9, Jun, 2019
Much of the day’s racing had been affected by showers but this was something different. It was supposed to be the last race of the day and the cars were on the grid but it was, quite literally, a wash-out.
That meant our drivers competed in just one race at the Classic Sports Car Club’s Cheshire Challenge Meeting. Oulton Park’s a long way to go for just one race, especially if you’ve got to make the journey from Kent twice. But on the credit side, we did get a second place and had the pleasure of seeing one of our drivers play himself back in after a year’s lay-off with a class win.
Colin Watson and Gary May drove up to Cheshire with our number 92 and 93 cars to take advantage of the Friday test session. They were able watch Hugh Coulter gain track time after his year away before heading for home: the Magnificent Sevens and open series races were not to be run until Bank Holiday Monday.
When the team re-assembled at Oulton for qualifying the track was damp and the weather changeable to say the least. However, Tim Davis (Caterham C400 2400) celebrated his 50th birthday by taking second spot on the grid behind local resident and Oulton Park Specialist Danny Winstanley. They were the only two drivers to record sub-2 minute laps.
Colin Watson (C400 2400) put up the fourth fastest time, while Hugh (C400 2000), no doubt benefitting from his test session, was sixth and leading his class. Peter Hargroves (Superlight R 2000) was 19th and third in his class and Peter French (Superlight 1800) was 32nd and first in class.
For the race Tim elected to start on dry tyres with Colin and Hugh on wets. But as the cars were heading for the assembly area it started to rain. As there was no time to change Tim’s tyres we told him to take it easy and pit early.
He was the first to stop and we put two wets on the car’s left-hand wheels since that’s the side which does much of the work at Oulton. Colin and Hugh came in later by which time the rain had stopped and conditions were looking more stable. We put dries on their left-hand wheels.
Meanwhile, Tim was struggling. He was finding it increasingly difficult to control his car on a drying track with worn wets. So he did well to finish second to Silverstone victor, Stephen Nuttall. The mercurial Winstanley had dominated the early laps but fell back to retire on lap 15, minus his exhaust!. Colin was also out of luck. In a repeat of the trouble he encountered at Silverstone, Colin suffered crankshaft sensor failure, retiring on lap 10 of 22.
Hugh Coulter, though, finished the race a very happy man. Not only did he come home fifth but he won his class with a great move on the last lap, crossing the line 0.1 secs ahead, and was credited with fastest lap.
Peter Hargroves had been forced to start the race with a broken seal on his clutch master cylinder. That left him with an inoperative clutch just as he was about to head for the assembly area. Fortunately our rapid repairs held out and he finished 13th and third in class. Peter French came home 24th.
And so to the last race on the programme. Qualifying for the Verum Builders Open Series event took place on a damp track and once again Winstanley ended up quickest with Tim behind him. Hugh was fourth and second in class, while Colin was placed fifth, his best time having been disallowed because officials said he’d infringed track limits.
By the time the cars were forming up on the grid the heavens had opened and torrential rain was hammering down, soaking the drivers. It was probably a relief to them when officials displayed a “race aborted” sign.
That was it. We splashed back to the paddock and packed our sodden gear for the long drive back to Kent.
AMERICANFEST VII, BRANDS HATCH 1&2 JUNE
Our next outing was at Brands Hatch and, as events turned put, it was fortunate that we were close to home. We were supporting Tim Davis, now TVR mounted, who was running in the three Bernie’s V8s races at the American Festival.
He had entered a newly-acquired Tuscan with Rover V8 power but during qualifying suffering from a misfire and intermittent lack of power. As a result he qualified fourth on the grid.
At the start Tim jumped into third place and stayed there for three-quarters of the race but then the power loss returned and he dropped back to finish fourth. He started the next race from the second row of the grid and this time the car was running better but a spin at Clearways pushed him down the order. He was starting to catch up but ominous noises caused him to pull off the track on the last lap.
It turned out that the silencer had almost parted from the exhaust. The noise had been caused by the silencer dragging on the track surface and, obviously, failing to do its job properly. A quick inspection revealed that it would not be a quick job to repair it so we asked permission to start the third race with a substitute car.
This was granted and a quick trip back to the workshop enabled us to get Tim back on the grid – albeit, right at the back – in his trusty silver Tuscan. But this signalled the start of a really great comeback drive. He scythed through the field to reach third position by the 8th lap. But then the safety car was deployed and, with seven minutes left to run, the race was red flagged and the results declared as at the end of the 11th lap.
By then the field had been depleted by multiple DNFs and disqualifications, although that shouldn’t detract from Tim’s performance. He also set the fastest lap of the race in a great drive which left us all wondering what Tim he might have achieved had he been in the car from the beginning..
I suspect he’d have left Brands with three victory trophies.
17, May, 2019
ROB’S BLOG – MAY 2019
Classic and Sports Car Club, Silverstone, 4/5 May
The spring bank holiday week-end represented a busy time for Boss Racing. We made two round trips to Silverstone followed by a visit to Castle Combe and a gearbox change to round it all off.
It was worth it, though. Silverstone yielded a win, two seconds and third plus sundry class wins. We were at the Silverstone International circuit for the CSCC’s second meeting of the season to support no less than eight runners in the closely fought Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens series. We arrived early on Friday for the pre-meeting test day. It was relatively drama-free except that Christian Pittard was complaining about clutch issues with his 2.5-litre Seven with its powerful Mountune engine.
Qualifying for the race and the race itself weren’t due until Sunday and as there wasn’t enough room for us to park at the circuit – according to the ever helpful Silverstone staff – we decided to go home on Friday evening and come back early on Sunday. How much do you love the M1 at the moment?
Christian was still complaining about his clutch but qualified second for the race. Close behind him were Tim Davis and Colin Watson with Caterham C400 2.4s, and Richard Carter (R300 2.5). Richard was troubled with a mysterious loss of power which took the edge off his performance. Peter Hargroves (Superlight R300 2.0) was 14th, William Redman (420R 2.0) was 17th and first in class, with Alex Harbour (Supersport 1600) 24th – he too was fastest in his class – while Peter French (Superlight 1800) was 31st and second in his class.
Mindful of his clutch problems, Christian eased his car off the line at the start of the race and dropped down to fourth, so it was Tim who took up the initial chase of pole-sitter Stephen Nuttall. It was gratifying to note that our quickest runners were now closer to the highly competent and experienced Nuttall than they were at Snetterton.
When Christian passed Colin to take third place he quickly closed on Tim and pretty soon the pair were locked in a duel for second. The top three pitted early and the two Boss drivers used their experience to take time out of Nuttall with Tim barely a second behind as the pitstops unwound. However Tim drifted back in to Christian’s clutches and their battle began again. This allowed Nuttall to eke out a lead once again and he won by just under 8.5sec from Tim. Christian set the fastest lap by 0.4 secs.
The chart below shows the gap to Nuttall through the race with the pitstops coming between laps 10 and 15.
Meanwhile Colin had retired on the 15th lap with a broken crankshaft pulley. This, in turn, broke the crank position indicator. Richard was fourth, still troubled by lack of power despite a change of plugs and coils before the race. Peter Hargroves was 14th, while William Redman and Alex Harbour both won their class, finishing 17th and 19th overall respectively. Peter French was 27th and second in his class. Christian set the fastest lap of the race with William and Alex both the pace-setters in their classes.
Unusually, the second Mag Sevens event was to be a 15-lap sprint and some of the contestants in the earlier race elected not to start. That included the winner Stephen Nuttall, which elevated Tim and Christian to the top two places on the starting grid.
Again, Christian took it easy at the start, allowing Tim to grab a lead which he retained to the flag. Richard retired still troubled with a down on power engine. William pulled out with a rear wheel bearing failure.Peter finished ninth and second in his class, while Alex was 14th and top if his. Tim recorded the fastest race lap with Alex and William quickest in their classes.
Despite the retirements the week-end had produced good results for Boss Racing – but we were not done yet.
Castle Combe Racing Club, 6 May
While Tim Davis swapped his Caterham Seven for his silver TVR Tuscan and made his own way to the Wiltshire circuit we headed for home once more. The following day, Nelson Love and I were off to support Tim.
We arrived just in time for scrutineering where the officials were giving Tim a hard time for something that had never arisen before. They objected to the cut-outs in the Tuscan’s bodywork which exposed the tops of the front wheels. After some discussion they agreed to let the car start but asked for the issue to be resolved before the car’s next outing.
There was more drama before the Tuscan was allowed on to the circuit for qualifying for the Dunlop TVR Challenge. A last-minute number change caused a hurried hunt for the correct digits meaning that Tim missed some of the qualifying. But he still managed to set fourth fastest time.
Before the race started there was another qualifying session, this time for the special 30th anniversary Tuscan Challenge race. And the drama continued. The car’s silencer became dislodged and warmed up the bodywork quite nicely, although the damage was limited to some singed fibreglass. We applied heat shielding to the silencer and exhaust, enabling Tim to qualify third.
There was yet more excitement to come. In the TVR Challenge race Tim was holding a comfortable second place but on the last lap his gearbox let go and he coasted home third. That meant that Nelson and I had a quick gearbox change to do, not an easy task with the broken one still red hot.
We managed it, though, but guess what happened in the next race. Tim was tussling for the lead when the new gearbox failed too. We reckoned that the bumps of Castle Coombe had been too much for it. In the event, only four runners finished the race.
BARC, Brands Hatch
While we were at Silverstone and Castle Coombe Chris Whiteman was at the BARC meeting Brands Hatch in his Honda Civic Type R. The wrong tyre choice destroyed his chance of a good finish in the first race but a return to his normal rubber netted him the runner-up spot in the second.
Before his next visit to the Kent circuit we had the car in for engine set-up work which must have been effective because he responded by setting his quickest lap of the Indy circuit on 12th May.
And that was in a race with just two runners. Even so, Chris and Clio-mounted Terry Stephens put on a show in the BARC Tin Tops event, passing and re-passing. To nobody’s great surprise, Chris moved ahead on the last lap to take the victory.
Not unexpectedly, the second Tin Tops race was combined with the final Michelin Clio event and Chris started from the ninth row of the grid. He quickly moved up through the field though, and by the 12th lap was second and closing on the leader when his gearbox packed up.
Our next outing will be the CSCC’s Oulton Park meeting on May 27th. We’ll also be supporting Tim when he gives his TVR another airing at the American SpeedFest at Brands on 31 May.
24, Apr, 2019
CSCC SNETTERTON 300, 6 APRIL 2019
The weekend of 6-7 April was chilly even for Snetterton, but the Classic and Sports Car Club’s season opener still produced some solid results on Boss Racing’s first competitive outing of 2019.
Higher track temperatures might have enabled us to come away from Norfolk with more, but a win and two second places was nothing to ashamed of. The fact was, though, with temperatures in single figures, we struggled to get our Kumho tyres up to working temperature.
Altogether, Boss Racing was supporting no fewer than seven cars at Snetterton. This year, Christian Pittard’s CSR has a new 2500cc engine from Mountune, who left us guessing about its power output. Mountune keep their data close to their chests but the speeds the orange car was seeing in testing, albeit with the help of hurricane Gareth, were franky astonishing for a Caterham.
Friday testing and qualifying for the two races we were contesting proved pretty uneventful. The first of our two races, which opened the weekend’s programme, was the Verum Builders Open Series event. Tim Davis (Caterham 7 C400) was quickest, just 0.097 sec ahead of Christian. Richard Carter (R300) was fifth, just ahead of Colin Watson in the No 92 C400 2400, while newcomer Lewis Harman was in our class ‘F’ C400 was 12th and third in class.
Tim grabbed the lead at the start with Christian in close attendance. They made their pitstops on laps five and sixth respectively, allowing Colin to take over at the front for one lap. Tim was soon back at the front, though, but with two laps to run Christian used the power of his engine to move ahead and win by just under two seconds. He also set the fastest race lap.
Colin was fifth, seven seconds up on Richard, while Lewis crossed the line to take 12th and third in class. Four of the first six finishers were Boss Racing runners and the only non-Caterham in the top six was the Lotus Exige V6 Cup of James Little.
No fewer than seven Boss-supported competitors took part in qualifying for the Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens event, which was the fourth race on the programme. This time, Christian had to play second fiddle to the Series 3 C2400 of Stephen Nuttall whose narrower Avon ZZR’s seemed quicker to reach working temperature.The fastest runners were all out together on the third and fourth laps for what turned out to be an impressive piece of slipstreaming from which Tim emerged third fastest and Colin fourth. Richard Carter was sixth and Lewis Harman an impressive eighth with only 220hp. Regular runners Peter Hargroves (Superlight R2000) was 19th and Peter French 33rd, while Ben Whibley of MotorsportDays fame who was sharing our K-series-engined Supersport 1600 with his father lined up 32nd.
In the race Nuttall drove superbly to dominate proceedings, although Colin livened things up with a late-braking move on Christian and Tim in to the first corner. Nuttall was able to stretch out a 4.5 sec lead by the end of the first lap and kept it after the pitstops chased by Tim and Christian. At the finish Christian was 21 sec behind with Tim demoted from third to fourth for some exuberant driving – aka track limits.
Colin, meanwhile, retired on the tenth lap when his undertray worked loose. He came into the pits to have it fixed but decided it was pointless to continue at that stage of the race. Richard was fifth at the flag, while the ever-improving Lewis took a class win with ninth overall. Peter Hargroves was 16th and second in his class, while Peter French took 28th place. The Whibleys might have brought up the tail end in 31st place but were all smiles after what they considered a great experience.
And that is surely what it’s all about. Our next outing is on 4/5 May at the CSCC’s Silverstone meeting and we are hoping for sunshine..
Goodwood Sprint, April 20th
A rather more genteel day was had at Goodwood for the Bognor Regis motor club sprint over the Easter weekend. The Lotus Seven club had been invited so there was a whole array of Sevens including one of our customers, Peter Seldon, in his Duratec R500. Always a great place to visit especially with the glorious sunshine. After the first timed runs we retired to drinks in the flying club where Peter decided not to bother with the second timed run as he had a dinner party to get back to! I could get used to this sort of motorsport!
21, Jan, 2019
MotorsportDays Live, Silverstone, 2/3 November
Ben Whibley, founder and managing director of MotorsportDays, invited Boss Racing to participate in their excellent show at Silverstone where we joined the CSCC on its stand. Tim Davis and Jack Hannah took people for hot lap rides around the circuit in two of our trackday Sevens over the two days of the show. Altogether, there were 150 cars on track and 60 exhibitors with highlights including the launches of Revolution Racecars new sub £100,000 carbon tubbed sports prototype, and the Enduroka race series for Ford Ka’s for the slightly less well heeled.
It was a very different experience to the normal shows. Being able to see show stands, wander among the teams in the pit garages and jump in the cars for hot lap rides was a whole new experience for members of the public. We’re looking forward to the 2019 show as a great way to finish the season.
Motor Sport Vision Racing, Brands Hatch 10/11 November
Except for us it wasn’t quite the end of the sesason. We entered two cars for the ‘Allcomers and Z Cars’ race at Brands Hatch on a weekend marked by changeable weather conditions. Qualifying was cold and damp despite the TSL timesheets saying ‘Dry and bright’. They clearly didn’t come out of the timekeepers office! We had brought slicks for 92 but wet and intermediate options were a little thin on the ground. Colin lined up for the first race in our 92 C400 behind a rapid M3, while Peter Hargroves was 11th on the grid.
By the time the starting lights went out the track had dried and it stayed dry for the duration of the race Colin made a great start and pulled away to win by eight seconds with Peter seventh.
A heavy shower before the second race returned the track to the conditions for qualifying. Colin was now on some vintage wet tyres that clearly hadn’t matured with age and couldn’t live with the winning Porsche 997 Cup and the M3 now on fresh wets. He held second for the first four laps before dropping to third where he finished.
So that was it for another season. But we’ll have plenty to do before 2019 starts. There’ll be cars to prepare, engines to build and ideas to try out. As usual I’ll be keeping you informed…some time!
4, Jan, 2019
Robs Blog. September – October
Classic and Sports Car Club Late Summer Meeting, Donington Park, 15/16 September
Boss Racing customers came away from the Leicestershire circuit with two wins from two races, a perfect result. It started well with Colin Watson (Caterham C400 2400), Richard Carter (R300 2500) and Tim Davis (C400 2400) occupying the front row of the starting grid for the Racetruck Open Series race. Peter Hargroves was 20th in his Superlight R2000.
For the Magnificent Sevens race, however, our old rival Peter Ratcliffe pipped Tim and Colin to pole position. Richard was fifth (and first in his class), with Peter Hargroves 25th (third in class) and Peter French (Superlight 1800) 34th and first in class.
From the time the lights changed to start the Open Series event Tim and Colin dashed off into the distance. But on lap 17 of this 31-lap race, Colin was wrong-footed while lapping a back marker at the Craner Curves and ended beached in the gravel. This left Tim secure in the lead and he won by a comfortable 17-secs. He also set fastest lap. Richard was third and second in class, with Peter tenth and second in class.
The Mag 7s race was a little less straightforward. It was raining as the cars assembled in the collecting area but the sun was out when the race started – with our cars on wets. The first couple of laps were run under the safety car and Tim was caught out as he’d been expecting two green flag laps. He soon recovered, though, and he and Colin battled for the lead with Peter Ratcliff until Peter spun exiting coppice on lap four as the leading trio tried to put down nearly 1000hp on to the all important Starkeys straight.
Colin had eased into a three second lead as the pit window opened and the cars came in for their mandatory pit stops. Colin made the call to only change three wheels giving him the edge over Tim as the pit stops unwound. Backmarkers seemed to be particularly tricky at Donington perhaps due to the flowing nature of the track and the gap yoyoed but Tim slowly reeled Colin in. As it looked as if there would be a last lap fight, faces on the pitwall became more concerned – team orders perhaps? In the end however Tim couldn’t quite latch on to the 92 car and they crossed the line 1.5 seconds apart but over 40 seconds ahead of third place! Peter Hargroves was 13th but Peter French wasn’t classified.
Classic and Sports Car Club Wendy Wools Anniversary Meeting, Mallory Park, 6/7 October
There was a brace of victories for Tim Davis at this tribute to the Wendy Wools sponsorship of the crowd-pleasing special saloon and mod sports races of the 1970s and `80s. It was certainly a busy qualifying session for us with five cars entered for the Mag 7s race: Colin Watson, Tim Davis, Christian Pittard, Hugh Coulter and Richard Carter. We were also supporting Peter French.
Colin, Tim and Christian took the first three places on the grid with Richard fifth, Hugh (C400 2000) sixth and first in class G. Peter French was 22nd.
Richard however went off and hit the wall, seriously damaging his front suspension. We only just managed to get him to his grid position in time for the start. Colin, however, had incurred a five-place success penalty and had to start sixth.
Tim, therefore, inherited pole with Christian alongside him
In a lively race Colin, who likes Mallory, quickly surged to the front with Christian second and Tim third. But he had to make an early pitstop to replace a broken wing that was rubbing dramatically on the front tyre. Then, on lap 13, he was squeezed onto the grass by a back marker and went off ending his race. Christian suffered clutch failure, while Hugh had a moment and left the track.
And so Tim and Peter Ratcliff pulled away to battle for the win. Indeed with ten laps to go Ratcliff seemed to have the win in the bag as he gradually pulled out a five second lead. However, never one to give up, Tim held the gap and managed to reduce it as the clock wound down and with one lap to go he was back with Ratcliff. Catching was one thing but with just the hairpin and Devils elbow to go, getting past looked like something else. However the Team Leos car struggled to slow for the hairpin, half spun and left a small gap that Tim dived in to. To the amazement of all on the pitwall who had watched the cars disappear on the run up to the hairpin they reappeared with Tim in front and he sailed across the finish line to take the chequered flag! Richard was third. Peter French was 15th and first in class. Tim also recorded the fastest race lap.
The Racetruck open series event should have started with Colin, Christian and Tim occupying the first three places on the grid and Richard fifth. However due to his crash in the earlier race Hugh elected not to start, Colin’s car car was too damaged to repair and Christian, with a broken clutch, was another non-starter.
Tim was leading the race – a much quieter affair – when the organisers were obliged to bring it to a premature end on lap 21 due to problems with noise limits. Again, he set fastest lap. Richard was placed third.
With only nine days before we were scheduled to leave for France Colin’s no. 92 Caterham was stripped the day after we returned from Mallory. Unfortunately the damage was worse than we thought with the front of the chassis twisted. The only option was to ship it to Arch Motors on the Wednesday. We collected it two days later and spent the next few days building up the car and getting it running again just in time for the five day trip to France.
Classic and Sports Car Club, Magny Cours, 19/21 October
It’s a day’s drive from the port of Calais to Magny Cours in central France, 250km south of Paris, but it was far enough south for the weekend’s weather to be gloriously warm and sunny. We had four cars for Colin, Tim, Richard and Will Redman (420R) to contest two open series races. The results of the first determined the starting positions for the second.
Colin was on pole once again with Tim third, Richard fifth and Will 16th. The first race was a repeat of the earlier battles between Colin, Tim and Peter Ratcliff. In fact, I’d call it epic. Tim pitted first but Colin and Ratcliff came in together. On re-joining the circuit both were delayed by a slower car, allowing Tim to sprint away into a lead he retained to the flag. Colin was second and Richard fourth. Will was 17th and the winner of his class.
Battle was re-joined during the second race. Tim started from pole and the leading trio was soon hard at it again. They pitted in the order Ratcliff, Tim and Colin but Colin was again delayed by a slower car leaving Tim and Ratcliff battling for the lead until a late-race safety car interlude. The safety car toured for ten minutes and it looked as if that was how the race would finish as the officials struggled to clear the debris. But just as we thought it was all over (and we were singing the praises of British marshalls!) the safety car pulled in with one lap to go. In the dash for the flag the lead must have changed five or six times but Ratcliff just held on to win. Colin was third and Richard fourth. Will, meanwhile, came in an excellent 17th again.
There was nothing left for us to do except pack up and head to our home from home one more time for a barbeque and ‘couple’ of beers and reflect on the results of the 2018 CSCC season. Out of nine Mag 7 rounds we’d won seven with victories in five out of eight open series races. Not bad, I’d say
16, Nov, 2018
Brands Hatch CSCC 2018
Perhaps we’d got too used to winning!
In July Boss Racing came away from a parched Brands Hatch with two wins from the two races we entered. Yet at Thruxton a month later we had to settle for a second and two thirds.
I say “settle” but it was nothing to be ashamed of and it meant the other drivers had a taste of success, which, hopefully will encourage them.
Not that our Brands successes came easily. They didn’t, thanks to the Classic Sports Car Cub’s system of success penalties. Both Christian Pittard and Tim Davis had to take a five-place hit on the grid for the Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens race at the club’s Brands bonanza meeting on 14/15 July.
But for this, Christian (Caterham CSR 2300) and Tim (C400 2400) would have been first and second on the grid after a stunning qualifying performance, Christian setting a ‘pole’ time of 48.80 seconds. As it was, Christian lined up sixth and Tim seventh. This meant that Colin Watson in our number 92 C400 2400 sat on pole with Richard Carter (R300 2300) third. Peter Hargroves (Superlight R2000) was 20th and Peter French (Superlight 1800) 25th. For this meeting we were supporting Alex Harbour (Supersport 1600) and he qualified 24th and first in class.
The “Spa Special” engine normally fitted to Colin’s car wasn’t quite ready, so he had to make do with a lower-power unit. Even so, he managed to hold on to second place for eight laps before dropping back but by lap 12 as the pit window opened the top six were covered by 1.2 seconds and had already begun lapping people.
Shortly after the pit stops Christian had a ‘moment’ at Clearways which cost him ten seconds and was to prove fatal as he finished fourth despite his best efforts to catch leaders, setting fastest lap along the way. Tim drove faultlessly however reeling in Gary Bate and then Peter Ratcliff by lap 22. Ratcliff endured eight laps of pressure before Tim was through in to the lead which he held to the chequered flag despite the attentions of the rapid Gary Bate. Just half a second separated them at the flag.
Richard was seventh, Peter Hargroves 16th and Alex a class-leading 21st. Peter French was 28th. Alex also put up the fastest lap in his class.
Christian’s turn to win came in the Racetruck Open Series race. He started from pole with Tim fourth, Richard fifth, Peter Hargroves 15th and Alex 22nd. Christian led throughout with Tim following him for much of the race. Towards the end, however it was Tim’s turn to have a moment at Paddock Hill Bend avoiding an errant slower runner and this dropped him to third at the flag.
Richard and Peter also finished in the top ten, in sixth and ninth respectively. Alex was 18th. Tim recorded the fastest lap of the race, comfortably inside his qualifying time, while Peter was the quickest runner in his class.
In its issue of 19 July Autosport carried a comprehensive report illustrated by an impressive picture of Tim winning the Mag Sevens race.
CSCC Thruxton Thriller
A month after Brands, conditions for the CSCC’s Thruxton Thriller meeting at Britain’s fastest circuit were considerably cooler – at least as far as the weather was concerned. Things certainly hotted up for us during Friday testing when Johnny Pittard’s supercharged Caterham developed what’s best described as a water feature with clouds of steam issuing from the exhaust. That certainly put paid to Johnny’s testing but then Tim struck trouble in the next session with, well, engine issues. Christian Pittard was right behind and spun trying to avoid Tim’s stricken car.
That wasn’t all. On his out-lap Hugh Coulter wiped two wheels off his car in an encounter with another competitor that was a little too-close. The session was red-flagged as a result and the team spent Friday night repairing the car. On Saturday morning Jack Hannah and I returned to the workshop to prepare Johnny Pittard’s old car with its K Series engine as well as our number 92 car for Tim to use. Fortunately we weren’t racing until Sunday!
Qualifying for the Open Series race represented Tim’s first outing in the Boss car and he set a restrained eighth fastest time. Johnny, however, managed third with Christian going one better to line up in second spot. Richard was seventh with Hugh and Colin Watson sharing the 93 car to line up 11th. Peter Hargroves was 14th.
In the early going Christian ran with the leading group and took the lead on lap 9. Despite his unfamiliarity with the car, Tim was moving up and the two swapped places. Tim took the lead on lap 12 and held it until lap 22 but a mistake at the complex caused him to spin on the very last lap. He also had a fuel issue so wasn’t classified.
Christian spent much of the race fighting for the lead but finished third, one place ahead of Jonny. Richard was 11th having lost time with a second pit stop due to a puncture. Coulter/Watson were 12th with Peter 18th.
As it happened, Jonny was lucky to finish at all. The Thruxton bumps had left his car with a cracked radiator and damaged alternator. Thankfully, we were able to change these components before the start of the Mag Sevens race which was due to start after the lunch break.
Tim had set second fastest qualifying lap but the CSCC success penalty relegated him to 12th on the grid. This promoted Christian to third, Richard to fourth and Jonny to fifth. Coulter/Watson lined up tenth with Peter Hargroves 13th.
Tim, Christian and Jonny spent the initial stages of the race fighting for the lead with eventual winner Jonathan Mitchell. All three Boss runners took turns in front, but Tim and Christian were both forced to drop out on lap 15 of this 28-lap race. Christian suffered a broken throttle cable, while Tim hit a kerb and damaged his front suspension.
This left Jonny to finish second with Richard third. Hugh and Colin came home seventh with Peter 11th. There was some consolation for Tim as he was credited with the fastest lap of the race by a fairly comfortable margin. Jonny also set fastest lap in his class.
21, Sep, 2018
ROB’S BLOG – JULY 2018
Spa Summer Classic 22-24 June
It might have been the prawn risotto that made the weekend so special. Of course, it could have been the majestic Spa circuit but, then again, perhaps it was the silverware we took home.
In fact, Boss Racing’s clients had a pretty good weekend in Belgium with a win and two second places.
None of that, of course, was achieved just by sitting in the sun enjoying the results of Tim Davis’ culinary skills. We had plenty of work to do, as usual. Jonathan Pittard’s newly-built supercharged Caterham CSR suffered persistent teething troubles while Colin Watson’s efforts in our number 92 car turned into an economy run, especially in the second of the two races which mixed Gold Arts Magnificent 7s runners with all-comers.
Our annual pilgrimage to the Belgian shrine of speed began on the Wednesday before the meeting. We took five race cars plus the number 93 usually driven by Hugh Coulter to act as a stand-by. They were loaded into four vehicles and three of them, crewed by Tim Davis, Colin Watson and Kevin King, set off at 0500hr, arriving at 1500hr to prepare our paddock space. Gary May, Jack Hannah and me had workshop commitments so we didn’t arrive at the circuit until 0100hr the following day.
While Britain sweltered in the heat, Spa enjoyed cooler temperatures which suited us just fine and made working on the cars much more comfortable. In fact, there was some rain on Thursday morning which interrupted but the sun came out in the afternoon and so did the cars. Among them was Jonny Pittard but in the day’s final session he suffered a shredded supercharger drive belt.
As we were to discover, this was to be a constant feature of the week-end. It sent us on a desperate dash around the local garages for a replacement belt. We managed to find one that was suitable and arranged for others to be sent out to us, just in case. It turned out to be a wise precaution.
In qualifying Christian Pittard was blisteringly quick. On the lap which won him pole position, a 2min 34.8, he averaged 162.8 kph (101.75 mph). A cooling down lap and the car was parked in the pit lane – job done.
Tim (C400) qualified third with Richard Carter (CR300) fourth, Colin (C400) seventh and Jonny eighth. Peter French (Superlight) was 44th. Jonny achieved his time on his fourth lap after which his supercharger belt let go again. We tried everything we could think of to stop it happening again including adjusting pulley alignment and trying different belts of different lengths but to no avail.
His brother, meanwhile, was preparing to turn his magnificent pole lap into a win in the first race. Christian’s plan was to take it relatively easy in the initial stages to conserve his tyres. He was fifth on the first lap while Tim forged ahead, going to the front on laps two and four as he and Peter Ratcliff disputed the lead. Christian closed in and led the field for five of the last six laps. At the flag he was 1.3 sec ahead of Tim, with Ratcliff demoted to fourth by a track limits penalty.
Colin, meanwhile, had a steady race in the top six until he ran out of fuel on lap 13. It was no surprise because we knew he’d be marginal with his car’s small tank. Richard was running fifth but spark plug failure forced his retirement two laps from the end. Jonny failed to complete one lap but Peter French finished 37th.
Christian was so confident after his win that he decided to use different rubber in the second race. We took a couple of sets of tyres with us that had been shaved to 2mm, the idea being that they wouldn’t overheat during a hot 40 minute race. Testing on the Thursday however showed that they didn’t ‘switch on’ and struggled for grip but with a win in the bag it was decided to give them a go. They did indeed lack grip, a few more degrees hotter may have been a different story, but he still finihsed only 2 seconds down on winner Ratcliff.
Tim also encountered trouble. In the first race his oil warning light had been flashing so we topped his tank up to the top. The result was that during the second race oil was being blown out over his legs. Sensibly, he decided to stop on the sixth lap.
Jonny decided to take it easy during the early going and keep below 80 per throttle to ease the load on his supercharger belt but when he started to push the trouble returned and he was out on the ninth lap.
Richard had a magnificent start so that by the fourth lap he’d caught Tim. But he lost touch with the leaders through the pit stop sequence and ultimately finished fourth – nearly 50 secs behind the winner. Colin also took it easy to eke out his fuel but he ran out just the same, although this time it didn’t happen until the last lap. He actually crossed the line in the pits to finish eighth.
Overall it was a successful weekend for Team Boss and a very enjoyable one, enhanced, of course by Tim’s tasty treats.
28, Jun, 2018
Our statistics for 2018 are looking pretty good; after a cautious start the season has picked up momentum. We’ve just returned from our annual pilgrimage to Spa and that story – once we’ve run it past our lawyers – will feature in a future post.
For those of you who only read this far, it’s five races and won three of them. But if you have a mug of cocoa handy this is the story so far…
Snetterton 7/8th April
Both Tim Davis and Christian Pittard were lapping impressively quickly in Friday testing before the season-opening meeting on the Snetterton 200 circuit, under the lap record and showing ominous pace. But on race day strangely neither really sparkled and it wasn’t due to any Boss ‘driver preparation’ the night before!
In qualifying for the Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens event, Christian put his CSR on second grid spot with Tim (C400 2400) fourth, Richard Carter (R300 2400) sixth and Peter Hargroves (Superlight R2000) 12th.
Christian took the lead at the start with Tim slotting in behind, although he fell back to third on lap 2. Christian lost the lead on lap 10 and Tim dropped to fourth. He dived for the pits two laps later with Christian following. He would finish 44 seconds behind the winner but Tim dropped out on lap 14 with electrical gremlins. Richard retired a lap later. Peter was 16th and second in his class.
The opening round of the Race Truck Open Series for all-comers Christian again qualified second with Tim fourth and Richa
rd sixth. Tim took the lead on the second lap and held it until Christian passed him three laps later. Two pit stops put him a couple of laps down and that was too much of a handicap even for Tim. He did well to climb back to seventh and a lap behind by the flag. Christian made his stop on lap 16 and battled his way back to third by the 29th and penultimate lap. At the flag he was 6.8 sec behind the leader with Richard fifth.
We felt Christian should have finished second. That was because one of our biggest rivals, Gary Bate, had been released from his pit stop five seconds early by his pit crew. We didn’t protest but we did have a quiet word to let his team know we’ll be watching in future! In fairness, though, Bate did come in with a wing hanging off so his crew may have been distracted by this.
Our results were still pretty respectable but we felt we could have done better and we were sure that if everything gelled then the results would come.
Silverstone 7th May
This confidence wasn’t misplaced. Tim qualified on pole for the Mag Sevens race with Christian second, Richard third, Jonny Pittard (Superlight R500) first in class G), Hugh Coulter (C400 2000) eighth and Peter Hargroves 14th.
The race was a cracker. Tim and Christian were at it hammer and tongs as soon as the lights went out. Tim took the lead with Christian right behind him. Christian passed on lap 9, Tim was back in front three laps later. Then he pitted. Christian came in a lap later. The battle was resumed after the stops with Tim, after a super aggressive
pitstop (he changed ‘up’ as he entered the pit lane!) which required some nifty footwork from Rob, eight seconds in front. But the early pitstops meant there were still 25 minutes of the race left and Christian slowly reeled the number 80 car back in. By the penultimate lap they were together and a marvellous couple of laps ensued – at least for the spectators! In the end a cool head won over hot tyres as Christian led over the line. Jonny was fifth and first in his class, while Hugh was eighth and Peter 14th.
The battle between Christian and Tim was re-joined in the open series race. Christian this time qualified on pole with Tim alongside him. Richard was fourth, Hugh a class-leading sixth and Peter 14th. Tim jumped into the lead from the start with Christian right behind. The pair swapped positions on lap 6.
Tim pitted on lap 10 and worked his way back to second by lap 17. He re-took the lead a lap later and held it to the end ahead of a pair of 3.6 litre Ginetta G55s. Christian set the fastest lap in his class on his way to fourth, the car stuck in fifth gear after the pneumatic selector shaft snapped, while Hugh was eighth. He too set fastest lap in his class. Peter was 22nd.
So that was two poles, two wins and two fastest laps as well as a selection of class wins.
Oulton Park 2nd June
While southern parts of the country were enjoying warm sunshine a month later it was a different story in Cheshire. It was raining when the cars came out to qualify for the Mag Sevens race at the CSCC’s one-day Oulton Park gathering on 2 June.
Tim was fourth on the grid but Hugh, despite unfamiliar wet tyres, got down to a class-leading seventh less than a second behind – a mighty lap. Other Boss Racing customers, William Redman (420R), Peter Hargroves (Superlight R2000) and Peter French (Superlight 1800), struggled in the damp conditions. They took 26th, 30th and 38th places on the grid respectively.
Tim made a demon start, jumping into the lead by the first corner, although he was passed by pole-sitter Nicholas Grindrod. The two traded the lead until the pit stops. Tim re-joined ahead but lifted off for a couple of laps when a piece of rubber wedged itself in the exhaust and he saw smoke coming from his bonnet. By the time it cleared Grindrod and Gary Bate had gone by.
But Grindrod was delayed by a back-marker, leaving Tim and Gary to slug it out to the finish. When the flag came out early, Tim was the only runner not disappointed – that may have been because in the lead at the time! His winning margin was just 0.723 sec. He also set fastest race lap.
The ever-improving Hugh wasn’t able to capitalise on his fourth row starting slot. He felt unwell during the race and retired at his pit stop, but not before recording the best lap in his class. I’m happy to say he’s now fully recovered. Meanwhile, Peter celebrated his best-ever result with a class win and 10th overall. William struggled to the flag despite electrical problems, albeit in 28th place, while Peter French recovered to finish 24th.
So with three wins in a row we headed off to Spa Francorchamps which was to have the usual heartbreak, elation…..and late night jacuzzis in store.
21, Nov, 2017
What a difference a day makes: on Friday we were messing about with bits of cardboard but on Saturday we were taking home the silver.
Let me explain. To enable our cars meet the noise requirements at Oulton Park we found ourselves, along with many of the most powerful cars, making airboxes from carboard and tape to deaden the engines’ induction roar. We’d never encountered such problems before and I can’t explain why we did on this occasion but we were fortunate on two counts: we’d arrived at the circuit a day early and we had plenty of cardboard available!
It was all worth it, though. Tim Davis took a win and a second, while Colin had a pole position and a third. We were at the Classic and Sports Car Club’s Sunset meeting on 7th October to support no less than six Caterham 7s: Colin Watson (C400 2400), Tim Davis (C400 2000), Richard Carter (R300 2400), Hugh Coulter (C400 2000), Peter Hargroves (Superlight R 2000) and Peter French (Superlight 1800).
There were more noise issues on the pre-race test day when we had to cut open Richard Carter’s silencer and re-pack it. But that was to be the least of his troubles – and ours too. Later in the session his clutch exploded and cracked the bell-housing, so we spent the evening removing his engine and gearbox to replace it.
Qualifying for the Gold Arts Mag Sevens race the next day ended with our driver coach, Darren Burke, two seconds faster than anybody else which was fine except that he wasn’t in one of our cars! The changeable weather made tyre choice something of a lottery but in the end Colin lined up fifth, Tim Sixth, Richard ninth, Hugh 10th, Peter H. 13th and Peter F. 20th.
There was little doubt about the weather for the race itself. It started wet and got wetter. Colin was having a good run in sixth place but as the rain intensified he aquaplaned off and hit that wall hard. Several other runners did the same and the race was red flagged after 17 laps. Tim finished second after a close race with the redoutable Gary Bate. The pair had a few grassy moments but Tim forced Bate to settle for third. Richard was seventh, Peter H 14th and Peter F 17th. Tim won his class, as did, Peter French, although he was the sole runner.
The changeable weather had made qualifying for the Meteor Suspension Open Series seem watching like an F1 session with successive drivers putting up the fastest time. As the chequered flag dropped arch rivals Gary Bate and Simon Smith were P1 and P2 and looking secure. However the Boss drivers were still on their final flying laps and timing their runs to perfection as first Tim, then Colin jumped to the top of the time sheets to lock out the front row. Colin was the last to go and ended up on pole, nearly a second ahead of the pack and the only driver to get below 1min 50 secs. Tim was second, Richard ninth and Hugh 19th but his gearbox let go and as we had no spare he was a non-starter.
The Boss team had little more than an hour between races to repair Colin’s damaged car. And there was quite a lot to do. He needed a new nose cone as well as the upper and lower wishbones but we got him to the grid in time.
From the start, though, Colin and Tim seemed to be going in different directions. When the lights went out Colin got bogged down with wheelspin, while Tim headed for the front. The race was shortened by poor visibility but not before Tim and Jonathan Mitchell had spent most of the race swapping the lead. Tim was no doubt pleased by the organisers’ decision to show the chequer after just ten laps but Colin, heading for third, could probably have done with a longer race. Richard Carter, handicapped by his tyre choice, was seventh. Hugh Coulter was a non-starter.
As the season winds down both our next two outings will be at our local track, Brands Hatch. Meanwhile the workshop continues to be full of cars, but we do have some cool new toys to play with!
We’ve recently had installed a Maha car lift installed which, while being a fantastic piece of kit also levels itself at whatever height it is set to. This means that ‘flat floors’ are easier and more accurate and it works in conjunction with our Hofmann computerised wheel aligner. We can measure a car six feet in the air while walking underneath to adjust it – luxury!
Finally, anyone who is involved in motorsport knows you always need a little bracket to hold something on or a widget to do this and that. So we decided to buy a 3d printer for those odd parts that are tricky to make. The reality is that it has been running round the clock recently as we push what it is capable of. Some of these parts – dive planes, mirror mounts, brake ducts – will become available over the winter as they are tested and signed off, watch this space!
24, Oct, 2017
Well, you can’t do better than that:
four cars entered and they filled the first four places in the race.
This dominant performance was achieved on 2 September in the second of two All-Comers’ races at Brands Hatch.
Boss Racing and its clients had been determined to do well in the MSVR-organised Lotus Festival on our home track. There were entries for Colin Watson in our “Spa Special” Caterham C400 with 2.4 litre Duratec engine, Jonny Pittard (Caterham Superlight R 2000), brother Christian (Caterham CSR 2300) and Tim Davis (C400 2000).
We’d put them all on slick tyres for the Friday test day but later we made a startling discovery: the new tyres for the race were the wrong size. They only fitted Colin’s car, with its bigger arches. I managed to get our supplier to deliver new ones overnight but they arrived just too late for qualifying. Even so, with Colin putting up third fastest time, the others took the next three places on the grid in the order Jonny, Christian and Tim.
In the hard-fought first race, Colin finished just 0.3sec behind the winning Radical, taking second place on the 16th of the 24 laps. Christian was gaining on him in the closing stages but going through Paddock Hill Bend, the two made contact, costing Colin both his rear wings. On the next lap Christian had a spin at Paddock but he recovered to finish fourth, behind Jonny and ahead of Tim. Christian was also credited with the fastest lap.
Colin started the second race from the first row of the grid and darted straight into the lead which he held throughout the race. It was a straightforward victory for him and a great result made even better with Jonny, Christian and Tim backing him up. Colin also made the fastest lap of the race.
Yet just seven days later we had one of those week-ends where you just have to shrug your shoulders and say: “That’s motor racing!” Not that our entrants for the Classic and Sports Car Club’s late summer meeting at Donnington Park’s National Circuit scored a poor set of results. Far from it. But an even better haul was there for the taking.
In Thursday testing Christian went out on used tyres and was soon lapping confidently, while new client Will Redman in our number 91 C400 2000 was playing himself in gently as he hadn’t raced for some time.
Qualifying for the Gold Arts Magnificent Seven race was on a classic ‘damp but drying’ track, teasing drivers to manage ever changing grip levels and make decisions on tyre choice. At the end of the session Tim was fifth and first in class, Jonny sixth and Christian eighth. But after qualifying we noticed that Jonny’s car was leaking oil. We had little option but to withdraw the car to avoid the risk of further damage. Will Redman lined up 26th and Peter Hargroves (Superlight R) 30th.
Having dried it then rained again in qualifying for the Meteor Suspension Open Series race with Christian and Tim Davis initially on dry weather tyres. Due to the large volume of traffic in the pit lane they didn’t get their wets until the session was almost over. As a result, Christian lined up 20th on the grid and Tim 33rd.
As soon as the lights went out Tim and Christian started hauling themselves up from their lowly starting positions to the sharp end of the field. In fact, Tim was heading for a podium position but spun at Goddard’s on the last lap, allowing Christian to take third.
So for the Mag Sevens event we were yet again looking at a wet drying surface with much discussion over tyre choice for what is a 40 minute race. Tim had a good race to finish fifth and first in class with Christian classified 10th. But it could have been better. Both had elected to start on wet tyres but the track was drying. By lap eight Tim was in the lead when he pitted came in for his stop, but changing to dry tyres dropped him back.
A collision while lapping a back marker took Christian out of contention. Then additional time was lost when both he and Tim received 90-sec penalties for excess speed during a period of Code 60 running. Even so, Tim won his class and put up the fastest lap.
Peter, meanwhile, finished 16th and fourth in class, while Will was 21st. He counted the week-end a successful one. He hadn’t damaged the car, he’d kept in on the track and he’d finished the race better than he qualified and his beaming smile was a real highlight on a slightly frustrating meeting.
Other Boss Racing clients had mixed fortunes at the BARC meeting at Brands on 23/24 September. Rod Birley took a brace of second places in the Cannon Tin Tops rounds in the Peter Bevan-owned Honda Integra R, which is powered by an engine built by my dad, Dave Singleton.
Paul Adams had entered his mighty turbo-charged Ford Focus for the week-end’s two BARC SE Quaife Modified Saloon Car Championship rounds. We’d done some suspension geometry work on this car which Paul qualified third for the first race. But he could do no better than 11th thanks to the exhaust system trouble that eliminated him from the second race.
Our next outing will be at the CSCC’s Oulton Park meeting on 7/8 October.