Donington this Sunday was one of those weekends where nothing would go quite right and was frustrating to be honest.
Two and half hour drive to check into the hotel then try and drop the car at the track on Saturday was way more of a mission than it should be – we all sat queued outside the paddock waiting to be let in by track security while the days competitors packed up. Frustrated at the delay we disappeared off to a gastro pub then returned in the darkness to put the car in the garage. One part of this racing malarkey that I have found a pain is getting a garage plan the week before to find someone in your allocated one because everyone has had a reshuffle and not told you! Anyway a garage found we dump the car and tools and head to the hotel.
Up at 6am to make get the tyres swapped, transponder in and fuel in for Quali the timetable throws a problem as I need to be in Scrutineering and Novice Drivers briefing at the same time. Fortunately Ron Gammonds gives me the briefing early, and I get the car to Scrutineering. The pull cut off doesn’t work and I frantically get back to the garage to adjust and return it to get sign off with Quali 20 minutes away.
Qualifying was both good and bad, the issue with the car not revving above 5800rpm is still there and the car is running hot. Back to the garage for a top up with fuel and water with coolant bleed. However, I realty enjoyed the track, easy to learn and fast so that was a plus.
Race 1, again the lack of power means I stay in touch for a lap or so then Paul and Jonathan disappear just like the previous four races and I am getting a little frustrated but the car although running hot is handling well and the race is drama less. Into the pit straight and a marshal points out my o/s/f wheel is smoking and there is a squeal from the alternator belt.
A call to the stewards for undoing my belt in the pit lane does not cheer me up much either but work on the car commences before race 2. The water and fuel topped up, o/s/f brake calliper freed up and new alternator bracket bolt fitted we are ready for race 2.
Race 2 and again following Paul and Jonathan starting to get left behind once more, Jonathan out brakes himself at Goddards, hits the kitty litter and rolls. Red flag and we all line up on the start/finish straight. After the restart the car seems to be going well and I am enjoying seeing how committed I am to not lifting off through Craner curves then a two laps before the end the car starts chucking oil smoke out the rear. The as the lap continues its clear the car is done for so I pull off the line and pootle round, when I get to the start finish straight I see the chequered flag so Schumacher style its into the pits across the line to get the points for second in class.
I roll onto the scales then the car dies and that’s the weekend done – no power then a dead engine. With all probability that’s Oulton Park now out as a replacement engine already sourced but with a family holiday in between its unlikely to be in and tested in time which I am gutted about.