Close of the season
6/11/2005 (Thoughts from Gary Cole)
The season can be summed up in those words so frequently found on my school reports – could do better!
No, I’m not blaming my “annus horribilis” on the state education system anymore than it can be blamed on any one overriding factor. Things do go wrong. And go wrong they certainly did, although everything appeared to be fine on this year’s first outing at Mallory Park. Not a bad day; gave the car a shakedown; scrubbed in the Hoosier slicks and circulated just under the Classic Thunder class F lap record.
And so to Thruxton for round one of the Waxoyl sponsored championship. Two corners in and the car was pouring blue smoke from a rear tyre, eased off but to no avail, the tyre carried on rubbing on the bodywork so pulled off to the side of the track and sat out the rest of the session. No big problem, we just put on last year’s slicks which were slightly narrower. Called for the race the BX was reversed away from the trailer, first gear selected and …….a big cloud of white vapour engulfed the car. Head gasket failure was my thought, but it was a split hydraulic pipe. Pete Nixon in a Golf was the only one of the 6 class F entries to make the grid and battled with a class D car to take his first class win and set a new lap record.
New pipe fitted and it was down to Brands Hatch for another test session. Two more tyres scrubbed in, no problem with the set-up, all was well with the world. Out again and a chance to try out the revised front end settings. The car was stable and fast. Twenty laps in and then a stutter from the engine. Driving back through the tunnel I could hear that all was not well. John diagnosed a big-end bearing failure.
Back at Brands for round two and out on to the circuit for qaulifying, couple of laps, red flag, couple of laps, red flag. Back in pit lane I asked Rene to check the driveshafts as a vibration had set in. We loaded the car back on the trailer. A faulty conrod this time and thankfully not another oil feed problem which had caused the first engine to fail.
Round three at Oulton Park – driveshaft failure and despite John and Rene cobbling it all back together it started slipping on the way to the grid.
Round four – Mallory Park and a replacement shaft. We made the race and scored our first point. The shaft disintegrated at the end of lap 12.
Round five – Cadwell Park and another shaft plus some alterations to the front geometry. No real problems in qualifying just spent the time driving round in an effort to learn the track, and the car. Once the Camaro was passed the chase to the Poston Ford was on. A comfortable win and a new lap record!
Round six – Lydden, a great little circuit not ideally suited to the BX but the car was going well and there was no sign of the occassional hiccoughs that had appeared along the top straight at Cadwell. This was so heartbreaking. Being hit from behind, the subsequent bashing and crashing, the fight to the front of the class and the front suspension failure. I was gutted. Another lap record was scant reward for the team’s efforts.
Round seven – Donington Park, one of my favourite circuits and I had not been there for such a long time. The hiccoughs were back! Fuel system stripped; nothing found. As the fault had not shown at Lydden we believed it cured by the fitment of a new Bosch Motorsport 044 pump. The race was frenetic! It was all I could do to keep the pressure on Poston and hope he slipped up. He slipped up. The task now was to keep him behind and despite the stuttering engine, and a big bash in the rear quarter on the last lap, win number two was in the bag.
A trip to Emerald gave the race car back some of its missing horses which was something we did not need for round eight as the rains lashed down on the Snetterton track. We left the slicks on for qualifying as the track was wet but not awash. The Yokos were on for the race as the heavens opened. Following a Camaro in the rain was not fun in the usual sense of the word. It was fun though. Driving through the thick spray, guessing the braking points and hoping that no one had braked early had sent the adrenalin count skywards. No chance of a lap record but a real chance to show how well the car behaved in such poor conditions.
The following day was grey and overcast but looked good for a dry race. And so it was. A stonking start saw the BX leaving the other class F cars behind at a very rapid rate. A comfortable lead was established before the gremlins took over. A fluid leak was causing the brakes, steering and suspension to fail. Despite the slowing down we reached the flag first with another lap record.
Pembrey for the season closing rounds ten and eleven was the usual state of affairs for the team. We were on a high, and about to be kicked in the teeth.
It was a big ask, two wins and Poston not to finish. Too big. The yellow Ford taking class honours as I watched from the sidelines after hanging on to his tail with only 3 gears until the linkage finally cried enough. The next day was no better as the clutch disintegrated so we called time on the season.
Four finishes, four wins. New lap records at Cadwell, Lydden, Donington, Snetterton and Pembrey. Perhaps it was not such a bad season after all.
2005 Race Dates
|Sat 5th March
|Silverstone (SUNBAC) CANCELLED at 13th Jan 05
|Mon 28th March
|Thruxton + Classic & Historic
|Sat 14th & 15th May
|Brands Hatch (Post Historic Double Header)
|Sat 4th June
|Oulton Park (Group 1 Double Header)
+ Classic & Historic
|Sun 19th June
|Mallory Park + Classic & Historic
|Sun 17th July
|Cadwell Park + Classic & Historic
|Sat / Sun 6th
& 7th August
|Lydden Hill + Classic & Historic
|Mon 29th August
|Sat / Sun 10th
& 11th September
|Snetterton (Classic Thunder Double Header)
+ Classic & Historic
|Sat / Sun 24th
& 25th September
|Pembrey (Now revised to Double Headers)
2005 News From Racer Gary Cole
Well we made it into the top 5 despite a non-finish on Saturday and a non-start on Sunday.
Car behaved fine during qualifying and was very happy to set a 1.11.4, a tenth under the lap record and only 3 hundredths behind Poston. In the race set new lap record on lap 4 at 1.10.5 only for the car to start cutting out on lap 5 and lose 2nd and 4th gears. Pulled off several times and rejoined when the car fired back into life. Eventually had to call it a day on lap 8 when the gear linkage finally cried enough leaving the car stranded at Hatchetts.
John and Rene checked through the fuel and ignition systems, replaced the coil, cleaned all connections etc in hope of curing problem. Linkage was rebuilt and wire tied as extra security. Sunday morning and the call for qualifying, car sounded great and all raring to go. Reversed away and then selected first, dropped the clutch and it fell apart. The constant forcing gears from the previous day had taken its toll. C’est la vie.
Round nine, er, Snetterton again.
Sunday looked worse than Saturday but gradually the mist lifted and the rain eased. It was still a last minute decision for tyres and we plumped for the slicks this time.
Due to the atrocious conditions on Saturday the meeting had been cut short and some of the races had been carried over to Sunday morning which meant we had no qualifying session but would line up in race finish order from round eight. This was ok for the BX having finished 11th overall we were nearer the front than the back which was full of very fast cars that had not been classified, and some even faster cars that had only entered for Sunday.
Lights out and the BX went off like a scalded cat and briefly held sixth place entering Revett, the class A cars thundered by but I was not going to make it easy for the M3s. Managed to keep Neal Mills honest for 3 laps before i waved him through, the other two had got by under braking on lap two. The other F guys were nowhere to be seen. Cut the revs to below 7000 and watched the mirrors, a 3 litre Capri closed slowly and went by. Lap six or seven and the car started to feel a little less responsive but I could not figure out what was going on. A couple of laps later and I had sussed there was a problem with the hydraulics, the braking was not as sharp, the car started fighting my steering input. Took the revs back up to 7200 and let the car roll round the corners with minimum braking. Two laps from home and the nose dropped under braking into the first chicane, the steering was heavy and the brake pedal had only the tiniest of movement so no option but to back off. Back on to the start straight and the last lap board. Trundled round to the flag with eighteen seconds in hand over the second place Bateson VW ahead of the Poston Ford.
Another class win, another lap record and a tidy haul of points. Two rounds to go and a solid second in class F, can’t be caught but could still mathematically take the class championship.
Round eight of the Waxoyl Classic Thunder Touring Cars at Snetterton was held in the wet, I mean wet like you are standing under Niagara Falls type wet, especially when you are stuck behind a Camaro.
Qualifying had been wet. Wet track, slight rain and a touch of mist to be precise. Perfect weather to try out the slicks. A steady plod round to claim class pole of the six entries in F, ahead of the Poston Ford but behind the wide-as-the-track Camaro.
We left the car on axle stands as the clouds darkened and then lightened, would it or would it not rain. Called up we had to make a decision on tyres, Hoosier slicks or Yokos. No contest when the rain came down in bucketfuls. John and Rene had the Yokos on in a couple of minutes and it was off to join the rest on the grid. Two green flags and back to the start. Garrett in the 5 litre Rover was waving to grab the attention of the start marshal but the countdown went on. Red lights out and I was off, jinking left to avoid the static Rover and down to the first corner where a big gap had opened. Down the Revett straight and into the chicane with Poston on my bumper. Tried backing everybody up to give a run through the Bombhole and onto Coram. The Camaro was also in the rear view mirror now, somehow the little tiddlers beat the big whale down the straight to complete lap one. More of the same down Revett, left, right, slide and back to Coram. The Camaro had now replaced the Ford on my bumper. It sailed past and the BX rocked on the wash.
I dropped back to see where the track went, the wall of water, rain and mist making it almost impossible to see the high-intensity light on the Chevy let alone the brake lights. Settled in to a rhythm using the American muscle car as a pacemaker. The yellow dot was growing smaller in the mirror so there was no problem with Poston. At the flag the gap backed to the Ford had grown to over 30 seconds.
Three Classic Thunder finishes, three wins.
Somehow qualified fastest of class F runners just ahead of the Poston Ford. Car just would not grip anywhere and a top-end misfire appeared on lap 4 once I opened her up. Managed to drive round the problems to a fair extent and was happy when the car broke through the 1 min 30 sec barrier.
For the race we put on some very nice scrubbed slicks and the grip was immediately apparent. Despite John and Rene stripping and refitting the fuel system the misfire was still there. The start was rather farcical as the cars on the left were still lining up when the lights went out giving them a slight advantage up to Redgate. The Rover Vitesse in front of me was slow away and the BX was alongside for a while but unable to get to the corner first and it certainly did not help being squeezed onto the grass. Things settled down around Hollywood and on the run down Craner it was touch and go as the Streeter Ford was on the green stuff heading backwards for Old Hairpin. Thankfully everyone avoided it although the Poston Ford had now got ahead around the outside as all on the inside gave it a big whoa! Took a couple of laps to get back in touch with Poston and was seriously hampered by the misfire in my efforts to get past. Salvation came in the shape of Dave Brodie; comfortably leading the race in his mighty Sapphire Cossie; as he went through I moved on to his rear bumper to get a tow and slipped by Poston under braking as he moved over for Brodie. The race now got very heated as we were so closely matched and the whole thing nearly ended in tears when the Ford speared the side of the BX sending it round. A chasing 3.0 litre Capri got through on the inside for the run down Starkey Straight, the BX pedal was firmly planted pulling it back round and alongside the Capri, the Poston Ford now on the left picking up speed as it came back on track. Down to the chicane 3 abreast I had to let the Capri go to cover the Poston machine and back him up to get a run to the flag.
Second race finish in CT and second class win, and another lap record.
Lydden Hill was set to be a good weekends racing for the team.The BX had performed very well at Cadwell and the previous weekened had seen a good couple of days racing at Brands to help prepare the car.
Gary qualified o.6 of a second under lap record so things were looking good.
At the start of the race the BX got tapped from behind which pushed it into an Alfa,bumped off the Alfa and got a smack from a Fiesta pushing Gary back into the Alfa and off the Alfa smashing into the side of an Escort and then he got going just about last!
Gary then smashed lthe ap record chasing after the other class guys, passed them and chased down the Poston Fiesta, caught him and had a couple of goes at passing finally went wide at hairpin as he held tight line, nipped to the inside and outdragged him down the hill across the line and a couple of car lengths between us next time round more like 100 yards and then going up the hill to the hairpin the front end collapsed!
Sending the BX straight on narrowly avoiding the tyre wall but had managed to lower the lap record from 51.5 to 50.2 secs.
The damage report is quite a sad and lengthy read! – both front slicks ruined, broke driveshaft, bottom arm, drop link, damaged wing, door, bumper, skirt and indicator.
The side that failed was the one that tried to rip the b pillar out of the escort during the start line comotion so hopefully this was the reason for the failure.
Gary has assured me the team will be hard at work getting the car ready for Donnington Parl at the end of August.
Following a couple of disappointing results Cadwell Park was set to be an important point for the BX.
The drivetrain issues had been laid to rest and some number crunching had resulted in a new set of gear ratios and the addition of a Quaiffe LSD to the car. Testing had gone very well at Brands so the CP race was set to be a good one!
Gary qualified 2nd in class which placed him behind a Camaro on the grid. The lights changed and the Camaro bogged down leaving the BX very close to it! the Camaro seemed to get moving so Gary tucked in behind but it bogged again and in the panic Gary selected 1st instead of 3rd which resulted in lots of wheelspin and tyre smoke but things settled down and the BX continued on its course.
the calm was short lived as at Park hairpin the BX narrowly missed a Cossie as it appeared from a dust cloud backwards towards the track!
Gary continued after the Camaro and caught him exiting Hall bends. He pulled away across the line and up the hill, the Camaro braked and Gary didn’t and went round the outside to pass him at the top of the hill. Down the straight Gary tucked in behind the Camaro again.
The recovering Cossie loomed up on the mirror as Gary pulled out from the Camaro knowing he’d outbraked him. Gary allowed the Cossie to weave between the BX and the Camaro then slotted in behind the Cossie and held on until Mansfield, then he was gone!
By the end of lap 2 Gary could see the Poston Fiesta and gradually reeled him in!
It took about a lap and a half before Gary got a run and out braked him and then eased away to finish 8th overall and 1st in class with a new lap record.
The racing news from Mallory Park comes direct from Gary Cole and although not the result we were all hoping for the outlook is good!
Qualified 1st in class, came in before end of session as water temp was rocketing. Split hose.
Race – the Cossie in front of me bogged on the line, had to hit the brakes and slot in behind the Poston Fiesta. This gave Rover SD1 the chance to get by on the outside with the Cossie alongside, they were both passed me by the Esses. Cossie left a gap going to the hairpin, it was almost wide enough for a BX. Black Cossie now has a white stripe down the driver’s side. Nipped inside the Rover and set off after the Fester. The gap remained fairly constant until the Rover and the Cossie got into their stride, the Rover passed going down to Gerards and then held me up allowing the Cossie to get a run on me to the Esses. Tagged on behind these two for a few laps but they eventually eased away. Cossie must have made a mistake a couple of laps later or was too polite to the overtaking frontrunners as I suddenly found myself almost in touch with him. But coming out of the hairpin for the twelfth time there was a rise in revs and a definite no drive situation. Coasted down to the line to complete lap 12 and pulled off on the left hand side two laps short of a finish. A new stronger driveshaft will be fitted by the weekend and the team are looking forward to the next race.
Oulton Park was set to be a good race for Gary and the BX 16v racer.
All the problems with the new engine had been laid to rest and Gary and the car were looking in top form as they completed 3 laps of qualifying.
Coming up to the start of the 4th qualifying lap Gary opened the car up out of Lodge, through the dip and out on to the pit straight to post a quick one!
In to 4th gear and 7200rpm when Gary heard a loud noise and the steering locked! He dipped the clutch and braked gently coasting round the right hander and pulling gently in to the left hand side.
The triax had given way and due to shards of metal being thrown around and the driveshaft whipping about damage was done to the suspension and of course the driveshaft was useless.
John quickly fitted a replacement driveshaft and some well wishers helped with repairs to the suspension so all was not lost, however a gentle test run seemed fine but when Gary attempted a quick getaway the new driveshaft twisted so the car was trailered up for the journey home.
It is still early days though and the team are preparing for the next race at Mallory.
Brands was set to be the beginning of the BX racers campaign on the championship following the first race teething troubles at Thruxton.
However things were not to be as during qualifying,although performing well, Gary detected an unwelcome noise from the engine and decided it would be prudent to return to the pits rather than risk the new engine by racing it when there was a chance of something being out of place. The engine will be stripped down and inspected ready for a rebuild.
The team are not discouraged though and the back up engine will be dusted off and in place ready for Oulton Park on 4th June
Today was booked for a test following the replacement of the main LHM supply pipe to the pump.
Track and Race Car Magazine had showed an interest in the racer and were expected to attend and sure enough 2 photographers showed up at the venue.
In the first session of 12 laps the car performed very well and the tyres were scrubbed in ready for full on racing and everything was looking good.
The 2nd sessions saw Gary building up the revs and speed and the lap times began falling nicely.However after 20 laps,a race is 14, Gary heard a slight noise and decided to pit for a precautionary check up.
The day had gone well so the team headed home where they could check the car over.
Inspection of the oil pump and a general check up is underway and the team are looking forward to brands again on the 14th May when Track and Race Car Magazine should be in attendance again to do a feature on the racer.
Problems with the new rims/tyres and their fixing caused me to stop in qualifying before one lap was completed. A polite word with the clerk of the course saw the BX back on track for 3 laps with the Toyo Modified Saloons, the car now sporting the old Saxo rims.
Of the four class f entries only the Poston Ford made it onto the Classic Thunder time sheets with 2 laps unfortunately for Hugh his motor let go on lap 3. The Howell Golf had burst its clutch and the Nixon Golf was suffering ignition problems. For the race the BX and the Nixon Golf would line up on the last row of the grid both having qualified out of the official session.
When called the BX was reversed away from the trailer and and as first gear was engaged the front of the car disappeared in a cloud of steam. The hydraulic pipe from the pump had split! Nixon went on to take the class win and set a new lap record.
|End of season BX 2nd in Class F and 5th Overall
|BX is 2nd in Class F and 6th overall.
|BX is 2nd in class and 13th overall (43 entrants)
|BX is 4th in Class F and 15th overall