Since Knockhill I just haven’t stopped. There has been, on reflection, a massive list of tasks that I’ve carried out over weekends and evenings which I don’t think I appreciated I was setting myself up for. And that’s why this post is so late and close to the next race – Mallory Park (Part II).
I had lined myself up to take Maud to Deal Motor Show – an event put on for the first time last summer. This, I felt, would be a great way to engage with the locals of Deal and Dover, up the profile of Lydden and get some interest in the British Rallycross which they are lucky to live near two rounds of – the next one being the August Bank Holiday. All I wanted was for the sun to shine, and see who happens to come by and have a chat. More of that later.
On return from Knockhill, it was straight back to work – by that I mean the day job. As a bit of background, I work a computer based desk job, Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, and I really enjoy the challenge of a career in IT. But this does conceal my original plan to work in motorsport, so getting involved in motorsport and my taking part in the Rallycross championship isn’t that much of a surprise to people who really know me – maybe like me they thought it would never happen.
But anyway, during that first week after Knockhill, I made various trips to Rally Design in Whitstable for new mud flaps (Tristan Ovenden had told me about them), and a few motor spares shops for filler, primer, wet ‘n’ dry, masking tape, trim clips etc.
The following weekend was spent cleaning Maud. This involved a basic wash, front wheels off, sump guard off (more tools required!), jet wash the front end, and prepare body work for reparation. I’d taken a few knocks in numerous places including my pre-season practice knocks, the Baggsy rub and a shunt up the back from Mr Mullen at Knockhill. Nothing major, and I’m sure I won’t be so precious about the car in time. But while I have half a chance of staying on top of the damage I’ll try. It’s a good way to practice bodywork skills I’d never dream of doing on my road car!
So I got the driver’s door and read bumper off, and filled where necessary. Over the next few days and evenings, I sanded, wet ‘n’ dried, primed and painted all the notably damaged areas. A local paint shop offered to drop of some Papaya Orange aerosols at reduced cost on the lady’s way home for no charge. It seems some local businesses will go the extra mile to help out…
I was pleased with the outcome of my first bodyshop repairs, then spent a couple of evenings reassembling bumper, door and fitting the new mud flaps. Then I removed the rear wheels and jet-washed the rear end of the car, and the night before the show even polished her. I can’t remember the last time I polished my road car. This was special treatment indeed.
The point of all this was to make sure Maud was looking her best for Deal Motor Show. On Saturday 25th May, I got her loaded onto the trailer and headed down my local seafront. It was a melee of activity, with random cars, trucks, vans and buses jostling around and trying to navigate onto the green between the seafront and the Strand. I felt very proud to be at a local event, showing something I’m doing that I’m very proud of. Oh, and I felt quite proud!
Tristan had made a last minute call from holiday in France to get his car into the show, and sure enough, brother Chris was there already with the championship leading Ovenden-mobile already posing for the passing traffic. I told Chris to leave the car with me for the day, and he headed off.
The sun shone most of the day even though the wind was up. We got the gazebo and “Maynard Racing” board up, met loads of petrol heads with an interest in what we were there for, and saw a load of flyers disappear. It was great to have Tristan’s car there to give us more presence.
Following a hectic couple of weeks, the wife (we’ll call her “Sarah”) had thoughtfully arranged for the kids to be with grandparents unbeknownst to me so we could go out to the pub and for dinner after the show. I was really looking forward to it, but so exhausted from two weeks of intense prep that by the time we ate our Thai meal I was ready for my pyjamas!
To top it off, I’d managed to damage both rear lights on the trailer on walls over the weekend (not on a priceless Ferrari I’m glad to say), so had created more work for this week in readiness for Mallory. I’d also not yet got around to raising my driving position, on the basis this wasn’t important for the motor show. That was all about how Maud looked. But I’ve felt for some time that I’m not able to judge apexes as well as I need to because of my (too) low position in the car.
As a result, this week I’ve been up against it too, sourcing parts for the trailer, and glamorous jobs including jetwashing the Knockhill-mud-ridden groundsheet I’d washed the car over, extracting the transponder from under the engine bay and this evening, removing the seat preparing to raise it.
Today I’ve spoken to Cobra, who are supplying me with new seat brackets with higher mounting positions. They are no doubt currently on the M1 somewhere, so tomorrow is seat-refitting evening. Friday will be the usual pre-race weekend routine of trailer pickup on the way home from work. I then have an evening of electrics and replacing the lights on the back of the trailer, which arrived today. I’ll be leaving the trailer load and final checklist until Saturday morning.
Suffice to say, I’m looking forward to the summer break after Mallory. It’ll be six weeks between Mallory and Belgium, but my crossing is already booked and I’ll be gagging to get back behind the wheel well before then.
So to this weekend, and the second race of the season at Mallory Park. Second time around this year, I know the track and I’m going to go faster and move closer to the front. How about that for a simple objective?