Sunday 18th August 2019, Navan.
- Car: HB D819
- Radio: Sanwa M12s
- Engine: Novarossi Rolling & 2145 Pipe
- Fuel: Piranha
- Tyres: Schumacher Spikes/Spirals
- Oil: XTR – Ronnefalk v2
Coming out of 2 pretty good rounds (for me!) with consecutive A Final finishes I was hopeful coming into more familiar territory – Astro! How wrong I was! Great layout and a fun and technical track in places but with a few long sections too. A mix of short Astro, which I know well, and long, which, well, I am not a fan of! Anyway – last round of the 2019 championships.
Saturday was a good day, generally. Warm in spells, sunny for the most part, but rained later in the afternoon, on and off.
The only real aim for practice was to test the tank (9.5mins), learn the track (by doing lots of laps) and making sure the car felt ok (which it did after lots of tweaks throughout the day).
I wasn’t too worried about times and actually couldn’t say what my fastest time was during practice. The most important thing was going to be being fast and not making any mistakes – everyone was so close together (after the top 4/5 guys).
Nothing on the car changed from Saturday into Sunday, with the exception of tyres (which pretty much changed every heat.
The first heat the track was wet, tricky but I felt it was quick. Made a mistake on the second last lap (first one of the heat) then made two more straight after losing my rhythm. Managed to take the heat by 9ish seconds (after we sorted out a small timing issue with the min lap time – hence the ridiculous avg lap in the below shot).
Drier heat this time around and out on yellow mini spikes. Made a few too many mistakes but managed a 16 second gain on my first heat – this should have been more on the dry track, but unfortunately I couldn’t keep it on its wheels trying to drive too fast.
Made an absolute balls of a tyre choice here – although it was great to start. Mini pins were on to try them out in case it got drier later on. They were good for the first few laps and then the rain came on – and the car became a RWD drift car! Couldn’t clear jumps, wasn’t on the lines and spent a good bit of my time going nowhere! What can ya do! They were the quicker tyre for sure I’m the dry.
Back on Silver mini spikes here and they were quite good until it dried, then they were a little too soft for how I was driving (like a maniac!). Rolling in the same places on several laps is unforgivable and I was lucky to even get my 11 laps here.
I qualified 11th overall and knew I was in for a very tough B Final, especially because everyone (literally everyone) was getting quicker in rounds 3 and 4, while I was getting slower! P3 in the B final to start.
The racing to this point had been super close – 1 mistake was literally the difference in places after a 7 minute heat. We knew what was needed in the final. Before it, clutch bearings were changed, glowplug was changed, centre diff oil was reoiled (10k to 7k) as it was now wetish. Front diff shins were replaced (some weird binding issue I spotted after heat 4) and Silver mini spikes were the wheel of choice (incase it rained).
Starting in P3 and by the end of corner 1 I was last (hit from the side when turning). A few more people ran into bother in the next few corners and I got up to middle of the pack and away. Things felt good and I was running in 6th for an awfully long time. Jimmy Chan and me battled half way through, but he got me in a pit stop and kept the lead on me from there. Brian Carrol and me battled for pretty much the last 5-6 minutes and I was pushing hard to pass, to try and push on to Jimmy in P4 and Sean in P3, but as a result of pushing I kept making mistakes.
In the end, Brian and I were so close, coming up to the last lap I figured I needed one more lap – which we got. On the double jumps in front of us, I was able to make a move and take the line as we approached almost side by side, to which Brian reacted and tried to take the same closer line, but went a little too far and landed wrong on a pipe, allowing me to take 5th, which was 13th overall – nightmare!
I did kind of know at this stage that if I finished ahead of Greg Cunningham and inside the top 15 or 16 that I would be inside the top 10 overall for the series, after missing round 1 – so this was the silver lining as it ticked the box I’d set before the start of the championship. Good progress on last year and a few A finals under my belt at this level after only my second attempt at a national series.
A massive thanks to Frank, Colin and the rest of the team who helped out at NNN this weekend. Great weekend and a super tight racing track.
Well done Alan Scroggie on TQ and win, Derek McCloskey in 2nd and Paul Myles in 3rd.
A shout out to Will and Conor who both had really good runs in the A Main, with Will in 5th (only just missing out on 4th) and Conor in 6th. Well done guys – at least you two in the A Main, along with Alan’s win gave the team a great result for the weekend.