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Thread: R of R 2017

  1. #1
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    R of R 2017

    Too boll####d to type much up now but

    Amazing
    Infuriating
    Exciting
    Poignant
    Humbling
    .
    .

    I took about 5 blurry pics
    Tonys lad took several thousand
    Neil will have taken somewhere in between so when I've had a sleep, gathered my thoughts I'll do a quick write up
    If a man speaks his mind in a forest and no woman hears him...is he still wrong ?

  2. #2
    Regular Neil Mac's Avatar
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    Cheers Dave,

    I'm in bed already, and away until Wednesday night. It will take me a while to sift through my photos.

    Awesome, inspiring humbling weekend. I will also elaborate some other time.
    "Fortunately, I'd taken a spare Gearbox, 5th gear cog (hidden), Turbo, Actuator, Banjo Connector, Steering Rack, Driveshafts, ECU, 57-51mm silicone reducing elbow and a Copper Banjo Washer." - Nige

  3. #3
    Well done you 2 lads ^ ,
    and to all others that were involved and gave of their time and efforts!

    I look forward to any updates that may be forthcoming (of either a photographic or textual nature), in the fullness of time, at a suitable juncture...

    /humphreyappleby

  4. #4
    Regular Darren Langeveld's Avatar
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    Amazing weekend!
    Get involved!
    Destination-Nurburgring
    NŁrburgring Track Days for those in the know....

  5. #5
    Regular Jim Cameron's Avatar
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    Iím ****ing knackered. Cheers for the help, hugely appreciated. Very, very happy.
    The Forces' Motorsport Charity
    www.missionmotorsport.org

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Cameron View Post
    .... Very, very happy.
    I bet Honda are.

    Too 'buzzing' to sleep as yet. Odd stuff that there adrenaline/emotion
    If a man speaks his mind in a forest and no woman hears him...is he still wrong ?

  7. #7
    Regular Neil Mac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Cameron View Post
    Iím ****ing knackered. Cheers for the help, hugely appreciated. Very, very happy.
    It was an honour to swerve with you, Jim
    "Fortunately, I'd taken a spare Gearbox, 5th gear cog (hidden), Turbo, Actuator, Banjo Connector, Steering Rack, Driveshafts, ECU, 57-51mm silicone reducing elbow and a Copper Banjo Washer." - Nige

  8. #8
    Regular Rich Bernard's Avatar
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    Well done everyone, it looked fantastic from afar.
    tbc

  9. #9
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    Right, brew to hand, eyes down look in

    Not quite sure what to say, there are a million words and thoughts but this may be a somewhat disjointed.

    I’d spent the past 6 weeks in rural France with just my phone and a sketchy signal as contact. I’d told Simon at MM that i’d be good for Thursday thru to Sunday this year, fully expecting (and happy) to be a general dogsbody. ‘Runners’ are needed all the time.
    I get an email days before it all kicks off showing me that I am the Team Manager for the brand new, not yet finished Honda CRV DIESEL with a team member list attached.
    Oh. WTF does that entail. 20 or so emails to and fro later and I think I have an idea.
    Tony also gets the privilege of being asked/told that he’s to be a team leader.

    Tuesday is spent driving just shy of 800 miles North from the middle of France to Yorkshire. Wednesday is turnround day; unpacking, washing, packing and printing lots of paper for my Barbie folder to look all professional for the weekend.

    Day 1

    Thursday dawns at 4am for me and by 0445 I’m on the road and at Anglesey before 8am. I catch the latter part of my first of the many briefings needed to keep it all rolling in the right direction.
    I cocked up getting there so early as the first few hours was set up time...awning...pit floor….garages etc. Many hands make light work and with the help of the dozen or so US and Canadian service guys, it was all in place very quickly.

    20171109_105652 by DAVID BOULDER, on Flickr

    We had 3 cars plus a guest car in a tandem double garage set up, no’s 5 and 6.
    Pit crews were allocated by Tony Compson, Crew Manager, and I got my first few guys. Will is a double lower limb amputee and a mighty strong chap AND CHARACTER.
    Jonathan is an ex US Marine, Sir. Happy to do anything, Sir. And an all round stalwart all weekend.
    John, ex Army with no visible injuries.

    I’d thought about how I was going to allocate roles….wheel-gun man, jack man, wheel man, fueller, extinguisher man, pit boards etc. I didn’t need to
    Will: ‘I’ll take my legs off and do wheels on and off OK’. It didn’t sound much like a request. Bugger, are we going to fall out as he’s going to be a bossy prick?
    Jonathan: ‘I’ll do anything Sir’......he soon stopped the sir stuff thankfully.
    John ‘ Can I do the refuelling?’
    Is this a set up ? Folk are falling into roles naturally. That’s how it worked, all weekend, without issue. How much easier they made my life I cannot begin to tell you.

    Driverwise. So far I had Jim, oh goody, the definition of trying to herd a cat. (He has so much to do all weekend that pinning him down to times would be difficult. He’d need a firm hand so to speak. Right. I can do shouty. I can do angry. This may work)
    I also had Lionel. Lionel is a single full leg amputee who is about to embark on his first race having passed his ARDs days earlier. My other two drivers should arrive Friday morning. (But what if one has a breakdown, there’s a road closure, he doesn’t want to do it….aarrgghh)

    The other MM cars were unloaded and crews began work and pit crews began to do bits of practice and have briefs etc. We had no car. Oops
    It finally arrived well after dark on Thursday evening, unfinished. Oops.
    I met my crew mechanic for the first time, a young guy called Dave Guilfoyle, not ex Forces so I’d not get all the ‘Sir’ bollox. He’s a laid back guy which is in direct contrast to both the manic (but controlled) nature of the weekend and the general way the Forces guys and girls go about things. Get it done. Get it done NOW.
    The car prep continue late into the night on Thursday and at about 1030 I retired and drove the 10 miles to digs in Holyhead.
    WTF have I said yes to?
    Should I send a text, drive home and forget the whole thing?
    Quick call to Justine to vent some steam and after a fitful nights kip I find myself driving back for the 8am briefing, preceded by bacon butties and coffee...lots of coffee.

    Day 2

    The morning is a bit of a blur. We did some practice as we’d missing an open track session on Thursday so any shake down drives were in and amongst practice. Well, we managed 2 sessions out of 6. Session 4 we were last. No worries. Session 6 we were 2nd to last. We are improving.
    My other 2 drivers arrived and I angrily called Jim some names, possibly including the C word.
    I felt out of my depth. I am not OCD by any stretch of the imagination but I like a plan. I suppose I like to be in control, know what is happening now, next and most steps in the near future. I didn’t know what bloody planet I was on. Not good.
    I have to say at this point that Jim did tell me I could switch roles and do something else.
    Like hell. I’d accepted the opportunity with a huge degree of personal pride that I’d been thought capable of doing it...and I’d crack on, stop being a dick (with a hurty back and sciatica all weekend but looking round me, I shall NOT be complaining about that in my present company) and get myself back on track. That was my issue. I’d sussed it. I was simply there to steer everyone to the common goal of getting the car over the line at 1530 on Sunday.

    Driver 3 is now a veteran of many races, JonAllen Butterworth MBE, gold medal paralympian. I’ve met him numerous times, he’s laid back and just gets on with it….and he has a fabulous boufant growing away on top.

    Driver 4. Mmmm, driver 4. Alex Goy, journo (I’d never actually heard of him to be honest but Mongo said he was ‘ace’ so I figured I’d like him as Mongo and I are pretty similar) What a fine chap. Funny, witty, sharp, nervous, erm, crapping himself. Race experience - Nil. Although he had put on his entry form that he’d once down an evening race in a cosy coupe at Toys R Us. I kid you not.

    OK, we have all drivers present so all drove on Friday and we got the car fettled...or rather Dave and Will did, with help from others including a young lad called Jack who is coping really well with a pretty serious brain injury. When he’s tired or not in his zone he sits down away from it all but when he was ‘on it’ he was an immense help.

    20171110_103955 by DAVID BOULDER, on Flickr

    Pax seat in for some sighting laps...pax seat out for the qually and race

    Tony and his lad turned up and got straight into role, their C1 team had a guy called Cliff running it until then and from Tonys arrival onwards the pair ran it seemlessly

    The car was apparently one of those prototypes that get the sticky camo covering and do miles of testing. Not quite fresh off the production line but apart from cage and seats/harness, brakes and suspension it was boggo. Bog standard engine and road tyres on road wheels. They gave us 16 spares. We’d need them.
    Night qualifying was soon upon us and all 4 got through without issue. 2 were old hands but for two, Lionel and Alex. This was the proper start of the weekend race. They both did fine. Safe reliable laps. I was not bothered in the slightest about times (I suspect I was really the only one on the team with this non racer mindset) From memory Jim was a 1.58 fastest of his 3, Lionel was 2.04. It started to rain for Alex. Wet and slippery. Oh dear. It didn’t matter. He brought it home.
    Due to 2, 3 and 4 driver teams...actual position was irrelevant.
    Jim was 34th out of 42.
    Lionel was 35th out of 40
    JonAllen was 26 out of 33
    Alex had it wet..and slippery but was 22nd out of 23.
    Overall we were 37th out of 42. Great start.

    We had done night qually (Racers term)
    Late into bed, early start Saturday

    Day 3
    Saturday. Race Day.
    Bacon butties. Jims Briefing. MY briefing
    It was the first chance I’d had to get all our guys together. I said little. My grandmother had told me as a noisy brat of a kid that if I had nothing useful to say, say nothing. I recall being told that alot. Mmm.
    Safety, teamwork, looking out for one another, safety, get the car over the line, safety.
    I think they got the drift.
    Team strategy? F### knows. Jim, thanks for the calm pointers and not lamping me when I had my gormless look on.
    We had a plan but still hadn’t managed a pit stop practice. Ah well, we will wing it. I spent 30 years winging it. I am good at winging it.
    Day qually went without a hitch. We were up another place now at 35th out of 43 and we had a new plan. Pray for rain. The car was epic in the wet. ( I actually prayed for snow and saw some on the distant mountain tops..bugger)
    We now had a race to start. The countdown to 3pm was on.

    20171109_172305 by DAVID BOULDER, on Flickr

    WheelmanWill getting ready...

    20171109_173130 by DAVID BOULDER, on Flickr

    Hard at work with help from Jonathan (USA)

    One of the more challenging jobs in inclement weather is doing the pit wall. You need to concentrate and as they were all doing 2.01-2.08 laps, every 2 mins we needed to be tuned in to the driver going past. Jonathan asked if he could do pit wall. He’d need a few fag breaks but would be straight back out. Eh ? So I have someone who actually wants to stand in the weather all the time. Result. ‘I’ll stay with him so there’s two of us’ says John my refueller. This gets better. Our whole pits refueller crew had another member. DuWayne (There may not have been a u but he had that American accent that made it appear so) He was superb. All weekend. Call his name and he was by your side in seconds, ready for absolutely anything.

    20171112_142916 by DAVID BOULDER, on Flickr

    Dwayne.

    11am meant it was a shortened Supercar Saturday. How was I to be pit lane manager for that and a bloody Team Manager Simon !
    It was actually just what I needed. My head was full of racing stuff and my brain was turning to mush. A break would be good. Walk to the top of the pits and it was all about to start. Neil Mac was corralling beneficiaries and marshalls with his loudhaler. Warren, an MM beneficiary, was on ‘crowd control’. Anne and Jon were ready to strap folk into cars, helped by a couple of other MM staff/volunteers and also a Canadian ex Forces guy, Alan, who had to be forced to leave his role to go out later in the morning. I then glanced at the line of cars. This may be the 7th or 8th pit lane I’ve done and it was without question the best line up I’d seen.
    Ferraris, R8s, SLS 6.3 V8 (the one that sounds like thunder) 1M, M3, Lotus Evora 400, Aerial Atom (supercharged) tuned Focus RS (5 pot) etc etc...and 4 Mclarens (all it was missing was the Pinderwagen, seriously, most of the beneficiaries really get it. It is liked. A lot) ….plus the poppy car. F Type SVR. This was the safety car for the weekend. The chap driving is ex forces (I’m sorry I didn’t get his name for the 2nd yr running) and was hugely proud to be able to drive it (rather the Mini he had last year) Jim took a few beneficiaries round in it but didn’t want to overdo it and not have it for its true weekend role.
    Marshalls get one session, beneficiaries rejoin the queue and go again. Until they’re fed up or time runs out. A good few dreams came true if what the PAX told me were right. One Welsh marshall told me (after his Mclaren session) You guys have been like Jimmy Saville to me, you know, Jim’ll fix it. Brilliant.
    We quickly got to the stage where we had cars waiting and no pax. A few marshals MAY have had 2nd sessions. (Many of them are Silverstone Marshals and only do Anglesey for R of R. They pay for it all out of their own pocket. Some camped all weekend. Without them it would not go ahead!)
    The end of Supercar Saturday soon came round and the end of the session was signalled. A lady ran up and asked if her husband was too late, a beneficiary with Hodgkin Lymphoma, to get out. Bugger it, we can get one last man out. ‘Will that powder blue McLaren do?’
    We shoehorned him in and either Jim or Meyrick Cox took him out. Very pleased to get that last pax out.
    Neil, Anne, Jon (and others not on NL) did the work here. Huge thanks on behalf of those that approached me over the next 24 hrs to thank me for their laps of a lifetime. It seems wrong that they thank me.



    Grid line up fast approaches so out last little scrum down and we’re off. Jim out for a long stint to try to get the CRV up the board to please Sponsors (as well as the team)

    20171111_143821 by DAVID BOULDER, on Flickr

    Made it to the start...

    20171111_143133 by DAVID BOULDER, on Flickr

    Look carefully through the window....there was also a box of kleenex ziptied to the cage....just in case

    We had a new team member. Steve. Steve is in QC at Honda but is also a tyre expert for racing. He developed our tyre strategy alongside Dave G (Ex rally team mechanic so I seemed blessed with experience) Jim did do a long stint. 2hrs 15mins. He brought it back having got into the mid 20s out of 47/48. We were pleased (I think stoked means the same, I heard that a lot)
    The front tyres were down to the metal. Nothing left at all. Somewhere between Steves conservative (correctly) and Jims ‘stuff it, drive it to 99% of its life, was where Dave and I were with our thinking.
    Driver change, fuel, tyres. 9 minutes. Mmmm, can we do better?
    We all had a minimum of 9 pit stops. ALL had to be a minimum of 4 minutes (You listening Darren) We aimed to do 3 today and 6 tomorrow in daylight. Fuelling seemed very slow, well over 5 minutes for 2 x 20 litres. Nothing else happens during this. No one touches the car. I stood in front with stopwatch and shouted a bit. John, refueller, is a quiet man. Long since left the army and battling his own issues. I had real concerns he’d struggle with the role. He didn’t. We had a couple of quiet chats. He got it embedded that nothing happened when he was at the car...except his job and he had no say in how slow the fuel trickled down the pipe. He did sterling, solid work.
    Wheels were quicker and Lionel was strapped in. I’d told the team that I would not release the car until the drivers were properly comfortable, seat position, wheel position and harness. I did not want 10 second slower laps cos of wrong positions or a further 4 minute stop just to do a 10 second adjustment. Get it right first time.
    Thumbs up from an apprehensive and excited Lionel. We had a second or two longer eye contact and I just knew he was ready, mentally. He has come a long long way to get to the point...and no more so that in the last 2-3 months. Lost weight, haircut, beard trim (Those that know him know this is a big thing!) He was off.
    I had a plan to get Lionel out last, to take the chequered flag.To finish the race and stand with other in Park Ferme.
    He brought it back well over an hour later and the boys did another good, safe pit stop.
    Seems odd not to write much about JonAllen but he just turns up with fuss, gets on with it and steps back. Quiet and unassuming. I like him. Nice lad.
    I mentioned Jack. When he’s on it, he really is firing on all cylinders. He stood next to me when JonAllen came in. Unstrapped, out of car, DuWayne opens fuel flap then grabs extinguisher. John tips the diesel can at whoch Jack says ‘Is it still running ?’ I tilt my head. Yup ‘STOP Fuelling’ John pulls the fuel, Jack darts to the card and kills the engine. John recommences.
    What a f##### time for the Chief Pit Lane Marshal to be stood next to me. Probably the only marshal who didn’t get a supercar ride so I can’t even bribe him. Pit stop complete.
    Alex. Out he goes’
    Team Manager Car 102 to race control. Doh
    It took me back to the 70s and early 80s, Sat in front of the headmaster for swearing or dicking about. Anyhow we got a drive through. Up the notice went on the LED panel on the start finish straight/pit wall. One lap...missed it...two laps….you can see where this is going !
    Safety car so they all drive at half pace. Still missed it. In the end 8,9 or 10 laps later we had about 10 on the wall, a pit board, torches, his producer with camera on constant flash, waved fluo jacket AND A WAVED UPSIDE DOWN ARTIFICIAL LEG. I shit you not...he finally saw it. 2057hrs. He drove into pits only to be waved straight through with a perplexed look on his face. As part 1 of the race finished Jim and I went to race control. Jim vainly (the look on the officials faces changed that term to ‘lamely’) tried to get our driver a 12 hr penalty stop...9pm to 9am. We were lucky to get a 2nd drive THROUGH rather than a stop/go.
    Alex had an expensive round at the bar 10 minutes later.

    20171111_215928 by DAVID BOULDER, on Flickr

    Drive, hotel, bed, no sleep, up at 4am to devise a timing plan for drivers, fuel and tyres...and to get Lionel that last stint.


    Day 4
    End of Race
    Remembrance Sunday. The reason behind it all

    It started well. I had a full team. Quick team brief. This was going too well. Something has to go tits up ?
    It didn’t we got an early drive through out of the way. Then an early pit. Then another. I had to do a quick driver change as the cars stop on the track at 1045 and drivers had minutes to get to the service then get back to the car afterwards. I didn’t want Lionel (who should have been in car) to have the added hassle so JonAllen and him were switched.
    The service was good. One of our American cousins did a reading. I’m not sure why but they all seem good at public reading/speaking. Will laid a wreath on the poppy car. DuWayne laid a wreath too. The last post was played. The male voice choir sang. It didn’t seem to have the genuine gut wrenching intensity of last year. I aren’t ex Forces and I struggled with last year if I am honest. Like many, I had a childhood of Remembrance Sundays with Dad and Grandad. We didn’t miss it.
    This years was good.
    Let’s go Racing.
    We managed to get Steve to do a sneaky tyre check as Dave and I strapped JonAllen in. All going to plan. Off they went. 4 hours left.
    We had 4 stops left. One involved Jim sitting for 4 minutes while we did a check or two and not much else. We got 2 more out of the way without issue. 4 minutes a piece. We (or rather the boys with the tackle) were slick. Little in the way of any practice but all working together and watching out for one another.
    We might actually finish this!
    Jims stop came and we did something, fuel, tyres ? F### knows. It was blur. I stood in front of him with stopwatch in hand determined that he was not going out earlier than 4 minutes and get us a time penalty. We were in 4th in class and 2 laps down on 3rd. I started to think about position. I had genuinely not given a toss. It’s not about position is it!
    Last pit arrived. I’d spent time with Lionel and his better half Layla. He was a bloody good driver. He doesn’t know how good he is. The previous night he had been on solid 2m 4s. Two on the bounce were 3 hundredths of a second apart. He is consistent. He always looked left at Pitwall guys.
    Jim is both our most experienced and fastest driver (he does f### our tyres tho and Steve will still be nursing a sore neck for all the head shaking) If Jim is our benchmark and is 100%, Lionel is 97%. That is good. In fact that is awesome.

    We had that extra second or two eye contact. Seriously. He was away. We were on the same brake pads but they were close to being shagged out. He did his first out lap. Then he did a 2.04, another 2.04, then another. He braked at the same spot each time, he turned in at the same point. I stopped timing. I knew it would be a 2.04. I chatted to Layla some more. She was proud.
    The pit wall became crowded and the chequered flag came out. Here he comes. He’d brought it home.

    In 33rd Place overall but. We were 3rd in Class.
    A diesel SUV put together in no time at all and driven by a team with 2 first time racers…..yup. I was stoked.
    The wind was strong and that caused the odd tear, nothing to do with emotion, pride, pleasure.
    Brilliant. Words are inadequate.

    Cars into Park Ferme and we all go round. I was privileged to be allowed in to make sure he was OK getting out and was the first to shake his hand. We may have had a hug. I aren’t from a generation of man huggers. That changed a bit this weekend. (awkward at first I must confess)
    We had the awards and speeches now and a special team award went to the CRV. There was no 3rd in class prize for our class...until now. There needed to be. They had deserved it. So the drivers, Dave G and Aston Dimmock (MM workshop manager) went centre stage for an award and champagne.
    Bloody well done chaps. Utterly amazing effort.

    So, apart from helping clean the garage, it’s all done for another year.

    I need to apologies to Jim for using profanities earlier in the weekend when I wasn’t where I thought I should be, headwise.

    I know most aren’t on here….
    Too many people to thank for help, big and small. Shoulders to lean on, advice given etc.
    Dave Guilfoyle for being a great team Mech.
    Steve for guiding us so well through tyre choice/change times etc Chatting to him he did say the boys were as good a pit crew as he had seen in several years of events with Pro teams. Guys were where they should have been, doing what they should have with our sister team (cheers Tony) right there alongside, not interfering, just there. This worked both ways.
    Will, Jonathan, Jack and DuWayne for getting out there, doing there thing brilliantly and stepping back. Everyone listened. There was never a panic, never a cross word between the team.
    John, I’ve worked with ‘people’ in my career. Highs and lows and all that. I had never experienced anyone ‘grow’ in a weekend before. I’ve seen people develop over weeks and months but John is genuinely in a way better place now that he was last Monday. It was weird to see, to feel it. He reckoned to have a wobble at around 11am Sunday. I suspect it was another milestone, a positive one. He was amongst his own. I watched him for a few moments around this time but needn’t have.
    ‘Seamless’ fits. Very, very odd (unique?) for a bunch thrown together 2 days earlier.
    Ben Williams,TM of the MX5 and overall watching eye on the rest of us
    Tony C for his presence
    Tony A for bouncing stuff off, I think we did OK mate.
    Darren L...always there and a good sounding board for my odd and stupid ‘doesn’t this mong know THAT?’ question.
    Simon and the livery boys for all the out of sight stuff we’d be knackered without..especially the many fuel trips to Bangor for diesel...15mpg takes its toll.
    The girls who do lots of admin stuff that is never seen
    Andy Millard and his Occupational Therapy Team for their work all weekend
    Anne and Jon for SS and your continued presence over the weekend
    Neil Mac for being around, letting me bend your ear more than once and doing the pit board! Hope to see you next month.


    Finally to Jim for starting the whole MM thing, then for letting me become involved and finally for having faith or stupidity to allow a non motorsport bod ‘run’ a team.

    It was an honour, a privilege.
    It was humbling, truly humbling.
    It was also infuriating, frustrating, anger producing (never calming) but above all totally and utterly rewarding in ways I can’t imagine anything else could replicate.

    http://www.tsl-timing.com/event/174521


    Sorry it is so long. I’ve missed bits I’m sure. I write mainly for me, for selfish reasons. Like Nige, I like to go back and read stuff months or years later.

    My kids’ll tell you ‘Dad, emotional? Ha, he shouts of the car window at people doing bad or stupid stuff but he’s not emotional. Not dad’

    I can tell you that I still am now, nigh on 24 hrs later. It’ll pass outwardly but a warm core will remain. I suspect that most volunteering involves being a very small cog in a huge machine. It has been for me when I have volunteered previously.
    If you get involved at all it is a good thing, if you really get involved with MM 'properly', you will get way way more than that and you will be far more than a small cog. I am talking about getting to know beneficiaries. Seeing them regularly, becoming a part of their journey (is that cheesy?) You even get hugs, heartfelt, genuine best mate type hugs!

    So I’ll ask again, and keep asking you guys and gals to chip in if you can (and want to...positivity is needed and I know it won’t be for everybody)

    The next one I attend is Troops Day at Donington next Month


    The noise isn't our car......

    20171112_115442 by DAVID BOULDER, on Flickr
    Last edited by Dave B; 13-11-2017 at 03:37 PM. Reason: Crappy pics aded
    If a man speaks his mind in a forest and no woman hears him...is he still wrong ?

  10. #10
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    ^^^^^
    Brilliant. Just Brilliant
    SteveM owes me £5
    I owe Dan £5
    Steve. Pay the man!

  11. #11
    Regular Floyd's Avatar
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    I'll need two cups of tea to read that!
    BMW 123D M Sport. Blacked out windows, leaning baaack...

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    Some crappy pics added. Apologies my phone camera is somewhat compromised after an imbecile leant on it.

    Obviously I am that imbecile.
    If a man speaks his mind in a forest and no woman hears him...is he still wrong ?

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave B View Post
    That dude's right ear doesn't look healthy, perhaps he should see a specialist?!

    Cracking write-up on the R.o.R. event Dave!!
    You really capture the trials & tribulations and atomsphere, along with the palpable emotion involved... Thanks for doing it, 'tis a great read.

  14. #14
    Regular Neil Mac's Avatar
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    You guys have been like Jimmy Saville to me
    Probably best to keep that one under your hat...

    Great write-up, Dave. I'll have to do one from my perspective when I get a minute.
    "Fortunately, I'd taken a spare Gearbox, 5th gear cog (hidden), Turbo, Actuator, Banjo Connector, Steering Rack, Driveshafts, ECU, 57-51mm silicone reducing elbow and a Copper Banjo Washer." - Nige

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rory View Post
    That dude's right ear doesn't look healthy, perhaps he should see a specialist?!
    Only just spotted that

    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Mac View Post
    Probably best to keep that one under your hat...
    Agreed. I was gonna put one of them Rolfs on but that'd be misinterpreted
    If a man speaks his mind in a forest and no woman hears him...is he still wrong ?

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    Dave, thatís epic. Thank you!
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    Great write up Dave, you've summed it up perfectly ( where's that 'notworthy' emoticon when I need it?)


    You all do sterling work, and I hope to meet you all one day and tell you!

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    Talking of epic posts, hold my chardonnay...

    WARNING: Loooooooooooonnnnnnnngggg Post. This is a 5 on the cups-of-tea scale, plus an extra nap or quiet weekend if possible. I make no apologies for this. Unless you complain a lot. Which you’d better not.

    I travelled from Northamptonshire to Halkyn (just West of Chester) on Thursday evening to get most of the journey out of the way outside of peak travel hours. I avoided the 2 hour delay on the M6, and arrived just after 10pm. The special offer I took advantage of meant that the room only cost £27, so that was nice.

    I was very eager to get to Ty Croes, so was out of there again at 7:15, and at the circuit at 8:15 on Friday morning, in time for breakfast, but after the team meeting. This didn’t really bother me, as my assigned responsibilities were only for the Supercar Saturday part of the event. Outside of this, I had some objectives for the weekend:
    1. Get stuck in, never complain, and don’t be picky about what jobs need doing.
    2. Keep out of the way when in the pit garages.
    3. If you have any doubts about what to do, ask.

    Simon the MM operations Manager is a true grafter, and he’s ably assisted by people like Warren who just get on with things. Whenever I was stuck for something to do, I knew I could track down Simon and just ask. If there was a task to complete, he would tell me and I would do it. Easy.

    Most things were already prepared, and the teams were running smoothly. I hung around the CR-V team to watch final set-up. Jim had tested the car and requested much more front camber. This was duly applied. Despite wanting to leave the workers and experts to do their thing, I did notice that the front toe was a bit extreme on one side. With the steering wheel straight, the RHS wheel pointed straight ahead. The LHS one toed in massively. I didn’t want to make any foolish assumptions or question anyone’s work, so I asked Lead Mechanic Dave if it was meant to look like that, and he got on with adjusting it.

    There wasn’t much to do other than keep out of the way, so I went for a walk around part of the circuit. The wind was blowing in from the Irish Sea quite fiercely, so I was glad to be dressed like an arctic explorer/human poppy. The only problem was the wind making my eyes stream, but that was cured with the application of safety glasses.

    It was good to meet Tony and son Harry for the first time, after spending a few years exchanging silly comments on the internet. Tony had stuff to do, and a special folder of power to do it with. Somehow. Harry took photos.

    I spent a fair bit of the weekend hanging around the CR-V team. Dave had lots to say, and I was happy to listen. I also had a good time chatting with Alex Goy. He’s very warm and friendly, and particularly honest about how he’s doing. I first met him at last year’s London Motor Film Festival, and was struck by how approachable he is. It might just be me, but some other journalists I’ve spoken to seem to be a bit less chatty, and we end up exchanging inanities rather than speaking meaningfully about anything. It probably is me, come to think of it. Anyway, Alex is a special guy, and seeing him get through his nerves to get to know the circuit and complete night qualifying without incident was cool.

    Jim was Jim.

    The Heroes dinner on Friday evening was a definite highlight of the weekend. Two of the MM beneficiaries spoke very well, with heart-wrenching descriptions of what they’d been through. Kes Bradley was in the RMAC (Royal Medical Auxiliary Corps), assisting in daily surgeries on people with horrific injuries. Ben Norfolk was an RAF flight Engineer on Chinooks, ferrying soldiers into battle and bringing back the wounded, dying and dead. Neither of them had personally walked into minefields or ambushes, but they carried unimaginable injuries and scars that working with Mission Motorsport had helped to heal. It took extraordinary courage for them to get up there and bear their souls, and it took everyone by surprise. The love and camaraderie extended to them by their comrades was also beautiful to see. I just about managed to hold it together, and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear than none of the 300 people in there went through the evening without shedding a tear or two.

    Tony, Harry and I were in the same accommodation: “Outdoor Alternative”. I initially thought this was some Military Jargon, but it turns out to actually be the name of a business. It’s a couple of cottages for adventure holiday-type activities, and it’s literally in the middle of nowhere. We went there in convoy with one of the MM beneficiary-drivers (Joe), who had a Subaru Impreza. I led the way, but the Sat Nav gave up after we left tarmac and ventured onto a very very narrow dirt track. The instructions that Tony had printed out also petered out (something to do with being provided with one page of a two page set), so I just guessed that our destination was at the end of the track. This was not a really great guess. The Subaru was bouncing around, bottoming out and scraping things. Tony’s CAYMAN S coped admirably. My Qashqai pool car couldn’t care less (I think the ‘pool car’ part of this could have been the critical factor). After joking that we’d end up in the Irish Sea, we got pretty close. The track ended outside a farm cottage, and there was only just enough space to turn 3 cars around and reverse track. Our saving grace turned out to be Google Maps on my phone, which did have the tracks marked, and we could back-track until we got there. I had a bunk-bed to myself and Tony and Harry ended up climbing a ladder to a peculiar mezzanine-level in the rafters after someone else took their allocated room.

    On Saturday morning, I gave a lift to the Subaru driver to save him destroying his car any more than necessary, and another MM beneficiary called Mark, who’d never attended any car events before. He was keen to get stuck in, though, so I explained a little bit about how the Supercar Saturday event would work, and we helped Simon and Warren assemble the inflatable gazebo helmet-distribution point while the teams took part in daytime qualifying to determine grid order for the main race.

    Within the last couple of weeks, I’ve had various thoughts about what I needed to take with me for the event. I knew that many layers of clothing would be advisable, and a sleeping bag just in case Outdoor Alternative turned out to be too alternative (or too outdoor). A moment of madness on Amazon (not unusual) resulted in the purchase of a £15 loudhailer. This turned out to be the good kind of madness. I have a problem whereby if I am close to a microphone, I am bound to start talking loudly into it. Supercar Saturday needed someone to talk loudly without being shy or too serious/sensible. It worked out rather well. Forces personnel respond very well to clear instructions, far better in fact than supercar drivers (who also took rather a lot of our helmets, necessitating Warren having to run off and steal a few dozen from the circuit). I explained to the customers what they needed to do, and what the assistants would be doing to keep them safe and comfortable. They in turn behaved impeccably, and after a nervous start it all went very well. So well, in fact, that we ended up with very satisfied customers and actually ran out of them before the clock counted down. The assistants all did a grand job, although it’s best not to remind Jon about John Marcar’s LHD Z3M with multi-point race harnesses and non-functioning door handles. One of the Canadian volunteers asked if he could help, so I asked him if he knew how to fasten harnesses. “No, but I was a parachute setter for the Airborne” was a sufficiently reassuring answer…

    I had no intention of going out in a car. I was there to ensure the beneficiaries and marshals enjoyed themselves, and nothing else. However, with about 2 minutes left Jim appeared back in the pitlane in a McLaren 570S (+ Track Pack), and Dave suggested I should go out. I didn’t need to be asked twice. A helmet was sought and administered in about 10 seconds, the loud hailer was set aside, and out we went. I knew it was a 570S with Track Pack, because as we were pottering out of the Pit Lane, Jim said “this has the Track Pack”, and immediately floored the throttle. I was flung violently back in my seat, and my feet involuntarily lifted from the floor. It’s fast, and very very effective at getting around the track. Almost cartoonishly so. What was also cartoonish was the spin that Jim initiated when he tried a little too exuberantly to do a big drift for a watching camera. Most amusing.

    We packed everything away again, and there was enough time to join the Gridwalk and see the start of the race before retiring to the Turners’ luxury motorhome for a sandwich and cup of coffee. Much appreciated. I was utterly zonked after my exertions in Supercar Saturday (talking, waving my arms around AND standing up is a lot for me), and it was very cosy and warm in there.

    I had to wrench myself away to go on a special mission, as the one thing I hadn’t put in the boot of the car was a towel. Tony and Harry were in the same boat, and couldn’t leave the circuit while the race was on, so I bravely ventured out to the B&M Homestore in Holyhead for the largest towels they had. Great success!

    I finished off the evening again in the pit garage, watching the CR-V and C1 teams complete the first half of the race and pack everything away for the night. There was a definite feeling that things were going well, although the C1 mechanics had to do some emergency repairs on the rear brakes. On the other side of the garage, the second C1 had suffered an engine failure, so they decided to fit the spare. All night long. Paddy stumbled into our dorm room and collapsed into bed at 4:30am.

    I had different passengers for the drive to the circuit on Sunday morning. Tony and Harry couldn’t use the CAYMAN S due to the functioning of it’s Keyless No-Entry system, so I took the opportunity to demonstrate the Qashqai’s performance envelope on the narrow roads. It definitely understeers.

    I helped out with preparations for the Remembrance Service (transporting wreaths and Orders of Service, pushing AV stuff about), and Simon asked if I could use my loud hailer to sweep around and gather people within the very limited timeframe between the race being halted and the service starting. I talked fairly normally to the people in the garages and hailed the drivers from the pit wall and then the pit straight to give them the hurry-up. Job done, I gathered silently at the back of the crowd for a very poignant, emotional and effective act of Remembrance. Well, silently apart from the singing bit. My ability happened to overlap reasonably well with the notes in the hymns, so I didn’t cause too much additional distress.

    There was about 2 minutes between the end of the Service and the race getting underway again. This meant the drivers needed to get a wiggle on. For some reason, I thought it might be helpful to check the cars on the pit straight to make sure they all had drivers. Starting at the back, all seemed in order until I got to the MM MX-5, driven by a combination of MM beneficiaries and journalists. It’s driver was completely AWOL, and it was the only one missing a pilot. There was nobody near it, apart from one baffled marshal. My loudhailer was still in my hand, so I called to Ben the team manager to ask where his driver was. He didn’t know. I called out on the loudhailer for the driver of car 101 to get in and go, without knowing which driver it was. Seconds later, Nick Trott of Motorsport magazine came running round the corner garage, trying desperately to attach his balaclava, HANS device and helmet all at the same time. Ben urged him to go to his car in no uncertain terms, and he made it. Just.

    Once the Service gear was packed away, I was again enlisted by Simon to help pack away the huge awning on the race truck. This involved actual effort. Fortunately, there were some among us who knew what they were doing, so it went well enough that I had time to wash my hands several times afterwards and see the end of the race. Watching how the 4 MM teams in two garages coordinated and worked seamlessly together was quite a sight to behold. Their motley crews of inexperienced and injured men and women had become flawless professionals. Well, very nearly flawless. The guy who held out the pit board for the CRV was also the extinguisher during a fuel stop. He couldn’t be in two places at once, so after signaling returned to the garage to get ready. The CR-V didn’t come in that lap, so Dave looked at me and asked if I could do the pit board. Cool! I ran out and picked it up. It didn’t appear to have any information on it for the driver, so I asked Jon-Allen Butterworth if it should actually tell the driver something. He confirmed that the word “IN” would help, so we corrected it and I hung over the pit wall as far as I could, waving to the driver and doing my best pointing act. That seemed to do the trick. Tony’s team C1 had a bit of a problem with the brakes catching fire during what should have been their final stop, but their never-completely-give-up attitude meant that they were very keen to push it across the line (uphill, with one of their drivers sitting on the roof). What a great bunch.

    The prize-giving was fun, with armoured vehicle track links (NOT TANK) being handed out as prizes, along with dog tags. And champagne. After that, it was time for much man-hugging and to jump in the car and return to my normal duties, heading across to Leeds on the way to Sunderland for my business trip. I broke up the trip in Leeds because I thought the 5 hour drive from Anglesey would be too much after a long and busy weekend. I was right, as I was pretty much a zombie by the time I reached my hotel.

    What a weekend. What an experience. I am very much in awe of the people and accomplishments of Mission Motorsport, and I will certainly take time to help out when and where I can in whatever capacity I am required. It was also great to see some Northloop folk mucking in (Dave, Tony, Darren, Jon, Anne, Chris Ratcliff and Al Clark, who was still at the ‘Ring at 6pm on Friday, the nutter).

    My camera battery died right after the race finished. This means that I’ve taken the usual 300+ photos. Once I get back home, I’ll sift through these and share the non-terrible ones. In the meantime, MM volunteer Kevin Lewis has already somehow found the time to upload over 900 of his so far, and you can find them here: www.photosbykev.co.uk



    Last edited by Neil Mac; 16-11-2017 at 11:42 AM.
    "Fortunately, I'd taken a spare Gearbox, 5th gear cog (hidden), Turbo, Actuator, Banjo Connector, Steering Rack, Driveshafts, ECU, 57-51mm silicone reducing elbow and a Copper Banjo Washer." - Nige

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    Brilliant 'update' and new perspective. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

    The pax in the McLaren photo was Callum Nugent. Invictus Games archery competitor from this last Autumn. He appeared on the One Show prior to going out to Canada and was full of the joys of life after his shoulder op in July (he was in my cohort at Thruxton back in July, the day after his, op and with an open wound, but still had a bash at most stuff on offer. He is a big bear of a man with a heart of gold)
    He badly injured his back in Canada necessitating yet more surgery but declined the surgery over there as it would have involved weeks in hospital with no family about etc. He then went on to compete further before coming back to the UK and getting operated on. He hobbled about on Saturday as he can only use his left arm with a stick or crutch as his right is pretty much useless. He is one hell of a fighter. I admire him immensely.

    https://www.facebook.com/bbctheonesh...5561212252696/

    https://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/see...callum-nugent/
    If a man speaks his mind in a forest and no woman hears him...is he still wrong ?

  20. #20
    Regular Jim Cameron's Avatar
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    Callum has just been selected for Team GB trials

    Neil, brilliant And thank you!
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  21. #21
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    Dave/Neil,

    Fantastic write-ups. Having helped at the Knockhill MM event I can completely understand your emotions about meeting the beneficiaries. Their stories are a mix of compelling, awesome, incredible, desperate and astounding but they all share positivity.

    Top work to all. Really, really impressed.
    @ThrottleSteerer - Official Northloop Brat Custodian (Flat 4 or Boxer 4?)

    Forever in debt to the famous NL Brat relay Team.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Cameron View Post
    Callum has just been selected for Team GB trials
    He is having a hell of a roller coaster ride. The ups of Invictus, Thtuxton etc...downs of his back, ups of GB selection. Sincerely hope he has no more downs. He has had his fair share.
    If a man speaks his mind in a forest and no woman hears him...is he still wrong ?

  23. #23
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    Just read both Dave and Neils reports. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant


    Knowing Dave and talking to him at other MM events I was reading about him getting frustrated and could imagine exactly what he was saying and visualise his facial expressions.


    I wasn`t able to attend RoR this year due to work commitments . I know Jim likes this bit, I`ve looked at my shift pattern and if I`m invited next year, I`m not working and can come over for the Saturday with the Golf

  24. #24
    Neil, I've come to expect such a high standard from your reports on here (because you've set yourself such a precedent)... and, once again, you didn't disappoint!!
    An absolutely superb read - funny, fascinating and fabulous.
    Thanks for taking the time to do it, top work!

    Though reading it makes me feel so guilty that I wasn't able to make any M.M. events this year like I'd hoped & promised Dave... next year for sure!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nige View Post
    Knowing Dave and talking to him at other MM events I was reading about him getting frustrated and could imagine exactly what he was saying and visualise his facial expressions.
    My old work partner, known by the local scrotes as 'The Sheriff' also waited for the facial expression. I didn't really know my face was altering until I saw his hand slowly reach for CS or stick and then knew we'd be scrapping. (Not with each other altho we came close a fair few times....)
    If a man speaks his mind in a forest and no woman hears him...is he still wrong ?

  26. #26
    Regular Neil Mac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rory View Post
    reading it makes me feel so guilty that I wasn't able to make any M.M. events this year like I'd hoped & promised Dave... next year for sure!
    Thank you for the kind words, Rory. Now, book that ferry/flight and get over here! The winning team from this year brought over Ä10,000 that they'd raised, so if you could pack some more of that, it would be just great.
    "Fortunately, I'd taken a spare Gearbox, 5th gear cog (hidden), Turbo, Actuator, Banjo Connector, Steering Rack, Driveshafts, ECU, 57-51mm silicone reducing elbow and a Copper Banjo Washer." - Nige

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    Amazing.

    I have nothing to add, other than where do I sign to be involved next year?

  28. #28
    Regular Neil Mac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jacobyte View Post
    Amazing.

    I have nothing to add, other than where do I sign to be involved next year?
    PM Dave B to get added to his mailing/chasing list He's our unofficial MM liaison.
    "Fortunately, I'd taken a spare Gearbox, 5th gear cog (hidden), Turbo, Actuator, Banjo Connector, Steering Rack, Driveshafts, ECU, 57-51mm silicone reducing elbow and a Copper Banjo Washer." - Nige

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Mac View Post
    PM Dave B to get added to his mailing/chasing list He's our unofficial MM liaison.
    Quite.
    And for 2018 Remembrance Sunday is on the 11th. It is also the big one. The centenary of the end of the War to end all Wars.
    I had planned for nearly 20 years to be at Poperinge in Belgium.
    I shall not be there. I shall be on Anglesey.

    I do hope I am joined by a good few off here and we can lessen the bonkers workload of the paid MM staff.
    You know when it is. You have nearly 12 months to plan this folks.
    If a man speaks his mind in a forest and no woman hears him...is he still wrong ?

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave B View Post
    Quite.
    And for 2018 Remembrance Sunday is on the 11th. It is also the big one. The centenary of the end of the War to end all Wars.
    I had planned for nearly 20 years to be at Poperinge in Belgium.
    I shall not be there. I shall be on Anglesey.

    I do hope I am joined by a good few off here and we can lessen the bonkers workload of the paid MM staff.
    You know when it is. You have nearly 12 months to plan this folks.
    Already decided we will be there
    -----------------------
    Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.
    - Robert Heinlein

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    Just read Dave's original post - WOW what a brilliant post.

    edit just read Neil's too - equally as brilliant. Superb effort by all involved by all accounts.
    Last edited by Peach-uk; 14-11-2017 at 10:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave B View Post
    Quite.
    And for 2018 Remembrance Sunday is on the 11th. It is also the big one. The centenary of the end of the War to end all Wars.
    I had planned for nearly 20 years to be at Poperinge in Belgium.
    I shall not be there. I shall be on Anglesey.

    I do hope I am joined by a good few off here and we can lessen the bonkers workload of the paid MM staff.
    You know when it is. You have nearly 12 months to plan this folks.
    Put me on the list please.

  33. #33
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    Right, the least worst of my photos are up on flickr. Not professional quality, but gives you an idea of what it was like hanging around the pits and trying not to get in the way.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/810339...74790588/page1



    Jim showing Alex Goy around the circuit:



    Garages 5 and 6:







    Supercar Saturday!





    Race pit stop action:



    The finish:

    "Fortunately, I'd taken a spare Gearbox, 5th gear cog (hidden), Turbo, Actuator, Banjo Connector, Steering Rack, Driveshafts, ECU, 57-51mm silicone reducing elbow and a Copper Banjo Washer." - Nige

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    If a man speaks his mind in a forest and no woman hears him...is he still wrong ?

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    I'm in the Telegraph!
    "Fortunately, I'd taken a spare Gearbox, 5th gear cog (hidden), Turbo, Actuator, Banjo Connector, Steering Rack, Driveshafts, ECU, 57-51mm silicone reducing elbow and a Copper Banjo Washer." - Nige

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    Great write up
    SteveM owes me £5
    I owe Dan £5
    Steve. Pay the man!

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