Well that was quite a weekend, wasn’t it? A lot of firsts – it was the Club’s first 24hr race; it was Rockingham’s first 24hr race; it was the first use of HuTags in the UK; it was many driver’s first race; it was many team’s first 24hr race; and it was our first race recorded on video throughout. The most important first, though, was that of our winners, RAW. Warmest congratulations to Robin Welsh and his team for a brilliantly-executed race with both first place and the fastest lap. Well done.
Second, we want to make a big apology to the winners in the 3hr race. The timetable for the Saturday was so tight that we didn’t have enough time for a podium ceremony and make sure that everything else happened on time. We are extremely sorry that we couldn’t fit it in; and appreciate that it is an important part of the meeting. All the 3hr trophies, caps etc. were in Club HQ ready to be presented. We are planning to do the presentation at Pembrey as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd teams have all entered and should be present. We are going to work out a way in which we can manage a podium ceremony for the 3hr race at the next Rocky.
Thank you to the volunteers who helped us. To Christine, Aubrey, Miranda, Ryan and Richard, to over 60 marshals, to the scrutineers, clerks and course staff, to the 20 people who volunteered to drive the safety car, all of whom gave up their weekends for no pay to make the weekend happen. We all tend to take this for granted, but having now been on the other side of the fence and seen really how hard they work, we owe a big debt of gratitude to them all.
We’d also like to thank all the drivers who started for the race. As we said at the drivers’ briefing, you can only lose an endurance race on the first corner, so thank you all for such a clean start to the race: that is the standard of driving which we expect in the series. Sadly, not everyone followed suit as the number of damaged cars at the end of the race testified. Endurance racing is different from sprints: its much more about how many laps can you do before the end than can you stop the person behind you getting past – especially if that person is leading the race and blue flags are being waved. A more sophisticated approach is needed: one driver commented to us that he had waved the lead car through and tried to stick to its bumper, so as to learn from it; and had gained 2 seconds a lap in so doing. Its not often one gets the chance to follow a Touring car driver in an identical car
We also learned a lot, as it was our first 24hr in the club; so here are some of the things that we know we need to sort out or change for Rocky II:
Briefing documents need to be better. We now know the list of questions that we got asked, so can deal with them in advance.
Scrutineering needs to start earlier. We are going to aim for starting at 1000 or 1100 hrs on the Friday morning, so as to give a lot more time for the scrutineers to do their job to the full. We have ordered some new scales, since we had some inconsistent results from our trusty old (clearly too old) ones. We will limit the number of weighs per car, since checking six times holds everyone else up (and the winner was 16kg over weight, so it can’t be that crucial). We need to give a clearer briefing on how cars must be presented to scrutineering (full of fuel, with passport and MoT, with all drivers in kit and with drilled posts / bolts for ballast).
The HuTag system needs refining. There are already more sensors on order, so that we have a larger sweet spot at the pit lane exit and at the exit of the drivers’ briefings. We need to add the drivers name to the timing screens as well; and remind everyone that we know the first driver from the nomination form, so you can just drive out onto the grid.
What else, though? Please let us know your thoughts on what went well, and what didn’t. How can we improve the weekend and make it run more smoothly? We will send out a SurveyMonkey survey shortly, but would welcome any ideas or suggestions directly as well, to firstname.lastname@example.org
It was the first time that we have attempted to provide TV coverage of one of our races. Look out for the highlights programme on Motorsport TV, when we know the timing, we will let you know. We think that Scruffybear and his team did an amazing job as there were over 3,000 full views of the live stream. We are preparing short and a long highlights programmes, we’ll let you know when they are ready. We’d also like your thoughts on the in-car set up – we can do that free, but we can also offer a more sophisticated wireless-based set up at a cost: Scruffybear is working that out for us. Again, please let us know your views.
Two final points. Parc Fermé needs to be just that. One team was disqualified because someone, who had lent the lead to them, cut the ballast sealing tags and removed their ballast in Parc Fermé. We have every confidence that it was an innocent mistake, but BARC had no alternative. Please, even if Parc Fermé is a little less Fermé than usual, respect the conditions and do not touch the cars.
There was one moment that made the race for us and absolutely defines the spirit of 24hr racing. Car 318 and 402 had been battling over 8th place for quite a few hours towards the end of the race, until 402 ran out of fuel one corner before the pit lane entrance within the last hour of the race, so there was no circuit tow back. 318 slowed, and pushed 402 so that it could get back to the pits. Its on YouTube here:
As they said: “Everyone wants to finish a 24hr race”. James, you’re a legend, and I’d wear those two points on your licence proudly. I hope that we would all do the same
The C1 Racing Team