Fatman in Black and his Seven go Sprinting

So this will be a very irregular and self deprecating look at the 2016 Speed Championship from an aged Fatman and his new Black race suit !!!

Over the years my Seven has been either an SV ( Zena) roaming Glen,Mountain Pass or B road anywhere and everywhere ,and then after a brief break I gained a more Track focused version (FiFi)

And after a dalliance with Classic car racing I wanted to spend more than the odd weekend on a trackday

When the regulations in Class 5 opened up a bit this year and FiFi was not over powered all the signs pointed to a campaign to make the likes of Simon Rogers , Mark Durrant and Shaun Elwell realise what true driving potential was - I can hear them quaking in their little piixe boots now ( guess you do quake when you laugh too much)

So Up to this point I have taken a bank balance and reduced it by having a bright yellow cage fitted down at Caged Laser and I am trying to purchase a trailer shower cap from SBFS - 5 days and waiting for a return e mail to let me know if they want my money

GP Racewear did me a great deal on the only size 66 suit they had and this means I am all in black

Granted since buying I have lost weight and the 64 would have got around my belly after all

The MSA sent my license out after the online application and that was in my sweaty mits within 3 days and I have just handed over the £25 for a tee shirt and a the series entry

And whilst I never thought it would happen I have bought a tent ( as the last one ended up in a bin in the car park at Trac Mon

I am booked on the Intro to sprinting day ( I will be sandbagging my times so that I can hide my light under a bushell) and I am testing at Blyton on the First of April ( yes Ironic )

 

So that's where we are up to . Hopefully I will remember to post and encourage other novices to follow through in the future

 

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So in an effort to not chicken out the Loton Park entry has been sent as have both Curburgers

Meanwhile in other news I have lost more weight - so this sizee 66 race suit will have a Jaques Villineuve swagger to it ! Alternatively it s a visit to a local seamstress !

 

And somehow I have talked myself into a covered trailer ! from the guys a GT-R trailers in Newark

I am just starting to realize how I am depending on so many other club members to get me through this first season and I am already wondering what my most stupid question will be 

Lesson one is many of the Championship entries come in a bunch - so far this week I have paid for 2 Curburgers , Loton , Harewood and Goodwood -Contemplating Aintree as well 

So if you think you will pay for the entries on a gradual basis you need to do that over the winter "off season" in advance and put in a separate account !- Thankfully that was one of the best bits of advice I received 

 

So office is now officially fed up with the "Fatman in Black"

there is now a swear box for the following words / phrases

1) list 1b

2) cheque book

3) color of trailer cover

4) Tent 

5) Caterham

apparently its all I am talking about 

 

Right so as a precaution took FiFi to Nick Potter for an oil change and a safety check 

turns out it was one of my better ideas as the rear ARB drop links had some play in them , granted I am stuck with them for a while , so tonight's quiz is 

Why is Delbert not fitting new links 

1) the old ones look prettier 

2) they do not do anything anyway 

3) Caterham are out of stock 

 

meanwhile I walked the Goodwood track 3 times yesterday and I am now officially nervous 

So FiFi is on the trailer and the tow car packed -Love the blatting weather today - then I see what i sin store for tomorrow 

Pity more the instructor who will be in the Pax seat as the doors no longer fit around the cage - Bit late to sort that one 

And working on the 12 hour Bottle to throttle rule that a aged pilot taught me I will have the first sober Friday night in , well I cannot remember when as I will be setting off at the crack of sparrows (

Then The Fatman starts a diet weighing in on Sunday morning 

Hopefully someone will take some piccies of FiFi on track to liven up this blog ( or a diary as I prefer to call it) 

Many years ago controlling slappers meant something completely different to coming out of a corner and trying to apply 279 bhp in the wet !

Today at Curborough a great group of individuals took time out to explain who a novice should approach their first season 

It was a great mix of track time / track walking and classroom work on a very blustery and wet day 

 

For a track day warrior to see how sprints are a compromise in all things , attack of the corner , the line to take , braking points etc balancing the perfect exit in one corner with the perfect entry into the next 

If I remember all I was taught today my first sprints should be relatively stress free 

On the other hand I am now looking at FHR devices as they seem to make sense minimizing risk 

 

Oh and skill did run out very early and I managed a 360 via the grass at Flagpole 

 

So next thing I need to do is learn how to exit a car with a full cage 

My Swiss finishing school only taught me how to leave a sport scar in a skirt. But every car had doors !!

 

So the list before Loton is yellow tape for the earth lead, a copy of insurance , Road fund license , MOT 

All of which are electronic so need printing off .

Granted I have 2 more test days before that- Dry would be nice !!

 

 

As a sort of addendum I have just been into the garage to plug FiFi in to her conditioner 

 

So 6 pints of water out of the footwells and under the seats tell me the covered trailer cannot come soon enough 

The car was drowned on the way home and its obvious the tonneau and 3 bungee cords is not sufficient against a storm that is Katie 

Now it is well known that I subscribe to the two bucket method of washing my car - one bucket in March and one in September - The rain and wash off the roads may well mean that the first wash is more  a bailout 

So another batch of cheques head off into the sunset - Hope I am entering the correct classes

 

I am beginning to realise that the logistics / organisation and timing of the season is as much part of the challenge to actually getting across the finish line !

That wonderful feeling of just being in control and the anticipation to find out if entries have been accepted

Does make me wonder if there is a more efficient way of entering so you know when you fill out the forms  if your place is assured -

I could end up doing far more rounds than I intended based on the need to compete in 7

I am guessing that Goodwood and Loton are confirmed as the cheques have been cashed- Harewood and Aintree have taken my credit cards and the 2 club rounds have taken my money

so I guess that is 6 confirmed rounds ????

 

 

Interesting how different car clubs work Llys y Fran have actually confirmed my entry , as have Aintree 

other than a cheque being cashed I still do not know realistically if I am competing at Loton in 2 weeks time 

nearer to home , FiFi is up on the trailer ( actually never really came off after Curbotough )  and ready for Blyton test day tomorrow 

Sun is shining , tyres need shagging and the GoPro needs to be set up 

all this activity is not good for a Fatman 

 

So the Fatman went to Blyton today and learnt the following 

1) as usual it's cold on Lincolnshire Airfields . Next time you see a film about air crews in WW2 sitting in deck chairs drinking Ginger beer and playing cards I suspect the airfield is in Sussex . If it was Lincolnshire the pilot would burn the cards to generate some heat 

2) following others on track they seem to have found another 6 ft on the track width , seems I may be great at hooning around Blyton but sprinting is all about sacrificing the perfect corner to be faster in the next one and getting the one great lap as opposed to having a great set of laps . Also I need to realise the white line is a suggestion , at least two wheels need to travel over it ( or so it seems )

3) the craic in the paddock goes to show what the club is really about - using our cars as intended with a travelling group of like minded people who meet up,once or twice a month and enjoy themselves . Perhaps the sprint championship is just another area , just it roams a bit 

4) CR500 cold and straight onto circuit scare 10 ways of Billyohhhhh out of the driver . So warm tyres are for poofs !! ( seemingly the MSA agree as warming tyres is not de rigour anymore . So job vacancy - hoon FiFi to give me warm tyres 

So the Fatman is a number = 580 

it is all getting rather real now 

So I have 7  entries where either I have been notified or monies have changed hands 

Loton , Goodwood, 2 Curburger, Aintree , Harewood and Llys y Fran 

add in the two Saturday Curbourghs and the Anglesey Double header I am going to be busy 

still want to do Hethel and Wiscombe but will give Gurston and Castle Coombe a miss due to other commitments 

note to self get a hook on next company car the mileage is getting high and the Tiguan is not that economical 

my first tyre mullahed on a kerb meant a hunt for a couple of Front CR 500s , luckily sorted 

and after Blyton I have realised I need a head restraint behind the Tillet - CC were out of stock but again a club member bailed me out with a suitable one which I will make available to another novice when CC come through 

 

 

 

right final test day tomorrow - ready for next Sunday 

additionally tent was erected - mylate father turned in his grave at the thought of me in a tent - The maternal one giggled nd poured another Sherry 

Hepburn , the ever faithful hound  cocked his leg 

Car is all prepared and all the paperwork printed off ready 

 

 

 

 

Ahhh so not repacking the exhaust makes for a noisey car 

BTB are fast tracking me the blanket etc so I am going to have to actually spanner something 

Entries filled up quickly at Hethel so th edecision whether to go or not becme easy 

So I will be missing Hethel , Gurston and Castle Coombe 

Only Wiscombe is to be decided upon 

 

Just seen the weather forecast - Snow on Saturday Afternoon and a nigh time temp of 2 degrees - Guess who is not looking forward to a night in a tent ! 

At least I am staying at a friends for Goodwood - granted after playing with a noise meter I will need a repacked exhaust and the decibel slayer to stay on track - oh and short shifting 

 

 

Snow , I ask you , feckin snow 

first sprint at Loton Park and all I hear about is snow in the Welsh Boarders

so by some accident I find myself booked into a hotel tonight 

not sure how that happened , guess the tent did not want to get wet !

So first event over - Loton Park was certainly an initiation

The easiest bits were the bits I was most worried about - The signing on , scruitineering , finding a paddock spot etc

As for the driving - well I have never braked so early , on my first run I was braking so early that I was accelerating into the corners !!

So looking to some positives

 

1) Every run was faster than the previous

2) Car is in one piece

3) Had a great time

4) Won class - In 10 years time records will show I won - they will not show I was the only one in class !!!!

 

I has become blindingly apparent that sprinting is as much in the mind as it is in the performace of the car

on one run I started obsessing about some mud that was on my tyre prior to my run !!!!

On track you build up to fast laps - here its one run , cold tyres , cold brakes etc etc

If ou look at the results it is interesting that the fastest time and mine is only different by 18 seconds and the main bulk are all within about 9 seconds 

So if I can get the can repacked by Wednesday night its Goodwood on Saturday

OK ,If anyone is reading this may I ask that we share a little prayer about 10 am tomorrow when I get my first noise test ,.........

and if you have an influence at all that the stuff passes through during the night and the track dries quickly

 

Meanwhile Miss Daisyis hoping that she runs before me so she does not get balked on her fast lap !

 

 

So its been a while since the update- 

Firstly Goodwood - less said the better - I got completely spooked by the history of the circuit and the number of crashes etc I had seen there over the years

To say my first time was embarrassing was an understatement !

I checked and my old A35 went round 5 seconds faster with only 85 bhp

 

So I knocked 20 seconds off the practice with my first timed lap - that meant I was competing in Class 1 ( and losing 

Have to say I had my first "downer" 

So the Driving Miss Daisy Tour went to the Spititual home of Caterham Sprinting and somewhere I knew well 

- Suffice to say th ebug bit !

 

 

Two guys , one cup 

So the Fatman finally got to run FiFi at a familiar circuit 

The May Curbourgh double header - 9 runs over 2 days - even better Robert Jacobs was to run in class 5 as well ( in FiFi ) this would get me some comment on set up and for once mean I would not win by default 

But first Saturday - The Marshals sprint 

The first time I had some competition - I set my sights on the Novice trophy - 7 of us in total , me and 6 computer controlled Honda S2000

​The great news was my times slowly reduced - not quiet as fast or as low as Gill Elwell who was having a great day - none the less I was getting more aggressive on the kerbs and I took 4 seconds out of my time finally running in the late 64 seconds - So A cup for the Fatman and no longer " Driving Miss Daisy" I was faster than some Caterhams and Westfields as well 

Sunday brought more sunshine  and a hoard of club members - it never ceases to amaze me how many members turn up for what is to all intense and purposes a roving area meeting every fortnight through the summer 

But today was different I was dual driving my car and Rob was running in Class 1 and Class 5 . I also realised that I had been bitten by the bug that is beating the clock .

It was great to see Rob enjoying the power ( over twice his regular car ) and also to get some feedback on the set up .  Also I would get a benchmark on my times - It is all well and good measuring yourself against the seasoned campaigners but getting a time off someone driving your own car , carefully  gives a starting point and at the end of the day I came second by 0.7 of a second - Rob gets a trophy and I realise I am  now competing at a level that would be mid field .

Yes you may have guessed I am hooked 

Off to Blyton in four weeks another circuit I have some knowledge of and then a tuition day at Harewood