Sunday 22rd July 2019, Cork.
- Car: HB D819
- Radio: Sanwa M12s
- Engine: Novarossi Rolling
- Fuel: Piranha
- Tyres: HB Racing Blackjack Pink/SS
- Oil: XTR – Ronnefalk v2
This was round 3 of a 4 round series – with the best 3 from 4 to count. We weren’t in attendance at round 1 in Cork at CRCCC due to the birth of baby Bradley that week. Things went well at BADMCC in Round 2, as I made my first ever A Main final at a national race and ended up in 9th position, and I was aiming to go one step better and qualify automatically for the A Main in cork, without needing the bump up from the B Final – so top 8 was required to make that happen after the 4 rounds of quali.
Saturday for practice was a brilliant day. Warm, dry but very dusty. Sunday suggested torrential rain in the afternoon, so much so that most of us didn’t expect to see a final. But things were good in the morning with a light skiff to water the track and keep dust down throughout the day – until approx. 2pm. Then things got nasty! Didn’t stop us whipping the BBQ out though – thanks Hugh for the food and to Geoff for cooking (both days!).
The first few tanks and hour or so were spent learning a track I hadn’t raced before (different track than my visit to cork last year) and it went quite well. We got down into the 45s laptimes.
Runtime test returned 10.5mins which was brilliant on that dusty surface even though the engine was only returning temps of 245. This was going to set us up for 10 minute stops.
Tyre tests found the supersoft HB Blackjack from Answer RC were quickest.
Mervyn (the amazing man in the pits and on the fuel bottle all weekend) suggested I slow it down, hit my lines and see how this went. We instantly dropped 2.3s off our fastest time all day. Super suggestion and although it felt slow to drive and watch it was inevitably the way to do it. Fastest lap time was a 43.7. With Alan doing 41s and the odd 40! But I was very much so on pace with the A Final regulars.
Sunday morning allowed an hour and a half of track time for practice on a wetter track than practice on the Saturday. But things were great and there was nothing needing changed.
We made a call before qualifying that we were going to run the only new set of HB Blackjack Pink tyres we had. The thinking was that the forecast projected weather that you couldn’t race in before the finals were due to start – so we gambled! Turned out to be a great call in hindsight – though the tyres wore brilliantly, so much so, the same set were on the car for the final anyway with little wear at all after apx 36 mins on the track through warm ups and heats.
First heat of the day and a mistake in the first lap didn’t exactly set the start we had hoped for! My bad! Will had an issue and Conor made a few mistakes (promise I wasn’t looking out of the corner of my eye!) allowing me to take a pretty undeserved top spot in Heat 3 in Round 1. Leaving us in 7th overall after round 1. Car felt good but there was something odd on landing and through the ruts – a few changes were needed.
We made some changes after heat 1 – lighter oil (50-45 at the front and from 45 to 35 at the rear) but with heavier springs (Yellow on the front and blue on the rear). The car felt very different, but despite a mistake over the last jump (getting stuck on the pipe at the top of the table top) costing me a few seconds, the time was quicker than heat 1 by 1.3s.
Car remained unchanged for this heat and the aim was to minimise mistakes. Still made two, one due to being too close to a corner and flipping upside down! Conor finished less than 1s ahead in another great race.
At this stage finishing ahead of Conor and Damien was important to remain inside the top 8. A great run to start with but a mistake in the middle put me two or three car lengths behind Conor and I had to push really hard to get past and get a gap. Getting past was epic, hard breaking into a tight corner gave me the line on the final lap with half a lap to go, but I couldn’t extend the lead enough and finished 2s behind him! Another great race but another costly mistake. Very enjoyable though and Conor deserved to finish ahead after the 4 rounds.
We were ahead of Jimmy and Damien in this round though, which left us in 8th spot and pushed Conor up to a well deserved 6th. Will managed to get into P2 in the final round, behind Alan in TQ.
The racing to this point had been super close – 1 mistake wasn’t literally the difference in places after a 7 minute heat and being on the line was so incredibly important. We knew what was needed in the final!
The HB 819 was absolutely on point all weekend – couldn’t have been better. Every heat finished without a single issue and it was extremely easy to drive. We made the A Final automatically through qualifying inside the top 8, so we had 1x 45min run to complete to decide the final position.
However, by this stage it was chucking it down and the track wasn’t getting very wet (around the end of the last heat of quali). We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to carry on but we prep’d the car anyway. Diff oil in the centre changed to 3k, new plug installed and clutch bearings changed.
Then the unfortunate decision was made that we could not carry on. Standings after 4 rounds of quali were taken as results and the day and race meeting were concluded. That left us in 8th position overall, and one step ahead of the last round. Was pretty pleased with this, although knew there was little in it throughout – a few less mistakes and that could have been higher – but that’s always the case!! Learning to be taken from it.
A massive thanks to Brendan Dowd, Conor O’Donovan and the whole team who helped out at CRCCC this weekend. Great weekend and a brilliant track to race on.
Well done Alan Scroggie on TQ and win, William White in 2nd and Conor O’Donovan (who I battled with in every single heat) in 6th. #teamHBRacingNI #answerRC
Next stop… Navan in August.