The British Mini Club supported Big Mac Racing have had another succesfull season including a 1st place. The season finale took the Mini Se7en Challenge to Zandvoort. Kieren McDonald takes up the story of a great weekend below.
The Mini 7 Racing Club’s season finale took us to Zandvoort for the second year running, although last year it was a non-championship round. I have fond memories with an extremely close 5-way battle, ending with two podiums, a P3 and a P2. Unfortunately this year the weather forecast was nowhere near as tropical.
Both championships had already been wrapped up – Ashley Davies topping the points table for the mini se7en challenge supported by Mini Spares, and Shayne Deegan for the mini miglia challenge supported by Mini Spares. Well done to both of you. Due to a bit of bad luck earlier in the season, we were heading to Zandvoort purely for fun. The same was the case for the previous outing at Snetterton, where we managed to walk away with our maiden win!
Following collection of the mini from Hunter Racetech where it received its pre-race prep with our ever reliable Mini Spares supplied parts, we travelled via the overnight crossing between Harwich and Hook of Holland, leaving far less miles to drive overall. Upon arrival we set up and sorted a few last jobs with the #7 Simply Race and Mini Spares sponsored mini se7en. Once sorted, it was nice to freshen up across the road at the NH Hotel and stroll along the beach – it really is a great place for a race circuit!
The Saturday schedule was pretty hectic – following sign on and scrutineering, there was free practice, qualifying and race 1. On top of that we had super tricky weather and oily track conditions to deal with.
We managed to place ourselves 2nd quickest in the free practice session (and also find the gravel pit at the end!). It is always fun after a session fishing out a never ending mysteriously wedged pile of stones. Qualifying results placed us 5th and 6th for race 1 and race 2 respectively – not a bad place to be starting from.
Race 1 was dry and started reasonably well but got a bit caught up into the first few corners. I managed to get past a couple of fellow competitors into P3 but then had a fair gap ahead of me, where I could make out Budd and Deviny battling it out for top spot. I kept my head down and drove consistent laps and somehow I could see the gap slowly closing. By the last lap I had really closed in and was on Budd’s tail crossing the finish line in P3, the final podium position. I was extremely happy with my calm and consistent drive, also setting the second quickest time without any slip streaming.
After a relaxing evening and an early night, race conditions were dry although the clouds were threatening to change that. I started 6th and had a decent start but we all had to be careful into the first corner with a slow miglia that had stalled on the line. Unfortunately the miglia was slowing me up lap after lap and I didn’t force my way through earlier in the race, as did the se7ens in front of me. I finally got past but by that time I wasn’t handling the race as well as Race 1 so wasn’t able to push on as confidently. On top of that I had pressure from Max behind me and increasingly slippery conditions from the rain that started to fall. I managed to break away but still wasn’t driving as well as the previous day. The clutch began to develop an issue three quarters of the way into the race and at one point I was worried I’d have to pull over when changing gear became more problematic due to the clutch not fully engaging. I was extremely happy to cross the line in P3 for the second time that weekend.
Zandvoort has been kind – 4 podiums in 4 races entered at Zandvoort so a great record so far. A great testament to the Selby engine, gearbox and setup! Of course plenty of advice and guidance has also helped develop my race craft too! Simply Race on top of that has allowed me to practice the circuit on their state of the art, life-like simulators – great for learning a circuit, honing your senses and developing smooth inputs. Reliability has been great thanks to Selby, Mini Spares and Hunter Racetech, allowing me to have consistent track time and gain confidence with the car.
Even though the weather was quite stormy – a far contrast from last year – we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and had some great races. It is a great venue and yet again proving very friendly with the organisers, spectators and car clubs. It was really nice to catch up with everyone, even though it is always a bit hectic in between working on the mini. Hopefully next season we will be returning again.
The end of a memorable season has seen us walk away with 3 podiums in a row, including our first P1 – a great end to a season! The 2016 season has brought us 8 race weekends – we have competed in 12 of the 15 races that have been hosted mainly over double-header weekends. We have managed our first pole position, our first fastest lap, our first win, a total of 4 podiums, and a host of laps leading races with 20-30 mini se7ens following!
The season has also saw Leon Oli Window crowned with the se7en novice championship and Josh Collins with the mini se7en s-class championship – well done to both of you.
Thank you for all your invaluable support for helping us reach yet more podiums in the Mini 7 Racing Club:
Selby Race Engines
Classic & Custom Works
British Mini Club
MB Race Photography
Friends & Family (including those over social media)
Credit to Big Mac Racing sponsor Matthew Barrington for the great images – check out his other photos on his Facebook page!! Also thanks to Sorrell and Fred for the podium pictures.
For more on Big Mac Racing check out www.bigmacracing.co.uk