Arriving at Bovington camp on the Friday afternoon, the forecasted weather was upon us and we set up service in wind and rain Once the car was passed scrutineering we retired and focused on the day ahead.
Once the car was passed scrutineering we retired and focused upon the coming race as the season is drawing to a close and we needed to finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd to maintain our lead in the overall standings. Jim arrived and joined us for the weekend and it was great to have someone from Britcar to come and cheer us on – to be honest, by the end of the weekend he was fully integrated into the team and is welcome back any time…
Saturday started bright and sunny and we set good times across a 6 mile lap that was predominately rolling sand and grit with large amounts of standing water interspersed with gooey sand and very rough forest. We finished day 1 in 1stplace with a small margin of time.
After heavy rain during the night it was no surprise that the circuit was very very wet on the Sunday, what was a surprise was that on the first corner of the day there was a large noise and the cars handling went very poor. I took a decision to try to complete the rest of the 6 miles as stopping in stage would lose enough time to put our position in jeopardy. Two or three times the car tried to veer suddenly to the right and threatened to take us into the undergrowth, the steering was quite bad and at some points the steering wheel was 180 degrees out just to maintain a straight line.
Once back it became clear that we had sheared off the top of the right hand front damper and this had been flopping about under the wheel arch for the entire lap over all the bumps. Although it cost us about 2 minutes in time, having seen the damage I was quite pleased to have got back to service!
Mongo the mechanic changed out both front struts and replaced them with standard Freelander items, used the best torque wrench really, as these are lower it gave us a dragster style nose down look!
We continued through the day although with the nose down we hit every bump on the track and that slowed us down quite considerably. The worst run was when we had a sudden rainstorm halfway through the lap which reduced already poor conditions to those of extremely hazardous to be racing in with no clear line over obstacles and a flooded track. I have uploaded this to the teams YouTube channel and I have posted a link in the teams FaceBook page.
We pressed on and at the end of the event found that, even though we had lost several minutes due to the suspension issue, we had finished first. Well actually we finished joint 1st as we had amazingly set exactly the same time as another competitor – however the win went to us as we had set the fastest 1st lap.