Kutuka Motorsport NORTH






With so much to do to the red car, Helen is barely touched until 2 days before the Mallory test. As usual for Mallory, it’s booked for a Wednesday morning. I don’t know why either.


New tyres to replace the last two original R1Rs, and following the success of 45 profile rubber on the front, she is similarly equipped for the rear, insofar as the old new 45s go on the back, and the new new 45s go to the front.


New brake pads, that’s the third set of Mintex now, and the slightly boring job of poking out all the holes in the brake discs. The Ferodo pads used to warp the discs so quickly that the discs never stayed on long enough to clog up, but after half a season many of the drilled holes are filled and smoothed to the point of being difficult to find.

A quick look round, and she’s back out again, other than the repairs to her front bumper. No, no collision damage – to this car – but someone with a red car and a habit of biting Lawrence Coppock needs a new corner, and I have the only intact bumper. Before you could say “Bear, what are you doing with that grinder?” my bumper’s off, waxed up, and covered in fibreglass to make a mold. Mould? I’m sure I used to be able to spell.










































Sadly, when Lurch peeled it off, it turns out that in his wisdom he hadn’t let the wax dry, and with the sickening sound of hours of work, my bumper is left denuded of paint and filler, so I now have the joy of doing the bodywork for something I didn’t crash.

Helen is hastily cobbled back together and loaded in primer grey. Christine, in a moment of joy, has accidentally been repaired in pink fibreglass, and she looks rather like a whore’s dog.


After an evening drinking with Formula Ford pilots and accusing them of insanity it was a bright and early test on a glorious Mallory morning. I hate this place, really truly despise racing here. I wish it weren’t on the calendar, but it is. I’ve traditionally gone quite well here, but I still can’t stand it. It’s too easy to find the car’s limit, everywhere, not enough time or cornering to make any difference. Your car either works round Gerrards or not, and your lap time is almost entirely dependant on that.


In the first session, heat cycling tyres and bedding in pads, it was a little unnerving how lumbering the car felt, a palpable sense that she was unhappy. Bear, by contrast, was immediately into his Tiger Moth impersonation, droning after cars he shouldn’t be able to catch.


Once the tyres had been cycled, session 2 was all about pressing on to discover what the car is going to be like, and it takes about 3 laps to answer that question. Scary. Entry speed to Gerrards is high, she bites at the front beautifully, flies into the corner, no trouble. Touch the throttle and a change of underwear is needed, she’s horrible on the power, very twitchy, very difficult, you’d swear I was driving Stewert’s shouty V12. Indeed, the car is unstable at Gregory* and the inability to get on the power cleanly and early was hurting exit speed at Diane* such that the green machine of the Beard was clearly quicker than me through this section.










































Too much power at the essess and the car is snapping sideways mid-corner, still possible to carry more speed through there than many, but not as much as I need. Hairpin is worse. Usually this is a third gear corner, but today third doesn’t work. On the power early enough to get the rpm right on the exit and the car snaps sideways, leave it late enough to avoid that and the engine is labouring at just over 2000rpm. 2nd gear the only option, and careful as hell because she’s a wild child at that, lurid slides without trying, clearly something wrong.


Softening off the rear dampers seemed to help a little, but I was hopelessly off the pace, the day ended with me knowing full well I’ve got a real struggle coming this weekend. Bear and Beard are considerably faster than me. I know they're meant to be, but I don't mean the usual percentage, I mean a lot.


To try to improve matters, a ride height change to the rear once home, some paint and putty for the front bumper, refuelled and re-armed, and out again ready for another stab at it. I can only hope that the potential diagnosis of running out of rear suspension travel is correct. It might explain the hairpin, but I’m not convinced it explains Gerrards, that car was a real animal. Anti roll bars check out in terms of anchorage, location and intact drop links. It is a bit of a mystery, but it’s a great concern, the car’s speed is all in the cornering, rob her of that ability and she is going to be very, very slow.


In pre-race weekend discussions with Stewpert, I usually make a number of predictions. Problem was, I made mine before testing. A big name in the gravel at Gerrards, probably more than one top-flight car falling off, but a good Kutuka weekend was coming, headed by the Bear. It is a peculiarity that my instincts about race weekends are uncannily accurate, but having now experienced that car here, how the hell I am going to live up to the prediction?
















































































*I have decided that Gerrards is such a long corner that it needs renaming to break it down into sections. A few more names for the essess wouldn't hurt either. Based on who has crashed at various sections I am volunteering them as follows...








Cadwell. Enough said.







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