The trouble with hillclimbs…

The list of factors which enhance driving performance doesn’t feature an overnight flight back from the US anywhere near the top.  But the HSA round at Prescott is one of my favourite events so jet lag wasn’t going to stop me doing it.

Doing most of the preparation before I went to the US made things easier than they could have been, and getting up early wasn’t any kind of problem. The HSA entry was very impressive and there were 4 of us driving Formula Fords: me, Charlie Reilly in his Van-Diemen, Simon Mcbeath in his Swift and class leader Carol Nichols in the Nike built by her father.


I’d been planning a crushable nose structure for some time, and although I was happy to run without it at Curborough, some of the run-off at Prescott is made of Armco.  Which meant more than a few weekends producing one.  (And given what the day job is, some effort was expended in modelling it’s crash resistance.) The structure fits inside the original RF84 nose cone, and every time I tried it at home it fitted perfectly. After scrutineering, not so much, though it was eventually persuaded on.


Colin and Sara Davies have changed cars this season too.  Sara said, “its like a different hill”  And how right she was.  I’ve driven Prescott literally a hundred times, but the first time up in the FF was very different. Essentially I’ve got to relearn it. Even though my first run was a PB by over 2.5 seconds it was basically a slow run up the hill to sus things out.  My second run was nearly 2 seconds faster as I started to learn the hill/car combination.


My target for the first official run was to get into the 52’s.  Which I did, just, at 52.95.  For the final run I wanted a 51 something, and would have bet that I’d achieved it, however the display on the return road showed 53.06 – slower.  So what had gone wrong?

Replaying the last run in my head it was evident that I was getting lots of wheel spin – out of Etores and out of Pardon.  So I need to think about sorting that out, and that highlights the trouble with hillclimbs; it will be a while until the next time out at Prescott and I’ll only get 4 goes then.  It got me thinking about data-logging again.

Some points/observations from the weekend:

  • The HSA is a great club.. excellent company and the right sort of competition all day.
  • History is odd: Charlie Reilly raced the same kart/engine combo as me in the 80’s – at the same places.
  • Thanks to Dave Winfield for his help, not a bad mechanic for a simulation engineer.








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