So, into CCC Racing's (Chris, Chris & Christine) second season in the 1100cc class and expectations were fairly high - at least for success in the
smaller events. Ans so it turned out to be with Chris J taking two excellent FTD's at Llandow and a competitive Curborough at the end
of the year along with plenty of Class wins. Chris J ended the year winning the Class in the HSA Championship with me in 2nd place.
I had a really mixed season with a number of minor issues preventing me really getting to grips with the car.One problem that blighted a number of
early season events was a puzzling problem trying to downshift, particularly at big stops. This caused difficulties at Snetterton, Anglesey and Blyton and
was all the more puzzling becasue Chris J was not having the same problem so clearly the shifters were working fine. It was our engineer, Nigel
Keats, who identified the problem. Being used to heel and toeing I always brake with half my sole with the other half ready to blip the throttle.The electronics
were recognising a throttle activation and were saying 'no, no - we're not downshifting if you are on the gas!'. Once I'd swapped to a pair of boots with
narrower soles the problem disappeared.......
Over the winter we decided to fit softer springs to the rear which seemd to work well and with Chris J's starts in particular, culminating in a 1.89s 64ft
time at the final meeting of the year. He was generally in the 1.9s so something was working! Cougar Engineering also fitted a radiator fan and did a little porting
work on the head inluding replacing a couple of burnt out valves, probably as a result of the overheating in 2015.
I also did one event in the Van Diemen and a couple in the Caterham which although very enjoyable I was a bit handicapped by having some very old tyres
fitted to both cars. New tyres were fitted to the Force at Prescott and probably helped Chris J's run of good results.
At Curborough at the end of the 2015 season I had mentioned to Ian Dayson, of Force, that if he was considering getting a new run of Force PT tubs built I
might be interested in investing in a completely new car. Well, in the Spring, Ian got in touch and said that he wasn't just going to build some new tubs he was going
to design a new car around an update of the existing tub and would I be interested? The short answer was yes and so we are looking forward
to being the launch customer of the all new Force TA in 2017. In our case we will be using some of the bits off the old car and then selling it on as a 'roller'.
March: I brought the RF89 out for the Great Western Sprint at Combe and throughly enjoyed the day setting
a 155.12s (conditions a bit cold and uninviting) and 34th out of 72 starters.
May: I ran solo again at Snetterton and despite this being year 2 didn't make much progress, A 96.40s on Day 1 followed by a 95.32s on Day 2
were slower than in 2015 so a bit disappointing. At the end of the month we took the Caterham back to Crystal Palace for another very enjoyable week-end in
South London with good weather and even better company. I had a good battle with Dave Rayner's Caterham (who was on 1C tyres but down on power so
probably about equal) finishing 0.5s behind on Day 1 with a 38.01s but only a 38.91s on Day 2. New tyres for next year!
June: I had forgotten to enter Anglesey and in the end just made it for the Saturday event. Downshifting problems held me back and the result was a diasppointing
95.12s and just missing out on the Top 12 Run Off by being 13th! The track was fantastic though. At the ned of the month we took the Force to Prescott for Chris J as we
were off to France on the Sunday. In a very, very competitive field Chris was about 1sec off the pace but it was his first event of the year.
July: The start of July saw us headed to Blyton but I was suffering major problems with downshifting which rather spoiled the week-end for me.
Day 1 yielded a dampish 73.61s on T1 followed by a slightly better 71.17s T2 which was missed by the timekeepers as they confused the car numbers. Chris J comfortably won the class though.
Day 2 was a little better and I got down to a 68.35s with Chris J again taking the class win.
The traditional BARC Wales summer Llandow Sprint took place at the end of the month and the morning practice and T1 runs were either wet or damp so hard to know how things were going - I
had a spin in practice but got the clutch down so no problem. Fortunately it was dry for the final run and, going first, Chris J went for it
and took FTD by a couple of tenths. On my run I was on a good one (confirmed by the splits) when the throttle stuck open in the bus stop and
I had to declutch and switch off. Back in the paddock we couldn't identify the problem and as the car was due to go back to Cougar for a check over we
desided to leave it. On arriving at Cougar, Nigel had a look at the trottle linkage & cable before finding a £1 coin stuck under the throttle
August: Loton Park. I had enjoyed Loton in 2015 and this year, with the softer springing at the front and rear the ride up Cedar straight (it isn't!) was
much improved. I was pleased to improve on 2015 with a 55.16s and Chris J won the (smallish) class.
September: MIRA. A very wet and miserable practice followed by dryish times runs. A very modest T1 was followed by a T2 spin at the first corner - trying
to take it flat and repeating the same mistake made in the Caterham a few years earlier meant a disappoointing result. However Chris J really
got on with it taking another class win a competitive field. Shelsley followed a week later and a thoroughly satisfying day. In a very strong and
competitive class Chris J was in the 28s and fastest in practice. He improved to a 28.03s in the timed runs but was just edged into second
place by Richard Summers' DJ which got into the 27s. I had two good runs with a best of 30.94s so a 29s might be on!
October: The final event of the season at the HSA Curborough Sprint. Chris J was in a close battle with at least 4 other cars
and (despite an uncharacteristic spin in practice) pulled it out of the bag, on almost the final run of the day, right on the edge to take FTD
with a 28.65s to break Gary Thomas' long standing HSA record. My 31.73s was a good improvement over 2015 so a really good end to the season.
I also entered the Caterham in the Pagasus Sprint at Combe and it turnned out to be a good day with fine weather. I was leading after T1 and despite
improving to an 84.92s on the final run was just pipped by another Caterham. Tyres again!