29, Jan, 2021
ROB’S BLOG – OCTOBER 2020
MSVR Brands Hatch GP, 10 October
It is totally outside our control and it’s been a constant factor in the 2020 club racing season. No, I don’t mean that. I’m talking about the weather. Because this year it seems to be raining every time we race. That was certainly true of the two meetings we attended in mid-October.
It was a real treat for Boss Racing-supported drivers to race on the wonderful Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit but the results of the two all-comers’ races were influenced by the weather.
We were there to support Tim Davis and Colin Watson in their Caterham C400s, Jonny Pittard in his supercharged Caterham CSR and Keith Vaughn Williams in his TVR Tuscan. In addition, Ben Simonds was running a Boss-built 2.4 Duratec in his CSR.
The opposition was a pretty formidable mixture of quick saloons and agile sports racers, like Nick Jenvey’s rapid Gunn TS6. Nick, manufacturer of the throttle bodies we use in our engines, was in a class of its own all day. In qualifying he was the only runner to lap at over 100mph – 102.54 to be precise.
Ben was third on the grid with Jonny in his 2.5 supercharged CSR fourth, Tim fifth and Colin seventh. Further back, Keith was 30th, his car equipped with a rebuilt fuel system.
Rain had been forecast at some point during the day and at the start of the first race it was a ‘will it, won’t it’ scenario. The slicks and wings cars went with slicks whereas we had an easier choice with our Kumhos effectively being an intermediate. Jonny however had brought a set of slicks so popped a couple of brave pills and bolted them on. And then, once the decisions had been made and the cars headed off for the collecting area it rained. Not proper rain mind you but juuuuust enough to make the track greasy; so much so that Keith spun on the warm up lap.
From the start Ben, Tim and Colin made the most of the conditions while the front row pair of the Nick Jenvey Gunn and Barwell Radical SR3 struggled to switch their tyres on. With the playing field now somewhat levelled the Boss supported cars muscled their way to the front, Colin giving the Gunn a love tap on the way through and at the end of the second lap Ben, Colin and Tim were 1st, 2nd and 4th. Nick Jenvey eventually found enough pace to get back ahead ,managed to pull away leaving the Boss Racing trio to fight for second place as they still had the measure of the slick shod SR3. Jonny’s lack of downforce meant he also couldn’t bring his slicks up to temperature which blunted his performance and he slowly dropped away.
Chasing hard, Ben out-braked himself and spun out of the race at Paddock leaving Tim and Colin to dispute second place. On the last lap, however, Tim’s front drive pulley broke leaving him without electrical power Colin to take a good second place.
Jonny finished eighth, while Keith, who started at the tail of the field and quickly gobbled up some of her slower runners, pulled into the pits on lap 8 with his oil warning light glowing. Tim may have posted a DNF but he recorded fastest lap in his class.
The second allcomers’ race was the last on the day’s programme and it was nearly dusk when the field lined up for the start. Again we were at the mercy of the weather, waiting until the last moment to make a decision on tyres much to the displeasure of the officials who were pleading with us to go to the collecting area.
With all our drivers eyeing each other, trying to cover their team mates moves and not wanting to take a risk that would have left them struggling they all chose medium Kumhos rather than the softs. Would the softs have survived? In hindsight quite possibly but when your team mate is your biggest rival the safest option is to go with the same as them. Yes, it is that serious, even in an allcomers race.
What all these machinations did though was to hand the advantage to the cars on race tyres. Colin slipped down the field as cars on wets now came into their own, while at the back, Tim and Ben made rapid progress in the opposite direction. Tim gained 11 places on the opening lap. Jonny however, now on the same tyres as his team mates caught and passed Colin with doing the same a few laps later. Jonny and Ben’s scrap for the ‘Caterham’ lead ended a couple of laps later at Surtees with Jonny having to take to the grass to avoid Ben’s very sideways CSR. Colin again seemed to have the Boss Racing honours in his grasp again but it was not to be.
Keith crowned a dismal day by crashing on the slippery track, damaging his car too badly to continue and on the ninth lap Colin went off at Clearways and his car became bogged down in the gravel. The race was red flagged leaving Ben, Tim and Jonny in eighth, ninth and tenth places. Ben put up the fastest lap in his class.
To watch the full highlights follow these links,
Yet another meeting of weather chaos. Would the next round at Castle Combe be any different
15, Dec, 2020
ROB’S BLOG – OCTOBER 2020 Donington
Classic and Sports Car Club’s Autumn Race Meeting, 26/27 September
At Donington, the faster cars were lapping 2 seconds a lap quicker than before as competitors battled to improve on the record set last year by Boss Racing’s clients. But that’s fine. As far as I’m concerned, unbridled competition is the sincerest form of respect.
We were supporting Colin Watson in our No 92 Caterham C400 2400, Tim Davis in his similar car, Hugh Coulter (C400 2000), Richard Carter (R300 2000) and Peter French (Superlight R400 1800). In addition, we had rebuilt the engine of Ben Simmonds’ CSR 2300 and carried out some work on the Bates/Bates Westfield SE 2000. They were among the nearly 500 entrants for the two-day meeting. The Classic Sports Car Club continues to go from strength to strength.
Two test days helped us set the cars up. The first, a tyre test a week before the Donnington meeting with the help Avon Tyre’s Phil Carder and race driver Ben Clucas enabled us to get our heads round the performance/longevity conundrum of the new ZZR tyres. It also gave us a chance to sort out an electrical problem on Tim’s car, although that also meant a rolling road session and a hurried dash to the circuit for qualifying. Hugh and Richard both took advantage of the test session the day before the meeting.
With 43 entrants the track was pretty busy during qualifying. Tim suffered a punctured front tyre within a couple of laps of the session starting, which meant he had to limp into the pits to change it. He still managed to set sixth fastest time with Ben Simmonds second. Colin lined up eighth, Hugh was 10th and Richard just behind him in 11th. Peter was 41st, two slots behind Bates/Bates (Bates2?)
Ben romped into a lead which grew to 3 seconds by the end of the first lap. But by the end of the fourth he was slipping down the field with fading brakes. He eventually retired on the 18th of the 32 laps. Tim, meanwhile, was back in fifth spot as Rich Webb took the lead in his rapid Caterham whose turbo-charged Suzuki Hayabusa engine is reputed to develop over 400hp.
Tim then began a charge which signalled the start of a close battle between him and Webb that lasted the rest of the race. On the pit wall we were cheering Tim as he snatched the lead just before making his pit-stop.
John Cutmore then took over in one of the two very quick works-entered Spire RB7s. When Cutmore eventually pitted, Tim in his distinctive black and day-glow orange Seven traded the lead with Webb as the pair carved their way through the back-markers.
At the flag a delighted Tim was just over 0.2 seconds ahead but his joy at winning his first race of the season was to be short-lived. Officials announced that he’d incurred a 30-second penalty for a pit-stop infringement. I have to admit this was due to a small miscalculation by his pit crew which dropped him behind Webb in the final order. Lewis Hamilton wasn’t the only driver to suffer a race-losing penalty that week-end for what was a relatively minor infraction. There are three lines on the Donington pit entry each 20 feet apart and when our data guru was calculating our pitstop windows with Google Earth he used the wrong one. Twenty feet was enough to put us over, such are the margins.
Colin’s pit-stop was longer than it should have been. This dropped him down the order so he did well to finish sixth and second in class. Further back, Hugh and Richard resumed their customary battle for class honours. This ended prematurely when Hugh tangled with a back marker and found himself in the gravel with damaged front suspension. Richard finished at the head of his class despite a 30-second pit-stop penalty. Peter failed finish.
For us, the interval between the end of the race and the start of the second Mag Sevens event meant a race to repair Hugh’s car and get him on the grid. Rich Webb and Tim Davis lined up first and second and when the lights went out they resumed their first race duel.
This time our anxiety to avoid any further pit stop problem probably made us over-cautious. As a result, Tim’s stop was five seconds longer than it should have been and he was unable to make up the deficiency. This put him just over four seconds behind Webb at the flag. But for the slower pit stop the result could have been a different story. There was some compensation with a class win and fastest race lap.
Colin had a better race, finishing third overall and second in his class. Hugh also won his class and set fastest lap but Richard Carter’s car suffered crank sensor failure, stopping him on the track and putting him out of the race. Ben Simmonds was 14th and Peter French 30th.
It was a good week-end with good results for Boss Racing’s clients but it’s clear that competition in the Mag Sevens series is hotting up with new power plants and rapid Seven look-alikes from a specialist race car manufacturer.
Tim’s performance showed that Boss Racing still builds the fastest Sevens but we’re not resting on our laurels. I’m not going to say more at this stage but we’re thinking hard about further development options. The race is on!
Next round was home territory on the Brands GP circuit but this time with the MSVR All Comers series.
4, Dec, 2020
Robs Blog: Snetterton CSCC meeting 2020
With the season now underway the Boss Racing truck headed off to Snetterton at lunchtime on the Thursday in order to set up for testing Friday, preparing the cars Saturday and racing Sunday.
All went smoothly during testing for Richard Carter, Jonny Pittard, Hugh Coulter and Jeremy Adams so I headed back to base to see a couple of customers leaving the team to prepare the cars. The team went out for a meal and a couple of drinks before heading back to the circuit and bedding down for the night. Or at least some of the team did. It seems while the cat was away a couple of the mice decided to play and apparently our newly aquired disco ball was lighting up the paddock in to the early hours of the morning!
The two errant rodents finally surfaced by mid-afternoon and the cars were ready to go for qualifying on Sunday morning. The Team Leos cars of Stephen Nuttall and Christian Pittard were flying having tested at Snetterton after Thruxton but while Tim, Colin and Jonny were a few seconds off the pace with a faulty oil pressure sender, leaking water hose and sticky throttle respectively, we knew from pre season testing the kind of pace they were capable of. And of course, it was due to rain in the afternoon and that would play in to our hands…
Richard was first in what is now a super competitive Class F and Hugh 4th, the Redmans 3rd in Class E and Jeremy Adams 2nd in Class B only 0.3 seconds off the class pole. So all through the field we were feeling bullish and, of course, it was due to rain…..
I have been at plenty of wet race meetings. Spa is renowned for spells of heavy rain. I remember a meeting at Croft a couple of years ago where some of the drivers came in because the circuit was undriveable. But I have never seen rain quite like this. It started at lunchtime and carried on for ninety minutes flooding the paddock, infield and circuit. When it finally stopped course cars began circulating to see how much of the track could be distinguished from the grass while circuit staff called up tractors and pumps. We changed all the settings on the cars in the hope that we might get at least one race but, around 4.00pm the rain returned and just as hard. We knew it was all over before the announcement was made so having been at the track for four days we began the task of packing up while getting soaked. As we drove home with dripping clothes and squelching boots we started planning for Donington in five weeks time. Surely that would be dry, wouldn’t it?
13, Nov, 2020
ROB’S BLOG – AUGUST 2020
Classic and Sports Car Club’s Thruxton Thriller meeting, 25/26 July
Pit lane entry strictly controlled, a requirement to wear face coverings and longer pit stops to enable cars to be thoroughly sanitised: welcome to British motor racing 2020-style.
Our first taste of the changes brought by the Covid 19 pandemic came at the CCSS’s Thruxton meeting, halfway through the season, but at least we were racing again.
Other changes have been made to the format of some of the races. The all-comers’ events are no longer open to Caterhams or Caterham-style cars so to make up for this, the Gold Arts Magnificent Seven Series now offers two races per meeting.
At Thruxton Boss Racing was supporting a number of cars and drivers, most of whom were familiar from previous seasons. Jonny Pittard had his supercharged 2.5 litre Caterham CSR, Tim Davis and Colin Watson were in their familiar 2.4 C400s while Richard Carter was at the wheel of his 2-litre R300 with Hugh Coulter in his C400. A newcomer this year was George Ralph making his race debut with his R400.
As usual there was a test day on the Friday preceding the meeting which enabled competitors to run their cars in a more relaxed atmosphere – or not if you were Tim Davis. He encountered problems with his car which ensured the Boss team had an active evening to get him on the grid for the next day’s racing.
We were also able to test new compound tyres which Avon had produced. As they enabled us to knock 2.5 secs off our lap times we decided that Jonathan, Tim and Colin would race them instead of the normal Kumho rubber.
We also decided to save the Avons for the race which meant that the trio was generally slower than some of the other runners in qualifying. As a result, Colin lined up third on the grid for the first 40-minute race with Jonathan fourth. Tim was ninth, Hugh 11th and Richard 13th. George was a creditable 34th.
Because of the new pit-stop arrangements we decided to bring our cars in early to avoid the inevitable rush. But a safety car interlude meant we were unable to capitalise on any advantage the earlier stops might have given us.
The safety car came out but didn’t pick up the leader but instead was ahead of Colin and he was forced to run at a slower pace while other runners made their pit stops. The result was that both Colin and Tim lost a lap. Jonny had stalled at the start – it had been a long time since anyone had tried a race start – dropping him down the field. This enabled John Cutmore in his 1600 Spire to build up an impressive lead. Colin, Tim and Jonny fought a race long battle as they made up places but at the finish they had to be content with eighth, ninth and tenth places.
Richard was 12th having incurred a 10-sec penalty for a pit stop which was too short, while Hugh retired after just eight laps. He experienced vibration with his car which couldn’t be cured even after several pitstops. George was delighted to be 24th and second in his class.
These results determined the starting order for the second, 30-minute race but in between came something with which we were familiar – rain, torrential rain. It was so heavy that for a while it seemed as if the organisers might be obliged to cancel some of the races.
But the rain stopped as competitors were assembling for the second Mag Sevens race. The track surface was still very wet and this enabled Colin to demonstrate his mastery of such conditions. Arch rival Stephen Nuttall made a good start – a mite too good as things turned out – but Colin got his head down and reeled him in. He led for most of the race with Nuttall in close attendance but on the last lap Colin out braked himself, at the chicane allowing his rival to sneak past.
But as Nuttall had been awarded a 10-sec penalty for jumping the start Colin was the winner. Jonny meanwhile engaged in a race-long duel with his brother Christian but was denied a podium position on the last lap, while Tim finished fifth. Richard and Hugh enjoyed better luck for this race, coming home eighth and tenth respectively, Hugh’s vibration having been cured by a new propshaft fitted betwen the races.
For highlights of the race see here: Thruxton highlights
It was a good start to the season but it might have been even better had it not been for the deployment of the safety car in the first race. But, hey, that’s motor racing and it’s good to be back on track.
Our next outing was the CSCC meeting at Snetterton on 15/16 August and we were looking forward to some warm, dry weather. How wrong we would be!
14, Dec, 2019
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE – BRITAIN’S FASTEST CATERHAM SEVENS
Caterham Sevens developed and prepared by Boss Racing of Longfield, Kent, dominated two of the most popular series for which these cars are eligible during the 2019 British club racing season.
Out of 19 Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens and All-Comers’ races organised by the Classic Sports Car Club, Boss Racing’s clients won 12 of them.
They also achieved a total of 28 podium positions, 11 poles and 12 fastest laps. This was despite wet weather which affected several meetings during the season and, on one occasion, resulted in a race being abandoned.
Among the year’s highlights were winning first, second and third places on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit and first, second and third in both races run on the Indy circuit. The team also visited Spa, Belgium and Dijon, France, where the cars raced wheel-to-wheel at over 150 mph in pouring rain to win both races entered, together with two second place finishes.
“These results show that we build Britain’s fastest Caterham Sevens,” says Robert Singleton, director of Boss Racing. “They’re also a tribute to the professionalism and hard work of our team and the skill and determination of our drivers. 2019 was truly a year to remember.”
The cars may not look very different to the first Lotus Sevens but these high-tech Caterham race cars are a world away from Colin Chapman’s original design. Three of the C400s run by Boss Racing are powered by engines of 2,400-2,500cc based on the Ford Duratec unit and developed and built in-house by Dave Singleton, a man with over 40 years’ experience whose skills are widely recognised.
These units produce between 300 and 370 bhp, ten times more than the original Seven back in 1957. New for this year is a 2.5 litre supercharged Duratec engine for one our customer CSRs giving it a power-to-weight ratio of over 700bhp per ton, which is superior to a Bugatti Veyron. Despite running at 370hp and a monstrous 265 ft.lb of torque it has proven to be super reliable and extremely driveable due to the linear nature of the power delivery – it has 250ft.lb of torque from 4500 to 8000rpm!
One of the features that allows the drivers to deal with such power is a Sadev sequential gearbox operated with an automated paddle shift gear change. Along with flat upshifts and clutchless downshifts, a big advantage in a traction limited car on road tyres is being able to keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times!
In the quest for traction the CSR caterham has an advantage with its inboard front suspension allows easy adjustments of droop to control the way the car squats, something that is tricky with a series 3 car with outboard suspension and a fixed length damper. So this year we have been working with Quantum Racing to design a damper with separate spring and ride height adjustment. The first set were used in the second half of the season picking up a number of wins are now available to purchase. Being able to adjust the amount of droop or even run with zero droop opens up a lot of options by controlling the way the front lifts under power and cornering.
Another kind of lift is aerodynamic and the Seven shape is notorious for both lift and drag. While this makes for great racing, with the cars able to follow in close formation, we are always looking for ways to improve within a strict set of rules that bans aerodynamic devices and any changes to the silhouette of the vehicle. There is however scope to reduce the parasitic drag of existing items so lights for example have been redesigned to reduce drag and as speeds rise small gains give greater rewards; if a 200hp car has a top speed of 130mph it will require 300hp to hit 150mph.
Robert Singleton says: “Our development programme will continue through the winter so next season promises even better results. We’ll be even faster.”
For further information contact Robert Singleton
5, Nov, 2019
It’s amazing the part luck plays in motor racing. At Dijon we had a generous helping of good fortune but we must have used up our allocation for the end of season Donington Park meeting or the Halloween Horror, as I prefer to call it.
CLASSIC AND SPORTS CAR CLUB, DIJON, FRANCE 4-6 OCTOBER
Despite the wet conditions our drivers revelled in the flowing nature of the circuit where in 1979, Gilles Villeneuve and Rene Arnoux had their no-holds barred, wheel-banging duel for second place in the French Grand Prix that people still talk about 40 years later.
There was very little testing time available so all our drivers started their familiarisation by walking the circuit and came back with huge smiles on their faces. Although none of us had ever been there before we knew the circuit was fast and had geared the cars for 160mph top speeds – that surely was enough?
The weather was truly terrible as the cars assembled for qualifying for the first of the two open series races. Yet it seemed not to worry Tim Davis and Colin Watson whose times were comfortably faster than anybody else’s. In fact, Tim (Caterham C400 2400) was the only driver to lap below 1min 40 sec. Jonathan Pittard (supercharged Caterham CSR 2,500) lined up fourth with Richard Carter (Caterham R300 2000) seventh. Magnificent Sevens Series co-ordinator Peter French (Caterham Superlight 1800) 37th.
Much like qualifying the day before, the circuit was wet as the cars gathered in the assembly area. However, it had stopped raining and the track was slowly, slowly drying. There was no choice but to start the cars on wet tyres but would they last to the pit window? While a couple of the team kept watch in the assembly area the rest of us were pressurising, and stacking much of the 70 plus spare wheels and tyres we had taken with us ready for the pitstops.
In the race Colin took the lead from the start challenged by Jonny and Tim. These three made a terrific spectacle racing wheel to wheel at 150mph plus. This, it has to be remembered, was on a streaming wet track and in cars known to have the aerodynamics of a mechanic’s toolbox.
As the track continued to dry their pace increased and the team readied themselves for tyre changes on all four cars, no mean feat without centre-lock nuts and a sixty second window. But the heavens opened just before the pit window did and the pressure was taken off the pit crew and the pitstops all went smoothly.
The pressure now though was on the drivers. As the conditions worsened and with a constant stream of backmarkers to negotiate Tim, Colin and Jonny were walking the tightrope of having to push yet not make a mistake. It couldn’t last. Braking at the end of the start finish straight Tim made an uncharacteristic mistake spinning into the gravel. Colin and Jonny continued to battle but in the end Colin won by 15 secs. Richard was fourth in his class G car, missing out on a podium by just six seconds but he won his class while Peter French improved to 34th. Colin posted the fastest lap and, of course, won the Mag 7s section of the race.
The finishing order determined starting positions for the second race, which meant that Tim was at the back of the grid. From pole Colin didn’t make the best of starts and with Christian Pittard – now racing for Team Leos – having a jump start and Jonny managing somehow to put 370hp down smoothly he found himself third by the second corner. Colin was revelling in the conditions and calmly took the lead by the end of the lap and with a clear track looked to extend his lead. His escape didn’t last long though as the safety car was out within two laps. Not only that, Tim had fought his way up to fifth and with the safety car bunching the field it was all to play for.
The pitstops went by in a blur of spray but disaster struck again for Tim with a broken throttle linkage and while he managed to get back to the pits for repairs his race was effectively over. At the front however the race was far from over. A half spin by Colin allowed Jonny to squeeze through and there followed a fantastic few laps click on the picture below for the footage.
Once again Colin came out in the lead and with three minutes to go the race seemed in the bag. But no, once again the pendulum would swing as he lapped a BMW which clipped his back wheel, buckling the rim and taking the tyre off. Limping in to the pits we were by now beginning to pack away all spare wheels and equipment. A wheel was grabbed that was vaguely the right size and shape and gunned on but as Colin tore up the pit lane it seemed any chance of victory had gone. With Jonny now long gone in the lead he joined the circuit only to see red flags at the first marshals post.
With only one minute to go the race was ended but as the cars toured back to the pit lane and the drivers waited to go on to the podium the officials tried to work out who had won. The rules say that due to the red flag the results are taken from the end of the previous lap but no one knew if Colin was leading at that time or if he had left the pit lane before the red flags. After a further ten minutes of deliberation the win went to Colin, a cruel result for Jonny who was leading when the race was stopped. Richard was again fourth, winning his class with another great drive and closing on a podium position as the weather deteriorated.
So a great weekend in terms of results. The drivers left planning a return in the dry to what is a marvellous circuit and we left wondering if that top speed of 160mph would indeed have been enough? Jonny Pittards supercharged CSR hit 154mph in the wet and it was testament to the skill and bravery of the Boss drivers that all the cars were packed away in one piece.
CLASSIC AND SPORTS CAR RACING CLUB’S NIGHT RACE MEETING, DONINGTON PARK 26-27 OCTOBER.
Anyone who has competed or spectated at motorsport will know that it is a cruel mistress but we arrived at Donington full of confidence. And of course umbrellas, yet again it was raining.
There was limited testing for our drivers but Richard Carter still suffered what we in the trade call terminal engine failure. The less knowledgeable call it a blow-up. This was also the weekend when we suffered no less than four alternator failures, cause unknown.
The weather was bright and dry for qualifying for the Mag Sevens race. Tim Davis posted third fastest time but his success penalty dropped him to 13th on the grid, while Colin Watson was trying different suspension settings and had his fastest lap time disallowed for infringing track limits. Jonathan Pittard’s supercharged CSR, always quick in the wet, had completed relatively few dry laps and ended up fifth.
Class rivals Hugh Coulter and Peter Hargroves were 13th and 21st respectively. Hugh was first in class while Peter was having his first outing since Thruxton. The Redman father and son team (Caterham 420R 2000) started a class-leading 35th.
After the rolling start Colin got blocked in at Redgate as Tim hauled himself from 13th to third on the opening lap. He was soon in the lead with Colin now in fourth and battling for third. Jonny though, was having a torrid time when his engine went into “limp mode” on the opening lap. He made six pit stops to clear it but eventually finished unclassified.
As Autosport reported, “Tim Davis slipstreamed his way to the front until his pitstop where he couldn’t get his Caterham C400 to restart.” In fact, his battery died as he was entering the pits for his mandatory stop on lap 7. We changed it and the alternator and got him out again, albeit eight laps down. Believe it or not his engine expired on the last lap. He, too, was unclassified.
Colin, battling with the lead pack had run wide at Coppice in the opening laps leaving himself beached in the gravel and out of the race.
Hugh and Peter had been fighting for class honours as usual but they had a coming together and Hugh failed to stop during the pit stop window. That meant a two-lap penalty which dropped him to 25th at the finish. The Redman team was classified 23rd despite a grassy excursion.
We had little time to prepare for the night race. But we managed to dig Colin’s car out of the gravel and get our spare number 93 ready for Tim to race. We were ready, with permission to go to the grid, with just five minutes in hand. Tim was in civvies all set to head for home, but he managed to get suited up and on to the grid.in time.
Instead of being on the pole position he had earned with his own car he was relegated to the back of the gird with Colin second. The Redman team, about to race after dark for the first time, was 23rd.
At the start, Tim made one his lightning getaways and was soon up to second. Colin though was punted in the back by another competitor while leading going through the Craner Curves and once again ended in the gravel. This time he managed to get back on the track but stopped soon afterwards with his lights dimming due to another flat battery.
We went through the now familiar routine of changing both battery and alternator but Colin was now 13 laps down. He battled on gamely but was unclassified at the finish. Meanwhile, Tim managed to salvage a decent result by finishing second to a very quick BMW M3. He set the fastest lap of the race in a time that would have been quick during daylight never mind after dark. The Redman team finished 15th having greatly enjoyed their first taste of night racing.
By Boss Racing’s standards the Donnington Park Halloween Horror was a disaster, at the end we simply stared at each other in disbelief but perhaps it’ll stop us getting complacent and determined to do even better in 2020.
Anyway, as I said before, that’s motor racing.
13, Sep, 2019
It was the closest finish ever seen in a Classic and Sports Car Club race: the first three cars crossing the line separated by just two tenths of a second after 40 minutes of racing, pit stops and a safety car interlude.
The Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens race run on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit on 1 September was dominated by cars prepared and entered by Boss Racing. The previous weekend these same cars and drivers had done the same in both the CSCC Open Series races run on the Indy circuit.
Classic and Sports Car Club, Brands Hatch Indy circuit, 25 and 26 August
We were supporting cars competing in two of the series being run over the blisteringly hot Bank Holiday weekend for in addition to the Sevens were also looking after Keith Vaughn Williams’ TVR Chimaera.
This car, which has now acquired the nickname of Christine from the movie of that name about a car with a mind of its own, was entered in the Cartek Modern Classics race which opened the week-end’s programme.
Keith qualified sixth on the grid but in the race he moved steadily up the field as some of the quicker runners dropped out. His pit stop went well and he was helped by a safety car interlude. At the finish he was second, 22 sec behind the winner.
Drivers of Boss Racing-supported cars took a clean sweep of the grid for the first of the two Verum Builders Open Series races. Tim Davis (C400 2400) was quickest, followed by Christian Pittard (Seven 2500), Colin Watson (C400 2400 “Spa Special”), Hugh Coulter (C400 2000) and Richard Carter, who had replaced the 2.5L engine in his R300 with a 2.0L unit. Peter Hargroves (Superlight R 2000) was tenth and the father and son team of Will and Charlie Redman started 15th in their 420R 1998.
Tim took the lead at the start and held it for the first eight laps with Christian and Colin in close attendance. But Tim suffered a soft brake pedal and dropped back to third at the finish with Christian in his bright orange car 2 sec ahead of Colin at the flag.
Richard was fourth and first in class, but Hugh inadvertently turned his ignition off while changing gear and coasted into the pits with a dead engine. We managed to get him on his way quite quickly and he finished eighth, just one place ahead of Hugh. The Redmans finished 12th. Colin recorded the fastest lap with Richard quickest in his class.
Colin started the second race from pole position with Tim alongside him. Richard was third, while Charlie Redman started seventh. Christian elected not to start this race and Peter was also a non-starter.
Tim led from start to finish with Colin close behind, although he dropped back with gearbox box issues to finish just over seven secs behind. Richard was fourth and Charlie Redman eighth. Tim put up fastest lap with Richard again quickest in his class.
MSVR Club Championships, Brands Hatch 31 August/1 September
With the series celebrating its first decade, the lure of driving on the grand prix circuit attracted a big field for the Magnificent Sevens race on 1 September with a total of 51 entries.
In qualifying Tim Davis was fastest of them all with a time three-tenths of a second quicker than the next runner with Christian Pittard fourth and brother Jonathan in his matt black supercharged CSR 2500 fifth. Colin Watson in the number 92 C400 2400 was credited with sixth place after being penalised for exceeding track limits. Hugh Coulter was tenth and first in class, while series co-ordinator Peter French (Superlight 1800) was 47th.
The stage was now set for what Autosport described as “frantic action” and that’s what we got. Christian leap-frogged Tim from the second row of the grid but Tim soon passed him to build a comfortable lead, while Jonathan and Colin tussled for fourth. A safety car interlude encouraged Jonathan to be the first of the Boss runners to make his pit stop with Christian following him.
Tim fell to fifth after his stop but soon powered back to second place. This became first when the leader made an unscheduled second stop and he again opened a gap to Christian and Colin. They reeled him in, however, so that the order was closing up again towards the end of the race. Colin dropped back after a quick trip into the gravel at Clearways and Christian snatched the lead from Tim on the last lap.
As Britain’s three fastest Caterham Sevens rocketed out of the last corner on the last lap a determined Tim squeezed past Christian in what Autosport described as an “audacious move.” Tim said later: “I wanted that one.” he said later. Christian had the consolation of recording the fastest lap. Hugh Coulter was also quickest in his class.
In addition, Tim Ralph (25th), Alex Harbour (27th), Ben Rowsell (33rd) and Chris Biglin (DNF) were all using engines built by Boss Racing.
The result of this Mag Sevens race meant that three different Caterham variants in various stages of development recorded almost identical lap times in their domination of the what is now recognised as the fastest of all the many series for Caterham-type cars.
To put this achievement into perspective, Tim Davis’ pole-winning time would have placed him tenth on the grid for the GT Cup Championship, the week-end’s feature race.
And that’s a great tribute not only to our determined and skilful drivers but also to the whole Boss team who have worked hard to give their customers a unique opportunity.
12, Sep, 2019
Classic Sports Car Club, Anglesey, 22/23 July
You had to be called Watson to win a Magnificent Sevens race at Anglesey. Our own Colin Watson was victorious in one of the two Gold Arts sponsored events at the Classic and Sports Car Club’s July meeting. David Watson (no relation), scored in his rapid motor-cycle-engined Spire the following day. Overall, though, it was another successful weekend for Boss Racing customers with a win, a third, several class victories, a pole and some stirring drives.
We arrived on the Thursday evening after an 8.5hr journey. The following day’s test sessions were run in wet and dry conditions. The main drama concerned Graham Charman, back in the Caterham fold after a spell with a Ginetta. He broke a gear selector spring and had to send to Essex for a replacement. By contrast, Jonny Pittard’s supercharged 2500 Caterham CSR was running really well and able to show its true potential at last. In the wet Tim Davis and Nick Powell and son, newcomers to our team, were the only Boss runners to venture on to the track.
Qualifying also produced its dramas. The weather continued changeable and rain started falling when the cars were in the assembly area. We had to change Jonny’s tyres several times but it was well worth the effort as he secured pole. Tim was second quickest, but then his car was side-lined when a stone entered the engine and snapped a valve. As it happened, we had a Supersport 1600 with us which we planned to run at a Silverstone track day after the weekend. Tim was able to use at Anglesey with the CSCC’s permission. Colin in our number 92 C400 2400 struggled with tyre choices but still set fifth fastest time, while Graham lined up eighth in his Superlight 1900. Hugh Coulter (C400 2000) was tenth and the Powells were 14th with their Supersport 1600. Peter French (Superlight 1800) was 37th, while Tim started from the pit lane.
Jonny took the lead when the lights went out but a small mistake dropped him behind the duelling duo of Colin and Gary Bate. After 19 laps and a mandatory pitstop, Colin took the flag to win by just under a second. Hugh lost a place due to a 60-sec penalty for pit lane speeding but still finished eighth and second in class. Tim, who’d stormed from a pit-lane start to 20th overall just failed to pip the Powells for fourth in class. Peter was 31st and second in class but Graham was a non-starter due to a second gear selector spring breakage.
The race had been run on Anglesey’s International circuit but the second, the following day, used the shorter Coastal Circuit which limited the number of competitors allowed to take part. Consequently, Tim and Graham were listed as reserves.
Colin took a winner’s penalty and lined up sixth but otherwise the field started according to the previous finishing order. The start was chaotic. David Watson stalled his engine and was rear-ended by another car. The red flag was shown, the race was cut to 20 min and the pit stop “window” kept open for the whole race.
Most runners took the opportunity of a virtual safety car interlude to make their pitstops but not Colin and Jonny. They missed our increasingly frantic signals from the pit-wall. We even resorted to shouting at them! The result was that they were leap-frogged by the rest of the field. Yet by the flag, Colin had recovered to ninth and Jonny tenth. Colin set the fastest lap of the race. Hugh was our highest-placed finisher with a terrific fifth overall in his class H car. There was another impressive come-back drive from Tim who was able to start, but from the pit-lane, finished 15th, a place behind the Powells. Peter French was 32nd after incurring a two-lap penalty for a pit-stop infringement.
The overall winner on track was Gary Bate but he too was penalised for pit-lane speeding so it was David Watson who was awarded the victory from a pit-lane start.
Keith Vaughn Williams was also in action over the week-end. In his 5-litre TVR Chimera he lined up 17th for the first of two (deep breath) Cartek Motorsport Modern Classics and Advantage Motorsport Future Classics Series races. It was Keith’s first outing on the International Circuit and he did well to finish 16th after incurring a 60-sec penalty for pit-lane speeding. For the second race, on the more familiar Coastal Circuit, his lap times improved consistently and he took an excellent eighth place and third in class.
We return to our home circuit for our next CSCC outing on 25/26 August.
7, Aug, 2019
Classic Sports Car Club, Spa 29/30 June
Guess which was our most popular piece of equipment in Belgium. Here’s a clue: the temperature was 42-degrees in the shade. Actually, there were two pieces of kit which seemed to be in almost continued use that weekend – our collapsible pool and the hose other teams borrowed from us to fill the ones they had rushed out to buy!
Baking in Belgium and sweltering at Spa certainly represented a pleasant contrast to the CSCC’s previous meetings at soggy Silverstone and oozing Oulton. They were dominated by rain. Having a pool in the paddock alongside our double awning meant the drivers could cool off between races on the demanding Spa circuit.
We arrived on the Wednesday evening before the meeting with three Caterham Sevens for Tim Davis, Colin Watson and Richard Carter, plus the TVR Tuscan of Keith Vaughn Williams. An uneventful Thursday test enabled Keith to dial himself back in to racing after two years away from the circuits and to be initiated into the secrets of Spa.
In conjunction with the YTCC (Youngtimer Touring Car Challenge), the CSCC had organised a series of what were essentially all-comers’ races which included a class for Caterham Sevens. Unlike the club’s domestic Magnificent Sevens series, the three contests were of 30 minutes’ duration and didn’t involve pit stops.
In qualifying Tim took third place on the grid with his C400. This meant he would effectively start as the second fastest Caterham behind our nemesis, Stephen Nuttall, who took pole. Colin (C400) lined up sixth overall and third fastest Caterham, while Richard recorded ninth fastest time overall.
Sadly, he wasn’t able to take his place on the grid. A broken timing chain meant that, in the absence of a replacement, his week-end’s racing was finished before it had begun. Another Boss Racing customer, Peter French, was 43rd with his Superlight.
It was an eclectic mix of cars but qualifying suggested that two runners in particular, a Zakspeed Turbo Capri and a Cobra replica, would need to be watched, in addition, of course, to the rapid Nuttall. And it was these three cars which duly secured the first three places in the opening race. Tim and Colin finished second and third in the Caterham section.
For the second race, the cars lined up on the grid in their previous finishing order but a series of accidents brought out yellow flags and the safety car. Failure to pick up the leaders meant that when the safety car pulled in the race leaders had to battle their way through the back-markers. Tim became involved in an exciting race with the Zakspeed but lost second place overall by less than 1.5 sec. He still finished second in the Caterham section with Colin second and fifth overall.
Confusion before the start of the third race saw the Zakspeed head for the pits with some of the other runners – including pole-sitter Stephen Nuttall – following him Pied Piper style. Tim managed to avoid doing so but hesitation dropped him several places down the order at the start. He made them up, though, and led the race until passed by the Cobra, which was the eventual winner. Colin was second and fourth overall.
In race two Peter French had an accident at Blanchimont, which meant we had work to do to fix it for race three. It was worth it, though, because Peter finished 31st and won his class. He’d been classified 44th in race one so he was well pleased.
Keith qualified 52nd for the first of the CSCC’s two Inter-Series cup events. Despite it being his first race at Spa he was remarkably relaxed before the start, so relaxed, in fact, that he failed to take his place in his Tuscan in time to make the grid. As a result, he had to start from the pit lane. Undaunted, though, progressively improved lap times set him up for a 41st finishing position.
For the second 40-min race, Keith was determined not to be late for the start. But while other drivers made their mandatory pit stops during a safety car interlude, Keith missed this opportunity. On top of that, when he did stop he was slow away, which undoubtedly cost him time. His finish in 34th position represented a good effort, especially as he snatched third place in class on the last lap.
And his reward? A dip in the pool, what else?
Our next outing will be at Anglesey for the CSCC meeting on 20/21 July
9, Jun, 2019
Much of the day’s racing had been affected by showers but this was something different. It was supposed to be the last race of the day and the cars were on the grid but it was, quite literally, a wash-out.
That meant our drivers competed in just one race at the Classic Sports Car Club’s Cheshire Challenge Meeting. Oulton Park’s a long way to go for just one race, especially if you’ve got to make the journey from Kent twice. But on the credit side, we did get a second place and had the pleasure of seeing one of our drivers play himself back in after a year’s lay-off with a class win.
Colin Watson and Gary May drove up to Cheshire with our number 92 and 93 cars to take advantage of the Friday test session. They were able watch Hugh Coulter gain track time after his year away before heading for home: the Magnificent Sevens and open series races were not to be run until Bank Holiday Monday.
When the team re-assembled at Oulton for qualifying the track was damp and the weather changeable to say the least. However, Tim Davis (Caterham C400 2400) celebrated his 50th birthday by taking second spot on the grid behind local resident and Oulton Park Specialist Danny Winstanley. They were the only two drivers to record sub-2 minute laps.
Colin Watson (C400 2400) put up the fourth fastest time, while Hugh (C400 2000), no doubt benefitting from his test session, was sixth and leading his class. Peter Hargroves (Superlight R 2000) was 19th and third in his class and Peter French (Superlight 1800) was 32nd and first in class.
For the race Tim elected to start on dry tyres with Colin and Hugh on wets. But as the cars were heading for the assembly area it started to rain. As there was no time to change Tim’s tyres we told him to take it easy and pit early.
He was the first to stop and we put two wets on the car’s left-hand wheels since that’s the side which does much of the work at Oulton. Colin and Hugh came in later by which time the rain had stopped and conditions were looking more stable. We put dries on their left-hand wheels.
Meanwhile, Tim was struggling. He was finding it increasingly difficult to control his car on a drying track with worn wets. So he did well to finish second to Silverstone victor, Stephen Nuttall. The mercurial Winstanley had dominated the early laps but fell back to retire on lap 15, minus his exhaust!. Colin was also out of luck. In a repeat of the trouble he encountered at Silverstone, Colin suffered crankshaft sensor failure, retiring on lap 10 of 22.
Hugh Coulter, though, finished the race a very happy man. Not only did he come home fifth but he won his class with a great move on the last lap, crossing the line 0.1 secs ahead, and was credited with fastest lap.
Peter Hargroves had been forced to start the race with a broken seal on his clutch master cylinder. That left him with an inoperative clutch just as he was about to head for the assembly area. Fortunately our rapid repairs held out and he finished 13th and third in class. Peter French came home 24th.
And so to the last race on the programme. Qualifying for the Verum Builders Open Series event took place on a damp track and once again Winstanley ended up quickest with Tim behind him. Hugh was fourth and second in class, while Colin was placed fifth, his best time having been disallowed because officials said he’d infringed track limits.
By the time the cars were forming up on the grid the heavens had opened and torrential rain was hammering down, soaking the drivers. It was probably a relief to them when officials displayed a “race aborted” sign.
That was it. We splashed back to the paddock and packed our sodden gear for the long drive back to Kent.
AMERICANFEST VII, BRANDS HATCH 1&2 JUNE
Our next outing was at Brands Hatch and, as events turned put, it was fortunate that we were close to home. We were supporting Tim Davis, now TVR mounted, who was running in the three Bernie’s V8s races at the American Festival.
He had entered a newly-acquired Tuscan with Rover V8 power but during qualifying suffering from a misfire and intermittent lack of power. As a result he qualified fourth on the grid.
At the start Tim jumped into third place and stayed there for three-quarters of the race but then the power loss returned and he dropped back to finish fourth. He started the next race from the second row of the grid and this time the car was running better but a spin at Clearways pushed him down the order. He was starting to catch up but ominous noises caused him to pull off the track on the last lap.
It turned out that the silencer had almost parted from the exhaust. The noise had been caused by the silencer dragging on the track surface and, obviously, failing to do its job properly. A quick inspection revealed that it would not be a quick job to repair it so we asked permission to start the third race with a substitute car.
This was granted and a quick trip back to the workshop enabled us to get Tim back on the grid – albeit, right at the back – in his trusty silver Tuscan. But this signalled the start of a really great comeback drive. He scythed through the field to reach third position by the 8th lap. But then the safety car was deployed and, with seven minutes left to run, the race was red flagged and the results declared as at the end of the 11th lap.
By then the field had been depleted by multiple DNFs and disqualifications, although that shouldn’t detract from Tim’s performance. He also set the fastest lap of the race in a great drive which left us all wondering what Tim he might have achieved had he been in the car from the beginning..
I suspect he’d have left Brands with three victory trophies.