7th April 2008

Dignan Racing tots up the cost of racing at Cadwell Park

Seating position may need adjustmentWhen I speak to racers across all levels of motorsport the one thing that always comes up is the costs involved. As someone wise once said to me: ‘The only way to get rich in motor racing, is start out very rich.’

The major expense in starting racing is cost of getting started: buying a car; sorting out a way of getting to tracks; and license and entry fees. For club racing you probably can do it for less than £5k, for F3 a top team will be looking for £500k. Team PH’s Ginetta racing will cost from 14k to 20k. Not the cheapest way into motor racing, but for a high profile series sharing a billing with F3 and British GT, it’s a snip.

It will T-Cut outThe other major expense is running the car for the whole season. When it comes to racing, my heart seems to control the purse strings and my brain simply ignores it - so for once this year I am going to add up all the costs involved with racing. For any racers who share my Scrooge-like tendencies when doing the weekly shop, but whip out the credit card when the purchase has racing in its name, look away for these bits.

This brings me neatly onto last weekends racing, where the cost-o-meter took a nasty hit, along with the car.

Testing had gone well on the Saturday in ever changing snowy conditions, One nearly new wishbone for sale re-equating myself with the very tight but exciting Cadwell Park. We even had time to scrub in a set of wets in damp conditions in anticipation of the snow predicted for Sunday. Apart from a bit more wear to the front brake pads we were doing well cost wise.

Sunday was not so cheap. Qualifying saw bright sunny conditions and making light of the good position I found myself in on the third revolution I decided to throw in a quick lap. Coming out of Gooseneck I drifted two wheels onto the grass, pulled the car back onto the circuit to brake for Mansfield. Unfortunately the braking was slightly too late, and with the struggle to get the car turned in, the back end lost grip and sent me into a 360 spin.

TeamPH sponsored by black tank tapeUnfortunately the driver behind me decided to commit to passing my spinning car on the side of the track I was spinning into and smashed into the rear end. It sounded expensive.

I limped back to the pits and my gathered team for the weekend: Steve (skeggysteve), Ben (20thebear) and Kelly (RacingPete’s better half); inspected the damage. It didn’t look pretty and the car wasn’t driving in a straight line. Car jacked up, wheels off and the full extent of the impact could be seen. The shopping list for new parts were: Rear lower wishbone, rear toe link, rear diffuser, 2x rear lights, fuel tank mounting bracket and a lot of tank tape.

The other damage - apart from my pride - was to my grid position for the race, 22nd for the first and 27th for the second. But that was the least of my worries; we had to get the car fixed.

1mm of air on the MountainShowing amazing ability with the tank tape, spanners and ratchets the team got the car back up and running with minutes to spare before the first race. In fact you couldn’t even spot the difference (well not from one side). Massive thanks to Steve, Ben and Kelly for sorting the car while I ran to the spares truck and back.

As I sat on the grid for the first race snow pellets started falling from the sky, perfect I thought for a few cars to leave the track and elevate my position through the pack. I was right. By lap three the safety car came out for a collection of cars stranded at the side of the track and I had got up to 14th place in the two laps. The safety car stayed out for an age and came in with one lap to go. Four more cars passed and the back of the grid charge meant I finished 10th.

This is my good side!The second race had less starters after the first race carnage but still all to do from dead last on the grid. This time a dry track and spring sunshine meant the charge would be slightly trickier. With slow methodical picking off - the highlight three cars in one go down Park Straight - the elevation through the positions saw a rise to 11th overall.

Not the best results from the weekend, but at 11am Sunday morning with a smashed car and qualification in the back rows of the grid I would take it. Maybe next week at Knockhill I will work on not being towards the back and having to battle my way through, though it is good fun.

Full Race Results:

Race 1

1 52 Spencer McCarthy McCarthy Technology Services Ltd 20:27.617
2 28 Kieran Vernon Driver + 0.803
3 3 Julian Barratt Reflex Racing GB + 2.449
4 99 Phil Sykes Speedworks Motorsport + 3.461
5 51 Russel McCarthy Driver + 5.688
6 9 Gary Simms Optimum Motorsport + 7.753
7 4 Paul Marsh Tockwith Motorpsort + 11.626
8 6 Matthew Flowers Optimum Motorsport + 13.030
9 14 Paul Morgan Driver + 13.401
10 74 Peter Dignan Pistonheads + 14.044
11 17 Neil Merry Speedworks Motorsport + 16.860
12 26 Jonathan Hawkins FNH Racing + 18.095

Race 2

1 28 Kieran Vernon Driver 20:06.730
2 52 Spencer McCarthy McCarthy Technology Services Ltd + 1.054
3 46 Andrew Smith Driver + 17.626
4 18 Paul Sheard Speedworks Motorsport + 18.112
5 51 Russel McCarthy Driver + 18.799
6 3 Julian Barratt Reflex Racing GB + 19.125
7 99 Phil Sykes Speedworks Motorsport + 21.755
8 16 Ross Edwards Speedworks Motorsport + 25.275
9 9 Gary Simms Optimum Motorsport + 43.975
10 5 Steve Rigby Reflex Racing GB + 52.964
11 74 Peter Dignan Pistonheads + 58.670
12 58 Martin Jones Hepworth International + 1:05.570