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!
29, Aug, 2017
Crash, Bang, Wallop!
I must admit we’ve had better days than Saturday 12 August. We were just two laps into qualifying for the Meteor Suspension Open Series race at the Classic and Sports Car Club’s Castle Coombe meeting when the engine of my Caterham C400 went bang.
As I came off the throttle for Tower, the internal components made a bid for freedom and then on the very next lap a Renault Clio dropped coolant on the track causing the session to be red-flagged. So that, short of a five-hour round trip back to Longfield for another car, which I really didn’t fancy, brought my week-end’s racing to a premature end. Even so, Colin Watson was credited with sixth fastest lap in the C400 we built for Spa, and Peter Hargroves, 30th. For what it was worth, my time was good enough for 14th on the grid.
The abbreviated session meant that the cars were jumbled up on the grid which may well have led to what happened soon after the lights at the start. Almost immediately, a Caterham C400 and a BMW M3 collided with an impact hard enough to slice the rear end from the Caterham and hospitalise the driver. The race was red-flagged and not re-started. Game over, Colin and I completing two laps in the whole day.
It could only get better. That said, qualifying for Sunday’s Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens race was fairly fraught. With just five minutes of the session remaining another competitor spun just as Tim Davis (C400) was passing him. Tim’s front end was knocked off in the ensuing crash. He’d still done enough to secure 4th on the grid. This became 3rd when the rapid Gary Bate was penalised for being too successful in previous races and sent down the grid. Jonathan Pittard lined up on pole in his Superlight R and Colin Watson 2nd. Peter Hargroves started 12th. Meanwhile, we had some repair work to do. Out came the welding gear and part of the vanload of spares we always take with us. In fact, we probably carry the equivalent of a complete Caterham in boxes! In addition to the welding work, Tim’s car needed a new steering column, two new wishbones and an upright. The car was looking a bit second-hand but at least Tim could take his place on the grid.
At the start Gary Bate had a miraculous start and shot up to second, while Jonny and Tim went backwards, dropping back to 4th and 6th respectively. As dust settled Colin led while Bate was coming under increasing pressure from Jonny and Tim which allowed Jonathan Mitchell to join in what was now a five car battle for the lead. However Colin held his nerve and led… until the pitstops.
The pit entry at Castle Combe is tortuous and Gary Bate attacked it in a fashion that Sebastian Loeb would have been proud of and this combined with other cars dawdling and holding up some of the Boss boys meant that Bate emerged form the pit stop period with a twelve second lead.
Tim drove his socks off to finish second to the inevitable Bate. But Colin was less fortunate. He was up to 2nd place and lapping another car for the second time that clearly didn’t see him and moved over. The resulting wallop took Colin out of the race. Peter Hargroves, though, was delighted with his 11th place, his best result yet.
The Boss Racing / Team Leos rivalry continues at the Brands Hatch Lotus Festival on 2nd September where Jonny’s brother Christian will be back with his CSR and the team will be looking for success on home turf.
As well as preparation and supporting our customers at race meetings, Boss Racing has also been busy setting up cars. Recently we’ve done a couple of Minis and a pair of Clios. We’ve also worked on Dean Halsey’s lovely Datsun 240Z and John Hilbery’s attractive Lenham GT. We also re-built the Lenham’s engine. Both these cars are running in the CSCC’s Swinging Sixties series and both are shared with Wil Arif, who has declared himself delighted with the results of our work.
We’ve also been setting up some other cars. As I write this, Paul Adams’ rapid Ford Focus is sharing our workshop with Rod Birley’s familiar black Escort Cosworth WRC.
Mention of Rod reminds me that at the BARC’s championship meeting on 29/30 July he very kindly paid tribute to Boss Racing’s efforts with the Peter Bevan-owned Honda Integra R. My dad, Dave Singleton, had rebuilt the Integra’s engine at the start of the season.
After coming second (and first in class) in the first of the two Cannons Motorspares Tin Top rounds, Rod said in his post-race podium interview that the car was “brilliant.” He added: “hats off to the team” and included Boss Racing in this team, which had helped him to the class win that represented his 613th victory. Thanks, Rod.
Boss Racing client Chris Whiteman then won the second Tin Top blast after a demon start from the second row. Three cars went up Hailwood Hill and into Druids side-by side. Chris emerged in the lead where he stayed, just ahead of Rod. It was a great drive.
14, Jun, 2015
What a difference a week makes! On our last visit to Brands it was wet and cold and Dean Cook retired. Last Sunday it was warm and sunny and Dean was the hero of the hour with two dominating performances.
The spectacular and well-attended American Speedfest, the third in the series, included two rounds of the popular Bernie’s V8 Challenge, plus two for SpeedFest Silhouettes in which drivers could earn points towards the 2015 Avon Intermarque Championship.
In the first silhouettes dash our man Paul Adams in his Mercedes SLK look-alike took seventh spot on the grid and finished sixth. He started the second from the front row but was unable tom capitalise on this because a first lap accident at Druids caused him to take evasive action. Out came the safety car meaning that when racing re-started Paul had a fair bit of work to do and he clawed his way up to eighth at the finish.
Dean, meanwhile, had dominated the V8s, heading the growling, grumbling, snarling, popping and banging field from the start of both rounds. In the first he was passed by Tim, although the silver TVR Tuscan retired on the ninth lap. This left the red Cerbera free to clear off at the head of the pack to a win a fast and furious race that had to be red-flagged after 16 of the planned 20-minutes.
Sadly, the battle between the two TVRs had been cut short when Tim was forced to pull off. His engine had started making “clanking noises” when suspected lubrication system troubles intervened, causing him to miss the second round. Dean sportingly offered Tim the loan of his car for the race but the Brands officials ruled that he couldn’t compete in a car he hadn’t driven that day. “Far enough, I suppose,” was Tim’s rueful comment.
He absence left the way clear for Dean to lead the second 30 minute race which also featured a mandatory pit stop. He was kept honest first by the Lim/James Ram Cobra and then by surprisingly rapid Sunbeam Tiger of William Smallridge
Despite the heavy traffic Dean appeared to have matters well in hand. “It’s been a great day,” was his comment from the top step of the podium, as well it might after such a totally convincing performance.
As ever, both the Brands Bernie’s V8 rounds were characterised by a large and varied entry featuring British, American and Anglo-American machinery ranging from TVRs and MGs to Mustangs and amazing V8-motivated Mk 1 Escorts.
But Dean had the measure of them all, as did Tim while he lasted. Dean set fastest lap in both rounds and in fact, he and Tim were the only drivers to lap within 52 seconds.
Ah, yes, Tim. With his next outing being at Spa in three weeks’ time it’s not hard to guess how the Boss Racing team will be spending the intervening time. Well, it is what we do.
14, May, 2015
It was a successful weekend for the Boss Racing team. Tim Davis was racing his Silver 4.5 AJP TVR Tuscan at Silverstone with Bernie’s V8’s, Chris Whiteman was at Brands Hatch for his first meeting of the year in his Honda Civic Type R with the BARC Cannons Tin Tops and Rod Birley was also at Brands Hatch in his WRC Ford Escort.
Tim Davies, Silverstone 02/05/15
Tim’s Qualifying did not go all his own way, he was on the top of the timing sheet till the last minute of the session when William Smallridge in his rapid Tiger Sunbeam put in a 1:02.48 lap 0.09 faster than Tim. When the cars lined up for the race it was a stunning sight
This is just to name a few of the cars on the 19 car grid. Tim lined up second with William Smallridge Tiger Sunbeam on pole, when the lights went out, the two of them battled hard trading places till William lost the Tiger round Luffields leaving Tim to take an easy victory.
Chris Whiteman, Brands Hatch 02/05/15
Chris Whiteman narrowly missed out on pole position to Tom Bridger in his Rover 220 Turbo. Tom lapped the Brands Indy circuit in 54.880 Chris lap was 0.856 slower, the pair lapped over 1.5 seconds quicker than the rest of the 18 car grid. Race 1 Tom lead the way with Chris never more than 2 seconds behind when on the last lap of the 13 lap race Toms driveshaft failed and let Chris passed to take the victory. Race 2, the top six cars on grid was reversed #4 Len Colley on pole, #77 Peter Osborne 2nd, #27 Dominic Ryan 3rd, #73 Terry Seales 4th, #72 Tom 5th and Chris was lined up 6th. At the end of the first lap the pole man #4 Len was leading and Chris was up to second Tom 3rd on lap 2 tom moved to the front and Chris was second. Tom lead the way till lap 12 when his crank sensor failed and Chris moved into the lead and won the race.
Rod Birley, Brands Hatch 03/05/15
Rod also qualified in 2nd place to Rick May in his Escort Cosworth, Rick lost control of the Escort at Graham Hill bend on the first lap Rod then had the lead till the end of the 17 lap. Race 2 Rod lead from the start and was still leading after 17 laps.
22, Apr, 2015
Phew! It was certainly an active week-end for Boss Racing and its customers.
It started the week before with five Caterhams and two TVRs to prepare for the Classic Sports Car Club’s season opener at the Snetterton 300 circuit. Meanwhile, our old mate and neighbour, Rod Birley, was bringing his famous Escort in for set-up checks before racing at our local track.
At Snett we had the new number 91 Boss Racing Caterham R300 to be driven by Colin Watson from Barnehurst, Kent. The 56 year-old paint sprayer normally shares the driving with me but the plan for this weekend was for Colin to do the 40-minute race single handed. As it was, our own car was the last to be prepped so problems with the dash display, flat shift and ECU meant it wasn’t ready until late on Thursday night.
Hugh Coulter from Esher was having his first race in his new R300, number 10, while Jersey-based Christian Pittard was in the number 45 car he’s campaigned for the past four seasons. Somerset’s Jonny Pittard, in number 81, has also been racing for four years. Our own number 93 car was again hired out to Mark Rider who was successful in a number of events last year.
Tim Davis from Orpington had his well-known silver number 22 TVR Tuscan. He was still on a high from his earlier win at Donnington Park, while Dean Cook was our second TVR runner with his red number 20 Segaris.
Just three before the start of the season, Dean brought the car into our workshop for a pre-season check when we discovered that one of the V8’s cylinder heads was cracked. But with some late night working – of course! – We managed to get the TVR running on Thursday afternoon. It meant that Dean missed the booking-in deadline and had to miss out on Snetterton.
The Friday test day saw Hugh, Christian and Colin out on the circuit with Fulvio Mussi on hand to provide driver tuition. Hugh’s car ran faultless all day and made steady lap time gains in each session. Christian’s car suffered a misfire at high RPM but once this was sorted his lap times were impressive. Colin’s car, though, was plagued with an electrical problem which side-lined it for the rest of the week-end.
Saturday was race day for Tim, Jonny and Mark. Tim was competing in the new Millennium series but in qualifying on a very wet track the best he could manage was seventh out of 13 runners. Pole position went to the rapid Randall/Randaccio Lotus Europa, of which more later.
The track had dried up by start-time. It looked like normal service was resumed as Tim stormed into the lead on the first lap. He stayed there until his pit stop on the seventh of this 19-lap 41-minute race which Tim had elected to drive solo.
Meanwhile, the Europa, which had stopped two laps earlier to change drivers, had established itself at the head of the field. Randaccio was lapping 10 seconds faster than Randall and five seconds better than Tim. By the time the field had sorted itself out after the stops Randaccio and Tim were first and second. Tim drove as hard as he usually does but was still 51 seconds behind Randaccio at the flag. But he won class A.
Jonny and Colin were competing in the Sports V Saloons 15-lapper. There was a mixed grid of 24 cars ranging from Caterhams to Jaguars and including the very fast pole-sitting Randall/Randaccio Europa.
Qualifying was wet and Jonny Pittard was a little rusty and struggling to get some grip from the CR500 tyres. Consequently, he could manage only 19th and last of the 11 Caterham runners. Colin, now in the 93 car, had a much better run to qualify seventh overall and fifth Caterham.
After a good start Colin moved up to fourth, which he held until lap four. He made his pit stop on lap seven of the 15-lap event and emerged tenth. By the time everything had settled down Colin was running sixth, but on lap 11 Colin come into the pits for a second time after a mix-up with a black flag which wasn’t for him. At the finish he was seventh and second in class. Jonny, meanwhile, had also made a good start. He pitted on lap nine and moved up to 14th and third in class.
Hugh Coulter, Christian Pittard, Jonny Pittard and Mark Rider were out for Sunday qualifying on a dry circuit. Christian’s was the fastest of the Boss cars and posted a lap in 2:02sec, just 0.238sec off the pole time of Danny Winstanley. Still, it was a time that put him third on the grid and third in class H. Mark posted 2:05.368 for ninth and second in class E.
Jonny did 2:07.609 to place 12th and third in class E, while Hugh recorded 2:08.626 to be 14th and second in class D. Other Caterham runners using Boss engines were Graham Charman (11th and first in class D), Richard Carter (13th and third in class G) and Paul Browes (16th and fifth in class E).
After a rolling start there was plenty of action at the first corner so much so that the safety car had to sort things out. Fincham and Oreilly failed to complete the lap. Christian’s right front wheel had made contact with something solid, knocking the tracking out and pushing him down to fifth. Mark slowed down for the safety car boards and waved yellow flags coming round Hamilton (the bend, not the driver) but in the excitement six drivers failed to see the yellows and overtook Mark, pushing him down to 15th.
Although he’d made a good start, moving up to ninth, Jonny was one of the errant drivers, as was Hugh who’d made it up to 12th. After the safety car pulled in at the start of the third lap Christian discovered driving a Caterham with the front wheels pointing in different directions isn’t that easy yet moved up to ninth by lap five.
Hugh, meanwhile, had overtaken Graham Charman at the restart to lead class D. The pit stops started on lap five and had been completed by lap nine with Christian in sixth, Mark seventh, Hugh 10th, Graham 12th and Richard Carter 14th. Christian
move up to fifth on lap16 and stayed there to the flag. Mark had an epic battle with Green for the last seven laps, the pair trading places every lap for class E honours and seventh overall. But Mark lost out on the last lap and had to settle for 8the, while Jonny was ninth – and third in class – just 5-sec behind the Green-Rider duel.
Hugh was holding the class lead until lap 11 when his car slowed and Graham passed him. In the pit lane it was discovered that Hugh’s alternator mounting had failed and, with loss of drive to the coolant pump the resulting overheating had prompted the ECU to go into safe mode and cut power. This left Graham Charman to take the class win.
Meanwhile there was plenty of action at Brands Hatch. In preparation for his outings in the two rounds of the Motorsport News Saloon Car Championship, Rod Birley had brought his all-concerning number 44 Ford Escort WRC into the workshop for four-wheel alignment and set-up.
It obviously paid off. In qualifying Rod took pole despite the wet conditions. Glen Rossiter’s number 7 Clio Cup car also made good use of set-up work in our shop to grab fifth and first in class D. Daniel Palmer, racing his number 8 Mitsubishi Evo for the first time, missed qualifying but Bernie Baxter put his number 39 Audi S3 on 15th slot and fourth in class C.
In the first race Rod had a turbo pipe problem, forcing him to settle for the runner-up spot with Ian Butler taking the win in his rapid Ford Focus. Glen crashed heavily on the opening lap and took no further part in the proceedings, while Bernie Baxter moved up to 12th overall and third in class. Although he started from the back of the grid in his first-ever race, Daniel Palmer took eighth overall and third in class.
The second race saw things back to normal with Rod pulling away from Butler to win. Despite a first lap spin, Daniel fought back to take sixth overall and class second, while Bernie’s Audi managed 13th and fifth in class.
So it was quite a weekend and I’d like to thank everyone who make it such a success. To them I say: there’s too many of you to list but you know who you are. Thanks for all the hard work, boys.
Boss racing results summary for the weekend
New Millennium Series: Tim Davis, 2nd overall and 1st class A
Sports V Saloons: Colin Watson, 7th overall and 2nd class H; Jonny Pittard, 14th overall and 3rd class H
Magnificent Sevens Group 2: Christian Pittard, 5th and 4th class H; Mark Rider, 8th and 2nd class E; Jonny Pittard, 9th and 3rd class E, Graham Charman, 11th and 1st class D, Richard Carter, 14th and 4th class G
Motorsport News Saloon Car Championship Race 1: Rod Birley 2nd overall; Daniel Palmer, 8th overall and 3rd in class; Bernie Baxter, 12th overall and 3rd in class
Race 2 Rod Birley, 1st overall; Daniel Palmer 6th overall and 2nd in class; Bernie Baxter, 13th overall and 5th in class.
Tags: caterham, Caterham C400, Christian Pittard, Classic Sports Car Club, colin watson, CSCC, Dean Cook, Fulvio Mussi, Hugh Coulter, Jonny Pittard, Mag 7 Series, Magnificent Sevens, Mark Rider, new millennium, Rod Birley, Snetterton, snetterton 300, Tim Davis, TVR