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Bassett’s Combe race ends in blink of an eye

Bassett’s Combe race ends in blink of an eye. Following two decent results at Snetterton last month where we had Pole position (in the Tricolore Trophy) and two second’s in class behind Andrew Mitchell’s Peugeot 205 GTi, we headed for another new track over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

Following the differential failure from Snetterton, we had a new one fitted. Spoox Motorsport, suggested that we looked at changing the gear ratios in 3rd, 4th and 5th gears, so that was also done at the same time while the gearbox was out of the car.

I had heard plenty about Castle Combe from others that had raced there before and squatted up by watching lots of on-board footage to learn the track as much as I could before the race.

Bassett’s Combe race ends in blink of an eyeWe headed out for qualifying hoping to follow some of the fancied cars for a few laps to find our feet, only to find the only clear part of the track! Qualifying ended with us down in 8th position (6th in Tricolore) out of 32 which didn’t seem to bad until we saw that we were nearly two seconds off the pace.

I felt there were a couple of reasons for this – firstly, it’s always hard to learn a new track in just 15 minutes of qualifying and we were running out of revs half way down one of the straights. A quick look on the laptop by Tom Motorsport, who prepares the car for each race, and a few adjustments to the rev limiter to allow the engine to rev higher before the first race meant we were confident of a strong showing once I got into the groove and had some more track time.

Sadly it wasn’t to be. Almost as quick as the lights went out, I was out of the race. Admittedly, I got a bad start due to too much wheel spin off of the line and slipped back four places. Just as the pack headed round the first kink off the line, I was going through the gearbox and just snatched 5th only to be hit on the offside rear quarter by a Mazda MX5 which span me to the right hand side of the track and into a Honda Integra. I hit the Honda which then spun me around the other way across the circuit and into the barrier backwards and out of the race.

The medics who follow at the back of each race for the first lap were quickly onto the scene and picked me up to give me an assessment. All was clear and after the race had finished, I head back to the paddock to survey the damage to the car.

Sadly, after inspection, the front suspension was too badly damaged to get out for race two. We also had damage to the front bumper, splitter, front wing, arch, door, rear bumper, rear quarter, rear arch, tail gate and lights – so there’s a lot to repair to be ready for the next round which is at Oulton Park in May!

Oulton Park is a circuit that I’ve wanted to race at since I watch Steve Soper in his BMW racing in the BTCC, so I’m certainly looking forward to getting some more track time on this one!

Thanks to Spoox Motorsport for all their advice and support and a massive thanks to Tom Motorsport who works so hard to prepare the car.

Our 2017 race partners are:

Etesia UK

Fusion Media

Spoox Motorsport

Tom Motorsport

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Chris Bassett