Stephen takes to the Silverstone International Circuit and wins some trophies...
After a quick play at Castle Combe for the Mini Action Day I was happy we’d improved the handling by changing the front doughnuts to stiffer red spots. Turn-in was sharp, with less tendency to bottom out the front suspension under braking, which was rather alarming at Brands Hatch. And that would have been it for the year, if it hadn’t been for a persuasive Paul Thompson.
The Mini 7 Racing Club final rounds at Silverstone were just a week after Castle Combe, the car was performing well and Paul was twisting my arm to put in an entry. I got the entry in just in time. What did I write before about being addicted to Mini Se7en racing?!
Once Paul’s son Joe’s car was ready to race, we popped mine back on the corner weight scales to see how the stiffer cones had played around with the balance. The rear tracking needed resetting after some wheel bashing at Brands, but otherwise it was just the corner weights to tinker with. The quick tinker turned into a couple of hours – Minis are so sensitive to ride height adjustment that you can chase your tail to perfect the balance. We got there in the end, did a spanner check and torqued everything back up that had worked loose in just 30 minutes on track at Castle Combe.
Almost 60 Minis had booked in to Silverstone, and low on funds I was faced with my first laps being a mixed wet qualifying session, in with the ballistic Mini Miglias. To make matters worse, all four championship titles were still to be decided. Much to my relief, it was deemed so wet by circuit officials that qualifying was cancelled and all races moved to the Sunday, which had a sunny forecast.
The first race’s grid was decided by championship order, so I was right down in 23rd. I was comfortable there in my third ever circuit race, made a credible start and gradually got into the rhythm, making up places down the long Hanger Straight. By the chequered flag I’d got up to 15th and third in S-Class – my first podium! Race two was a poor start with way too much wheel spin, so I dropped from 14th to 16th by the first corner. After 20 minutes, I’d settled back into the pace though, made some overtakes and ended up 12th overall and another third in the S-Class. Then, due to the way the Mini Se7en Novice Championship points are decided, I managed to win the title by one point! What better way to hit the winter break of the first season.
Some last-minute tinkering in the car park at work!
Over 50 Minis packed into the F1 garages for the finals.
Two S-Class podiums rounded off a great weekend of racing.