Competing in Australia's fastest racing series - Formula Holden

Calder Park - July 13th - 15th 2001 - Round 5 HADC

Calder was a tough meeting for us. We hadn't had the opportunity to test at the track so we were starting from cold, literally and metaphorically.

On arrival we got set up and had a first look at the track. The weather was looking ugly so we got a wet set-up on the car and had the wets aired and ready to go.

Session by session

Friday practice 1

Friday it rained up till the time we were getting ready to go out but then it cleared so I decided to put slicks on the car as I felt a dry line would appear in a few laps. It was pretty tricky as it was very cold and the slicks weren't taking any heat. I plodded round slowly waiting for the track to dry. Waiting and waiting. Suffice to say it didn't, lesson 1 was that Calder doesn't dry. The cars don't corner fast enough and the surface is so porous that it doesn't dry. Unfortunately that was about the only thing we learnt from a largely wasted session. I eventually had a little spin in turn 1 and got on the long grass where we sat till the end of the session

Friday practice 2

Clear skies promised a more productive outing. We now had pretty much the right gearing and it was time to stretch out the car somewhat. As usual we had a lack of front-end grip but the car was putting power down nicely out of the slow corners and our straight-line speed was good. The car handled the bumps ok on the main straight and wasn't too unstable under braking but reacted very poorly over the bumps between turns 1 and two which made the turn in to two difficult and caused a follow on problem for turn 3. We got some good laps in but the track isn't flowing yet.

Saturday Qualifying

Twenty minutes to get our spot. We had to be pretty aggressive to start warming the tyres. I watched amazed as Roger and Mark hit each other but they kept moving so the session wasn't red flagged. We had a little aero imbalance but the effect is small on this track. We kept whittling away at the time and finished with 8th on the grid. I must admit we were pretty pleased with that.

Race 1

I got a good start and managed to also get across to the inside of turn 1. Chris Hocking was on the outside through turn 1 and I hoped to wipe him off in the straight between 2 and 3 but we had a bit of wheel banging and I ran wide through 3 and Chris and Terry got through. I was still off line through 4 and 5 and got a huge load of marbles on the rear tyres so I also had a half loose through 6 and Rohan got through too. After a lap later I had cleaned the tyres and passed Rohan again. Roger was off at turn 3 on the next lap so we inherited one more spot. I then set about trying to catch Terry. I caught Peter Hill who was circulating nicely without a front wing but couldn't catch anyone else so I settled down to holding off Mark Ellis for the rest of the race and came home a happy sixth.

Race 2

It's nice to start from close to the front. I made a reasonable start and settled in to chasing the cars who had got away in the first lap traffic jam. The race was a little pedestrian as it soon became obvious that I wasn't going to catch anyone and I just circulated with the inevitable Mark Ellis in my mirrors until the end.

In summary it was a reasonable result but our lead in the Silver star championship is diminishing and we don't seem to have quite the raw speed to do anything about it

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