The second round of the MSA British Rallycross Championship at Lydden Hill was a little more successful than the first but not without it’s incidents. The team went down on the Saturday morning along with Steve the Labman race mechanic, all packed and excited for the weekend. Once down there we set up and gave the cars a good clean. Then it was time to grab some food, sign on to the track and get an early night ahead of a 6am start the following day.
On the Sunday morning things ran smoothly. We left Steve to give both cars the once over whilst we went into the driver’s briefing and scrutineering. Then it was time to get back and start to get ready for practise. The VW Golf drew a lot of attention from the Belgian crowd that had travelled over for an invitation round hosted by the British Rallycross. They were very interested in the car as MK1 Golfs are very popular in Europe and they were very excited to see what it could do, sadly they didn’t…..
On the second lap of practice the gearbox failed and we lost 4th gear in the car. Although it didn’t sound healthy, the car could still continue as the damage was already done. After practise we went out in search of some gearbox oil and other parts to try and reduce the risk of the gearbox damaging itself further. After flushing fluid through it a few times and filtering the oil we began to see the scale of damage that had been caused. Whole teeth from gears were coming out in the oil and we knew it was bad but we still persevered and went out for the first heat.
On the start line things went from bad to worse. One of the teeth from the broken gear had managed to lodge the gears and I was only able to use 3rd. After an unimpressive result the car made it back into the pits where the now routine maintenance began again with me and Steve working on the gearbox whilst my dad prepared his car for the second heat.
We decided to retire the car from the 2nd and 3rd heat on the Monday. We were able to do this as I had finished the first heat meaning I still qualified for a place in the final. So I grabbed a bucket and sponge, cleaned the Labman graphics and turned the Golf into a large advertising billboard for the following day.
Luckily, the cleaning of the gearbox had seemed to work and I managed to regain all of the gears except 4th for the final. Unfortunately the same thing happened in the final, on the exact same part of the track . Third gear broke, leaving me only with 2nd. I battled on and still managed to finish. Due to the lack of entries and mechanical failures during the day I managed to scrape a third in class.
Now it’s time to look for a new stronger straight cut box before the next round at Pembrey on the 1st&2nd May. See you there!