A Man’s Work Is Never Done!

 

After Monaco came a welcomed break for the Motor Home crews. The next race is Canada and as all the units are transported by truck there is simply not enough time to get them on a ship and sail them over the Atlantic.

The ideal situation is to drive the trucks straight to the next European venue but this, as a lot of things in Formula 1 do not always go to plan.

Fortunately this was not the case for us however there was a small amount of work that had to be done in the UK. There have only been two European races so far but that is plenty of time for things to be broken, scratched, re-designed, added to, taken away etc. It may be the case that whole trucks need to come back for work or the contents of the truck need to be unloaded and changed, swapped or re-designed.

In our team the crew vans are driven back to base and so any small items can be transported in them. Likewise any small items that are picked up whilst at base will travel in the vans. The vans however are already full of cases that are carrying the vast amount of team kit that needs to be taken. We are lucky that we have these vans. Fitting the rigging kit and the race kit plus shoes and personal items would be a case for Mary Poppins otherwise!

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The first stint away totalled almost 1 month and after Canada it is going to be the same again. The test after Austria means we have to travel straight to Silverstone.

If you have any plans then they need to be squeezed in here and there.

After we got back I had the small task of moving house to contend with. Most people would have left this until the weekend however, that weekend was the Silverstone round of the British GT championship.  Sandra was attending as she was doing her duties for Dennis Strandberg.

 

So as soon as I got home it was down to business. Collecting the van and loading up and getting out of there Thursday/Friday. This is a time that you would normally relax and catch up with the family. It was all guns blazing instead and when the weekend was over so was I!

The unpacking process took a hit as I needed to rest but Ilana’s birthday was the next Saturday so the downstairs had to look presentable as the family were all coming round for a BBQ.

I can tell you that the only room upstairs that was not a total mess was the bathroom and every other door remained closed!

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Everything went okay but the week soon disappeared and it was time to leave for Austria. The rest of the sorting out will be down to Sandra meaning that the next time I walk through the door everything will be in a different place! It won’t be until September that I will get to know where everything is!

 

As I write this blog I am in Austria. This is my first time here and I can say that it is a beautiful part of the world and the circuit is very nice. Red Bull have done a lot of work and made it into a very modern and very practical place to work. As I mentioned before the race is followed by a test. This will be the feature of the next blog as the rush to Silverstone will no doubt produce some good stories!

Strandberg On Pole For The Aston Martin Festival Le Mans 2015

While all the attention is on the main 24 hour race at Le Mans, a new star is beginning to shine.

In racing how can we tell when one driver is naturally uber talented over a learned skill set?

For me it is when a driver can do something extraordinary, when they can make a car do something that they shouldn’t have been able to and for the last 2 days thats exactly what Dennis Strandberg has been doing at the Aston Martin Festival at Le Mans.

This 21 year old naturally gifted driver arrived at Le Mans with the job of assisting his team Academy Motorsport who are there with both their Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4 cars that are usually seen in the British GT Championship.

Dennis was not planning on driving but very last minute, late Wednesday morning the opportunity arose to race in the 2nd Academy Motorsport car and he signed up to drive with his team boss Matt Nicoll-Jones in the number 42 car.

This is the car that is usually number 62 in British GT’s so NOT his usual car and therefore is a different feeling car to usual.

Later that day it was time to take to the track in free practise and with just 4 laps in the simulator Dennis topped the time sheets. Impressive given that he has never driven the Le Mans circuit before and also that its a different car he hasn’t driven before and that only 4 laps had been driven in the sim, yet still being able to get the very best from his machine.

Qualification was the following day and just 23 hours after finishing free practise the fastest, the car finished quali in pole position for Tomorrow’s race.

This alone surely shows how talented this young man is but there is a little more to this yet as qualification took place with no downshift for Dennis as it had been used to replace a broken one in the team’s sister car.

Again showing his gift in racing in even being able to get the car around the circuit with no downshift. Could any of us ‘normal folk’ drive the socks of a car with no clutch? Let alone drive it on its limits in an the middle of somewhere we have never driven before and in the shadows of the greatest race on the planet?!

This naturally able Swede is now out from the shadows for all to see as he prepares to race tomorrow from the front in the 45 minute support race to the main Le Mans 24 hrs and I for one hope that all of those in Aston Martin Racing and especially the Evolution Academy are watching him tomorrow and taking notes.

Dennis Strandberg is found currently racing in British GT for Academy Motorsport and is 1 of 10 young racers under the wing of the newly formed Aston Martin Evolution Academy, in my opinion a very bright star of the future and one to watch, I think by the end of tomorrow he will have shown all of those at Le Mans that he will be back in the not too distant future as a competitor in the main race.

 

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A Day Out With #TeamAli

Hello again, this is a guest post by Mark Eakin, as most will be aware a lot has happened since Ben flew home from Monaco, including moving house and attending British GT’s, Mark was going anyway and as he is a great friend of ours and enjoys writing when he has time, Mark was the only person to ask, so here is his writeup of his race day out and all the drama that went on at Siverstone and what has been happening since with Ali Rushforth’s car……

Sunday May 31st was a very early start for a 4am departure to head north to Donington Park for the latest round of the MG Trophy. It was my first trip to Donington for anything other than music festivals so I was extremely excited to spend the day with Ali Rushforth and the rest of #TeamAli.

The day started off with the Qualifying race. The results of this race determined the grids for race 1 and 2. Thankfully the rain had stopped by the time the cars started up and headed out onto the track but that wasn’t to last very long before we all got a good soaking again.

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Ali managed to get out and get a couple of timed laps done before having to come back into the pits with a small gearbox issue. This was a fairly simple fix but sadly by the time it was sorted there wasn’t enough time left before the chequered flag to get out again.

By the time Race 1 came around, the track had started to dry out but some cars (including Ali) still went out with half dry, half wet tyres on the cars. Ali was starting in P24 down at the back of the pack and so had it all to play for. By the time they all came round at the end of lap 1 he had already climbed up a few positions and this was to be the trend throughout the race.

At the end of the 20 minute 1st race Ali finished P12 overall and P7 in his class, not bad at all. 🙂 picture 2picture 3

Between the first and second race there were some small issues to fix on the car, and this is where I realised there’s a bit more to some motorsports than just the racing. Ali had a problem with the battery not charging up properly and within a few minutes walking around the other garages, had managed to find someone to lend spare parts to try and get the car back into action. This is something I hope (but doubt) goes on right up to the top levels of motorsport.

Once the car was fixed and running again, there was a bit of time to relax and watch some of the other racing happening before Race 2, which included; MG Metro Cup, Equipe GTS, MGCC Cockshoot Cup and a few others.

Race 2 was a bit of an anti-climax to say the least, all the cars got round lap 1 but then as they came round for lap 2 we noticed that Ali was nowhere to be seen, the next thing we know is the race has been red flagged and we can hear the commentators saying that a couple of cars have come together. As it turned out Ali had been nudged off the track onto the grass, at which point he became a passenger as the grass was still wet and brakes didn’t help. As he came to rejoin the track there was contact with Robin Walkers car which got rolled over. Both cars had to be recovered from the track, thankfully the drivers came out with a few bumps and bruises.

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Apart from the sad end to the day, it was still fantastic for me to spend the day in the garage with TeamAli, and I hope to do it again in the not too distant future! For anyone that has never been to a MG Trophy event, I thoroughly recommend it for a great days racing (cheap tickets too!). Now for a bit of reaction from the driver himself:

Q: What news was there in the aftermath of race 2? Is there any repercussions for the next event?

The only repercussions really are whether we’ll actually be at the next event.

Q: How was the car when you arrived at home and were able to assess the damage? Is it fixable?

A mess!! Any photos that may have been published might show the car to have cosmetic damage, but the actual damage is very extensive; Sub-frame is damaged beyond use, Front panel, Chassis leg, Steering rack, Bottom arm, Wheel, Wing, Headlights, Bumper, Bonnet

Q: Do you expect to be racing again at MG Live at Silverstone?

I’m trying to be, but money is the deciding factor. As I’m sure people will know, someone kindly thought it’d be worthwhile to set up a funding page & as it stands, over £400 has been raised.

The car is in with the body shop & the £400 will go some way to help the repair bill from them.

Add to that the cost of the parts that I don’t have or haven’t managed to do a deal on & we’re looking at a total around the £1100 mark.

That’s before I consider the £400 MG Live entry & possible £220 test fee (if we enter) to make sure the car is ok.

 

If you would like to help Ali get racing again, you can by following this link: http://www.gofundme.com/Get-ali-racing

#BPDriveInDineOut Free Meal At Pizza Express With BP

Hey Motorsport fans,

I have found something that may interest all of you that spend a lot of the racing season up and down motorways and in and out of service stations as well as endless weekends at race circuits throughout the UK.
BP have a new promotion in conjunction with Pizza Express, all you do is fill up with at least 35 litres of fuel, three times and  collect three voucher codes, then validate these online at bp.co.uk/driveindineout (full t’s & c’s there too) and you will receive a free main meal code to be used at Pizza Express.

The offer starts today June 2nd and runs until June 29th and all you have to do is fill up a minimum of 35 litres each time to receive a voucher with a code. Come on, with the amount of time we all spend on the road and all weekends at circuits, how great is that? A main meal for FREE!!! and who doesn’t like pizza!!

Just think you can go and get a nice sit down meal instead of a grabbed fast meal on your way home from a circuit, what a way to top off a racing weekend, I know I will definitely be doing this for the summer, the offer is redeemable between June 2nd and August 9th and with a family in tow most weekends it will definitely make my weekends of travelling that bit easier.

The free meal entitles you to choose from Classic or Leggera Pizza, Pasta dishes or Main salad and is available all day Sunday to Friday, absolutely perfect driving home on a Sunday evening or to enjoy during the week after. All my Twitter followers you can keep up with the Twitter hashtag of #BPDriveInDineOut.

I hope all of you will enjoy this promotion as much as we will.

Take Care Sandra