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Go4itRacing: Anglesey Report

18th May 2016

BRSCC Mazda MX5 Championship 2016

Event 2: Anglesey It has to be said, that Anglesey is arguably the most picturesque circuit on the BRSCC MX5 Championship calendar.

Being perched on the very edge of North West Wales, the sea cliffs are a literal stone’s throw away from the track walls and provide, at some level, a psychological incentive to stay on the tarmac!

The open view of the Irish Sea provides a stunning back-drop to each race, but also exposes the track to extremes of weather – as the Go4it team discovered throughout the triple header weekend, either being sun baked, blown around or liberally soaked!

After Snetterton, Go4it’s Jack Warry (no.132) was hooked and keen to develop his already proven natural talents. Go4it Competition Winner, Andrew Adams, had setup No.32 to his preference and was ready to yet again translate his Autograss skills to circuit racing. The team veterans, Martin (No.23) and Kevin (No.41) were keen to earn those coveted championship points and make their Pollock Lifts, MX5 City, Creative Touch Design, Biz-Smart and crowd funded sponsors proud!

Much like the weather and its own undulating circuit, Anglesey was to prove to be a roller-coaster of extreme “highs” and frustrating “lows” ………

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Test Day: The BRSCC MX5 race cars use Mazda’s tough, eager to rev 1.6L engine, which are comparatively dependable and reliable.

So having set up camp for Friday’s testing, we were more than a little surprised when Kev’s car spluttered to a halt after only a few feet!

While the chosen fuel of many racers is Shell V-Power Unleaded, the fuel tank of No.41 had uniquely been topped up with the unusual choice of V-Power Diesel! (He certainly noticed the difference!)

With Kevin (now nicknamed “Vin”) displaying a lovely shade of flustered red before the sun had arrived, No.41 was drained and cranked over until it coughed back into life………..albeit with a slight fog trail for a few laps! To his credit, Kev sportingly joined in with the team banter!

Martin in No23 and Alex (now support crew, for those who followed Go4it last year) were busy trying different suspension configurations throughout the day in a bid to discover which setup worked well overall. The 1 minute 50 seconds barrier was proving hard to beat and advice from around the paddock was a little contradictive, going to show just how much a “good” setup can be attributed to a driver’s personal preferences rather than just a generic “magic” configuration.

While Jack unfortunately could not attend the practise day, Andrew was noticeably growing in confidence with each lap as he began to seemingly keep pace with more of the faster “A” classified drivers.

Despite respectable lap times, Kevin’s day was blighted further when another driver attending the test day lost control and spun across the track in front of him. No.41 was thrown onto the grass in a desperate bid to avoid them, but serendipity saw the erratic MX5 missile careen onto the grass as well, making heavy contact with Kevin’s front left wing. Although battle scarred before the racing had even begun, the damage was largely cosmetic meaning the judicious application of a hammer (thanks Adam) soon saw No.41 back out on track.

Throughout the day, more of the Go4it team support crew arrived in preparation for the race weekend, providing the skilled talents of Liam, Adam and Jez.

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Quali: The event at Anglesey was organised to be a “triple header”. This entailed a 20 minute qualifier and an “A” race on the Saturday, followed by two (or more) races on the Sunday.

As coincidence would have it, all of the team were assigned to the first qualifying group, which saw frenzied activity in the paddock to prepare all of the cars at once.

It was a little surreal having all of the race cars rigorously sound tested on entry to the assembly area – despite being at the very tip of remote coastal Wales, we can only presume there were some seagulls with a delicate disposition!

The qualifying saw Martin make it into the middle of the “A” race with Kevin in the top three of the “B” race and the other two sat in tandem on the grid promising for entertaining racing.

Jack had a rude introduction to the effects of “Pad Knock-off”, in which the harsh vibration caused by the corner curbs can rattle the brake callipers loose. Consequently, the next time the driver stomps on the brakes, it simply takes up the slack rather than stop the car. This resulted in nothing too serious other than a brief grass mowing exercise, bouncing off the tire wall, bending a wing and smashing a front light – easily repaired. Lesson learnt; Jack was then dabbing the brake pedal on the straights to keep the brakes tight.

Snetterton Race2B (hosted at Anglesey): Due to a race-stopping crash in another race series at the Snetterton event (as we understand it nobody was seriously hurt), the MX5 Championship Race 2B was postponed to the Anglesey event.

As such, Andrew lined up for the midday race and blustery winds.

The race played out with some good clean overtakes by Andrew and close wheel-to-wheel action, seeing Go4IT’s 2016 winner improve his understanding of race craft, which would serve him well in the next day’s races.

Race 1: Martin’s “Race 1A” was on the Saturday afternoon. With intense racing throughout, Martin battled hard with his fellow competitors. Brave, but well executed dives, along with close drafting and good pace were sadly undone by an impromptu flying lesson when No.23 briefly lost traction, drifted onto the grass and took off from one of the infield bumps. Quickly recovering, Martin fought on, but the front wheel tracking had been shot during the landing and he finished a respectable but personally frustrating 11th.

Race 1B was held the following Sunday morning during the pouring rain. Traction and rear end grip was a significant challenge for all of the drivers involved, but Kevin seemingly did not receive that memo as he scythed through the pack and into the lead.

As each lap passed No.41 looked to be perfectly setup and, putting Kevin at ease, the combination pulled an ever increasing gap from the other hotly pursuing race cars. Cool to the end, Kevin brought home a much deserved first place win!

Jack also struggled for grip as No.132 bucked and kicked sideways on most corners, but his quick wheel work kept him dancing around the track. All was going well until an expected spin saw him lose three places, but Jack’s recovery speed was immensely impressive as his MX5 was instantly and fluidly rotated, lined up and brought straight back onto the tarmac to finish 9th.

Andrew’s Autograss experience on mud really shone through on the wet conditions. Edited video highlights here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHHbE7o1HRc With a lively chassis almost second nature to him, he began to steadily reel in and overtake each subsequent race car he found in front of him. Steady footwork and a great feel for the car saw him graceful glide past a number of experienced drivers to work his way up to 5th place - potentially 4th place had another driver not somewhat forcibly “closed the door” while on the main straight to the chequered flag. By finishing 5th Andrew is the first Go4ItWinner Competition to pick up a trophy and gain promotion to the A Group.

That night saw a lot of car set up for the support crew who then slept very soundly! It also saw biblical levels of rain and wind, even raising concern that the awnings could blow away. However, the next morning’s drizzle soon broke into scorching sun.

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Race 2: Due to his previous success in Race 1B, Kevin had been promoted to the “A” group for Race 2. Martin was further up the grid in 11th and gunning for the top five positions.

The race began well with both drivers making good progress off of the line, but only half way around the first lap, disaster struck for the Go4it team.

While pushing hard down the outside of a pack of madly jostling MX5 race cars, Kevin was seemingly spooked into moving over too far, where his left wheels caught the wet and slippery grass. With No.41 instantly destabilised and wild to control, Kevin wrestled with the steering and brakes in order to avoid contact with another race car braking hard immediately in front. Although he managed to avoid this first chicane, it pitched his MX5 sideways into the next corner where the tight mass of Mazdas were navigating their way. With predictable consequences, No.41 slammed hard into another competitor and sent others reeling. Video clip here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_zjDtjiJ2M While desperately trying to recover his car and re-join the race, he immediately had a sinking feeling when he realised his ballistic excursion had been halted by none-other than his own teammate, Martin in No.23. With both cars damaged, the two drivers finished the race nearer the back of the grid but all the while still duelling for position with each other and the other competitors.

The support crew worked hard to rectify the damage, but it would seem the prognosis was not good for No.23, with its chassis spar reportedly out of shape it was made as “straight” as it could be. Both cars were then prepared ready for the final race.

Andrew had a demanding race in 2A and was met briefly by Martin in the now limping No.23. As his first introduction to the “A” races it was an education and gave him invaluable experience.

Race 2B saw Jack embroiled in hectic battles throughout the 20 minutes on track. Edited video highlights here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8FY0Mw7_XQ Jack constantly swapped positions with his Snetterton nemesis, Patrick Colins, sometimes gaining a better line or drive out of a corner to overtake, other times coming into a corner too fast and drifting round – very impressive to watch and he saved the car in style, but unfortunately physics dictates it’s rarely quick and allowed Patrick back through. With another MX5 immobilised on the track, the battles were concluded using the red flag, signalling all competitors to return to the pits for safety reasons.

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Race 3: With No.23 seemingly beyond economical repair, Martin went into Race 3A with a “nothing to lose” mode of attack. Pitching the car into dives and boldly tackling the best his competitors had to offer, he hauled his race car from the back of the grid to finish in 11th place. With No.41 still fully serviceable, Kevin was understandably less “Kamikaze” and put in a solid race to finish in 16th – coming through from the back after taking avoiding action early in the race when several cars were spinning in front of him. Video clip here https://youtu.be/W3llySpcXw8

In Race 3B, Andrew had a long and enjoyable battle with Matthew Simmonite in No.35 as well as several other competitors. Listening to Andy speak it seems he has truly grown to love these prolonged battles, as opposed to the brief sprints of Autograss.

While Jack was off to a good start during his race, he suffered from intermittent ignition failure throughout and eventually brought the car into the pits to end his race early. The fault turned out to be a loose connector on the only part of the car the team hadn’t built – “Sod’s law” and frustrating for the support crew as well as Jack.

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Debrief: Thanks and gratitude from the drivers, as always, goes to the Go4it support crew for their repair skills, dedication and endless setting up of suspension geometry.

Thanks also go to our generous sponsors for their continued support: The team is grateful to Pollock Lifts, MX5 City, Creative Touch Design, BizSmart and everyone involved with the Go4it crowd funding.

It was Jack’s birthday on the Sunday and the team wishes him all the best for making it this far! What better way to celebrate his passion for motorsport, than blasting around a track with a bunch of other likeminded, adrenaline drunk, high-octane individuals?

In that respect both he and Andrew continue to develop their race-craft and car handling skills at a rapid rate – it will be fascinating to see what they can achieve by the end of the season.

At the end of Race 3A, Martin declared that he would be retiring No.23 and building a brand new race car to replace it. While the crash in Race 2A was considered the final blow, No.23 has been a veteran of nine seasons and was beginning to show its accumulated battle scars, albeit well hidden under the Creative Touch Design vinyl covering. We look forward to seeing “new” 23!

e it crashes, car trouble, the conditions, or simply a snap decision gone wrong; if it were entirely safe, without risk and easy, then many of the people that are passionately attracted to motorsport would likely not be as involved as they are.

In many ways, it is the constant challenges, occasional frustrations and sporadic “lows” that keep motorsport interesting, bizarrely fun and inexorably addictive.

After all, that is as they say, “RACING”

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