Category Archives: Trackside

Why Will Moore Is A Name That Won’t Just Disappear!

 

Will Moore is more than just a name on a tv screen, down the side of a car and much more than just a racing driver.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have been around Will for two seasons now, in the privileged position that allows me to see a driver at their highest highs and lowest lows on a race weekend, to be among the close group that get to give a good luck hug and a final few words of encouragement as he walks through to the garage to don his helmet and climb in the car

Of this I am certain, you will see him driving next season!

Due to being heavily hit with BOP as a silver/silver pairing Will and his teammate for 2016 Ryan Ratcliffe, the team Optimum Motorsport made the decision to pull the plug on the Audi for the final two rounds of the British GT Championship.

The BOP hits meant so much ballast weight had to be put on the car that she wasn’t capable of being in with a chance of the championship and therefore every race weekend was spent being pumped up to struggle but be able to walk away knowing everyone had tried their best apart from the SIlverstone 500!

I’ll go on about that forever I think, the Silverstone round was one hell of a race! The weather appalling, it was a deluge from the sky onto the black asphalt that day and a pretty dangerous place to be throwing a car around at high speed.

The visibility was atrocious, windscreen wipers struggled to keep up and the spray was such that heading into corners all drivers that day headed in blind.

Now let’s take this back a step, last season Will drove the Academy Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT4 and grew throughout the season, ending it in my opinion as the best am or bronze graded driver out there, he took a big leap up after one single year in British GT to GT3, a silver grading and a brand new car the Audi R8 LMS and a team he knows well Optimum Motorsport, for those who don’t know the GT4 cars are based on the road car and have racing upgrades but the GT3’s are pure racing cars with a shell that looks like the road car, aero’d up to the eyeballs, this makes it a whole new driving experience and as such a new learning experience.

ok, so back to Silverstone now, Will was out there with others far, far more experienced drivers and he sent them all back to school. I’ve spoken to several drivers and one comment sticks out in my mind, the driver said he’s ” never been scared when racing till that day” because of the visibility, handling and weather conditions and bearing that in mind it’s truly unbelievable how Will managed to handle the Audi that day, to have her leading alot of the race, I truly don’t think he’s received as much credit or tv time as he should’ve that weekend.

So what is next for Will?

I wish I could give you some exclusive next season news right now but sadly i can’t, what I can say with certainty that he’ll be lined up somewhere next season, will it be British GT or another series, only he knows currently. Will I be there tweeting from the garage,  on periscope and facebook live and standing under a podium post race? I most definitely want to be because Will is also a man with the drive and determination to get to the top, a great all around guy, the type you want to go to a party with. He has a James Bond-esque air about him with his dark hair & smart well kept appearance, he is the perfect gentleman trackside, yet somewhat mysterious and private, far, far more than just a name on a screen, down the side on a car and another racing driver.

Buy One Get Two Free!

It’s been a while since I last wrote anything so this entry is a bit of a bonus special (code words for long!)

First weekend to talk about is the British Touring Cars at Oulton Park. This was my 2nd weekend working with the family at Team-HARD Racing, also it was another track I had never been to before.

Myself and 3 of the other guys bundled into a car and started heading up to Cheshire late morning, so we arrived at the track a little after lunchtime to start setting up the garages. The truckies had been at the track since the morning so I think they were happy for something to do at last. Thankfully this time we had actual real garages to set up in rather than the awning we had to use at Thruxton so garage set up didn’t take too long. Once that was done, those of us not working on the cars went to make a start on the hospitality awning.

If we thought it was tough setting up on slightly uneven ground last time, we were in for a shock this time. The truck was parked up on a nice slope just on the inside of turn 1. Great spot to watch from, but not so great to set up a big awning that attaches to the side of the trailer. The main problem being, once the feet of the trailer go down it levels out, so the awning is coming from a level onto a slope. This provided us with some headaches.

Day 1 wasn’t so bad as we only put up the framework, but day 2 was a nightmare trying to get everything to fit properly, but they don’t call us Team-HARD for nothing, we managed to get it all set up eventually, maybe with a little help from some gaffer tape but ssshhhh no-one noticed 😉

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Then we get into the race weekend proper, practice and qualifying didn’t go too bad, could always be better but it set us up nicely for race day where we had some good and some bad races, the best being race 3 on Sunday afternoon when Jake Hill went from starting 26th to 9th place! We had some results with Michael Epps as well over the day which meant we took away from valuable points from the weekend.

Packing down wasn’t as hard as at Thruxton and we had everything done about an hour earlier than the last time, shame we had a longer drive home!

A couple of weeks later and it’s time to head out again, this time even further up to Croft in Yorkshire. Not a part of the world I’ve visited much and the rumours were true, it definitely had its own weather system up there, the forecast could change faster than I can snap my fingers, most of the weekend it worked in our favour.

This was to be another weekend where we had not only the hospitality awning to set up but the garage awning too. Thankfully we were able to have them parked right next to each other just beside the track at turn one, again some great viewing to be had from there all weekend, which our Team-HARD VIP’s can vouch for as most of them never left the hospitality all Sunday apart from to come on the gird walks!

It was this weekend that I had what some would class as a bit of a promotion, really the normal guy that takes care of the VIP’s couldn’t make it for this weekend so I was asked to stand in. A few years ago I would have hidden when asked to take on something like this, but 2016 seems to be a year for me throwing myself in at the deep end so why stop now! As well as looking after the VIP’s on Sunday, I was put in charge of the Team-HARD golf buggy, which was mainly being used to get drivers and mechanics where they needed to be (usually further up near the pit lane!).

Race day was absolutely crazy for me, I was running up and down the paddock in the buggy getting equipment/drivers/grid girls all where they needed to be most of the morning before race 1. At the same time as this I had to go and meet guests as they arrived at the gates to show their passes and get them into the circuit. This was fine for a while until it all started getting close to the start of the first race, then it was a rush to get things sorted so that I could get back and take my guests out onto the grid for their first (and mine) grid walk of the day.

Thankfully most of them knew what they were doing and I knew most of what needed to be done so between us we managed just fine and everyone had a good day for all the grids. The races could have gone better for us but we still came away from the weekend with more points in the bag (this is becoming a wonderful habit for Team-HARD!).

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Around the time race 3 was due to get underway the clouds came over, during the race the rain started falling, then when all was said and done, and the team needed to start packing up, that’s when the heavens opened! For a while it didn’t matter too much as we were packing away everything inside the awning. It got messy when it came to taking down the awning itself. A few of us, needless to say got a good soaking!

Eventually we got everything packed away, and by about 9:45 on Sunday evening we were leaving the track for the last time and starting the stupidly long drive back down to Kent. This took quite a while as between 3 of us in the van we had to swap drivers a couple of times before we started falling asleep behind the wheel. Thankfully we made it home safe and sound but about 1am!

I still have to pinch myself on these weekends to realise yes I am actually doing this, I am working with a real life race team, and I don’t think I could have picked a better bunch of guys to volunteer to help with this year. Team-HARD aren’t the biggest team on the BTCC grid by any stretch, but the amount of effort these guys put in to getting their cars out there and making everything run smoothly is incredible! I’m really proud to call myself one of the weekend warriors with these guys and girls.

But wait, there’s more!…..

Ok this was more of a recreational visit, but I was originally going to be working with the team. Last weekend myself and Sandra made the trip out to Spa-Francorchamps for the British GT weekend. If anyone reading this hasn’t been to Belgium before or has seen the Formula 1 races there on TV, you need to go. That’s it. It’s so much easier to get to than I realised, just a small 4 hour drive from the channel tunnel and you’re in the middle of the Ardennes Forrest driving around on road that used to be part of the original circuit!

The only thing I will say is, be prepared for lots of walking up hill if you want to get around and see a bit more of the track. The furthest away from the paddock we ventured was up to the top of Eau Rouge but that was plenty tiring enough for us thank you very much. But what a view you get from up there! The whole place is breath taking.

As it was a British GT weekend we had friends in various paddocks, also Team-HARD were running not only in the main British GT race but also had some of their cars out there for the VW Racing Cup.

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We didn’t see the podium we deserved but got a solid haul of points to keep the team at the top of the GT4 standings, not bad for a team running their first season in the British GT championship! We’ll have to see how the last 2 weekends play out, but fingers crossed for a class title in our 1st season!

I think I’ve rambled on enough for now, I hope everyone is enjoying the insight into what its like to “work” in motorsport. Next race weekend for me will be the British Touring Cars at Snetterton at the end of this month. If you’re there make sure you come over to our garage and say hello!

Dennis Strandberg Reunites with Academy Motorsport

Dennis Strandberg announces a one off comeback to British GT’s at Silverstone in June.

Dennis will be reuniting with the Academy Motorsport team for which he drove the 2015 season alongside Will Moore and achieved several podium visits and a dominating performance at the Aston Martin Le Mans Festival, ultimately ending the 2015 season as British GT team champions.
This time Dennis is racing alongside team owner Matt Nichol-Jones in the Aston Martin Vantage GT4 car.
Both know the Vantage well and have much experience between them, Matt Nichol-Jones is himself a former British GT champion so combined these two are more than capable of making their guest appearance unforgettable for the fans.
Earlier in May he competed at Mantorp as a guest driver in Swedish GT5 challenge of which he was a champion of in 2013, and won both his races with dominance.

Dennis is still seeking to form new partnerships with companies for next season

 

Photo credit- Jakob Ebrey/British GT

Race Diary – Rockingham – Round 2

After Brands Hatch being not  great opening round we moved onto Rockingham for Round 2, with 45kg of ballast onboard due to BOP being slower on the straights but great in corners meant there was a much higher hope for Rockingham and it turned out not to be to bad in the end.

DSC_0540Unfortunately I made contact with the Ginetta and the Bentley in the first few laps, which saw us receive a 10 second stop, go penalty! I thought the move was on but looking back at the footage and hindsight being a wonderful thing it probably wasn’t.

Car feels great now the twitchy issue we had at Brands is now resolved and Ryan and I are driving well!

Good result for the team and some points on the board!

So 6th is good but should of been better, we just need a break in the BOP if we are going to challenge for podiums. Onwards and upwards bring on Oulton Park

GO HARD OR GO HOME

Our great friend Mark Eakin has become a Weekend Warrior! The term is used for those who volunteer their weekends to gain motorsport experience with a team, it’s a wonderful way to begin a career in motorsport or simply learn new skills!

Without further ado we’ll pass straight to Mark! enjoy!

My first weekend working with Team HARD RCIB Insurance Racing was for lack of a better word EPIC!

It all started on the Thursday morning before the Thruxton rounds of the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), when I had to get over to the team base in Rochester to meet some of the guys and help get things loaded into the trucks to take down to the track. It wasn’t too long before our first issue of the weekend apPicsArt_05-14-01.02.27peared, in the shape of a lorry tail lift motor. Unfortunately the one on one of the older trucks was a bit worse for wear and we decided it was best not to put it under too much strain by trying to load the cars, once that was decided it was a case of doing 2 trips with a van and trailer down to the track to take 1 car at a time, the 3rd we were able to get into the other truck. First trip down was uneventful, I followed the van in my car so I could leave it down there for use over the weekend.

Eventually we got all 3 cars to the track by about 6pm, and luckily (for me) most of the garage set up had been done by the other lads so most of what was left was unpacking the details of the garage and working out who was staying in which hotel for the weekend.

Day 2 was when my work really started, when we had to get the hospitality area built and set up. Last time I did this, it took us 2 days to get it all built, this time, now we’re a little more practiced it only took just over half the day on Friday. We could get quite a good view of the track where we were if you stood up on top of the truck too. One of our team was a man that used to work for Mercedes AMG F1 up until the end of 2014, and thankfully he was able to put his organizational skills to good use here or we would have probably made a right mess. So with some good tunes on the stereo and a lot of banter we cracked on and I’m glad to say it was finished with time to spare on Friday afternoon. Even if the Boss man Tony Gilham had to get the golf buggy to try and flatten the floor out!

Saturday rolled round right on schedule as ever and this was when the work started getting manic. Most of the guys in the team all know their roles, some of them work on different cars each weekend but everyone knew what had to be done and was able to do it without a fuss. I was there to lend a hand wherever I PicsArt_05-14-01.03.24could and (hopefully) not get in anyone’s way in the process. Most of my work around the garage involved keeping the cars looking clean and shiny, making sure after each session I cleaned off any dead bugs and molten rubber.

What really shocked and impressed me was how well this team works under pressure. That came first, after FP1 when the car of Chris Smiley snapped a drive shaft, at this point once anyone working on the other cars setups had finished what they had to do everyone would chip in where they could to help get Chris’ car back together ready for FP2. Unfortunately during the next session the same car decided to lose all drive again out on track. Once back in the garage it was discovered that it needed a whole new gearbox to be able to get out for qualifying.

Amazingly and all credit to these guys, they managed to strip the whole front end of the car off, get the engine out, strip out the old gearbox, source a new one from a friendly team, prep it, attach it to the engine, get the whole unit bolted back in place and rebuild the front end of the car in under 2 hours and get the car into the pit lane just after the qualifying session started.

Sadly though a fuel issue quickly ended the session for Chris and all focus was placed on Michael Epps and Jake Hill in the other 2 cars. It must be said at this point that most people in the team before most of the work had been started, thought this would be the end of Chris’ weekend and the fact they not only managed to fix the problem but get the car into the circuit again that day was nothing short of incredible, and watching them work together like that was amazing!

PicsArt_05-14-12.59.55Sunday was another day of highs and lows (thankfully more of the former). The first race ended early with a bit like up when on of the Honda Yuasa cars caught a puncture then was collected by another car in its way into the pits. Unfortunately for us, Jake Hills car got caught up in the melee and needed some work to the front crash structure before race 2, but, saying that we still had all 3 cars finish race 1 with 2 of them in the points. Race 2 was another interesting one as TOCA decided that for safety reasons, the races were to have the total laps shortened and quite a few teams were getting punctures on the highly abrasive and extremely hot track. Jakes car was fixed, again in record time by the incredible Team HARD mechanics, with a new front end bolted on in time to make it to the grid. Another chequered flag fell and again we brought home more points and had all 3 cars finish!

Race 3 was more of the same, this time we ended the weekend with all 3 cars within the top 20, 2 of which scored points again. Needless to say when the last flag fell we were all mighty relieved and very happy with the results as Team HARD now stand ahead of some of the bigger teams in the championships.

But there was still work to be done! All the garage had to be dismantled and packed away in the trucks, cars had to be loaded AND the hospitality area had to be taken down. The garage was the easy bit, some parts took longer than others (like stacking all the flooring in the back of the truck) but generally it didn’t take us too long. The worst part of that came when we had to load 2 cars into the back of the now fixed truck that couldn’t lift on Thursday. The lift was working fine taking parts and other bits, but when we loaded a car onto the back, it decided it was too much and that we needed to help. So with 1 person on each corner of the lift and 1 in the car with his foot on the brakes, we proceeded to lift and push the tail lift up enough so that the cars could be loaded into the upper deck of the trailer!

Eventually when that was all done, all we had left was to finish taking down the hospitality area, thankfully this was a bit more simple and it all went away without much fuss, we were just losing daylight by this point. I think by the time we drove out of the circuit it was about 9:30pm and most of us had a nice long drive home to look forward to. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see my own bed as I was on Sunday night.

Before I sign this off I want to take the opportunity to thank all the gents and ladies at Team HARD, especially Tony Gilham, for giving me the opportunity to come into the team and help out as and where I could. It really opened my eyes to the amount of teamwork and effort that goes in to making a race weekend run smoothly (and we don’t even get to watch the races). All the crew here are incredible guys and I can’t wait to see them all again when we head to Oulton Park for the next 3 rounds of the Dunlop British Touring Car Championship.

Race Diary – Brands Hatch – Round 1

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April 15th 2016 was the date and that only could mean one thing, The British GT Championship was back for the 2016 season and this year the opener was at the iconic Brands Hatch in the garden of England’s county of Kent, as exciting as it was for all it didn’t go according to plan as Will Moore explains to us in our first race diary of the 2016 campaign.

Will was first to step into the car to begin the qualification period in changeable weather conditions.
“It was a disappointing first round to the season, definitely one to forget and move on!
In Saturday’s qualifying, my time was average at best. I got the best out of the car I could with it not handling right and the BOP massively against us!”
BOP is the Balance of Performance, it adjusts limits on horsepower, weight, engine management, and aerodynamics to prevent a single manufacturer from becoming dominant in the GT3 class.
“Ryan unfortunately had an off at Druids on his first flying lap which meant he took no further part in Quail 2!
Had he got a lap in I’m sure it would of been well up the field.”
At the end of qualifying the Optimum Motorport Audi R8 LMS sat in 12th spot and so focus was all on race day and improvements that could be made overnight, including some new parts that the team had to go back to their Yorkshire base to collect.
“Starting 12th on the grid for the first round is not where we wanted or expected to be but Ryan soon made good progress up the field handing it over to me at the pit stop in 6th under code 80 full course yellows due to a huge crash involving 3 cars.
Once the incident had been cleared we were back to race speed, with the car still not handling well, she was very nervous in high speed corners and mid corner over steer I battled on only to push too hard into Paddock Hill and found myself facing the wrong way stuck in the gravel and out of the race!”
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“A tough weekend for everyone involved but the Optimum Motorsport team did a sterling job as always.
Setup work and data needs to be done before Rockingham but I have no doubt we will be competitive there.
With 45kg added to our car because Ryan and I are silver-silver pairing, the BOP is heavily against us with Aston Martin and Bentley driving past us in a straight line like we are a GT4 car so I feel there needs to be some changes to make things fairer”
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A pleasant surprise came post race when it was announced that Optimum Motorsport had won the inaugural Professional Motorsport World Expo Team of the Weekend Award.
explained here with an excerpt taken from Britishgt.com
The prize is offered to an outfit that has gone above and beyond or produced a stand-out act at each 2016 British GT event. This, amongst other considerations, might include overcoming a particularly difficult technical issue, executing an innovative race strategy to perfection or achieving an unexpected result in the face of adversity.
British GT Championship Manager Benjamin Franassovici said “There were a number of candidates for this weekend’s award but, in the end, we felt Optimum’s persistence and never-say-die attitude gave them the edge. The Audi ran strongly during Sunday’s race and I’ve no doubt that same spirit will help the team move further forwards at the coming rounds.”
So we now look forward to April 30th and onto Rockingham we go!
© Sandra Hebbourn 26/04/16

© All images courtesy of Jakob Ebrey

To Austria And Back

 

The next race on the Calendar is Austria. This is a place that is new to me. Last year I was recovering from an operation so did not attend the race.

Going to new places comes with a bit of excitement and intrigue as to what you might find and what the place is like in general. I had heard good things about the circuit and of the hotel but you need to make up your own mind. Everybody on the team has their favorite places and in most cases there are differences in opinion.

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The hotel we checked into was very nice and the staff very friendly. There was a home like feel to the place and in the evening the meals were freshly made by one chef so it was home cooking of sorts. The main order for the entire stay was schnitzel. There are many different variations of schnitzel and I can tell you that I sampled every one of them more than once! I also made a discovery in pumpkin oil. It is served on salads and it was so nice that a bottle came home with me. I urge you to find it and try it. An old man who was at the bar when I was given the bottle by the hotel owner informed me that it was very good for the workings of the downstairs area! What part of that area is unclear as he only spoke German but I think that he was referring to prostate cancer? I think!

For one of the meals and on the last breakfast we were given a special chocolate F1 car each that had the name of the hotel on and the Mclaren logo on the rear wing. There was also a short note thanking us for our stay and how much fun they have had with us staying there. AS I said before it was family atmosphere there and that showed it.

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Now I will move onto the circuit. The RedBull Ring. As you probably already know this was once the A1 ring and has staged F1 on and off for many years. However since it was last on the calendar RedBull have done an excellent job of upgrading the facility. I do not wish to be to negative on this blog, however for people that don’t know me I have a very strong opinion on the state of a certain circuit that starts with an S and ends in ilverstone.   I hope that somebody connected to that certain circuit may read this blog because I would urge them to go and have a look at how a F1 paddock and facility should be upgraded. Every part of the RedBull ring has been carefully thought about and then finished off to a high standard. To add to that the surrounding area is beautiful and just like something from The Sound of Music. It is definitely one of the alternative European races I would recommend coming to.

This was another race that was followed by a test and just like in Barcelona the time to get to the next circuit and set up was tight.

There was talk of having to do a back to back race de-rig which basically means that you start straight after the test finishes and don’t stop until it is all packed up. This can be from 17-25 hours depending on the paddock and smoothness of the pack up.

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Luckily this was not the case but we still had to go straight to Silverstone (That certain place!) and start the build the next day. This was quite frustrating as you are back in your home country but still quite far away from your family.

I wish that I could have brought everybody up to stay with me but there is simply not enough room for everybody to bring their nearest and dearest along.

 

This makes the race weekend a special one because we do get the opportunity to bring the family up to watch the race and with a bit of organization into where you work too! Even though I talk about it all the time it is not until you enter the paddock and see all the Motor homes and race trucks that you get a real impression off the scale of the F1 circus.

It is also nice to meet everybody else’s family. You live and work with the your team for such a large part of the year it is nice to finally meet people you have heard so many stories about.

 

After Silverstone was all packed up I drove home and finally got to spend some time in the home I had just moved into when I left for Austria which by now is almost a month in the past. However I was not there very long. There were some repairs and other small jobs that had popped up during the time away and that meant that we had to go into work straight away.

Once that was out of the way Sandra and I packed the car and headed to Spa Francorchamps for the British GT Championship. (Blog to follow). Two Days after that had finished I was driving one of the crew vans to Hungary. One of the vans is driven in rotation and it was my turn.

After Hungary is the two week shut down and let me tell you I am looking forward to that very much and hopefully we can take life in second gear or maybe even in park!

 

 

Too Much Motorsport!

It’s been quite some time since I wrote anything other then emails, texts or tweets, alot has happened this past month.

Firstly we moved house, having moved the date forward by 2 days allowing us to all attend Silverstone for British GT’s, also that Ben had been away the previous 27 days and we moved the morning after he came home.

 

British GT’s was an amazing day, myself, Ben & Leah all attended as did our friends Lindsay Scott & Simon Tassie & the day was spent in the Academy Motorsport garage with the team, huddled around a small portable tv at one end and rushing up to the other end to look at a laptop with timings up on screen. Both myself and Leah were in full on work mode & got to what we needed to attend to whilst at the track in regards to Dennis Strandberg and we had the pleasure of being VIP so had a lovely lunch in the SRO hospitality unit.

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Next up was settling into the new house, or so it should have been but off to Austria went Ben to work so again it was all down to me, again I seem to have not stopped until literally right now!

There’s been the usual things to sort out, doctors, schools & changes of addresses to everyone, all of which has been very time consuming.

After the Austrian F1 race there was an in season test so Ben had to stay on and fly from there straight on to Silverstone so the British GP was a welcome weekend to catch up together as a family not just to attend the race.

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Now would be a good time to mention that paddock passes are like gold dust unless you wish to buy one with paddock club! So sorry to burst any bubbles but I and the children do not automatically get a pass each to live it up all weekend and neither can we get randomers who ask in the paddock, however, this doesn’t mean that we can’t with permission and arrangements made, as was the case this last weekend at Silverstone, we were allowed to enter the paddock with Ben who obviously has a permanent pass and went into the McLaren Brand Centre and spent some time in there mixing with Ben’s colleagues and showing the children around where Daddy works before the race team came over from the garage for their evening meal.

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After a great Sunday watching the race and being with friends and family it was time to head home, alone, as Ben had to go back to the hotel as the de-rig was to start Monday morning, so he wasn’t home till late Tuesday evening, so if any of you were wondering why there was nothing afterwards much for fans involving the teams, I think you may find that getting home to families and loved ones after almost a month away was more important as some like McLaren had to stay on for filming days.

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Time to get my head down as next weekend its all about British GT’s and my job rather than his, but I shall save all of that for my next post 🙂

 

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!

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