Season Opener

19th/20th March '05



Saturday Morning

Sat 19th of March 2005 saw Helen and Dean get up before the crack of dawn and head off down to Shakespeare County Raceway. At 5 in the morning the traffic was light and they a had their quickest journey to the track yet. Unfortunately they met fog on the M40 and found the track to be covered in thick fog for the whole morning. Ironically, they set up next to a new team called "Antisocial" and continued to chat with Phil and Tony all weekend as they learnt the ropes.

Dean and the Belle enjoy the fog.





Our first pass was at 1:11pm clocking a 12.98 @ 98mph. A very quick turn around saw Helen heading down the track again at 1:25pm his time running a 12.94 @ 98 mph. Being out of practice we forgot to empty the radiator catch-can between rounds and Helen had a bit of a shower on the return road.

 We cooled the car and went out again at 2:20pm, this time running a 13:06 still at 98mph. We failed to notice after the last run that the cooling fan wasn't working properly and at the top end of the track the Belle overheated again and sprayed hot water over both girls. After a quick check over by the fire crew (thanks guys!) the girls were towed back by the race director.


Again Helen has to pump her own tyres up...





Once the fog cleared (around lunch) the track came to life. There was a very small number of cars in the pits on Saturday and most of those were Bunchers.



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Helen is ready for the first pass of the year...



Dean's trying to find what the trouble is...

And then he makes Helen do the dirty bits......

Happy Birthday to you... Happy Birthday to you...

We hoped the catch can was the problem but because of the amount of water that had come out of the car we checked for a blown head gasket. Thankfully the plugs were clean, there was no water in the oil and after borrowing a block tester from the "Wicked Lady" crew, all was deemed ok. We rewired the fan and made our last pass at 5:24pm to bag a cautious 13.5 @ 97mph.


Helen shows another good reaction. Have a look at the Christmas tree, the other guy's not left stage yet!

Sunday morning was no where near as foggy as Saturday, so things got moving early on. At 10am the Wild Bunch collected at Tony Smith's pit, much to his surprise. Linda (Tony's wife) brought out a lovely pink and green cake in the shape of a big five-oh, and the Bunchers commenced "singing" Happy Birthday.

Things returned to as close to normal as is possible at the track, and we fitted in five runs over the day, ranging from a disappointing 13.77 to a reasonable 13.17 @ 98mph. We continued to check out the cooling situation throughout the day and were delighted when all went according to plan.

So, all in all a great first weekend out and great to get back together with all the other racers. We're looking forward to the rest of the year's racing, starting on April 16th/17th for the Power Nationals.