Birger, Cooper S, Velodromloppet 2009

In the lead, heading for my first overall victory. What a blast! Photo: racefoto.se

With the Mini, everything went to plan and beyond, the Imp needed some Midnight oil, but eventually paid us back.

I managed to grab pole position for race 1: this time all 1000-1300 period E&F cars were run in a separate heat, which comprised some fast GT machinery as well as a big gang of 10 Minis, which must a be the best Mini-grid for some time. Qual was run in damp conditions which suited my car & driving style perfectly. I stole pole by a second. I found a few setup issues that had troubled me during the friday test sessions – and even got the time to try two very different options. I also cured the high-RPM misfire which has plagued me for a year by swapping the 7-plugs to 9s. Now it screamed up to my self-imposed rev limit again without problems.

At the start of race one it was dry. I was passed by Pelle Svensson in a beautful S who got a demon start. He put up a great fight, and at the end of the straight on lap one I was on his bumper ready to pounce when Christer Nilssons Ginetta came past in a whoosh. He managed to outbrake himself somewhat, so I snuck between them both and managed to grab the lead. For some reason, Christer was awarded a drive-trough penalty(might be for something that happened behind me), so even though he passed me on the straight again the next lap, he had to drive through the pits on the next, handing me the lead back. I was pushing extremely hard to try to get away from Pelle and the rest of the pack, and suddenly as I came up to a hairpin on the fourth lap, things got nasty. As I braked, all 4 wheels locked up, and I fought the car like crazy to avoid going off and into the kittylitter. Somehow, I managed to collect it all, and realized there must have been oil on the track. Sure enough, next time by, there were 3 minis stuck in the sand, among them Pelle, and oil flags were out in a flurry. Turned out Kai Roger’s Sebring Sprite had popped a water plug and dumped all its antifreeze.

As I braked, all 4 wheels locked up, and I fought the car like crazy to avoid going off and into the kittylitter…

Through this mess I now held a huge lead, and kept a safe pace to collect my first ever overall win.  Überchuffed!

Race1:

Race two, and I was starting 2nd – the grid decided by laptimes from race 1. on pole was Christers Ginetta. The track was damp, so the plan was to try and take the lead asap, and then get a gap big enough to hold of the Ginetta. A long shot at best, as the track was drying out rapidly.

I got past Christer on the outside of turn 1, which was very slick, and drove my a** off, and kept the lead until about lap 8, when Christer caught up. I fought him as hard as I could, he passed, I repassed, we ran side-by side for over half a lap, I passed, but next time on the straight I knew it was over.

Sure enough, he blew past, and managed to get throught the next few bends quickly, while I tried rallycross-style driving to find some grip for the front wheels – in vain. At the finish I was 2nd overall, first saloon, so another win for my little cherry.

Race 2:

The Imp decided to pack up its gearbox as soon as we fired it up on Friday. Doc, having just arrived after the 4,5-hour haul to the track had a cup of coffee and a Red Bull, and jumped in the Citroen to go back and get the spare box. 8 hours later he was back, and at midnight we had the engine and box out of the Imp. At 0300 we caved in, but were wringing wrenches again at 0700 (after more red bull). We got the car back down on it’s wheels and passed scrutineering, but too late for the first race.

Sunday came, Doc got a few laps of warm-up without problems, and was set for race 2. Starting from the back, he chased Kjetil’s Abarth (the only other 1000cc car in the field) nicely for the first part of the race before being too nice when being lapped, so they lost contact. But he finished in style without further incident, a nice reward for spending most of the weekend working on the car. Next time, I’m sure those two will have a nice little tussle in the screamer-class of the field!

Now for a two-month break before CSM: Can’t wait!!

Thanks to all who helped and made this weekend so much fun! I had my camera in the car, so watch this space for videos and pictures coming soon!