SBD Motorsport Events 2019

Matt Hillam and Steve are sharing the 2.0L XE powered SBD Dallara in the British Sprint Championship.

Carole will be driving her Hayabusa SBD OMS CF04 in the British Sprint Championship

Zoe will be driving the SBD 1.6L EcoBoost Westfield in the HSA Speed Championship


Castle Combe, 23rd March

Steve: 1st in Top12 - 115.67s New BSC Record YouTube Video
Matt: 2nd in Top12 - 117.44s
Carole: 3rd in Class - 148.60s
Zoe: 2nd in Class - 145.54s
Chris Jones was sharing our Westfield, he qualified for the Top 12, achieving a new BSC Class Record - 128.78s YouTube Video Speedscene reported: 'He set a new Mod Prod record , this in a car he had never driven before. Chris was also very enthusiatic about the levels of lateral G that he was able to reach without upsetting the car or racing line. 'There is more to come' was his ominous comment.'
We hadn’t had any time to test the 2.0L XE SBD Dallara despite its newly installed engine before arriving at Castle Combe. Matt drove the Dallara first and said he was still having to pump the brakes even though we had re-built the entire braking system. On Steve’s practice, he took care to pump the brakes all the way round and was only a few tenths of the record. By the first timed run, we had worked out that it was definitely pad knock-off and both drivers were getting practiced at driving around the issue. Matt managed to improve his time and Steve finished in 115.48s which broke Mark Smith’s 2014 record that he had set in the SBD Reynard. For the 2nd timed run, the temperature had dropped slightly and Steve pushed the car too hard on the exit of quarry having a bit of a spin. Steve qualified 2nd for the Top12, just pipped by Colin Calder by 3/10th, the temperatures got even cooler and all the V8s began to drop like flies. By the time it came to Steve’s run, he knew he had to get a banker in so took a steady run, which was enough to lead after the first runs but not quick enough to break the record. Matt put in a good run and significantly improved his time on both the Top12 runs. When it came to Steve’s final run, being the last car to go and already leading the Top12, he knew he only needed to break the record to claim an extra point but the track conditions were getting ever colder. Despite that he managed to put in a quick, if slightly untidy run, to break the record and claim the extra point.
Speedscene Report: 'Steve Broughton and Matt Hillam took first & second in the British Sprint Top 12 Run Off at Castle Combe in their shared SBD Dallara and scored the first National Run Off win for Pirelli tyres. Having qualified second (to Colin Calder) with a new record, Steve put in a 'banker' on his first Run Off and then went for it on his second. The run was a bit ragged, but enough to seal the win and set a new record for another bonus point'

Anglesey, 6th April

Steve: 5th in Top12 - 46.90s
Matt: FTD - 46.07s, New Record, YouTube Video, 2nd in Top12 - 46.25s 
Carole: 12th in Top12 - 55.13s

Anglesey, 7th April

Steve: 4th in Top12 - 77.63s
Matt: 2nd in Top12 - 76.67s New Record
Carole: 12th in Top12 - 89.89s
We had made some more adjustments to the car’s set up, which suited Matt but the changes were less comfortable for Steve. We ran practice and 1st timed run on the Pirellis that have now done 48 runs and we decided to swap, as a test, to a brand new set of Pirellis that we hadn’t even taken out of the trailer to see how much the performance would improve with the new tyres over the originals. We are pleased to say that there was no performance gain from swapping from the old to the new tyres, which is great news for us because the tyres remain at top performance for much longer. In fact we only cleaned the tyres for the 2nd time on the Saturday night and they are only just down to the first tread wear indicator. The car was going great but as always drivers want more, at the end of the day there was only ½ second between the 2 drivers in the timed runs. Matt being more relaxed with the set up took advantage in the Top12, finishing 2nd just behind John Graham and Steve was pipped by Nick Algar finishing 4th.

Goodwood, 11th May

Steve: 3rd Overall, 1st in Class - 84.38s
Zoe: 2nd in Class, Fastest Lady - 88.74s
Steve’s first go in the Westfield for about a year, the car feels much smoother with all the updates with a better feel with the new Pirelli tyres fitted. It was a cool start to the day and he had to dial himself back into a different style of driving from the SBD Dallara. The car was already quick being fastest in class after practice, as the day warmed up and Steve got more comfortable in the car, he made small adjustments to the settings. The car was quicker again on each run, although it wasn’t until the final run when the temperatures had warmed and Steve was beginning to remember how to drive a Westfield, that he really got comfortable in the car. We will be making a few adjustments to the car before Blyton, so it should be quicker again for Zoe and Chris Jones.
Steve at Goodwood, May 2019Zoe at Goodwood, May 2019

Blyton Park Eastern, 18th May

Steve: 7th in Top12 - 63.57s
Matt: 6th in Top12, 1st in Class - 61.66s
Carole: 2nd in Class - 74.91s
Zoe: 5th in Class - 78.01s (Nat B)
Steve: Steve was praying for rain because he did well last year in the rain on the Eastern Circuit, unfortunately it stayed dry! Matt went out first, did a steady run and felt he had driven too slowly and that there was more grip than he thought. Because Matt had said there was more grip than expected, Steve went out all guns blazing to discover there wasn’t as much grip as he had imagined, so he overdrove the car, cutting a corner then spinning on the difficult right-hander (Curva Grande). Steve was then not particularly comfortable for the rest of day and finding it difficult to settle and get any of the corners right! The first timed run, Matt got a good time in to lead the class, Steve was always a couple of seconds behind and never really getting it right for the day. On the 2nd timed run Matt consolidated his class win, with Steve finishing 2nd.  In the Top 12, Matt finished 6th with a new British Sprint Championship record of 61.66s and Steve finished 7th.
Carole: Another great weekend of racing, this time at Blyton Park. It’s not one of my favourite circuits, but it definitely is challenging. I was out to beat my times from 2017 when I last raced there. It was forecast to be wet on the Saturday but we only had a very light shower which caused the car to slide about and bounce on the bumps on the circuit. We decided to increase the amount of wing on the car and this made it feel more stable. It was a job to get any heat into the tyres, but on my 2nd timed run I was ‘red flagged’ due to a car going off, so I had another run and was baulked again, so on my third attempt, now with nice hot tyres I set my fastest time of the day. I had the opportunity to take more runs after the British Sprint run offs, so I went out for another two runs, but I wasn’t able to improve on my best run. Saturday evening we had the opportunity to walk the circuit with Alan Mugglestone to get some technical advice on the Sprint circuit for Sunday. There was a lot to take in and it was good to see how I could drive the circuit faster using the right techniques on the correct entries and exits that would carry more speed.
Zoe: First timed run ended on Bishops corner where I went in too fast, braked too late and went straight onwards rather than round itlaugh however managed to improve during the day and got down to a 78.01! Looking forward to tomorrow already - new track to learn though!.

Blyton Park Outer,19th May

Steve: 7th in Top12 - 56.62s
Matt: 6th in Top12, 1st in Class - 56.57s
Carole: 2nd in Class - 67.77s
Zoe: 5th in Class - 70.17s (Nat B)
Steve: On the Saturday evening, we persuaded Alan Mugglestone to give a walk of the Outer Circuit with driver tips, we learnt a lot of new things and had been getting every corner wrong on the circuit. Unfortunately this was a lot to take in and remember, then put into place for the Sunday meeting. So again on our single practice, Matt went first, put a steady time in and said there wasn’t a lot of grip. Steve went out, keeping this information in mind and trying to put everything Alan had said into play. Steve thought there was far more grip than Alan had suggested and managed to put in a reasonable time. They were both in the same second. On T1, Steve went first, made quite a few mistakes, got a reasonable time but nothing special, Matt going second got a good run to lead the class and was a couple of seconds up on Steve. On the second timed run, Matt didn’t go any faster but his 1st timed run was sufficient to win the class, Steve managed to put a lot more of what Alan had taught him into play and for the first time felt that he was getting somewhere on the Outer Circuit and put in a time that was only 2/10th behind Matt. He finished 2nd in Class. Nick was close 3rd making it very tight in the 2L class. Come the Top12 Steve strung everything together from what he had done in his second timed run and put in a fantastic run until braking at the last corner, which he didn’t make! When asking Alan later what he had done wrong, Alan said ‘it looked fantastic, incredible commitment but braked 2 car lengths later than you should have done!’ Matt put a reasonable run in but wasn’t happy, felt it was quite messy and didn’t go any faster than his qualifying time. Steve obviously had to get a time in for his 2nd Top12 run to score points and managed to do a quick but steady run, not wanting to crash and was within 1/10th of his qualifying time. On Matt’s final Top12 run, he got a good start but when he got to the first corner and air valve failed, which prevented him from changing down the gearbox. This was a real shame, but we worked out that the valve had been fitted to this car since 2014 and the previous car for a full year as well so it will now be replaced on a bi-annual basis.
Carole: Sunday morning Steve, Zoe and myself walked the circuit again and discussed the circuit techniques again to refresh everything we were going to try and put into practice on the runs. The first practice and timed runs went well and I could definitely feel the speed on entry and exits on the track we had learnt, were showing in my times coming down and giving me a PB for my 1st timed run. During the 2nd timed run the red flag came out and I had a re-run. My tyres were nice and hot and the entire run felt good with increased speed and I was really pleased to see I had done another personal best knocking off 5 seconds giving me my 2nd PB time of the day. It was a great weekend of racing.
Zoe:New course the second day of Blyton but managed to knock 8seconds off my time from practice to T3. Sector 3 on my T3 is much slower than the previous due to a little wobble but it was my fastest time of the day so clearly didn't affect anything too much! Looking forward to head back to Pembrey in 2 weeks time.

Pembrey, 1st June

Steve: 2nd in Top12, 1st in Class - 93.82s
Matt: 3rd in Top12, 2nd in Class - 94.82s
Carole: 2nd in Class - 110.48s
Zoe: 3rd in Class - 115.57s
Steve & Matt: Matt went first, said the car felt nice. Steve drove second but was slightly slower even with the warmer tyres. We were keeping a careful check on the aero balance of the car, since this was the first time to Pembrey with the new aero set up, so we adjusted the wing setting for the 1st timed run; the car didn’t feel quite right but Steve managed to post a fast enough time to be leading class with Matt 0.9s behind. We looked at the data and we both puzzled by the fact that the information from the logger was showing the changes we had made did the opposite to what we had expected. It was then at this point we realised, that the front damper pot had come unscrewed and wasn’t moving, so the information we had got from the previous runs was irrelevant! We took best guess, Steve went slightly slower and Matt went slightly quicker, but not fast enough to beat Steve’s first timed run. We both qualified well for the Top 12 and Matt starting first smashed a tripode on the left-hand driveshaft, thinking this had ruined our Saturday we still rushed the car back to fix it so we could at least test it in the 3rd timed run after the Top12. Fortunately for us, but unlucky for Simon Bainbridge, a suspension part broke on his car on track causing a high speed off, which took a great deal of time to recover. This gave us sufficient time to replace the joint and we both got out for our 2nd Top12 run. Matt did well with his one run and achieved ???overall, Steve managed to get a good run fast but safe and secure second overall with a 93.82s. We were pleased with Saturday even if a bit fraught at times.
Zoe & Chris were running the 1.6L EcoBoost SBD Westfield, with the same setting that they had run at Blyton. There was further upgraded software, which improved the gearchanges and Neutral finding for gearboxes where the Neutral is a half gear selection. We gave the software a quick test on Friday evening and found that the Neutral selection on the Sadev ‘box currently used in the Westfield now works about 3x faster than it had done previously. The faster downshift strategy could only be tested on axle stands to prove its functionality, this also seemed to be a nice improvement. Come Saturday morning Zoe and Chris went out for their practice and although posting some quick times, we could see that the Westfield struggling to put the power down, not only in the corners but even on the straights. Pembrey is quite a bumpy circuit and shows up any shortcomings in the set up. Changes were made throughout the timed runs, but due to the number of other issues in the paddock, Steve didn’t have sufficient time to give it his full attention. After making some damper setting changes, we could see that it wasn’t having a significant effect and changes the spring rates on the rear of the car. This made a step forwards, but it still wasn’t perfect and Chris was struggling to make full use of the power. Despite this Chris finished 1st in Class with 105.56s (New British Sprint Championship Class Record) and Zoe, 3rd with 115.57s. 
Carole: One of my favourite events but on the Sunday we were doing the Club circuit which I have only done once before and it’s definitely a challenge. Saturday was the first outing with my new Pirelli slicks to replace the older Avon’s I had been using. This required some minor changes to the ride height and change the camber settings but this was all done at the circuit early on Saturday morning. First practice went well, the new tyres needed the first run to bed in, but I definitely felt confident in the way the car had good grip. After watching my video I could see where improvements could be made for the timed runs and on my last run I achieved another PB time.

Pembrey, 2nd June

Steve: 2nd in Class - 116.63s
Matt: 3rd in Class - 119.67s
Carole: 1st in Class - 131.48s
Zoe: 5th in Class - 142.43s
Steve & Matt: On Saturday night, we had changed a few settings on the car and fitted the wet tyres because we knew the weather was going to wet most of Sunday. On arrival at the circuit in the morning, it was only damp in a few places, but mostly dry around the circuit. Just as we were about to start though, it started to drizzle and it wasn’t really quite enough for full wets, but it looked as if it could get heavier at any moment. Matt went out again first, managed ¾ lap before a ball joint failed on a prototype throttle linkage Steve had been working on. There was about an hours work to strip the car down, weld the part up and put it back together. This meant that T1 would be Steve’s practice run and Matt 1st Timed Run, since not driven on the Pirelli wets before and it now quite torrential the rain Matt took it steady and posted a reasonable time, being Steve’s practice run, he did the same and the grip seemed to be fantastic. Both our timed were a little slow as far as qualifying pace was concerned, but Matt went out and posted a good time for T2. Steve felt the car was really good but since this was his one and only run to qualify had to hold back, just enough to ensure a safe run. When he finished, the clock stopped at 116.63s which was 1/100th second behind Steve Miles who managed to post a great time to achieve FTD. We then prepared the car for the Top12, the sun was now out and track was very rapidly drying, so we were making wing settings for the dry runs. Unfortunately, we then discovered that the AiM data logger was giving us errors in one of maths channels and would give us different rake readings each time the data was opened. This meant yet again we had got the aero balance wrong, but it was too late to work out what we should be doing. Matt was first to the line again for the Top12 and unfortunately this time sheared the driveshaft on his start, this was a much longer fix and insufficient time to repair it within the Top12. Colin rushed around and got a spare drive shaft out and quickly put the car back together so we could prove it in the 3rd timed runs (which don’t count to the awards or any results) that the car was ok. Matt was designated again to drive the car, a few calculations were made and we changed the aero settings to what should be correct, Matt managed to then go round on cold tyres in a time that would have been quick enough to take the class records. He said feel and balance to the car was much better with the further improvement to the gearchange software and acceleration fuel strategy. Although we had a weekend that was up and down, it was a good weekend and if it wasn’t for the power of the 2.0L XE engine and the grip of the Pirelli tyres, we probably wouldn’t have won class or broken the car! YouTube slow motion start line video
Zoe & Chris: At the end of the day, because we were expecting rain on Sunday, all the tyres were switched to wets. The circuit layout was slightly different and with the ever changing conditions, it was difficult to make a further steps forward in the set up of the car. Chris was still putting in good times winning class and managed to qualify for the Top12 finishing 10th in 117.26s. Zoe was also taking chunks out of her time, although she spun on a semi-damp track in her 2nd timed run. She was really getting to grips driving the car but just pushed a bit too hard on the exit of a corner, however she was still keen to get out and do her 3rd timed run to get more seat time in the car and got her time down to 142.43s.
Carole: Sunday started damp with heavy rain promised by 10am. Not having any Pirelli wet tyres, I needed to use my Avons which meant making changes to the car ride height again, so I ran the first practice on the slicks. For the first timed run it was definitely too wet for slicks so we changed the car settings and put on the wet tyres and had a good timed run. Later on it dried up so back onto the slicks and I improved my time achieving a PB for my last run. A great weekend of racing.

Abingdon CAR-nival, 8th June

Steve: 1st in Class, 5th Overall - 90.38s YouTube Video
Zoe: 3rd in Class - 103.21s
Carole: 1st in Class - 93.21s
Zoe: Abingdon started incredibly wet yesterday and having driven the car down to scrutineering and noise testing, I came back covered in mud, water and stones. We did a quick change of slicks to wets before first practice as there was a lot of standing water on Bentley, our first track of the day, specifically on the corner by the finish! 
First practice went well, albeit slow, as I was getting used to the track again. It stopped raining during first practice and had dried sufficiently to have the slicks put back on for second practice. Timed runs went well but with the track having completely dried, the single seaters were in their element! 
After lunch it was onto the second track of the day, Abingdon. This track was more to my liking with fast straights rather than the short bursts and sharp turns of the Bentley course. The Westfield struggled with grip on this track causing gear change issues where the wheels were spinning too fast for the gear change to take place. 
We have been having a few problems with grip with the powerful 1.6L EcoBoost and the car has been wheel-spinning a lot, which has also been causing some problems with some of the gear changes, but Steve thinks he has now worked out what is going on.
Steve managed an impressive 360 spin when showing off for the camera man, which was caught on live stream, and managed to get 2 re-runs as the timing beam didn't acknowledge he went over it! Even with the issues we were having, I managed a 48sec run hitting around 130mph on the last straight. 
Last year I was 94th overall, but this year out of 120 competitors, I finished the day 28th! Great day out all in the name of charity, ended with a hog roast provided by the organisers!
Steve: Getting back into the Westfield after driving the Dallara, is quite a changing driving style required. He settled back into driving the car during the day  but had to remember that you can’t jump on the brakes as hard or go round the corners as quickly. As Zoe said we have been struggling with grip but we think this is all down to having the wrong rear roll bar set up on the car. With what we now know, we will make some dramatic changes to the rest of the car spring and damper set up, which should bring some significant improvements to the grip and handling of the car. We need to tame the car’s power during gear changes, which should then give us a great package. Even at the moment the car is loads of fun, whilst sliding the car around for the chicane, noticed the cameraman, thought I would be even more impressive, unfortunately slightly too impressive as Zoe said. Had a great day with loads of fun.
Carole: I always think of Abingdon as a full on fun day of racing. At no other event do we get to do 8 runs in one day on two different circuits. After Pembury and the fuss of having to change the car when using the Avon wets, I bought a set of Pirelli wets. I was glad I had as the day started with heavy rain so the new wet tyres were used for the 1st practice run.  We did the Bentley course first in the morning, always my favourite course of the event, but there was a huge puddle on the last corner before the finish and Steve Miles advised me not to drive into it as there was a landing light hidden in the water which would do damage if I hit it. A valuable tip, thanks Steve.  My times improved on every run.
The afternoon was on the Bentley  course, faster but with a difficult chicane to negotiate halfway through. All the runs showed an improvement on my times for each one. Fortunately I managed to get away with not bending a push rod on the rear suspension as there was a nasty dip in the track and at speed the car bounced dramatically, which damaged many of the other single seater race cars. I managed to survive the day thankfully and at prize giving was awarded a 1st in Class trophy. A nice surprise to finish the day with.

Aintree, 29th June

Steve: 2nd in Class, 6th in Top 12 - 40.07s
Matt: 3rd in Class, 5th in Top 12 - 39.82s
Steve: We had not been to Aintree for 12 years and my last visit was in a Westfield, I couldn’t remember much of the circuit. Although only having 3 corners, it wasn’t until first practice that I remembered that all 3 are quite technically tricky to get correct and if you overdo it, you could be having a very bad day on the horse racing jumps! Both myself and Matt were reasonable close to each other in both practices, with barely anything between the pair of us. I would be quicker on one corner and Matt would be quicker on another. The damper changes we had made prior to the event seemed to be making a big improvement to the grip on the bumpy circuit. The left rear wheel speed sensor was reading erratically and we hadn’t noticed that the trigger wheel had been damaged from where the driveshaft broke at Pembrey, so we disabled the left rear wheel speed sensor. I had also done some revisions to the gear change strategy, which helped to speed up the gear changes further. The car and engine were running great, but with the 2 very long straights we were struggling against the V8 cars and the more powerful cars including Nick Algar in his lightweight supercharged DJ, coupled with the fact that he regularly went to Aintree, both myself and Matt knew that we could only go faster by getting the corners perfect. As usual Matt seemed to be losing speed down the straights in comparison with myself. We decided to swap the rear wing in the second timed run to our lower downforce set up and although the top speed went up by about 4mph, we lost time through the corners so decided to swap back for the Top 12. For the Top 12, wind had changed direction and we were now going into a headwind towards the finish, this dropped our top speed by almost 7mph from what we had seen in the morning. On Matt first run, he managed to finish 3/100th under British Sprint record which gave him an extra point, I was 2/10th behind this (just outside the record). Matt messed up his 2nd run at the 3rd corner and was much slower, my 2nd run was within 3/100th on his first run so wasn’t able to gain any additional points.
Steve at Aintree, June 2019Matt at Aintree, June 2019

Lydden Hill, 13th July

Steve: 1st in Class, 4th in Top 12 - 66.26s
Matt: 2nd in Class, 3rd in Top 12 - 65.74s
Carole: New Personal Best - 74.46s
Zoe: New Personal Best - 79.33s YouTubeVideo
Steve:We had made some more software upgrades to the 2.0L XE SBD Dallara for slicker gear changes. Also because we had damaged the rear wheel speed sensor pick ups due to the broken tripod and driveshafts and couldn’t get the components made in time, Steve had to change the rear wheel speed information to be calculated from engine rpm and gear. We had used this quite often in the past and could look at the logged data from previous events then simply entered the data into the ECU. This meant traction control was able to work as normal. 
We also made further adjustments to the damper settings and fitted gurneys to the front flaps thanks to John Hansell. The Dallara hadn’t been to Lydden with this wing combination so we didn’t know what the settings needed to be. Matt went out first in practice and said the circuit felt slippery, Steve had the advantage of slightly warmer tyres and thought the car felt really quite good. This was proven by the fact that he was fastest overall in practice and Matt was 3rd. In the first timed runs Matt was slightly quicker than Steve. 
We looked at the data and added some tassels to the rear wing, John was worried that the angle of attack might be too steep and the wing could stall. The photos that Kim took showed that the rear aero was working perfectly, John felt that we could even go to the last maximum wing setting and it would probably be ok. On the second timed runs Steve had the advantage of slightly warmer tyres and pipped Matt to the class by 0.08s. 
Come the Top12, we knew we were suffering with lack of traction at low speed, so we decided to test some damper settings in the 1st run and although it gave more initial grip, we lost ability later under power. We had enough time during the driver swap over to set the dampers back. Matt managed to improve his time to just outside the class record and although Steve just pipped his qualifying time, Matt just beat him with 65.74s finishing 3rd and Steve 4th with 66.26s. We have some ideas on how to improve it further, Alan Mugglestone has kindly provided further technical support and agreed with general idea with suggested adjustments to make. Overall the car felt great, it is just a joy to drive all the time.
Carole: This event a year ago was Bill’s last drive in the car and as such I did feel he was looking over my shoulder and telling me to ‘put your foot down’! 
So I tried my best throughout the day to do just that with help from Bill’s friend Steve Miles. It was just a single day event with one practice and two timed runs to count. Steve showed me his video of his fastest time from a few years ago, noting the correct lines and braking points. First practice started with the car performing well and the new tyres giving plenty of grip. When coming in off the circuit and seeing the time clock showing 80 seconds, I was surprised as I had checked my fastest time last year which was a 78 second run. I wasn’t sure the time had been right, but when the times were posted it was correct. So I was happy to be so close on my first practice. 
For the second timed run a few changes were discussed with Steve on braking points and watching the video of my practice run. It is definitely important to have a video, as where you think you were braking and cornering is not always the case when you review it. The run resulted in a marked improvement with a 4 second reduction in my time over my practice and a personal best time in the bag. I was really pleased. 
I still felt I was braking too soon for some of the corners and scrubbing off to much speed and at this stage of the day there was only 1 slot left to qualify for the top 12 run off and there were 3 of us very close in times wanting to win that last place. The run was good with another 2 second improvement, but it wasn’t enough to win the place, so I had to settle for 13th. 
The day was great overall with some good competition between all of the British Sprint competitors. I am happy with my final result and appreciate all the encouragement and support from Steve and hope to take my new found speed to Castle Combe in a couple of weeks time.
Zoe: With only 1 practice on Saturday, I had to get used to the Lydden track again but luckily I've been there so many times over the years (as part of the SBD pit crew)it wasn't hard to remember where to go! Started practice breaking last year's PB and continued breaking it throughout the day. My best time of 79.33 made me the fastest non-single seater car, excluding the British Sprint competitors, of the day! 
Carole at Lydden, July 2019

Castle Combe, 27th July

Steve: FTD & New Course Record - 53.51s YouTube Video
Matt: 1st in Class - 53.97s
Carole: 2nd in Class - 60.21s
Zoe: 1st in Class - 65.83s
Steve: Back to one of my favourite circuits, Castle Combe, we were testing some new electronic hardware and suspension set up on the 2.0L XE SBD Dallara. We weren’t sure what the weather was going to be like and apparently even 2 miles away from the circuit there was torrential rain, the most we got all day was a few spots but nothing else! Matt went first in practice and had a good clean run. The car felt comfortable, on my practice as I came out of the first chicane, the ECU shut the engine down due to one of the test components delivering a fault, but managed to restart the engine and complete the run, still putting in a quick time. We worked out which component was causing the problem and sorted out a temporary fix on it, but didn’t know if it would last all day. Even though there was a 160 cars competing, the turn around time was very fast and we didn’t have enough time to strip it down completely. I managed my 1st timed run with no issues, breaking the course record in the process with 53.51s.  Matt posted a 55.18s putting him 3rd Overall just behind Glyn Sketchley. We had been working on the damper settings to further improve low speed traction out of the chicanes and decided for the 2nd timed run we would try a more extreme adjustment to the dampers and rake of the car to prove a point. Matt got a good run in, being first to drive in T2 to post a 53.97s to move him up to 2nd Overall. Unfortunately on my run, the temporary fix to the prototype component gave up and the ECU again shut the engine down partway through the run. Once the Dallara was recovered, we thought there was insufficient time to examine the component before T3, but decided to strip it down anyway to save time next week. Fortunately the problem wasn’t as bad as we had thought and were pleased to discover that with a few simple modifications the problem will not occur again. We managed to get the assembly back together just in time for T3. Matt went first again because I had already changed out of my race gear, not expecting to run again. Matt posted a reasonable time but slower than his earlier time. My run was quite a bit slower than my 1st timed run, but we worked out that the setting changes we were testing were too extreme and we had gone too far in the settings. The good thing about this is that it gave us valuable information as to what was giving us improvements and changes are required for our next event. All in all, a great day getting FTD and everybody seemed to have a good time. The event was beautifully organised by Bristol Motor Club and ran smoothly even with such a huge number of cars. 

Goodwood, 3rd August

Steve: FTD & New Sprint Course Record - 74.33s YouTube Video 
Matt: 2nd Overall - 76.18s
Steve: We weren’t sure whether we were going to Goodwood until late Thursday afternoon as we were 4th reserve, but Brighton & Hove MC contacted us to let us know that myself and Matt had got an entry. The car was mostly prepared already, we had already made some changes to the set up of the car, so we were looking to test to see if they had improved the handling and also the prototype component (which had been the issue at Castle Combe last week) had been revised, once we had discovered what the problem was. As usual it was a very big entry for this event at Goodwood. Matt went first and came back saying the car felt great, all the mechanical and aero changes have only improved the car still further. My practice run was 75s and the car went round very comfortably. On the 1st timed run I drove first and managed to break the sprint course record with a 74.33s, which was 9/100th quicker. I knew I wanted to be flat out off the start line into Madgwick but was having a lift before re-applying the throttle, then coming up to No Name which is a daunting corner, where Stirling Moss had his big crash, is another corner that should be taken flat out before braking and turning into St Mary’s, again having a lift. I was hoping that on T2, I could feel confident enough to turn in at just over 150mph but unfortunately somebody had had a problem with their car and dropped gearbox oil on almost half the circuit. Matt came in after his second run, reported that the circuit was very slippery and posted a time about 5s off. This obviously put me off, however I managed to get a reasonably quick lap, tried a couple of different things and although the track was a bit cleaner for my run, the circuit was very slippery particularly at Lavant and I had a bit of a 4-wheel drift. Still managed to post a 75s, many of the other drivers had decided that it was a bit too slippery and not take their 3rd timed run. Matt had finally worked out why he was losing top speed against me and wanted to go again to prove a point. He was my turn to drive first, when out a little wary of the circuit and managed to post a time within 1/10th of my record breaking time. Reported to Matt on the change over that the circuit now felt good, so Matt went out with confidence and managed a 75.18s, this moved him into 2nd place behind me so overtake Glyn Sketchley who had retired with a mechanical issue after T1. Matt’s top speed were now making mine, so he was happy to have sorted the problem. All in all a good day, very smooth running event organised by Brighton & Hove MC. 

Brighton Speed Trials, 7th Sept

Steve: 2nd in Top6, 1st in Class - 10.87s
Zoe: Ladies FTD, 5th in Top 6, 2nd in Class - 11.18s
Report: We have made huge improvements to the 1.6L EcoBoost Westfield this year, Steve hadn’t driven it since Abingdon so wasn’t sure what to expect. Zoe went first, the car snaked a bit of the start line, being early in the day and the start line being very green. She still managed a good time at 12.20s. On Steve’s run he was careful to line the car up  in order to reduce the chance of the car moving sideways. Steve decided to tyre-warm as it was still a very cold start to the day, the car hooked up nicely and went really straight. The new suspension set up, which Zoe had used for a couple of meetings worked really well at absorbing all the bumps and he managed an 11.26s run for his practice. On the timed runs, it had begun to warm up and we managed to persuade Zoe to do tyre-warming, which is something that she has never done before since it is not allowed at most sprints nowadays. She got a much better start this time and did an 11.25s. She was really happy with this as she hoped to get in the 11s. Then for Steve’s run it was warmer again, he did a bit of extra tyre-warming, got a perfect start with no movement off the startline achieving a 10.87s. They were now 1st and 2nd in class, Steve was 3rd overall and Zoe was 6th overall so at that point, they had both qualified for the Top6 Run-offs with a second timed run to go. We looked at the data logging from the runs and made a few changes to see if we could get any improvements. Zoe got an even better start and managed to go a tiny bit faster with an 11.18s. When it came to Steve’s run, he had to wait for Zoe’s group to return by which time they had started running all the motorbikes, there were only 2 drivers left to go, which was Steve and Amanda George. Amanda was the only person that could knock Zoe out of the Top6 and beat her to the Ladies Trophy. We decided to make a few simple adjustments to the launch to see if we could improve. Unfortunately, it began to get cooler quite quickly due to being late in the day. Steve had a good start and it felt quite good, but the time was slower. 
Steve was then brought back with the motorbikes and it was immediately into the Top6, which gave us just enough time to refuel by the start line, then get Zoe in and ready. We decided to take a risk and increase the boost to maximum, we weren’t sure that the car could grip with the amount of torque (350lbft), Zoe didn’t even have enough time to do tyre-warming, but even so the start was good, unfortunately in the rush we had forgotten to move the head restraint forwards, this meant she had to hold her head up for the whole of the run. She said it felt good, but difficult to concentrate when holding her head, she managed a 11.69s and was happy with her run. They returned her straight away so Steve could drive, because we were turning around immediately, we had to make the decision whether to keep running on maximum boost or return it down to boost Level 2 quickly, so Steve decided to take the risk and maintain the higher boost level, the start felt good and the traction felt good further up the straight. He managed to achieve a 10.98s. This was slower than his qualifying run, but enough to get 2nd in the Top6. We looked at the data later and we could see that the extra boost combined with bumpy surface meant the car was wheel spinning to just under 100mph, so we are going to do some work on the suspension and damping to if we can put more of the power to ground. All in all, a great day, lots of fun and so many people were keen to see the SBD Westfield including the rabbit that ran across just after the finishing line on Steve’s final run!!

MIRA, 14th Sept

Matt: FTD - 39.91s
Steve: 1st in Class - 41.83s
Steve: We will start with racing driver excuses, I hadn’t been to MIRA since 2005 and Matt had not been there since 2012, but he used to regularly compete there not only in his own Westfield but the SBD Duratec Westfield as well. We had made further set up changes to the car and because it wasn’t a British Sprint round, I had adjusted it to hopefully achieve understeer where previously we had always been getting oversteer. This way we would know what the limit was and we could dial it back in slowly over the day. Matt went first as usual and managed to post a slightly quicker than me. We were 2s behind Pete Goulding, who had been there fairly recently. The car was definitely understeering slightly, more so for me than Matt, which caused me to back out the throttle half way round the first corner. We didn’t make any changes in 2nd practice, just so we could get more time on the track without changes. I had also slightly modified the launch settings and we were definitely getting good starts in comparison with everyone else in our class. We made good improvements to our times. We made some small adjustments to the set up for the 1st timed run and it was definitely understeering less, so another step forwards. We kept improving our times throughout the day. Matt finished the day with FTD and a time of 39.91s, which we believe could be a new course record. The 2L class record for the British Sprint Championship is 41.61s and the Unlimited BSC record is 40.02s We were 1st and 2nd in class up against a competitive field of 2L racing cars. We were very pleased with the day, especially since the new little aero mods that we had made appeared give us a reduction in drag and we gained some speed on the straights.

Anglesey, 5th Oct

Matt: FTD, 1st in Top12 Run-off - 45.91s New BSC record
Steve: 4th in Top12 Run-off - 47.26s
Carole: 1st in Class - 53.95s
Carole's report: This was our last round of the Championship. Anglesey race circuit provides several different combinations of circuit. The Saturday was a single lap of the National Circuit. We arrived Friday late afternoon, were able to get the car scrutineered straight away so this gave us more time to walk the circuit on Saturday morning. I walked with Steve and Matt and gained some valuable advice on the correct lines to take into and out of each corner and where I should be applying full throttle. This definitely paid off on each of my runs allowing me to make good improvements on my times. Watching my videos from the runs also helps to see where I was missing the crucial apexes, so there was definitely more progress to be made. Although I didn’t qualify for the Top 12, we were offered more runs after the Top 12 was completed, so I made use of the opportunity to go out and have a couple of extra runs. At the end of the day I was pleased to beat my times finishing with a new PB time. 

Anglesey, 6th Oct

Matt: FTD, 2nd in Top12 Run-off - 75.98s New BSC record
Steve: 4th in Top12 Run-off - 78.13s
Carole: 1st in Class - 88.64s
Carole's report: Sunday we were using the International Circuit. It had rained heavily during the night and although there was no standing water on the track before we started, after walking the circuit with Steve, Matt and Alan Mugglestone it was decided to go out on the wet tyres as the track was very slippery. This proved to be a good move as I was able to beat a couple of my close competitors on the practice times. For the first timed run we changed back to slicks as the track was now much drier and I started to set faster times on each run with several personal best times. A great weekend of racing to the finish the season. All to play for next year. Congratulations to Steve and Matt on their final positions in the 2019 British Sprint Championship.