Ravenhall Sponsored Two Teas Racing feature at brands hatch and here is a weekend Diary from Andrew McGee of Two Teas Racing…..
Two Teas down the Hatch…
Over the weekend of 28th/29th April it was the race weekend at Brands Hatch in Kent. The Lackford Engineering Midget and Sprite Challenge had two races, one each day with qualifying early Saturday morning.
With the early start needed the 5 hour drive down had to be undertaken on Friday, so with Motorhome loaded and race car on trailer we left home for an extremely wet drive South. The rain was coming down so hard that the bow waves from the trucks dwarfed the race car and even with the tonneau cover in place we had to bale the seat out by the time we arrived.
The only way the race car fits on the trailer with it being so low slung is to have it wearing the wets, so we were already well prepared for Saturday’s qualifying. During the session immediately before us one of the cars had laid a full circuit long oil slick down so we were delayed whilst they tried to clean it up. Cement powder couldn’t be used with the track being so wet so we were told afterward that a detergent was applied… soap, oil and water on track… yes it was slippy.
The greasy surface caught me out on the second lap round with a half spin on the exit of Druids and it also caught out several others with two cars unfortunately coming to grief as they made contact with the tyre wall on this inside of the track.
So after a tippy they keep it gentle session I was pleased to see I’d qualified 4th in Class and 4th overall. However one of the cars that hit the wall had qualified third so if he wasn’t able to start then I’d end up being promoted to third. It transpired that he wouldn’t be able to fix it and the second place car had developed all pressure problems so he was also out… oh my word I was on the front row for the race.
First Down the Hatch!
Ten minutes before the assembly time and the car is still on wets though sat on axle stands and the soaking wet track had suddenly started to dry. The call was made to swap to slicks so a frenetic few minutes by the team saw the car touch down on slicks and off to the Assembly area I went.
Pulling up to Grid Spot 2 I felt calm, it was only the second time I’d been on the front row of as start (the only other time was at the Nordschleife). The track was still slippy but the right call was made to be on slicks. A short lap to warm everything up and then back to grid for the start. Engine revs rose, the red lights came on and the revs rose even more…. Then out went the reds and go. Launching the Class A car is a two stage affair, feed the clutch out, get it rolling and then dip the clutch, foot down on the gas and dump the clutch again. The car stepped sideways with the comparatively cold tyres and wet track and I thought I’d be swamped.
It then was obvious that we were all doing the same, sideways down the start. The car suddenly the car snapped straight and the slingshot effect of now warm tyres on track launched me into the lead. Unfortunately it wasn’t long lived with the known exhaust problem I was soon passed into second place on Cooper Straight and then with the strangled power I was passed on either side into 4th place on the start finish straight. Feeling a nudge from behind I knew I’d been tagged and worked out who it was that had done so, only for it to be confirmed as we were brought round under safety car for the next few laps with a car buried into the tyre barrier. Fortunately the driver was okay if the car decidedly wasn’t.
Several laps under the Safety car were completed then we were set free to race again. I’d noticed that my temp gauge had started to read high but thought we were near the end of the race so one more lap should suffice…. The head gasket didn’t agree and decided to let go on the approach to Paddock Hill Bend and the resultant coolant dump onto my nearside rear side sent me into a fast very spin down the hill and also caused Pippa to spin out of her Class lead. I was more gutted for her than me.
Late night/early morning.
I know my place, the lads set to changing the head gasket and I was sent off to make cups of tea and coffee and with the head all done by 8pm it was my shout to treat them to an evening meal at a local pub.
I woke early and decided at 6.30am to get a start on stripping out some of the aero ducting I’d installed over the winter to see if that had caused the overheating and I reverted the set up to last years. Time soon passes and by the time I’d finished there was only 20 minutes until assembly time.
I was starting 6th (class 2nd), but with the badly damaged car missing from 3rd and Pippa alongside me in 5th I had not intention of messing up her race again. The lights went out and a decent start was made but once again the strangled engine and resultant lack of power down the straights showed and after a pretty uneventful race I finished 7th overall and Class 4th… so it’s back to the drawing board on the cooling ducting and a replacement exhaust system will be installed which will hopefully find the missing horses once more. The full in-car video can be seen at https://youtu.be/fNUPhtJoIbg
I’ve decided to withdraw from the Cadwell Park race so next time out for me will be Donington Park on 14th/15th July…. Come say hello if you’re there.