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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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Double Podium at Final Round of Tricolore

Double Podium at Final Round of Tricolore. Two second place finishes saw a succesful end to the first year in the Track Attack Tricolore Trophy Championship.

After the previous debacle at the Oulton Park Round when we never even turned a wheel due to mechanical issues with a misfire and a broken exhaust manifold, which wasn’t spotted following our crash earlier in the year at Castle Combe, we headed to the Mallory Park Circuit in Leicestershire for the final two rounds of of the Track Attack Tricolore Trophy.

Double Podium at Final Round

While not exactly a challenging circuit, it was another new circuit to learn – plenty of watching YouTube clips of other drivers in the lead up it was then! The car itself went back to Spoox Motorsport (also based in Leicester) for some much needed love and attention, tweeks and set-up changes. This included a complete new exhaust system from manifold to rear silencer – custom made by Spoox, suspension upgrades, corner weighting, new injectors and fuel rail system and a complete engine re-map by the team at Spoox. This event also saw Darren and Jay from Spoox run the car at Mallory Park and give some much needed tips to get the best out of the car.

We finished qualifying in 10th position overall and 2nd in class, but struggled to get a clear lap and was getting quicker as the session ended, once we got to grips with the new set-up and the new circuit.

Double Podium at Final Round

As the race started, we made a poor start and dropped back to 13th place. Over the next few laps, we picked our way through the field while still learning the feel of the new car, to end on the back of the leading group of cars and into 6th position overall and 2nd in class – it’s much easier to learn a circuit when you have quick cars to follow!

Final set-up changes were made to the Peugeot by Darren and Jay ahead of the final round and mount an assualt on the podium.

Double Podium at Final Round

As the race started, we made another bad start (I really need to pracice quicker get aways over the winter!) and dropped back to 10th. Over the next 6 laps I made my way back up to 5th place by some brave outbraking of other cars around the outside of Shaws Hairpin which then gave me the inside line going into Devils Elbow. Following a lunge by Nick Gwinett in his Renault Clio on Robert Buckland’s Clio on the inside of Shaws Hairpin, we moved up into 2nd place behind Tony Hunter (also a Clio).

We were glued nose to tail for the next three laps before coming up to Shaws Hairpin (there’s a theme going on here!) and was fully committed to the outside, when Tony moved towards the left and squeezed me onto the grass and up into the air. By the time I regained the track, we slipped back down to 4th and 2nd in class behind Tony, Dave Clark (Renault 5 GT Turbo) and Andy Mitchell (also a Peugeot 205 GTi), which is where we finished the race.

Double Podium at Final Round

A great deal has been learned while racing with the Tricolore guys in 2017 and some great new circuits visited. While we had some reliability issues this year and didn’t manage to reach the top step of the podium, which is always our aim, it was a great season, with plenty of new friends made. The decision to switch series and all of the politics from the BARC SE Tin Tops over the past three years was the right decision to make – we will be back for 2018 and raring to go!

Our 2017 race partners are:

Etesia UK

Fusion Media

Spoox Motorsport

Tom Motorsport

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

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SPOOX TOM MOTORSPORTS Fusion Media
Chris Bassett