Ups and Downs at Lydden Hill
Lydden Hill was reasonably successful for Bowes racing – both cars returned home with trophies and the Golf showed an excellent increase in pace over the weekend. The speed displayed from both cars is a good sign of what is to come in the future.
The Golf was finished a few days before the event which isn’t normally achieved. The cooling system has had a complete overhaul, and the radiator is now mounted in the boot of the car, with all of the plumbing having to be re-routed through the cockpit of the car.
The upgrades were complete a week before the event but as is always the case, we had a problem. The coolant was unable to get up to temperature as both fans and the external pump were too efficient, therefore we had to buy a controller module that would monitor the temperature and turn the fans and pump on/off accordingly.
All of the work was finished and the cars were loaded and ready to go the day before we set off to the event. We arrived at Lydden Hill on the Sunday and started to prepare the cars for racing the following day. With all tools unpacked and cars checked by the scrutineers, it was time for a visit to the pub and an ‘early’ night.
The morning of the race day ran smoothly. With sign-up completed and the driver’s briefing finished we were eagerly awaiting the start of practise. After practise there was minimal work to be carried out, as the cars seemed to be fine. After checking tyre pressures, fluid levels and ball joints we were confident that the cars were ready for the first race of the day.
The first race went extremely well for the Golf, and after a front row start leading to 2nd place into the first corner things were looking good. For the duration of the race the Golf held a competitive pace, only losing two positions from poor braking, which lead to hesitation in the corners. Fuel starvation on the downhill section caused the Golf to lose all power for a few seconds. The outcome for the race was 4th in total and 3rd in class.
Race two was less successful… After a red flag due to recovery complications on track and a hesitant race after contact in both starts (with the team mate!), the Golf finished 5th in total and 3rd in class. During the second race the Golf’s turbo-brace snapped, also causing the manifold to crack. This meant that the turbo was unable to function, as the system had a leak.
After the race and during the lunch break we searched for a welder in the pits and we were able to weld the brace and manifold for the next race. Unfortunately we discovered that the turbo was burning oil – an early warning that a turbo is close to breaking. We checked the shaft and basic internals of the turbo but it didn’t fill us with confidence. After these discoveries we decided to pull the Golf out of its 3rd race and preserve the turbo for the final.
Unfortunately, the problems kept coming. The oil feed for the turbo was leaking due to a stripped thread on the fitting. We fixed this issue with another pipe and another fitting but it was only a temporary fix, meaning we were only able to complete the first part of the final. This fix allowed us to achieve 3rd place in class whilst still being able to drive the car onto the trailer at the end of the day – a welcome change!
The turbo has been sent off and is currently being fixed. There are a few other small issued that need fixing before the last round at Croft Circuit in October but things seem to be going well and we should be able to make the event a special one, with a large amount of support from colleagues at Labman and family and friends attending. The pressure is on to put on a good display for the last round – see you there.