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Reports & in-car race footage of our 2009 race season in MR2 number 24

MR2 Racing  2009 Timetable

Race Date Race Track Races Entered Qualified

(1) MR2 Racing  (2) Nippon GT150

Race Result 

(1) MR2 Racing  (2) Nippon GT150

April 4th & 5th Snetterton Nippon & MR2 1st & 1st (1) 2nd & 2nd (2) 1st & 5th (1) 1st & 1st (2)
May 16th & 17th Pembrey Nippon & MR2 1st, 3rd & 4th (1) 2nd,DNE & 6th (2) 6th, 3rd & 4th(1) 1st, DNE & 3rd (2)
June 6th & 7th Silverstone Nippon & MR2 9th & 3rd(1) 6th & 4th (2) 3rd, 2nd & Fastest Lap both races(1) 5th & 6th (2)
June 28th Cadwell Park Not Entered    
August 22nd & 23rd Snetterton MR2 13th & 8th 8th & 5th
September 27th Mallory Park MR2 3rd & 2nd  2nd & 3rd
October 24th  Brands Hatch  Not Entered    

 

The end of another great season, didn't compete in as many Nippon Challenge races as I hoped this year, but hope to rectify that in 2010.

The racing in the MR2 Races was excellent, I think my most enjoyable race in 2009 must have been the Silverstone race 1 & 2 (damage aside)

See you in 2010 !

 

Mallory Park September 27th 2009

 

Arriving on the Saturday afternoon we were soon set up in the paddock, the Saturday evening catering was being organised by Red Dragon Race & Track club and held at the Stoner Racing marquee, with burgers and beer consumed we retired for the night.

 

Sunday morning the MR2’s were first out for practice, being a short track of 1.35 miles I was expecting to have trouble getting a good lap in, getting to the assembly area early helped.

I was happy with my qualifying pace despite the lap timer beacon not being on all the time

 

Race 1

For the start of the race I was sat just behind Adam Lockwood #51, as the lights went out there was no room to go through, so I tucked up behind Adam to keep Alex Gassman #48 on the outside, as we went into turn 1 it seemed to be a little too easy as I passed Alex, in the mirror I could see Aaron Pullen #26 coming through too.

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On lap 4, when halfway round turn 1, which is a fast double apex the “slippery surface” flag was out, oil had been dropped by the grenading engine of Geraint Hughes #62 on the exit of the turn, this caused me bit of a moment and dropped me back a little from Adam, Aaron Pullan #26 in 4th was not far behind.

On lap 6 Aaron had closed the gap on me, but as we exited the hairpin he spun and took the pressure off me. With Adam now a couple of seconds ahead and apparently a good 5+ seconds space behind me I settled down for a comfortable run  to the end of the race. At half distance I noticed an orange car in my mirror, it was around 6 seconds behind so I was not overly concerned, couple of laps later it was more like 4 seconds behind and exiting the Hairpin I was able to see it was Ross Stoner #22 on a charge, having started 26th on the grid. Not wanting to make it too easy for him I responded and started taking a bit of time out of Adam’s lead. 

As we started lap 14 the Red flags came out and racing ceased. Roger Pullan #13 had slid at turn 1 and ended up in the barrier, despite it being a big hit Roger suffered no broken bones only bad bruising to his leg and chest.

 

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   The car is looking a bare with no main sponsor graphics, we are currently talking to a couple of interested parties for the 2010 season

Race 2

Lining up on the front row on the outside I knew exactly how the start would play out, as the lights went out I got a good start, but as I expected a hard charging Ross Stoner #22 tucked himself up behind Adam Lockwood #51, trying to avoid coming under attack from Aaron Pullan #26 I went round turn 1 on the outside of Adam & Ross, onto the back straight I tucked in behind Ross, damage limitation !

On lap 2 Ross made a move on Adam and took the lead. 

By lap 5 the 4 front runners had broken away from the following pack, with Aaron very close it was only a matter of time and place before he made a move, as we crossed the line to start lap 7 Aaron drew up alongside after having had a good run out of the hairpin, he had the inside line to turn 1, but I was confident there was the grip to go 2 abreast, onto the back straight we were still side by side, Aaron now had the inside line for the Esses, but I had the better track position and as we entered the Esses a bit hot Aaron’s back end broke away and I was through, narrowly missing the spinning #26

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Having to defend against Aaron had cost time and I had dropped back from the leaders by nearly 3 seconds, though I was comfortably ahead of 4th place car.

A couple of good results and no damage.

 

 

 

Snetterton August 22nd 2009

With a 250 mile jaunt across country, we left Friday morning, after the usual and unusual delays on the M6 we arrived at Snetterton mid afternoon.

We were soon set up and had a wander round to watch some of the cars testing.

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Our last visit here was the MR2 Racing season opener and I put #24 on pole for both races so I expected to be up with the front runners.

Out for qualifying and having to refer to my “Race Driver book of Excuses” I am going to go with the excuse “Couldn’t find space for a decent hot lap” despite dropping back on several occasions, eventually qualifying 13th, my worse Q for a long time.

Race 1  

(No in car footage due to camera problems)

As the lights went out I didn’t get a particularly good start, as we came to the end of the straight into turn one I was sat behind Tim Hartland #33, a few cars ahead after a touch with Mark Scott #40 Sarah Wherry #4 had got sideways and unfortunately collected Jonny White #60, this sent cars diving left & right, I nudged the back of Tim Hartland #33 and we both took to the infield slightly to avoid the damaged #60 that was heading our way.

Fortunately Sarah & Jonny are both okay, though a little sore, more than can be said of the cars.

The safety car was deployed for a 3 laps while the Marshals cleared up the debris, after the restart the front runners were soon breaking away from the rest of the pack, I had moved up several places and was chasing Chris Shackle #77 & Roger Pullan #13 and we had a few seconds on the next pack of cars led by Darrin Manney #80, though they were closing and it's hard enough to pass Roger but I didn't want to end up defending as well as attacking.

DSCF9706

Chris Shackle #77 was able to pass Roger Pullan on lap 5. My opportunity to pass would not present itself for another 3 laps, I had a run out of turn 2 and drew alongside Roger down the long straight, having the inside line into the Esses I braking as late as possible I moved ahead of Roger into 8th place, round the Bombhole & Coram I was closing in on Chris, a good exit out of the chicane and I was on his back bumper, alas the Chequered flag was out and I crossed the line 0.1 of a second behind him.

I finished 8th, so a 5 place improvement through the race.

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DSCF9681   DSCF9710

Back in the paddock, my nudge of #33 had “nudged” my front panel back into the radiator, though we had no overheating problems during the race, when we pulled the front panel back the radiator sprung a leak, a quick visit to Adam Lockwoods MR2 Emporium and a fresh radiator was sourced and fitted, the second race was called a little early catching me on the hop, while Jayne bled the cooling system I topped off the fuel and then tidied up the front with some tank tape.

  DSCF9725

 

Race 2

A much better start in race 2 had me claim a couple of places going round the outside of turn 1 and then coming in tight to turn 2. Having got ahead of Chris Shackle #77 I was now chasing Shane Wright #11. Up at the front the lead seemed to be constantly changing with Alex Gassman #48, Jody Firth #0, Adam Lockwood #48 (who had started from 6th following a suspension issue that caused a spin at the Esses in race 1) & Jason Jesse #37 all vying for the lead. Jason Jesse later to retire with a damaged tyre valve.  

DSCF9737

A pass on Shane into the Esses on lap 2 was short lived as he returned the gesture into Russell Chicane returning me to 6th place, as we crossed the line to start lap 6 our pack had broken away from the remainder of the field by a comfortable 5 seconds, though a major sideways moment for Wright #11 into turn 1 on the same lap saw the front runners pull away and also gave me the opportunity to pass, with Shane eager to regain his 5th place I had my work cut out defending from him, I was fortunate to pass a back marker just before turn 1 that caused Shane to slow, this bought me a second or so, with similar speeds I was happy to keep him where he was. As we came down the back straight for the last time I was gaining on another back marker, as I caught it through the Bombhole and Corram I was disappointed that they made no attempt to lift, even blocking into the chicane, Shane was catching quickly, as the back marker entered the chicane too fast they tried to correct rather than just go over the chicane, as they spun I had to gamble on which way they would slide,  I gambled on going right, it nearly paid off with the spinning car hitting my rear quarter, fortunately I stayed on track and crossed the line ahead of Shane (just).

  A 5th place finish and a great race long fight with Shane

 DSCF9758    DSCF9765

 

 

Silverstone 6th & 7th June 2009

As we were racing in the Nippon challenge as well as the MR2 racing we arrived on the Friday afternoon, soon after Rob (#35) & Mel arrived to support the series as he was not racing following mechanical issues at Pembrey.

Jason#37 & Cheryl arrived mid afternoon.

 

Saturday morning we woke to the pitter patter of rain on the roof, Following some tyre damage at Pembrey I needed a couple of Left tyres, unfortunately Silverstone were trying to balance their stocks and were reluctant to sell just lefts. After some discussion with Jerry I ran a Right Hand tyre “reversed” so the channels faced the right way on the Left, I put this on the front as I preferred Understeer than Oversteer. Once signed on and scrutineered we went out to Qualify.

With lots of standing water and spray it was challenging to string a consistent lap, in the end I qualified 6th in GT150.

Race 1

Off the line was just a wall of spray with even rain lights difficult to see until it was too late and into Copse you just blindly hoped that nothing was going to be stopped in front of you. Standing water down Club straight was unnerving if you could not follow somebody else's tracks it would easily aquaplane. I was happy to hold position and finished 6th in class, though I had moved up the race by 7 places as people fell off or retired.

 

Race 2

Some drivers chose not to go out in race 2 due to the conditions, I considered not going out, but thought I would try a couple of laps and come in if it had deteriorated.

The weather had lifted a little and no so much standing water made visibility a little better, I made a better start but coming into Copse was carnage with cars all over the track and run off. Threading my way through I picked up a few places, some came back through others retired. I spent most of the race chasing Johnny White #60, I had the legs on him down club straight but suffering lots of Understeer I would loose out come Brooklands and Luffield.

Rather than stack it I was happy to make the most of the wet weather experience and keep the car in one piece for Sundays MR2 races.

Finishing 5th in GT150 was acceptable given the conditions.

 

Sunday morning we were greeted by sideways rain, much heavier that Saturday, the MR2’s were due to go out for Qually at 10:00am.

There were severe weather forecasts on the news and it was questionable if we would actually get out. We got bumped back to 10:40, but amazingly at around 09:30 there was a bank of blue sky in the distance that seemed to defy the wind and was heading to Silverstone !!

We were called which caught some of the drivers on the hop after being told we were going to run late.

In the holding area we could see the track tractor trying to clear standing water down Club, around Brooklands, Luffield & Woodcote.

 

I was fortunate to be near the front and once released onto track I had some clear track ahead with Sarah #4 behind it was good to have somebody push me along, as the session progressed there was a drying line and lap times began to tumble. I was expecting to have been mid field and was pleasantly surprised to Q9th.

Race 1

Starting 9th on the grid, the track was dry and I got a good start, by Copse I had gained a place and as we entered Club for the first time I was up to 5th.

By the 3rd lap I was up to 3rd place behind leading Jason #37 and Adam #51 but with Sarah #4 very close behind.

A few laps later I dropped to 4th as Alex #48 charged back from 5th.

As we begun to catch backmarkers on the S/F straight they yielded well and kept right making life easier.

Sliding wide through Luffield a little later I had a rub with Jason #37, on to the S/F I had a mirror full of Liam #2, a poor entry into Copse dropped me down to 5th. Now sitting behind Liam #2 I was a little wary of gearbox oil smoke coming from his car and did not follow his line just incase it locked.

The front running pack was 6 cars with only a couple of seconds separating 1>6th. A back marker having a tank slapper into Copse had the pack diving all over the place with Adam #51 having to take to the run off and Liam #2 getting a bit sideways in front of me.

Down Club I was keeping off Liam’s line and having a look up the inside as we approached Brooklands Liam clipped the back of Jason #37 under braking and came left into my path, already being on the brakes I had nowhere to go and hit his rear quarter, this flicked Liam round and we made contact again, both Jason & Liam ended up in the gravel, I was facing the wrong was but on the track, thinking it may have been the last lap I flicked round and went for the line hoping to salvage something. With smoke pouring off the front tyre front the damage I kept off the line, but no Chequered flag, as I limped round Copse the red flags came out and I pulled off at the pit exit.

Due to the red flag the classification went from the previous full lap which I was officially sitting in 5th, but with Liam and Jason classified as retired moved me up to 3rd.

 

As the recovery trucks brought back Jason’s, Liam’s and my car back to the paddock we were able to inspect the damage.

  DSCF9337

With another 2 damaged tyres and a reshaped front end I was ready to load up and go home, after words of encouragement from Jayne, Rob, Mel and a few more, plus Jason & Liam who had sustained more damage than I were planning on getting back out I felt compelled to join them, Rob jumped in and rigged up a puller using a ratchet strap to tug the front end out while I visited Nadine to try and get at least 1 tyre and provided it was black and remotely round it would do. Fortunately they had 1 tyre that was from last years stock with no compound markings so it was a bit of an unknown, it was the same compound as Sarah had bought earlier and Sarah had found it better than the softs.

With the front end remodeled and plenty of tank tape applied we headed to the grid.

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Race 2

Starting from 3rd on the grid I had a good start off the line but Adam #51 came over and shut the door.

Into Luffield for the first time I slid wide and dropped to 4th with Mark Thomas #60 along side me down the S/F, going a little deeper than Mark into Copse I was able to stay ahead.

Into Becketts a dive up the inside of Sarah stuck and I was back to 3rd, with Alex #48 running wide on the exit I had the run on him and was up to second.

Though Alex was to retake 2nd place a few laps later, then I take it back again.

A short while later Adam #51 missed a gear on the S/F straight allowing me through to lead the race.

Coming up on a back marker on the S/F straight, into Copse it seemed to be carrying a similar entry speed and not being sure if they may run wide I decided to lift, a costly mistake as Alex and Adam made a brilliant reverse pincer move (the only way I can describe it) and dropped me to 3rd with Sarah all over the back of me.

As we joined Club approaching more backmarkers we were 3 abreast, into Brooklands Adam kept his foot and went deep and meant I had to brake mid corner, Alex had been aiming for a gap that should have been there but I was still there…

“A little paint was exchanged” but we were able to continue.

I briefly took the lead back off Adam, down Club we were side by side and waved Yellows ahead at Brooklands I decided to yield to Adam rather than risk an incident with marshals on track.

I managed to finish 2nd in probably my most enjoyable race to date, lots of position swapping and door to door racing.

 

Unfortunately we won’t be able to make Cadwell later this month, a very testing and unforgiving track that rewards the brave and smooth, we had a good outing there last year and will miss it.

Media Update

Due to race build commitments, Mo Stoner who regularly writes the MR2 Racing reports for MR2 Only magazine has stepped down, I have been asked by MR2 Only magazine to write the race reports to the end of the 2009 season

 

Pembrey 16th & 17th May 2009

Pembrey write up to follow

MR2 Race 1

 

MR2 Race 3

 

Snetterton 4th & 5th April 2009

With sponsorship negotiations still ongoing, neither the car nor myself had turned a wheel in anger since the closing round back in November I was keen to get out and see if last years success was a fluke !
I had a good outing at Snetterton last October and was looking to be close to my previous personal best of 1:29.248.

Having some life left in my 2008 Toyo’s I elected to race in Nippon on Toyo’s and run new Silverstone Tyres for the MR2 Race on the Sunday.


Saturday morning, signing on and scrutineering went without a hitch, the Nippon Challenge cars were first out for Qualifying at 09:00 so I took it easy for the first few laps, at the end I had qualified 2nd in the new GT150 class, this meant I was alongside fellow MR2 peddler Nick Reed #6 who had put in a 1:29.2.

Nippon Race 1

We now use Vimeo for our video hosting, it allows full race length and higher quality than Youtube, If you can only see a white box you may need to update your Adobe Flash Player

 


The start of the first race went well for me, I took the place from Nick, though some slow starting front runners and weavers nearly saw that change, Nick looked to have dropped back a little behind Jason Jesse, a few laps in and Nick was gaining. The gap got smaller and he was soon in the position to make a late dive up the inside at the Esses, my chance to regain the place came with only 2 laps to go, into turn 2 (Sear) I made a move and it stuck, just..  Nick chased me all the way to the line, my first class win of 2009 with a personal best of 1:28.956.

Nippon Race 2


There were some slow starters again in race 2, but I got away easily enough and by turn 2 (Sear) had quite a distance on Nick & Jason Jesse #2. I seemed to spend the first few laps chasing sick Subaru’s, with the other GT150’s barely in my mirror, quite a lonely race and with nothing to really chase I settled down with a reasonable pace, I did encounter what I thought was a clutch problem mid race, with lots of free play and crunching into some gears, not enough to warrant a DNF, but cause for concern.
After in the paddock I could not see any hydraulic related problems, I made a small adjustment to the clutch pedal push rod to take some of the free play away, but was wary not to adjust too much and end up with a slipping clutch, we bled the line through also as a precaution.



On the Saturday evening after a chat with the Silverstone guys I fitted the New Silverstone Tyres and pottered around the paddock to remove the releasing agent, I did consider running them in the 2nd Nippon race on the Saturday to get a feel for them but decided to wait until Sunday, some MR2 competitors did find it a little amusing that I had not driven on the Silverstone’s before qualifying.

We were called for Qualifying at around 08:45, I was second out behind Ross Stoner #22, when we were released on to track I took it easy to get a feel for the new tyres but soon settled in, with clear track around me the car felt good, the clutch problem was not as prevalent as Saturday but still an amount of free play and difficulty engaging some gears. I expected to be in the top 5 and was rather surprised to find myself on pole with a 1:28.597, this was nearly half a second quicker than my previous PB and for the MR2 Race I was carrying over 25kg’s of ballast compared to the Nippon race PB of 1:28.9

Silverstone Tyres -MR2 Racing Race 1

No video of Race 1, unfortunately my Video issues continued from Nippon the day before


I had Adam Lockwood #51 along side as the lights went out were both side by side, I held the line through turn 1 & 2. At the bottom of the straight Adam was lining up for a move and I had to defend, I could see where he was quicker and there were places where I would pull away, but he was always there !.
Fortunately Liam O’Toole #2 in 3rd was having a look at 2nd place and Adam then had is work cut out defending against Liam, this took the pressure off me a little and I was able to stay ahead and take the win.
At the end of 2008 I wrote on my website that in 2009 my aim would be an overall 1st, I didn’t think it would come on the season opener !

Silverstone Tyres -MR2 Racing Race 2


The front row was a repeat of race 1, though there was no row 2 as David Thomas & Jonny White had to retire with engine problems, this meant a little clear space for row 3 drivers Liam #2 and Alex Gassman #48.
Off the line Adam & myself were neck & neck through Riches, Adam out braked me into Sear and I had a scruffy exit allowing Alex to crawl all over me, I managed to stay ahead and even retook the lead for a few seconds in lap 2, but then dropping back to 2nd.
I had Alex alongside down the straight and a late brake he came round the outside and shut the door on me.
Though I managed to draw up alongside Alex after a good run out of Russell chicane I couldn’t get passed and I now had a mirror full of Liam O’Toole #2.
Down Revett straight I had a good run on Alex again and went deep for the Esses, Alex went deeper and had a slight “moment”, with nowhere safe to go I had to lift and lost a bit of momentum.
I slowly caught Alex and had a run out of Russell chicane, we went round Riches side by side and though Alex took Sear I had the run down Revett straight and took back 2nd, Liam had also had a run on Alex and took 3rd.
Adam was now around 3 seconds ahead and I had mirrors full of Liam & Alex.
Down the S/F straight Liam had a look down the nearside so I blocked and carried a bit more speed though Riches and Sear.
Down Revett Straight and Alex was getting a tow from Liam and I could see Jason Jesse #37 not far behind, by the time we got to the S/F straight I had around a second on Liam.
I felt the approach to Riches was the same as any other, scrubbed a bit of speed, turned in, and suddenly the back end wants to go faster than the front..!
I’m sliding sideways, opposite lock, but it wouldn’t hold and luckily by the grace of excellent driving, Liam & Alex both miss me as I then slid backwards across the track,
I managed to flick the front end round to face the right way and rejoin as Jason #37 sailed past.
I rejoined in 5th so all was not lost, I pushed on but with only 2 laps to go I wasn’t going to catch any places up.
Coming into Russell for the last time I spun on the exit, a slightly smokey but crowd pleasing correction and I was heading for the line and finshed 5th.


Though I am really pleased with my first ever overall win, I must admit I had more fun tussling in the second race with Adam, Alex & Liam.

My cutch problems did not come back to bite me and a new clutch will be fitted before Pembrey, there are a couple of other minor jobs needing attention too.

 

 

 

Silverstone Tyres - MR2 Racing is a very cost effective ways of getting into Motor Racing

With minimal modifications a front running car can be built for a lower budget than some spend on engines alone in other race series, the grid is very close and encompasses drivers of all ages & abilities.

There are drivers such as myself who have never raced before 2008, others who have come up through Karting or found other racing classes too expensive to be a contender.

There is a very helpful and knowledgeable Paddock atmosphere, with competitors willing to jump in and assist with problems to make sure your out for the next race.

Gareth Newton is in his second year of racing the Mk1 MR2 in the MR2 Racing series, after making his race debut at Silverstone in April 2008 at the back of the grid he has improved his race craft and can often be found running toward the front of the grid, this was enough to land Gareth the 1st runner up overall in 2008 and Highest Placed Newcomer Award 2008

MR2 racing & MR2 Championship race at Oulton Park, Pembrey, Anglesey Trac Mon, Brands Hatch, Silverstone, Snetterton, Mallory Park, Cadwell Park

Using the word budget racing devalues what the racing is about, it benefits from using currently inexpensive Toyota Mk1 MR2's (AW11) fitted with the 4AGE 16valve engine, as modifications are limited  the result is very close racing with only seconds splitting the grid.

Seasons racing budget will vary but generally entry fees for a double header race are MR2 Racing 250 & MR2 Championship 210 for 2x15 minute races & qualifying

MR2 Challenge, Roadsports, MR2 race, racing, competition, motorsport, feeder series, novice, MR2 racing.

 

Using the word budget racing devalues what the racing is about, it benefits from using currently inexpensive Toyota Mk1 MR2's (AW11) fitted with the 4AGE 16valve engine, as modifications are limited  the result is very close racing with only seconds splitting the grid.

Seasons racing budget will vary but generally entry fees for a double header race are MR2 Racing 250 & MR2 Championship 210 for 2x15 minute races & qualifying

MR2 Challenge, Roadsports, MR2 race, racing, competition, motorsport, feeder series, novice, MR2 racing.