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Bassett hopeful ahead of iconic Donington Park visit

Bassett hopeful ahead of iconic Donington Park visit. Chris Bassett is preparing for a busy weekend of racing at one of the UK’s most iconic circuits – Donington Park in Derbyshire, which will see a conclusion to the Track Attack Tricolore Trophy Championship for 2018.  

The Spoox Motorsport Peugeot 205 GTi will arrive at Donington Park this weekend (29 September) following a double podium and two class wins last time out at Mallory Park at the beginning of September.

Bassett hopeful ahead of iconic Donington Park visit

It’s another new track for Chris, having never raced there before: “Donington Park will be challenging. It has some long straights and winding corners, so the Peugeot will have a full workout compared to some of the other circuits we race at. Donington is a track that I’ve always wanted to race at having witnessed Ayrton Senna’s stunning victory in challenging conditions back in 1993 and I’m certainly looking forward to signing off the Tricolore Trophy Championship in style with a strong showing.”

Chris will be hoping that Donington Park will not be the final race of 2018 and is currently looking at some options – full details will be announced shortly!

Our 2018 race partners are:

Etesia UK

Fusion Media

Spoox Motorsport

Tom Motorsport

Rock Oil

Sygnature Workwear

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Two Podiums for Bassett at Snetterton

Two Podiums for Bassett at Snetterton. Chris Bassett came away with two third places overall and two class wins at rounds eleven and twelve of the Track Attack Tricolore Championship at Snetterton on 12 August.

Following the wash-out of Silverstone two weeks befo and a strong showing where we were battling for the overall lead, we were hoping for some more wet weather. Unfortunately, it never materialised, although it was nice to be back at a track which we actually knew and had shown strong pace previously.

We ended qualifying in seventh place overall, fourth in Tricolore and first in class, which to be honest I was a little disappointed with. We tried a new set-up which didn’t realy work and we couldn’t get enough grip on the rear end, which was constantly trying to overtake the front. as the lights went out to signal the start of the race, we made a bad get awy with too much wheel spin and dropped back three places. 

Two Podiums for Bassett at Snetterton

Over the next ten laps were were nose-to-tail with Bob Buckland in his Renault Clio and Alex De Moore in his Honda Civic Type R trading places numerous times each lap. In truth we were probably holding each other up, as De Moore and Buckland powered past on the straights and then us nipping past under braking. Once things settled down a little, we started to catch the Clio’s of Gwinnett and Hunter, who in turn were being held up by Clive Haynesford in his Mazda RX8. 

This all came to a close when Hunter dived up the inside of Haynesford and made contact under braking. At this time, I was behind De Moore and Buckland as we approached the slowing Hunter, who was nursing damage from the contact and wheels pointing in opposite directions. As the De Moore and Buckland slowed to overtake Hunter, I was able to sneak in-between all three and emerged in third place overall. 

Two Podiums for Bassett at Snetterton

Coming on to the start/finish line to start the last lap, Buckland powered past again. I followed for the rest of the lap and stuck to the bootlid of his Clio, to stay close enough to make a move around the outside of Brundle under braking and back into third place, which is where we finished. Third place overall in the Tricolore Championship and another class win.

Race two and we made a better get-away – hoping to be able to stay with Done Hughes in his Peugeot 306 – race one winner and Gwinnett. Unfortunately, they were just two quick to stay with. I was able to build up enough of a lead around the corners to keep De Moore behind on the straights. As the laps past, we built a gap of around five seconds to De Moore, but inturn was around five seconds behind Gwinnett, so was left in no-man’s land really – too quick for the cars behind but not quick enough to keep with the leading cars infront.

Two Podiums for Bassett at Snetterton

We left Snetterton with lots to ponder ahead of the 2019 season. Maybe a change of championship might be in order to be competitive against similar powered cars. We won’t be making any decisions until later in the year, but have lots of options to consider.

Rounds thirteen and fourteen will be on 2 September at Mallory Park.

Our 2018 race partners are:

Etesia UK

Fusion Media

Spoox Motorsport

Tom Motorsport

Rock Oil

Sygnature Workwear

Keep up-to-date with all our racing activities by following us on:

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Wet Masterclass at Silverstone

Chris Bassett had a testing race weekend at the washed-out Silverstone Track Attack round, but ended with another two class wins, along with a second and ninth overall.

Following one of the driest summers for nearly 30 years, it felt like a year’s worth of rain had dropped itself in Northamptonshire at Silverstone for rounds nine and ten of the Track Attack Championship. It was another new track to learn, but we came away from qualifying in ninth place overall – which was pleasing enough after still learning the circuit in extremely wet conditions with alot of standing water across many parts of the track.

Wet Masterclass at Silverstone

Race one begun with a good start off the line making up two places going into the first corner and up into seventh place. Over the next five laps we clawed our way through the pack and up into second place overal and in pursuit of Will Di Claudio’s very rapid Peugeot 106 GTi. 

I’ve always enjoyed racing in wet conditions since my karting days all those years ago and it’s these conditions that myself and the Peugeot package really excel in. Over the next five laps we closed the gap to Di Claudio down from what was over six seconds at one point to less than a second with just two laps remaining. With time running out, I made my move around the outside of Becketts. Unfortunately for us, Di Claudio understeered straight into me and as we entered Club Straight, I did a complete 360 degree spin. By the time that I had recovered, I found myself nearly four seconds behind. I tried in vain to claw back the gap, but with only one lap now remaining, time was too short – although we did get fastest lap by almost a clear two seconds which was very pleasing.

wet masterclass at Silverstone

We started the second race in second position, but too a gamble with our choice of tires. The circuit was still damp, but drying. It looked as though we might have another downpour, so I opted to go for an intermediate set-up which is something between wet and dry – with the hope that if it rained we would be perfectly placed to take full advantage of everyone else who opted for a dry set-up.

Unfortunately, the rain never came and we gradually slipped back through the grid and down to ninth place overall, which is where we finished. Ironically, the rain came just as our race had finished – had it came just ten minutes earlier, we probably would have been able to claw our way back up the standings.

Still, another two class wins, a second overall and fastest lap capped another good race weekend ahead of the trip to Snetterton in Norfolk and rounds eleven and twelve.

Our 2018 race partners are:

Etesia UK

Fusion Media

Spoox Motorsport

Tom Motorsport

Rock Oil

Sygnature Workwear

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Three wins as racing heads for summer break

Two tracks, two different championships, a fourth, third & second overall and three class wins capped a fantastic weekend of racing for Chris Bassett before the summer break.

As well as competing in rounds seven and eight of the Tricolore Championship at Rockingham Speedway in Northamptonshire on the Saturday, the team packed up and headed back to local track Brands Hatch for round three of the Time Attack Event on the Sunday.

Both days proved to be a scorcher in more ways than one. Having never visited Rockingham before, Chris was pleased to have qualified in fifth position overall and first in class, albeit slightly further behind time wise with the front runners than he would have liked.

After a great start off the line, Chris briefly moved up into 4th place before the Super charged Renault Clio of James Breeze powered past. Following the retirements of Will De Claudio and Nick Gwinett – both to broken driveshafts, Chris moved up into third place overall, albeit around 3 seconds behind Tony Hunter (Clio) and Breeze. Don Hughes then moved ahead of Chris and started to chase down Hunter, until the two tripped up while lapping back markers, which dropped Hughes down the pecking order and Hunter back into the clutches of Breeze and Bassett. And that’s how race one finished, with all three cars never being more than four seconds apart. Another podium finish overall and first in class for the Peugeot 205 GTi.

“Unfortunately, Rockingham has one of the longest straights of the season and that really isn’t our strong point. We are around 70-100bhp down on the front running cars so need to make the most of the twisty section. Unfortunately for us, there aren’t enough twisty bits at Rockingham and cars just power past us on the straights each lap. It’s a game of cat and mouse to then try and pass them in the corners, but that’s been the story of the season.”

Race two began in similar fashion starting third overall, until lap two when Don Hughes drove past as the cars crossed the start finish line. Nick Gwinett had a storming race and move up to third overall with a train of 6 cars never more than a few seconds apart for the whole race. Bassett was battling with Bob Buckland (Renault Clio) for the whole race for fourth overall and first in class.

A fantastic race, with many spectators commenting that it was the best race of the year to watch, ended with Chris in fourth overall and first in class behind Tony Hunter, Don Hughes and Nick Gwinett. The team now packed up and headed South to Brands Hatch the following day.

“It’s always nice to return to Brands Hatch with it being our local track and one that I only get to race at once a year these days. However, we wasn’t going racing in the normal sense. It’s Time Attack, which sees drivers competing against each other to try and set the fastest lap time of the session. We competed at this event last year, but unfortunately, we had reliability issues so didn’t really do ourselves justice.”

Introduced in 2006, the UK Time Attack Championship has grown into the largest and most professional Time Attack events in the world. Multiple classes are employed to give relevance and purpose to a wide variety of cars and drivers, from entry level street classes to Pro classes. Events take place at major race circuits in the UK with official timing supplied by TSL Timing, the race industry standard.

“I enjoyed the event last year and it is something different to what I am used to. We were competing against, on paper, much faster and more powerful cars than the 205, but I know Brands Hatch well so we thought we would put on a good show.”

Warm-up went well with Chris heading the times overall and by nearly nine tenths of a second from his nearest class competitor. However, times were expected to be quicker once the business side of things got underway.

Final practice was next up before Qualifying and the final. To everyone’s surprise, Chris also ended this session in first place. When you look at the other cars in this event, it puts it into perspective what a good drive it was – with some other cars nearly 200 BHP up on the Peugeot 205 GTI. A glance at the split section times and speeds made the overall position even more impressive – the Spoox Motorsport Peugeot was 20mph down on the quickest car in that section across the start finish line.

The qualifying session was next up and people were starting to take notice of the ‘little blue car’ which was outperforming Mitsubishi Evo’s! Unfortunately, this session ended with Chris coming in third position overall, but still first in class.

As the cars headed out to the final, Chris and the team were optimistic of another strong showing. The car had attracted some interest over the course of the day and lots of TV coverage – which always goes down well with sponsors. The session was a tight battle between Chris and the white Mitsubishi with just two tenths of a second ever between them as the times tumbled.

And so the weekend of racing finished, with a second position overall and a first in class – by almost two seconds.

“It was a fantastic weekend of racing. I was disappointed with my overall lap time at Brands Hatch, as it was around a second slower than my lap record. However, we have to run a controlled Pirelli tyre in the Time Attack Championship whereas we normally run with Kumho and it was the hottest day of the year with track temperatures over 30 degrees. At the end of the day, everyone was struggling with temperatures and I guess the most important thing is where you finish, so to get another class win rounded off the weekend in a great way. The car round faultlessly all weekend and a massive thank you to Tom Burgess and Ian Deasy for keeping the car running.”

Chris’ next race is at Silverstone – another new track on 29 July.

Our 2018 race partners are:

Etesia UK

Fusion Media

Spoox Motorsport

Tom Motorsport

Rock Oil

Sygnature Workwear

Keep up-to-date with all our racing activities by following us on:

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Weekend of Motorsport for Chris Bassett

Weekend of Motorsport for Chris Bassett. As well as competing in rounds seven and eight of the Tricolore Championship which heads to Rockingham in Northamptonshire on 23 June, Chris will be competing in round three of the Time Attack Event at Brands Hatch on 24 June.

 

Weekend of Motorsport for Chris BassettFollowing four class wins and three overall podiums in the Track Attack Tricolore Championship, Chris is looking forward to learning another new track and getting back out racing in what seems a long break since the April event at Pembrey.

“I’m really looking forward to get out racing again and to try a new track. Rockingham is famous for the banking so it will certainly be interesting. I’ll be hoping for another strong showing from the Peugeot and hopefully some more podiums, although it’s always a tough ask at somewhere new.

“It is all about learning more about the car and what it’s capabilities are. We’ve had a decent start to the season which is pleasing. Now I want to really push on and continue those results.”

Weekend of Motorsport for Chris BassettThe next day the team will head to local track Brands Hatch for round three of the Time Attack event, which is the biggest and most popular event of the year and combines Tunerfest.

Tunerfest South celebrates high-end performance and style, when extreme styling, tuning and modification will be the stars of the show. On-track entertainment is headlined by the spectacular Time Attack Championship, where competitors battle to set the fastest lap of the day.

Other on-track entertainment includes drifting and a Formula One demonstration. Off track there is the PAAA Performance Tuning Event, trade stands, karting and a huge range of car clubs where you will be able to see the best in modified machinery. You will also be able to take your own car on to the circuit during public track sessions.

Chris will be competing along with 2017 UK Time Attack Classic & Retro Champion and fellow Team Spoox Motorsport driver Andy York in the Classic & Retro class. Also competing at the Brands Hatch will be Spoox Motorsport owner Darren Spooner in his very special Peugeot 205.

It promises to be a fantastic weekend of motorsport!

Our 2018 race partners are:

Etesia UK

Fusion Media

Spoox Motorsport

Tom Motorsport

Rock Oil

Sygnature Workwear

Keep up-to-date with all our racing activities by following us on:

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Bassett Reflects on Snetterton Races

Bassett Reflects on Snetterton Races. The BARC SE Quaife Cannons Tin Tops visited Snetterton in Norfolk for rounds 13 and 14 and with it we knew that if it was dry we would be at a disadvantage to some of the other front-running cars due to the power difference and straight-line speed.

Chris Whiteman in his Honda Civic Type R didn’t travel so the pressure was on for a decent points haul to try and close the gap he has in the championship.

Qualifying was wet but drying, so we opted for a dry set-up hoping that it would stay damp enough for the Peugeot not to lose out too much on the straights. We certainly left it late in the session, which has been the norm throughout the season, and ended up on pole by nearly two seconds from Fisher in the Honda Civic Type R and Peter Osborne in the Vauxhall Astra VXR.

We brought the car back to the pits for a quick check over before race one only to discover that half of the oil dipstick was missing and somewhere in the bottom of the sump.

Bassett Reflects on Snetterton Races

We were in two minds whether to race at all following this discovery – the missing part could have caused a pretty major engine failure and there wasn’t enough time between qualifying and race one to remove the sump to try and find it.

We decided to give it a go and headed out onto circuit with a little reservation as to if this decision would come back and haunt us.

Race One:

The race was still damp from qualifying and we made a good start and lead going into Riches and down into the Wilson hairpin only to see Fisher power past on the straight and into the lead. As we broke going into the Brundle and Nelson esses he seemed to outbrake himself and spin down the escape road, which left Osborne close on our tail and pulling alongside on the two long straights before we was able to outbrake him going into the corners.

Bassett Reflects on Snetterton RacesAfter three laps and the trading of the lead several times, we were able to pull out an eight second lead which I was able to manage throughout the race without pushing too hard. Three quarters of the race distance completed and the safety car appeared for Ben Forbes stricken Citroen Saxo right on the racing line on the exit of Nelson. Efficient work by the marshalls meant that there would be a one lap dash for the remainder of the race!

As the safety car pulled off and into the pit lane we made another good start but saw the red Astra get his nose in front as we approached Riches. I kept my foot planted and after a bit of sideways action came out in front as myself, Osborne and Fisher, who had used the safety car to his advantage and closed the gap, dashed down to Wilson for the final time. Fisher outbraked Osborne and into second and luckily held each other up for long enough for me to open a gap going on the Bentley straight and the fastest part of the circuit.

Osborne powered past Fisher and up into second as we was able to open a two second lead to cross the line first and take the chequered flag.

Race Two:

We started in pole position again for the second race, but by this time the circuit had almost completely dried. As we headed into the first corner, I held onto the lead and remained in the lead for the first two laps. Osborne then came past on the Bentley straight and into the lead. By this time, I wasn’t able to get past on the bends and Osborne was able to open enough of an advantage on the straight to stay ahead in the corners.

Bassett Reflects on Snetterton Races

That left us and Fisher to battle it out for second overall and class honours. I missed a gear on the Bentley straight which allowed Fisher to pass going into Brundle. We gave chase for the next two laps and made our move by outbraking the Honda going into the Wilson hairpin. Fisher then went past on Bentley straight like we were standing still before I tried to outbrake him again going into Brundle.

As I broke and shifted down the gears, I hit a damp patch under the bridge (probably the only part of the circuit still damp!) and spun towards the barrier. I was able to rejoin in third overall and second in class, which is how the race finished, so hopes of finishing in the top three of the championship are still alive if we get a decent result for the final two rounds at Brands Hatch next week.

We currently sit in fourth place (in class) behind Whiteman, Fisher and Graham Richardson – all Honda Civic Type R’s – that probably tells the story of what we are up against.

Bassett Reflects on Snetterton Races

As usual, a massive thanks to Tom Motorsport who prepares the Peugeot for the races and Spoox Motorsport for their invaluable help and assistance in the lead up to the races, along with my racing partners – Complete Weed ControlComplete Ice ControlEtesia UK and Fusion Media, for without their help, racing would not be possible.

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*Photos courtesy of BARC South East

Race Report: Bassett Reflects on Rounds 1 and 2

Race Report: Bassett Reflects on Rounds 1 and 2.

It’s  my second consecutive year with the Peugeot 205 GTi and it promises to be exciting, with the introduction of the all-new engine and set-up changes from 2014, a new title sponsor in Complete Weed Control, a completely fresh approach and higher expectations, but with the same familiar and friendly faces.

The opening round of the 2015 BARC Cannons Tin Top Championship took place at Brands Hatch over the weekend (1-2 April), on a circuit that holds fond memories, as the Indy circuit was where I achieved our first ever podium finish in 2014.

FAF020515-DSC_0734

Ready to go racing after problems in qualifying.

This year would be tougher because, having only completed a few days of pre-season testing with the car in relatively low temperatures, much of the car’s componentry and geometry had yet to be shaken down.

So, what about the car? An all-new engine, built and developed by Peter Mann and Russell Turner, new wider wheels and tyres, new bodywork and a few other surprises which were all fitted by Tom Burgess, sponsored by Complete Weed Control and Complete Ice Control, as well as my personal sponsors Fusion Media (thanks for your support).

Tom and I were genuinely curious to see what we had underneath us when we finally rolled out for the morning’s first 15-minute qualifying session. It didn’t last too long however, when a faulty union between the oil filter and oil cooler came loose on the last corner of the first lap, causing me to spin along the start/finish line. This meant our qualifying session was effectively over.

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Starting 21st and last.

After repairing the car, we had to make sure that it was race-ready which meant three laps had to be completed before race officials were happy, but we were starting from 21st and last place in the first race.

After the final few checks were complete, we got down to the real business. It was going to be hard work starting last, but we thought the top 10 and a decent starting place in race two was achievable if we got settled into a rhythm quickly and picked off cars when we could.

Once the lights went out, I quickly set to work to try and get into the top ten. By the end of the first lap we had already overtaken eight cars and hopes of finishing in the top ten were looking very optimistic.

Lap two saw us move ahead of another three cars and lap three ahead of another two, and into 8th poisition behind the turbo-charged Vauxhall Astra of Peter Osbourne and Len Colley’s BMW 3-series- albeit by this time we were three seconds behind.

Over the next two laps we closed the gap and was tucked right under the rear of the Astra and looking for a way past on the start/finish line before the safety car came out for a stricken Renault Clio at Druids.

FAF020515-DSC_0824

Working our way through the field.

Three laps behind the safety car bunched the field up and allowed our tyres to also cool down having opted to fit the soft compound.

Once the safety car peeled in, racing resumed. Braking later going into Paddock Hill Bend gave us a good run up the hill and into Druids where I was able to outbreak the Vauxhall and into seventh.

A lap later and we passed the BMW 3-series on the start/finish line and into Paddock Hill Bend and with it a top six finish was looking like the minimum we would leave race one with.

On the same lap, I was able to out-brake the Ford Fiesta of Dominic Ryan going into Surtees into 5th and by this point finishing on the podium looked a real possibility with 5 laps still to go. While the Honda Civic and MG ZR190 of Terry Searles were visibly quicker on the straight, we seemed better under-braking and through the more twisty parts of the circuit.

This would prove to be the crest of the weekend, as things began to unravel from there. Coming out of Paddock Hill Bend, we started the lose power and the engine note changed. Coming onto Cooper Straight the MG and Honda started to pull away even further and we pulled off at the bottom of the pits entrance, bringing a disappointing end to race one having started last and, at the time, in 5th looking to get into the top three.

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A disappointing end to race one.

We got the car back to the pits and set about trying to find out the problem with a view to getting the car out for the second race, but it wasn’t meant to be. The engine had seized which meant an early end to the race weekend.

With so much promise, it was a disappointing end – we know there is more time to come from me and the car once we get some testing under our belts and can spend time setting the car up. The speed is there for all to see and at some point we know we will get it right – it’s just so frustrating for all of us at the moment.

Once we got the car back to the workshop, the investigation work started. It turned out oil starvation caused the seizure to the number two piston and con-rod which also bent the crank.

So, after so much promise in race one we left with no points and only a few scars to show for all of our efforts.

We now are trying to get the car ready for the triple header at Lydden Hill in Kent on 20/21 June.

For more on Chris Bassett’s racing activities, please visit the official www.chrisbassett.co.uk website, ‘like’ his Facebook page or follow @Chris_Bassett on Twitter.

Photography courtesy of Rafal Biniszewski.

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Chris Bassett