27, Jul, 2017
Two meetings, three wins and two seconds: not bad for a month’s work.
The bare statistics tell the story in a nutshell but can’t hope to convey the full nail-biting drama of our racing in June and the background to it.
You can read more elsewhere about the American SpeedFest at Brands Hatch and the preparations for our annual outing to Spa. So I’ll pick up the story at the start of the 30-minute qualifying session at the super-fast Belgian track.
Over this week-end of 23-25 June we were running in the two Gold Arts Magnificent Seven races at the Classic and Sports Car Club’s Spa Summer Classic. We had taken five cars, the newly-acquired C400 of Tim Davis, the Superlights of Graham Charman and Peter French and Richard Carter’s C400. Colin Watson and I were sharing the newly rebuilt and upgraded Boss Racing C400 that was still being completed on the morning of our departure from Longfield two days earlier.
Testing Thursday morning brought out the vast array of competitors from near and far. We were sharing the track with 60-odd cars ranging from Caterham Sevens and BMW M3s to MG Midgets and Sprites – lap times varied by more than half a minute!
Qualifying Friday and Tim put up the third fastest time with Graham fourth, Richard 16th and Peter 47th. Colin and I were 7th, our car showing no signs of the oil leak which had affected it the day before and which we had burned the midnight, um, oil working to cure.
Saturday, by now the fourth day of our trip and we were racing at last. Colin took the first stint and from seventh on the grid he was soon battling for the lead. By the end of the first lap he was second and in front the next time around. Then Tim took the lead only to lose it to Colin on the fourth. Along with arch rival Gary Bate the racing was epic.
By the time of the driver change on lap 6 we decided that as we had a genuine chance of winning Colin should stay in the car. I was disappointed but realised that we couldn’t spare the time it would take me to play myself in.
We finished second on the road but Gary Bate who took the flag first – as he so often does – was disqualified for passing another competitor under a yellow flag. So we won! And we set fastest lap.
Tim was second, just three-tenths adrift, Richard was 21st but Peter wasn’t classified and Graham was forced out on the seventh lap after a collision with another car holed his radiator.
That evening in true Boss Racing fashion, we prepared the cars for Sunday’s race. And went down the pub. For a while….
Sunday dawned and Colin started the second race from pole, while from second spot, Tim went wide on Turn 1 on the opening lap and lost a lot of time. Then, in his attempts to improve his position he tagged the back of Dean Cook’s car. Dean, an old TVR sparring partner of Tim’s, is also running a Caterham Seven but Tim now had a damaged radiator to contend with. He was classified 20th.
This was to be another race in which I didn’t get to drive. On the ninth lap, while fighting for the lead once again, Colin came on the radio to report an ominous vibration. We soon found out the cause, a broken drive shaft. So we were out, leaving the field clear for Gary Bate. All was far from lost, though. Graham finished fourth and set the fastest lap with his recently upgraded Boss Racing K-series engine! Who says the K-series is dead?
As I write this, our cars are in the workshop in various stages of disassembly being prepared for our next outing, five days at Croft racing over the weekend of 22-23rd July. As someone said, “a mini Spa!” but more about that next time…
26, Apr, 2016
It’s been a long winter for us at Boss Racing but spring is here, the daffs are out and so are we! And already we’ve had three successful outings this season, at Brands Hatch, Snetterton and Silverstone.
Since the end of the last season we’ve been flat out – as usual – at our Longfield base near Brands Hatch, preparing for 2016. Lots of customer race cars have been in to be prepared for the new season and we’ve added a new car, a Caterham SV with wider cockpit, to the track-day hire side of the business.
But before going on to talk about the way we started 2016 I’d like to thank those of you who voted for us to receive the MotorsportDays.com team trophy. You’ll forgive me, I hope, if I repeat a few of your kind words: “Well organised, friendly, high quality work” and “Excellent preparation, friendly towards other competitors, and support for many different cars and series.” The website itself noted: “Without doubt, this team leads by example.”
We also won the British Automobile Racing Club South East’s Twosome’s team trophy. It was a great honour to receive these prestigious awards on behalf of the team at the BARC awards evening in February. It was also very humbling because I’m only too well aware that it couldn’t have happened without the hard work of the whole team. Thanks guys, for making Boss Racing such a successful team in 2015.
So on to 2016. And it looks like being another great season. Our first meeting, over the Easter weekend, was at our local track, courtesy of BARC SE. We had cars running in several championships at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit, including the Intermarque and Quaife Motorsport News saloons.
First on track, though, were the Cannons Tin Tops. Up to that point it had been dry despite an overcast sky but shortly after the green flag dropped to start the opening qualifying session the rain came down. As ever, Rod Birley, now in the Peter Bevan Honda Integra which had been set-up by Boss Racing, was one of the first out.
The track was still dry when, on his fourth lap, Birley stopped the clocks at 1:00.834 to secure pole by over two seconds. Chris Whiteman could only manage 1:03.58 with his refreshed Honda Civic Type R to secure fourth spot.
The two Hondas weren’t the only cars on the grid to benefit from set-up work by Boss Racing. Ken Angell was 20th and third in class with his BMW 328i, while Kelly Dann emerged from her first-ever qualifying session 27th overall and 12th in class in her VW Golf 2000.
Both Rod and Chris made great starts in the first race, completing the opening lap at the head of the field. But on the third lap the positions were reversed. Chris held the lead to the flag, using his oval track racing experience to thread his way through the backmarkers and open a gap to Rod who finished second. Ken Angell was ninth and second in class, while Kelly Dann also advanced to finish her first race 24th and 10th in class.
Battle was joined again in Race 2. Chris and Rod charged over the line to end the first lap first and second again but this time Chris succumbed to pressure from the hard-charging Birley. He spun off on lap three, re-joining 10th just as the yellow flags were being waved following an incident. Five laps later, the green flags provided the signal for Chris to set about chasing Rod.
Birley kept his cool, though, and held the lead until the end. Despite setting the fastest lap of the race in 54.55 seconds, Chris could only manage third, 1.5 seconds behind Rod. But a nine-second penalty for a yellow flag infringement dropped him to fifth. Ken was eighth and second in class, but Kelly suffered engine problems and dropped out of her second race.
Paul Adams was driving his Mercedes SLK look-alike in the first of the two Scapco Intermarque races. Although the rain had stopped, the track was wet, leaving the team uncertain about which tyres to use. Paul opted to start the qualifying session on wets but on his third lap changed to slicks. The pressure was now on Paul to make his slick-shod laps count in the 15-minute session and he did well to secure 12th slot on the grid.
But his first race didn’t go to plan. On the fifth lap several cars, including Paul’s, spun at Paddock on coolant dropped by another competitor. This brought the safety car out but Paul had stalled his engine and wasn’t able to carry on.
As a result he had to start Race 2 from the back of the grid. But as the cars gathered in the collecting area the havens opened and there was no time to change to wets. Consequently, it was a slower race than usual with many other cars spinning off. Paul kept his head and came home in 14th place.
By Sunday afternoon when the Motorsport News saloons went out to qualify the weather was more stable. Rod Birley was able to take advantage of a dry track and put his familiar black and blue Ford Escort Cosworth second on the grid. And on Easter Monday the West Kingsdown man duly converted his front-row position into two more victories, proving that the Boss Racing-applied set-up was working well.
Snetterton’s 300 Circuit was the venue for our second meeting of the season on 10 April.
At this Classic and Sports Car Club event, Boss Racing was supporting Tim Davis in his TVR Tuscan and Hugh Coulter who was driving our number 93 Seven in the Magnificent Sevens series at Snetterton.
In his first outing in the car Hugh managed to qualify ninth and first in class E, while Graham Charman was outstanding to lead class D in fifth spot. In the race, run on a dry track late in the afternoon, Hugh pitted for his mandatory stop on lap nine from 10th place, with Graham coming in a lap later from sixth. By the end of the stops, Hugh was ninth, while Graham was now sixth. At the flag Hugh had moved up to eighth and head of the class, but fuel surge problems dropped Graham down to seventh and second in class.
Tim was out in his 4.5 litre Rover-powered TVR This car had proved troublesome last season with an intermittent misfire but over the winter it was treated to a new wiring loom, switches and fuel pumps. But after positive tests at Brands we were confident we’d got the mighty TVR running to its full potential.
But, guess what? After one lap of the Snetterton 300 circuit the misfire was back and as bad as ever. Yet Tim managed to put it into to sixth spot on the grid and second in class but the return of the elusive misfire left Tim depressed about his chances for the race.
Again the team went to work on the car and after an hour or so we found a filter dislodged inside the fuel swirl pot. Although Tim was still not confident as he took his place on the grid, a couple of laps we were getting an emphatic thumbs-up from the TVR’s cockpit as it growled past the pits. Tim moved up the field to be third by the time of his mandatory pit stop. But the gremlins struck again as the car left the pits. The red TVR slowed to a halt at the exit from the pits with no drive to the rear wheels: the gearbox was jammed. Massively frustrating but Tim was ecstatic that we seemed to have banished the misfire!
I had my first race of the year at the BARC SE meeting on 23rd April at the Silverstone International circuit. We set out with Peter Hargroves, Rob Grant and the number 93 hire car, and as none of the drivers had experience of the International circuit, we all opted to take advantage of the Friday test day. All three cars performed well and by the time qualifying started we all reckoned we knew which way the circuit went.
Which was just as well for, with the Sevenesque cars sharing the track with the Scrapco Intermarque machines, it was going to be busy. All three of us made it to the front of the queue in the hope of some clear laps. After 15 minutes I managed to be eighth fastest overall and second for the Sevenesque race, while Peter was 14th and 4th Sevenesque and Rob Grant was 19th and 7th Sevenesque.
The two races were to be run concurrently with a split grid enabling the Intermarques to start first and the Sevenesques 10 seconds later. Ian Conibear and myself shared the front row of the Sevenesque grid but Ian had the better start and led in to Turn 1. With a good run through the last two corners, I passed Ian on the second lap. But my lead was short lived. Ian’s Class 1 car had too much power on the long straight for my Class 3 car.
On lap seven, the Class 1 Seven of Gary Bate breezed past me on the straight but two laps later I got a run on him through Turns 1 and 2 just as Gary was trying to pass Ian. Gary re-joined the racing line at Turn 3 but that un-sighted me. I took to the grass and swung into a 360-degree spin. So with just two laps left I had to settle for third. Rob Grant made it to fourth and Peter was sixth.
It was a top seven reverse grid for Race 2, which put me fifth for the start. Peter was on the front row in second and Rob was fourth. I made a great start but Gary’s was even better. By Turn 2 he was leading with me second. We changed places several times until, on lap 10, I managed to put a back-marker between us and break his tow on the back straight. That left me clear to win. Peter was fifth but Rob was classified as a DNF due to a misunderstanding with a flag.
I learned later that I was voted driver of the day. Great stuff!
8, Nov, 2015
According to my dad I didn’t like carrots when I was a lad! But it wasn’t so much seeing in the dark that caused me trouble during the night race at Brands Hatch on Halloween night, in fact there was too much light and most of it was coming from my main competitor. As we threaded our way past the other 30 or so cars sharing the one-mile Indy circuit Pascal Green’s lights were dazzling me so much that it was hard to see the entry point for the corners. Druids was the most difficult. Even opting to take the mandatory pit stop early in the 40-minute race didn’t help.
When I saw that the Classic Sports Car Club was organising a night race at its Halloween meeting I was really excited. I was also a little apprehensive because it wasn’t something I’d ever done before. When I discussed it with Colin Watson and Tim Davis I found they agreed it was something we couldn’t miss. The other races on the programme set the scene for us. In the Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens 40-minute thrash I was first reserve but the organisers said I wouldn’t be able to start the night race if I didn’t compete during the afternoon. So I shared the drive with Colin in the Caterham R300/C400. We finished fifth overall and second in Class G. Graham Charman was eighth and first in Class D, Hugh Coulter came twelfth and third in class D.
It was Tim Davis’ chance to shine in the New Millennium and Dunlop Puma Cup 40-minuter. He, though, had to pay the price of success. CSCC rules say race winners have to carry a 60-sec pit-stop penalty: Tim had to pause for a minute. Overcoming such a penalty was a big ask but Tim very nearly pulled it off. He’d qualified on the inside of row three but soon bustled the silver TVR into the lead. The race’s second half was really tense as the big Tuscan rumbled around, chopping into the lead of Dan Wylie’s M3. But the race wasn’t long enough and Tim had to be content with a brave second place just 22 seconds in arrears.
In the interval before the night race we fitted the three cars – Colin’s R300, Tim’s Tuscan and my C400 – with LED lights and anti-dazzle covers for the rear-view mirrors. Tim qualified fourth, Colin eighth and I was 12th. In free practice, though, I found myself quickest with Tim and Colin just behind. I looked like being a good race. I got a good start Pascal Green in his C400 started from 5th on the grid. We’d worked our way to the front by the fourth lap and I reckoned I was the faster but when I got past I found Pascal’s lights dazzling me so much I was having trouble placing the car. I decided the best thing to do was to come in for my pit stop as soon as possible. But as I turned into the pit lane entry I clipped the front of a Lotus Elise I was lapping with my back tyre. I apologised to the driver after the race. When I stopped I got the guys to check the tyre but it was OK. What I hadn’t expected was that Pascal had also decided to make his stop at the same time. I left the pit lane with him right behind. And we went at it again. At one point we were three abreast with an Alfa GTV: Pascal on one side and me on the other. Fortunately, the Alfa driver kept it straight! Then I managed to put a lapped competitor between us and that gave me the break I needed.
By the end I was near 10 seconds ahead. My biggest problem, as it turned out, was that the race officials wanted to bring me in to check my lights. As Pascal’s were causing me so much trouble I thought I’d return the favour by distracting him when he was ahead. Operating the switch under the dashboard was a bit of a fumble so there was a bit more flashing than I’d intended. When the officials told my crew to bring me in the guys insisted I was flashing deliberately. Fortunately, the officials accepted that and allowed me to continue.
It was a great race, really exciting. I don’t think I’ve come down yet! Colin was third and Tim fifth so it was another great result for Team Boss. Pass the carrots!
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14, Jun, 2015
What a difference a week makes! On our last visit to Brands it was wet and cold and Dean Cook retired. Last Sunday it was warm and sunny and Dean was the hero of the hour with two dominating performances.
The spectacular and well-attended American Speedfest, the third in the series, included two rounds of the popular Bernie’s V8 Challenge, plus two for SpeedFest Silhouettes in which drivers could earn points towards the 2015 Avon Intermarque Championship.
In the first silhouettes dash our man Paul Adams in his Mercedes SLK look-alike took seventh spot on the grid and finished sixth. He started the second from the front row but was unable tom capitalise on this because a first lap accident at Druids caused him to take evasive action. Out came the safety car meaning that when racing re-started Paul had a fair bit of work to do and he clawed his way up to eighth at the finish.
Dean, meanwhile, had dominated the V8s, heading the growling, grumbling, snarling, popping and banging field from the start of both rounds. In the first he was passed by Tim, although the silver TVR Tuscan retired on the ninth lap. This left the red Cerbera free to clear off at the head of the pack to a win a fast and furious race that had to be red-flagged after 16 of the planned 20-minutes.
Sadly, the battle between the two TVRs had been cut short when Tim was forced to pull off. His engine had started making “clanking noises” when suspected lubrication system troubles intervened, causing him to miss the second round. Dean sportingly offered Tim the loan of his car for the race but the Brands officials ruled that he couldn’t compete in a car he hadn’t driven that day. “Far enough, I suppose,” was Tim’s rueful comment.
He absence left the way clear for Dean to lead the second 30 minute race which also featured a mandatory pit stop. He was kept honest first by the Lim/James Ram Cobra and then by surprisingly rapid Sunbeam Tiger of William Smallridge
Despite the heavy traffic Dean appeared to have matters well in hand. “It’s been a great day,” was his comment from the top step of the podium, as well it might after such a totally convincing performance.
As ever, both the Brands Bernie’s V8 rounds were characterised by a large and varied entry featuring British, American and Anglo-American machinery ranging from TVRs and MGs to Mustangs and amazing V8-motivated Mk 1 Escorts.
But Dean had the measure of them all, as did Tim while he lasted. Dean set fastest lap in both rounds and in fact, he and Tim were the only drivers to lap within 52 seconds.
Ah, yes, Tim. With his next outing being at Spa in three weeks’ time it’s not hard to guess how the Boss Racing team will be spending the intervening time. Well, it is what we do.
14, Jun, 2015
It may have started all grey and damp, but for Team Boss the last day of May ended with a nice drop of sunshine – and it wasn’t entirely to do with the brightening weather.
Two class wins and a memorable fastest lap wasn’t a bad day’s work and being at our home track, Brands Hatch, just added to the pleasure.
We were there with seven assorted Caterhams and a brace of TVRs to contest three events at the Classic Sports Car Club’s third meeting of 2015 and it’s first of two visits to the Indy circuit.
In the Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens Group 2 we had six cars running in three classes in a 40-minute race which also involved a mandatory pit stop. It rained during qualifying but our runners certainly didn’t disgrace themselves.
Christian Pittard had the best of it with sixth spot on the grid. Graham Charman started two places further back with Jonathan Pittard another two places behind him.
And it was Jonathan who did best in the race itself. He took seventh overall with his 1998cc Superlight R and first in class E for cars with up to 220bhp. Graham was 16th with his Superlight 400 and third in class D, while Colin Watson was 11th overall and third in class H with his R300. C400-mounted Mark Simmons also took a class third – in class E – on his way to 14th overall, while Hugh Coulter in his R300 was fourth in a class D.
By the time the group 1 cars came out to play the track was beginning to dry but it was still slippery as I was to discover. It was my first time in our number 90 Superlight and my first time out since I’d stuffed number 92 nose-first into the bank at Mallory Park a week earlier.
Nineteenth on the grid wasn’t much to shout about so I felt I should be able to improve on that in the race. The pit stop went OK – thanks, guys – but at one point during the race I made contact with another competitor while trying to pass. The result was a 360-degree spin plus a stalled engine. That cost me some time plus a wing.
Despite that I had a great time. I finished eighth and first in class A for the lowest power cars. At one point I thought I’d inadvertently held up the winning Roadsport shared by Wil Arif and Stephen Mansell. But after the race Wil – in his first ever Caterham race – was kind enough to say he hadn’t noticed. “We all have to drive our own races,” said the veteran Brands instructor.
In between the two Caterham races came the fast and furious New Millenium and Dunlop Puma Cup race. Another 40-minuter with mandatory pit stop, this event attracted a very mixed bag of quick cars including our two TVRs, the grey Tuscan of Tim Davis and the red Sagaris of Dean Cook.
Qualifying had been wet but Tim took fourth spot on the grid with Dean, a little unhappy with the conditions, down in 23rd. Indeed, the damp track didn’t suit the powerful V8s but Tim kept his well in contention until his pit-stop.
Thanks to his success at Silverstone earlier in the month Tim had a 30-second winner’s penalty added to his time in the pits. Once that had been counted down he rocketed back a lap down on the race-leading Porsche Boxter of James and Alan Broad. As the track surface dried, though, Tim’s race came alive.
You didn’t need a stop watch to tell he was the fastest out there. As the race wound down Tim had the big Tuscan well wound up as it rumbled round visibly quicker than anything else on the circuit. Tim not only got back on to the lead lap but hauled himself up to fifth by the flag – not bad for someone with a 30 secs handicap to overcome. Tim’s best lap was 57.463 sec: only he and the winning Porsche went round inside a minute.
Dean, meanwhile, was out soon after the pit stop window opened. The car trickled down the pit lane in a manner which, according to race commentator Mark Werrell, didn’t suggest “the body language of a car heading for a mandatory pit stop.” He wasn’t wrong: the wicked looking coupe with the bulge in the roof to accommodate its driver was suffering from fuel pressure problems.
But even that couldn’t dampen our spirits. And as we were packing up to go home the sun broke through the clouds. Next week-end we’re back at Brands for one of its landmark meetings of the year, the American Speedfest. See you there.
Tags: Boss Racing, Brands Hatch, caterham, Caterham C400, Caterham K Series, Christian Pittard, Classic Sports Car Club, colin watson, CSCC, Hugh Coulter, Jonny Pittard, Mag 7 Series, Mark Simmons, Racing, Robert Singleton, TVR, Winning
14, May, 2015
It was a successful weekend for the Boss Racing team. Tim Davis was racing his Silver 4.5 AJP TVR Tuscan at Silverstone with Bernie’s V8’s, Chris Whiteman was at Brands Hatch for his first meeting of the year in his Honda Civic Type R with the BARC Cannons Tin Tops and Rod Birley was also at Brands Hatch in his WRC Ford Escort.
Tim Davies, Silverstone 02/05/15
Tim’s Qualifying did not go all his own way, he was on the top of the timing sheet till the last minute of the session when William Smallridge in his rapid Tiger Sunbeam put in a 1:02.48 lap 0.09 faster than Tim. When the cars lined up for the race it was a stunning sight
This is just to name a few of the cars on the 19 car grid. Tim lined up second with William Smallridge Tiger Sunbeam on pole, when the lights went out, the two of them battled hard trading places till William lost the Tiger round Luffields leaving Tim to take an easy victory.
Chris Whiteman, Brands Hatch 02/05/15
Chris Whiteman narrowly missed out on pole position to Tom Bridger in his Rover 220 Turbo. Tom lapped the Brands Indy circuit in 54.880 Chris lap was 0.856 slower, the pair lapped over 1.5 seconds quicker than the rest of the 18 car grid. Race 1 Tom lead the way with Chris never more than 2 seconds behind when on the last lap of the 13 lap race Toms driveshaft failed and let Chris passed to take the victory. Race 2, the top six cars on grid was reversed #4 Len Colley on pole, #77 Peter Osborne 2nd, #27 Dominic Ryan 3rd, #73 Terry Seales 4th, #72 Tom 5th and Chris was lined up 6th. At the end of the first lap the pole man #4 Len was leading and Chris was up to second Tom 3rd on lap 2 tom moved to the front and Chris was second. Tom lead the way till lap 12 when his crank sensor failed and Chris moved into the lead and won the race.
Rod Birley, Brands Hatch 03/05/15
Rod also qualified in 2nd place to Rick May in his Escort Cosworth, Rick lost control of the Escort at Graham Hill bend on the first lap Rod then had the lead till the end of the 17 lap. Race 2 Rod lead from the start and was still leading after 17 laps.
1, Mar, 2015
Today Boss Racing completed a 10K run / walk round Brands Hatch in aid of the British Heart Foundation. It was a lovely day, and luckily the sun even came out despite the earlier weather reports of a rainy day. We all had a great time, no injuries and we all got our medals for taking part! At the time of publishing this blog we have smashed our fourth target (we had to keep raising it doe to your generosity!
Our target of £1,500 was beaten, and our grand fundraising total stands at £1,528.00!!
A higher thank you to all of our team members and to all of you that supported us.It is so great to see our first charity event went so well and raised so much!
The 10K timing results, courtesy of www.frsystems.co.uk
Christian Pittard: 0:48:54
Jonny Pittard: 0:52:35
Grant Haines: 0:56:14
Grahame Mara: 1:00:18
Robert Singleton: 1:09:45
Colin Watson: 1:30:36
Sharon Wells: 1:30:37
Michelle Watson: 1:37:05
Karen Watson: 1:38:18
Ann Beazley: 1:38:23
Jodie Poutney: 1:39:11
Mark Simmons: 1:44:41
Karen Sullivan: 1:44:41
Keith Simmons: 2:12:39
To donate please visit our JustGiving page.
23, Feb, 2015
We had our practise track day at Brands Hatch today. This was a chance for the team to run through how the track days will run, how it will look, and to give the cars a bit of a blow out.
Today allowed us to say thank you to some of our supporters, by offering them hot laps. We even managed to put a smile on the face of the youngest Watson, which is not an easy feat. But the Radical SR3 offers something special, the speed and adrenaline that cannot be matched, even if you’ve grown up in a racing family.
Our youngest team member was also given the chance to take our K Series Caterham out for a spin, and he got a passenger ride in the Radical SR3. And from the grin on his face for the rest of the day we will assume we enjoyed himself! I think he enjoyed being out in the cars rather than working on them.
We have posted our great reviews here for you all to see. We are very appreciative of all the feedback we get, especially when it is this great! We look forward to having the Hannah’s back very soon.
All in all today was a success and we are looking forwards to getting back out on track. A Boss Racing track day is great for anyone, with any range of experience and any age. So, just choose your car and give us a call!