2012 Round 1 race report fromm Oulton Park courtesy of Kieren McDonald of BigMacRacing.
We have all been eagerly anticipating the start to the 2012 Mini7 season and it has already been and gone! We all headed up to the infamous Chehire circuit of Oulton Park to find out why many people rave about it - now I will be joining those other racers asking for it to be part of our race calendar every year.
A glorious sunny day, plenty of paddock space and lots of friendly supportes helped to make a rather pleasant trip.
Member of the BigMacRacing and AL Motorsport teams again showing what teamwork is all about - Simon, Ed and Greg putting in some hours to get the car prepped in time and Row keeping us all hydrated and fed :) My wife, Lorraine, our month old son, Lewis and Mum came to support too, which is great considering lack of sleep and long journey to Cheshire!
A very foggy morning soon cleared up for glorious sunshine, ready for our morning qualifying session. My main aim was to learn the track and and try to develop a smoother driving style and it seemed to work. Typically my qualifying is pretty poor surprisingly I landed myself 7th position - the best yet for BigMacRacing!!
We suffered a major oil leak, which made a bit of a mess in the engine bay and could be seen by all with a fair amount of smoke trailing my car as I lapped the technical Chechire circuit, This thought to be due to a mis-aligned head gasket, alllowing the oil to leak out, rectified by a new sealed gasket courtesy of Dave Robinsons spare parts box (thanks Dave)
It was a good feeling to be close to the front pair on the grid lining up. I had the quick Se7ev of Darren Thomas behind me and Adam Smith to my left.. I just needed to concentrate on gettinga good start when those lights went out!
I managed to get a decent start but Thomas was closing in down the inside, I kept my nerve and kept my line through Old Hall Corner. I was a little cautious with a few corners so dropped off a bit from the front 6 by the end of the 1st lap but seeing them close showed I wasn't doing to bad on my 1st visit to the circuit.
My car continued to smoke as it had done during qualifying but then during the 5th lap I could not select gear, allowing Smith and others to paass without challenge. It finally allowed me to select gears again but then would not allow me to rev the car so had to crawl around until I finally pulled off to a safe marshall post to await recovery! Until then I had only lost one position to Davies who had stormed through the field in what appeared to be a rocket propelled Se7en. A very disappointing end to what was looking like the best to the season I could have wished for!
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Despite the bad end to the race weekend, plenty of learning outcomes and positives to take away to the next rounds. The next steps will be to find time to split the engine to inspect the potential damage and try and repair for Donington on 21st April.
I hope you all enjoyed racing and spectating and hope to see you all again next round!!
Congrats to the podium winners for the Se7ens and Miglia's - full results/timings can be found here and the Se7ens Championship points table can be found here.