was pretty simple. To be fair to Alan he did say that I should take it easy first run and try to get the cross overs right. Someone always makes a mess of it he says. Not me I stated triumpantly.

So on to my first run.  Fast off the line with the old tyres on, round the first 180 and fast down the back straight. Way too fast in, gathered it up with an armful of lock and drifted nicely past the strart line then back up the straight. Wait a minute, was I not meant to turn left there…. oops.. crawls back to the paddock in disgrace. Being such a quiet shy chap no one took the mickey and they were all very supportive.

Second run. Much to prove and I still hadnt learnt the track. Set off quickly and put in a tidy enough run to much applause from the paddock. It turns out that both Matty and Drew, two good racers had also made a mess of their first time at Alford, so not in too shabby company.

After 3.1 runs and a decent days racing I got it down to a reasonable 53.50 with loads more to come from switching to the newer/wider rear tyres and another three runs on the Sunday for points.

Images courtesy of Chris Grieve – http://www.grievephotography.co.uk

Courtesy of Chris Grieve

On the pace

This is the correct line, everyone else is wrong!

This is the correct line, everyone else is wrong!

It was not to be, after a lovely bbq and a few beers with the Sugdens the heavens opened and we knew we were in for a wet Sunday.

It held true to the forecast of rain and delivered one practice and two timed runs with only the last run with a drying line. Everyone gave it there all but by the end of the day I was looking to get the car into the trailer and home safe and sound.

For the timed runs I had been amalgamated with class A5 as I was on my lonesome, which as usual was the home of the 1.6 Caterhams and a nice cream coloured Fury. I managed to take the class win by a nearly a second with a very tidy 60.50. So a good weekend was had and another prize for the bulging cabinet.  Shame the Fury had two accidents, both from a guest driver, so not sure if they are quite such good friends now. I do hope big boys rules were in place.

Next outing is Fintray on the 8th of August.