Despite our best efforts, the accident damage sustained in race 3 at the August meeting was just too severe to fix. In addition to the rather obviously wrecked door and rear quarter panel, the outer and inner sills were bent, all front seat cross members were buckled, the floor pan was buckled and even the transmission tunnel had been shifted. So after seeing out the 2014 season in a borrowed car, it was time to spend 2015 building a replacement.
The old girl in strip down
When I say spend 2015 building a replacement, I of course mean, spend the first 8 months planning a house move then realise with 1 week to go, you have a track day booked in August and passenger laps to give.
To the workshop we go!
Stripped shell ready for final prep prior to paint; removing various brackets / pieces of sound deadening / seam sealer, checking cage alignment with the new mounts, preparing the panels for primer etc.
Round 2 of the SMRC season took place at Knockhill this weekend. McMurdo Motorsport were happy just to be there after thieves stole the car trailer on Thursday night, dumping Steph’s race car in the middle of a field full of sheep!
After fog threatened to force the meeting to be called off, the start of racing was postponed by an hour to give it time to clear. Qualifying replaced by 3 laps in formation behind the safety car, grid positions decided by championship points. This left Malcolm on 6th for the start of the first race and Steph lying 16th, suffering from being taken out in the final race of round 1 and losing the points finish she would have had.
Race 1 started with a distinct dry line visible on the circuit and Malcolm’s grid box placed him in the perfect position to capitalize on the grip available, immediately jumping past David Sleigh and Ian Munro. The lead trio of Kenny Thirlwall, Oly Mortimer and Joe Tanner broke away as Malcolm fought off the challenge from Sleigh. Eventually getting some breathing space late in the race when Sleigh was backed up in to traffic but with only 2 laps to go there was no catching the leaders, but another strong 4th was a good result with the freshly rebuilt car.
Steph stayed clear of trouble on lap one in a frantic start holding position in 16th. At the start of lap two, Ladies Cup rival Hannah Chapman left the circuit returning in to the side of Scott McKenzie with both cars spinning out of the race in to the gravel at MacIntyres. Steph managed to capitalize on the chaos and got past Dan Dreelan then chased down Des Wheatley. Leaving Wheatley to battle with Dreelan, she came home in 13th taking the Ladies Cup win and her first main championship points of the season.
Race 2 returned to wet conditions and Malcolm struggled for grip off the line, losing a place to Sleigh. Unable to keep up with the lead quartet he set to defending from Chris Reid with everything going well until the last corner of the last lap when Reid managed to out drag him to the line with a better run out of the hairpin, relegating him to 6th.
Steph had a contrasting start with a great first lap seeing her up to 11th place. Dreelan passed her on lap 2 and they fought for the majority of the race before a small mistake allowed McKenzie, Scott Forbes and Marco Haig to pass. Crucially, she kept the lead for the Ladies win and again finished in the points for the main championship.
With the reverse grid draw for Race 3, Malcolm took pole position lining up along side Reid. Off the lights Malcolm got the drop and took the lead for the first 2 laps, on lap 3 a slow run through Clarks allowed Thirlwall to get the overlap with Malcolm slotting in behind to try and defend from the pack behind. Despite being clattered from behind, Malcolm managed to defend second until lap 8 where he got nudged wide at the hairpin allowing Mortimer and Sleigh to pass on the run up the hill. With both wing mirrors flattened it was nearly disaster with Chris Reid diving round the outside on the run in to Clarks on the last lap and Malcolm unable to hold the car on a tight line or see where he was to avoid him. Thankfully only light side to side contact and both cars finished the race with Malcolm taking another 4th.
Steph dropped a place off the start to 16th but came back swinging, battling race long with Wheatley and Gary Muir. At the flag she took her 3rd Ladies win of the day and 3rd main championship points scoring finish with 15th.