Kutuka Motorsport NORTH













































Well, that’s put a dent in things.


I guess three in a row is all I’m allowed in a season then! Testing went fine, we were steadfastly in the 1.23s for most of the morning after I remembered how to drive this place. I was off at turn 1 once, a couple of seconds chattering along the wrong side of the kerb, but nothing else. Rocket as ever the tricky braking zone that rewards confidence, not on how late you can leave it, but to give it an early push on the pedal to get that left hander very tight to reward you on the Rocket2 exit.









































The car was a bit tail-happy, but then she was here last year, and it was hardly unmanageable, just a bit twitchy on the power, it was more of a lift-off problem. But then this track does reward a softer setup, and we didn’t bother.


My first tyre is now ruined, the R1R has torn giant chunks of rubber off the outer edge and the third session ended with metal showing full circumference, we’re onto the spare tyre already.










































Bear’s car being broken, he can’t run it, so he bolts his wheels on my car and takes her out. And hates it. Doesn’t like the steering, handling, brakes or gearlever. He can’t get within 2 seconds per lap of my times, but nonetheless, that is actually still cracking on and would put him maybe 3rd in class – 2nd if you took me out of the way, which I’m sure many would appreciate.










































It comes to an end on the last corner of the last lap of the last session, when she breaks another rear hub, throws the wheel off, and spins onto the grass at the corkscrew. No serious damage, broken hub, smashed upright, broken disc and calliper carrier. It takes an age to recover the car, as on test day Anglesey don’t have a recovery truck, they try to carry the car in with a tractor, which at 1.6tonnes is overloading the hydraulics, they have to hop the car to assembly in little jumps over the space of some 20 minutes.










































In fact we put a new hub and brakes on it in assembly faster than it took to drag the car the fifty feet from where it had spun, she is back in action in under 15 minutes.










































With Kutuka back to fighting strength we head to quali on a blazing hot Saturday morning, to find the track had changed overnight. The car is now into heinous understeer, the front end simply sliding everywhere unless really provoked, so it is no shock to find myself off the pace and only 6th on the grid, not even a second clear of class D, and with a flying Beard ahead of me.


Some bizarre things going on with backmarkers, who wave you through and then race you again for the corner they have just conceded. I don’t really know what that’s about, but to have to really push your engine and defend into a braking zone in qualifying is very strange, I thought we were all in this for the same thing in quali?

Bear is second to Palmer, but we knew Chris would go well here, loves the place and his car is set up beautifully for it.










































Lights out and watching the saloons flee, very difficult not to launch with them, but the union flag is yanked in and we’re off. Good start, better than Stewert, but with Beard in the way first corner heroics are out of the question, it is Coppock alongside me that makes the big banzai into the corner, his rear bumper smacking the front of the Bear’s car. As they both wibble down the kerb there is more contact as that V12 waves its tail, there are bits of fibreglass flying back at us like shrapnel.


Safely round the hairpin, and race on. With Roger ahead of me and slower in corners but faster on the straights, I’ve got a bit of an E class problem, and that allows Drage to fill my mirrors. I can’t lay down my speed through the corners with a defensive Wibbler, and on the straight I don’t have the go.











































A few laps of this and we’re clear of Drage, who is pretty sideways, and that lets me have a proper look at the Beard. I’ve got issues though, it’s a hot day and the temp gauge has taken a jump to the 2/3 mark, which is more than usual. Worrying. A further dice with Roger and I’m through and clear and running, but that gauge has gone up to 3/4 , and that’s definitely not right. Along the back straight and steam starts to come out of the bonnet louvres, it’s overheating. As it’s a double-header, that means retirement. Roger must have wondered what I was doing as I’m slow into Rocket and drove straight off the track to park it.


Standing with the marshalls and a certain Mr Jones and his numerous cameras, watching the race unfold. Palmer’s flying, and passed everyone on track except Rich Dorlin, despite the 20 second saloon head start. Jesus. Coppock is a mile back by himself, the fun is the Bear v Lez fight, Bear has brake problems and initially let Stewert by, but has found grip at last, Lez is having himself a drifting competition, the eventual re-pass is inevitable, Bear sells a dummy and passes on the cutback on the last lap, Sideways Stewpid buys it and loses third. The Ramm v Drage and Boon v Seath battles also entertained.


Not that that’s a lot of comfort when you’re watching your championship going without you, to retire from the class lead is not fun.










































Towed back in, and diagnosis did not take long, head gasket. We don’t know why, the car hadn’t been running hot, but take the plugs out and number 4 was full of water. With Officer David’s assistance the head removal was pretty quick, indeed at this point we have all the Kutukites wielding spaniards, Bear and Lez swapping a master cylinder. The head gasket is destroyed in several places, the fire rings under attack on at least 4 cylinders. Why we don’t know.


New gasket fitted, and by 8pm we’re done again. Or so we think. Following morning also shows the water pump is leaking, the casing appears to be cracked. Most odd, they are hugely reliable. In theory that’s three things, but Bear claims the hub is his mechanical woe, so I’m still due one.


Sunday then, and a new race. Oddly, a dead body had appeared in assembly, some wag with a chalk stick had been at work.


I am out of tyres, the n/s/r R1R is showing a tiny fluff of canvas on the outside edge. I can either go for old T1Rs, or stay with R1Rs and swap the rears left to right. We go for the latter, the balding rear should survive on the less loaded wheel long enough. Should give me the R1R grip I need to race through the field. T1Rs would have been asking a lot, and it’s already a fairly tough job.










































Starting dead last is new to me, I’ve never been this far back before. So far back the union flag put out is barely visible as I’m round the corner.


But, from back here, the enormity of my task is apparent. I need class win and fastest lap to minimise the damage. There are 4 class Ds in front of me, and three of them are experienced racers. Poor baby Coppock has no real chance, I’ll do him off the line, I’ve already angled the car and I have the inside line to turn 1 anyway.


Flag in and away. Good start, so good I have to lift to miss Seath, then cut in and try to drag him to turn 1. He’s squeezing me so I get out of it, pick my line and get a better run out of the corner to slice down his near side. He doesn’t see that coming and edges the car over wide for the hairpin, which is gloomy because I’m there. Can’t get further over, I’m already kicking up the dust. Hit the brakes and he nearly gets clear, but our bumpers snag and the speed difference as I’m hard on the brakes rips his rear bumper off, just unhooks it from his car. Not what you’d call a bump, there was nothing in it, but it just catches enough to have half his rear bumper now hanging off.


Talking to him afterwards he really didn’t see me there at all, in fact he had a bit of the Palmer effect going on, can’t tell which mirror I was in because it was all of them. Takes me another two laps to make it past, I have the corners but he has the engine, and I try the outside line at the hairpin on lap 2, set up for it on lap 3 to make him defend the outside, then cut to the inside instead, job done.
































The car is different again to either Friday or Saturday. It is much more neutral, better balanced, and could be kicked into controlled oversteer to counter the understeer, giving me much higher exit speeds out of turn 3. The ability to weave and dive it all over the track was transformed, it was a much better racer than it had been all weekend. The talk I had with her in assembly clearly did the trick. I’m afraid it was a real actual talk, there was a little speech and everything. Well OK, so it was the track that had changed, but don’t burst my bubble.


Chris Boon next up the road, but there’s a bigger issue, namely steam coming out of the left hand louvers already. Probably just the catch tank over full, right? Well, no, but the gauge says fine, so call it right. Same deal with Boon, I dummy and dive at every corner, but it’s two laps before I make it work, the run out of turn 3 is better so we’re side by side going into the kink at the bottom of Rocket. He squeezes me out first time, but I get it done the second attempt, steam still coming out of the bonnet like a locomotive.


Next is Drage, and he’s got maybe 200 yards on us, which I think was his undoing. Going into Rocket he had Chris Boon in the mirror so I’m probably considered out of range, but I give it stick through the twisties and exit turn 1 with much more speed, and go for the dummy up the inside to ruin his exit, then realise I’ve passed him, almost by accident. It wasn’t a committed dive to begin with, it just turned into one. The only explanation I have is that never registered in the mirror in the 7 corners between passing Boon and making my dive, I got to scoot round turn 1 and into the overtake without being there long enough to become a concern. Like a ninja.


Next up the road is Roger. I told him I was going to pass him today, just a joke because we knew I was starting last, but bugger me if he isn’t just a couple of seconds up the road after his lap 1 excursions. It would be funny to pass him.


The steam has stopped, and the gauge is fine, so maybe it was just an overfill? Round Rocket and there’s a sideways Lyddall, split second to go left or right, choose right and notice he’s still going backwards, but we’re through. Into the backmarker saloons then, and once again finding myself raced for position. I dispatch Askham into the last corner and have now closed on the Beard. I don’t need to attack the Beard, but it’s a matter of pride, he’s never beaten me on track and I don’t care if that is an E class.










































Doyle waves me through then claims the corner anyway. Pass him along the straight and find him outbrake me into Rocket and claim the place back. Eventually made it through at the hairpin, and as we round turn 3 he is still chasing, turns in earlier than Helen but on the same speed, and round it goes, sideways and dramatic onto the infield. Having watched that car oversteering through every turn for two days it was hardly unexpected!


Onto the Beard’s tail now, and we’ve both caught an ailing Bear. I work out that Bear’s third, and this fight therefore  for 3rd place overall. Screw the class win, if I could get third from dead last it’d be a right result. But the steam is back and I need to decide what to do, chase of just hold station. The temp is climbing a bit, and at about 4000rpm and over it’s steaming. But the temperature hasn’t gone sky high, it’s about 2/3 up the scale, which is perfectly acceptable. The only solution is a bit of a short shift and see what happens. Hit the fan button anyway, bit of help in the slower corners maybe.


Keep the pressure on Beardy, and with his heinous understeer I do make it through, up the inside into Peel, I have it done. I ought to now slam the door and risk getting a tap, but I do have my class lead to think about, I daren’t risk it, but he’ll have to be brave to retake me going down the corkscrew even if I’m on the outside. He is, and does. Good boy.


The Beard is now in a steaming Kutuka sandwich, the Bear is coughing up water and short-shifting, I’m venting steam and looking for a way past, and the last lap board means redoubled efforts because my car has survived and I can give it more grief. I have a peek down the corkscrew, but it’s the last ditch effort out of the final turn that amused me, I got the run out of the turn and was very nearly alongside as we crossed the line, the gap 1/10th of a second, poor old Beardy never even saw me there. A fraction more power and I’d have nicked the place without overtaking him, because on the last lap it’s the position of your transponder on the line, not whether you make it in front at the next corner. It would appear that with experience has come a little more brain.


Bear immediately pulls off the track to save the car. He got his third place, job done, no sense risking that engine any further.


Class win then from the back, and a fair stab at chasing for third place. That would have been quite the story. Driver of the day goes to Seath.










































As it is we have two cars with blown head gaskets, and no real understanding why. It’s odd that we’ve both done it. We don’t really share many components, in that the heads are different spec, as are the bolts and gaskets. The radiators and pumps are the same, but Bear claims his temp never exceeded 90, and my temp never went hugely high. It’s as if the gaskets have been destroyed without getting hot. Detonation damage seems the key, and the one thing the cars do share is the fuel supply. Suspicion is that the petrol may be at fault, a dodgy batch of pump fuel from the local station coupled with a hot weekend could be the answer.


3 head gaskets on 2 cars in 2 days points to a common problem. The only thing in common is the fuel and conditions.


The class win is damage limitation; I get the full compliment of points today. With Palmer having a poor Brands we both have a dropped round, and we’re on even points for now. But he is on the ascendancy at that, his charge has to be stopped at Oulton by me achieving maximum points. And this is where it gets interesting, because the rumour is that Ray Hill’s class E car, detuned to class D spec, will be out at Oulton Park with a paid driver in the seat to come out and give me a run for my money. Whilst it's just a rumour, I welcome the challenge. But does that mean I'm meant to hire someone to come and chase Chris? I don't know how it works. I must put that call into Jason Plato to come and drive Christine, we’re Facebook buddies you know.




I don't know what the flies had against us, but mass suicide seemed to be tactic. Despite a weekend of racing, my enduring memory of Anglesey will forever be Darth Pearce heckling a pair of flies shagging on his bootlid.




Head gasket, exhaust manifolds, master cylinder, and a man in a funny hat.


Oiled up and ready for Gail.


Turn that sun down a bit will ya?



Trust me, at this point just close your eyes, don't look outside for the next twenty minutes or so.


I'm not a single-seater fan, but I really wanted this one.




Most-played in the garage this week - We do have a new in-truck ritual involving the works of Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch, and a plate of sausages. But I don't want to go into that.


Injury of the week - sunburned my bonce.


Helper of the week - Mr David. Again!


You might look at this and suggest that the car needs more camber. And you'd be wrong.


Look Ma, big boy wheels.




Head gasket repaired, but the head is warped, the rear tyres are on backwards, one is bald, and we're starting at the back. We got a half tank of gas, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses...


...but we've passed Drage, Boon, Seath and Coppock, this is the class lead.


As a result of the extra strength Chris Palmer's Cadwell antics had me add to the car, this is the extent of the damage to the Seath incident. Another inch of tarmac and we'd not even have had this.


Smug git wearing his Snetterton hat.



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