Thursday, 13 July 2017

Snetterton Mini Festival Report

with an empty track ahead I set my fastest time on lap 3 (1.34.440) putting us on pole for the majority of the session, with Andrew Deviny and Lewis Selby getting closer and closer as the time counted down. I went in search of a bit of track space and was on a hot lap when I had gear selection issues, unfortunately this meant we had to retire to the pits and spectate, whilst Andrew set the fastest time on lap 10 (1.34.307), leaving us to line up second and Lewis Selby in third (1.34.515). 

My initial getaway was great pulling past Andrew but not enough to pull infront, I braved it on the outside for turn 1 and managed to tuck in to second before the hairpin. Following in Andrew's tow down the straight I had the run going under the bridge but great defending meant I had to settle. I made a small mistake causing me to run wide on lap 2 on the first corner allowing Lewis to overtake going into the hairpin. Even though it was lap 2 we had already started to pull a gap on the pack behind. With Snetterton being notorious for last lap battles I decided to sit behind the front two and build on the gap. Unfortunately after a couple of incidents there was a safety car to clear up the stranded car of Graeme Davis. On the restart we ran three wide in to turn 1 putting me in to second briefly before my exit being compromised and both Andrew and Ashley pulled past. After a lap battling I managed to get past the no.1 car of Ashley Davies and set my sights on the front two who had pulled a gap. With 5 minutes to go I was on the tail of Lewis and Andrew in the prime position for the last lap but another stranded car under the bridge meant the session was red flagged. Happy but not over the moon with a p3 finish. 

Race 2 was a completely different race - manic from the word go. Being demoted to 6th by the end of lap 1, it was a battle to get back up to third behind Andrew and Ashley. Challenging for the lead on lap 6 side by side with Ashley Davies we both ran wide, unfortunately I was on the outside on the grass, leaving the door wide open for the train behind to steam through, putting me back to 7th. It would be difficult to put into words what happened on the next 7 laps but what I can say is this is the best race I have been part of, positions changing every lap, side by side in flat out corners, nose to tail down the straights with out any contact. Somehow we crossed the line in second, 6 seconds behind the leader. A strong weekend with 2 podiums putting us two points behind the leader Lewis Selby in the championship. It's a long a season and I can’t wait for the next rounds at Donington Park.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Charlie leads the pack on track for season opener

It's no secret that I like to turn up to the circuit early and I treat qualifying the same. Lining up at the front for the first qualifying of 2017 I was eager to see how we would fare, with the continued backing from Pristine Condition International - so many people have put endless effort into getting the car ready for the season. 


We have so much respect for the competition we are up against and know we are set for a close year against the likes of current champ Ashley Davies - along with a bundle of other drivers all with experience – Lewis Selby, Andrew Deviny, Spencer Wanstall, Gareth Hunt, Kieren McDonald, Tom Sanderson, Graeme Davis, Darren Thomas, plus the returning Paul Spark. And, after a torrid couple of seasons, my brother Daniel Budd was eager to show his ability not to discount the rest of the field who are all closing the gap including Dom Burger with the support of Nick Croydon-Fowler at CFM Motorsport. 

Considering there were 31 Minis all on track at the same time we managed to find quite a bit of space to set a good lap to start with. After being waved on and told to go faster by Ian Gunn on the pit wall, I dropped back to try and find the tow. We bettered our best time but only secured pole by 0.228.

It's not my first pole, but I was feeling pretty nervous and just wanted to bring the car home with strong points to start the year off well. On the second lap the safety car came out after an incident with Tim Stanbridge and the tyres on the entry to Bobbies. It took a few laps to clear. 

Paul Spark was straight on my case on the restart and passed round the outside of Quarry. I tried to return the favour round the outside of Tower only to leave the door open for Lewis Selby and Andrew Deviny, with my brother, Daniel Budd, on my case as well. The guys battled it out, with Paul dropping back to 3rd and Andrew and Lewis pulling a slight gap. I managed to tow past Paul down the straight and set my sights on closing the 4-car length gap to the leaders. 

The Minis were parked up on the entry to the first chicane and at Tower overtaking opportunities were limited but after a slight mistake from Andrew, Lewis pounced and managed to grab the lead between the two yellow flag sections on the last lap, finishing up I placed 3rd. 

After taking the fastest lap in Race 1, we lined up on pole alongside Andrew. Going into turn 1 Paul made another great move round the outside, I tucked in behind through the chicane ensuring a clean exit and got the run going into Tower and snuck up the inside. 

I led for the first few laps, but was under constant pressure from Lewis. After a slight mistake on the exit of Quarry Lewis managed to get past before the chicane. I tried to make a move up the inside into Camp and succeeded but slowed us both down enough to allow for Andrew and Paul to close the gap. I tried to close the door on Andrew on the straight, not seeing Paul, resulting in slight contact and sending Paul into the grass - but that didn’t stop him… Paul made a move out of nowhere up the inside through Quarry, again I tried to tuck in behind and make the move into Tower. This time it wasn’t successful and we made contact, firing me off the wrong side of the marshal’s post and dropping behind Keiren McDonald. 

After a lap of chasing Keiren down I went for the move round the outside of Camp and, hats off to him, he left plenty of room on the exit. Unfortunately that was the last lap and we had to settle for 4th. All-in-all it was a pretty solid start for the Swiftune Powered Se7en, I’m feeling confident going into Snetterton and fully expect to be battling again, only this time I am sure Ashley Davies and Spencer Wanstall will be joining the fight after a unfortunate start to the season for them.

3rd in Race 1


Saturday, 8 October 2016

Stalking Shayne and secret Se7ens

Photos courtesy Mini 7 Racing Club, Matthew Barrington, Stephen Colbran and Roald Rakers.

Having missed the last round at Snetterton due to work commitments I was looking forward to getting back into the car and heading to an awesome track. Not only is the track technical and fast the organisers are so welcoming.

We had a cheeky test on Friday PM which went well and felt I could get on the front row. Pole was looking unlikely as that orange car again had the nitrous and turbo fitted and #Deegs(sic) in it.

Qualifying day came and I was slower than the test day and could not work out why, but we still manged 3rd on the grid. Zandvoort is one of the very few tracks where it is a staggered start so gaining off the start is always harder, however we know #Deegs has not been the best at starting so there was still hope!!

Race 1. 
Well having given Shayne grief about his starts I had the worst one of all and went to 4th place. By the time I made my way through #Deegs had gone so it was left to Rupert and I to contested for 2nd place and what a great race we had. I manged to overtake him into turn one around the outside and held the place and then started to bridge a gap until I seemed to come across the Se7ens in all the wrong places and Rupert then gained again, going into the last corner I made a slight mistake and so it was a sprint to the line and sadly I missed out on 2nd by 7-thousands of  second.  

Race 2. 
I made a better start and the aim was to try and beat Rupert into the first corner to then get on the back of Shayne, this failed and off went the orange #Deegs car, so it was down to Rupert and I again. Another great race and Rupert certainly was quicker in this race compared to Race 1 - must have had a set-up changed. We swapped places a few times then I broke with a few laps to go to take 2nd place. 

Reflection on the season:
For me it was about retaining my title, started out well then came across a few problems, DNFs along with work commitments meant there was no chance and to be honest #Deegs was far too superior this year - hats off to him and a true champion. We did get close to having a race but he crashed into me at Brands, what more can I say!

And the worst thing about it all is the Club Clown (Rob Howard) won and all we hear now is “who was the only other person to beat Shayne this season!!” like a broken record.

After not being in a Se7en since 2009 I was given the chance to race Joe Thompson’s at Brands due to Tomo not being well so I jumped at the chance. It certainly brought back some memories and we did well to come 10th from the back of the grid. It was decided after Brands we would have another outing in the car at Oulton, and how glad was I to do that and what a weekend in the Se7en, a 2nd  and a win. 

The Future - 2017
I am now the proud owner of 1965 FIA Historic Mini so will be competing in a number of events next year.

The Miglia will hopefully be out at the first meeting and we will see how it goes from there. I am not committing to a full season at this stage as I also want to concentrate on some triathlon events and have entered a qualifying round in May for a GB age group place.

I would also like to have another outing  in the Se7en, if the owner allows me.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Ditching Deegan

Photo: Matt Barrington
Test day
Having not attended the last round at Donington Park for personal reasons I was looking forward to getting back in the car. Having had a number of engine issues the engine was rebuilt and after testing she felt strong and times were good so we were confident to lock out the front row. Which way round it would be only time would tell.

Qualifying day
Knowing that test day went well we put some good times in but just could not get Pole. We made a few changes during qualifying but just could not get close. In fact even if I had nitrous I'm still not sure we would have got to Shayne Deegan's time of a 53.9s!


Race day
So Shayne and I locked out the front rows for both races and I know in the past when I have been on the front row with him I have always ended up in front, 😂. Lights went out and low and behold I was in front. Both of us were side-by-side going into Druids and both waiting to out brake each other meant sadly that we both ended up in the gravel. My in-car video can be seen on YouTube. 

We both managed to get out but I ended up a lap behind. Enjoyed catching back up but then the engine started to get right so pulled off. We later found the crank was at fault which was very annoying considering it had just been rebuilt.

Race 2 we were unsure if i would get out as I had no spare engine for this weekend. Tomo decided on the Sunday morning that I could race his car but it meant I had to start at the back. Once again great fun to come through the field to finish 5th.

Photo: Matt Barrington
I was also offered to drive Tomo's son's brand new 7 on the Saturday which brought back some memories. Starting from the back of a field of 32 I ended up 10th. A very enjoyable race and a good start for his 7. 

Sunday, 22 May 2016

A bad start gets better....ish!

Photos: Matthew Barrington

Cadwell Park
May 14-15

With my Lincolnshire upgrades we were hoping for a good session but sadly the results were disappointing as we were much slower than last year. After being in a grump at the end of the day it was time to put it behind me and hope qualifying went well.


Hot on the heels of Shayne Deegan.
I have always been one to try and get out first especially at such a small track like Cadwell. Sadly that bloody Orange car got in front and then to my frustration the Club Clown (Rob Howard) decided to push in, clearly not well educated! 

Anyhow after leaving the assembly area it wasn’t too long before we blew away the clown and we set out to do out laps. Having seen Shane switch the nitrous on in the Orange car I knew it was going to be hard to get on pole but the front row was the key. My pit board was showing the right signs but then went to P3 so came in to make some small adjustment but despite going quicker still ended up 3rd but a lot quicker than the test day, so happy…….ish!

Race 1
Great start to get behind Shane then cocked up and sadly created the accident with Bill “sorry Bill” and ended up in the barrier, thankfully it was an airbag so managed to continue, finished 10th. Considering all what happened I will take the points. 

Race 2

Again a great start, Mr Sollis once again must have forgotten how to start in his old age!! After that a pretty boring race but I tried and tried to put pressure on the orange car but did not succeed in passing it, although Shane did have a moment at the mountain.

Combe here we come.

Shayne Deegan took 1st, Kane (left) in 2nd and Bill Sollis in 3rd (right)

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Pre-season testing @ Snetterton

PHOTO: Joshua Barrett
Snetterton 4 March 2015
After following the forecast, and a minute by minute forecast by Charlie Budd, it seemed we were going to have to have snow tyres for testing!! So it was to my delight that when I looked out of the window on the Friday morning it was blue sky, cold and a bit damp, but not a bit of snow or rain in sight.

My car had been away for the usual winter checks and the usual Winter upgrades (by Paul Thompson) so we were hoping for a good day's testing.

We headed out after about an hour on a set of wets but the racing line was far too dry so came straight back in for slicks as we didn’t want to damage the wets.

With the new compound tyre we were unsure of how it was going to be and sadly we were still on old rubber on the rear as there were no rear tyres to be brought, so it was not going to be real test with the new rubber all round.

Throughout the day we made a few changes to suspension but nothing drastic and despite being a bit slow early on we came away with zero problems and headed a good time of 2.15.119.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Crash, Bang, rolling....

PHOTOS ©MBRacePhotography

Brands Mini Festival June 27th & never quite made it to the 28th

The Mini Event of the year a race weekend totally dedicated to Minis!

Friday Testing
Testing seems a distant memory now especially after the events of the following Saturday. We had been testing earlier in the week at an open pit lane test rather than the 'allocated timeslot' Friday test as we needed to try a few things out. As I have said before, sometimes when the 'test' is sessioned it can be a tad detrimental to what you are trying to achieve as you try something out then, when your session is finished, it could be 45mins+ before you are back out again - so you run the risk of losing genuine back-to-back testing.

So the Friday test this time was just in the afternoon and no more than a shakedown - a few laps to make sure the car was OK, nothing loose, no rogue temperature and/or pressure readings. All was OK so the car was rested and wrapped up then off to the bar for a good night’s rest… erm bed I mean definitely not the bar :o)

Saturday Race Day
Qualifying, was dry and not a rain cloud in sight, so slicks were easily the order of the day! Nothing spectacular in qualifying other than to say that with Brands Hatch Indy being a short lap, half a second can be the difference between pole and sixth. I qualified 7/20 for Race 1 and 7/20 for Race 2, with the top 11 cars being within a second of each other - so you could say it was quite tight! I'm not too disappointed, but less than half a second would have put me on the front row.

Race 1
Oh where to start! I got off the line OK maintained 7th place then had probably my most enjoyable race so far this season, swapping places with Drew and Burge before I finally managed to pull away from Burge just enough to not have to drive defensively and be able to take the quick lines. Now I didn't have to worry about leaving doors open and could focus on putting myself in 4th place and looking at attacking or at least trying to pull the lead three back in. Then disaster - a tangle when lapping a backmarker resulted in the car visiting the barrier at Surtee’s then partaking in barrel-rolling - I think the count was three times!! 

The car was a complete mess and is a long and expensive winter re-build however much more importantly for my wife and children (well children at least) the cages in these Migs, when built properly, are superb and I came out of a rather terrifying accident with no more than a bruised ankle and broken wallet.

Sunday Race 2
Never quite made it, the picture may help explain why!

Donington 25th & 26th July
Friday Testing
Firstly a massive and I mean MASSIVE “BIG-UP” to Owens Fabrications for building me a completely new Miglia from a bare shell in 3 weeks…yes 3 WEEKS! A phenomenal effort, thankfully at the time they had nothing else to do apart from chase sheep around the field so working on a car made a nice change for them!

I will admit though, I was a tad tentative in the car for the first time since taking Clearways on my roof - and the fact it was raining did not really help! Still, time in the seat is invaluable so we plodded on and racked some laps up, mainly to make sure nothing fell off the car and I’m pleased to say it didn’t!!

Saturday Qualifying
At least it was dry. It took me a little while to get back in a race pace groove and qualified 9th and 12th for both races which, after running up the front end for the early start of the season, was a little disappointing.

Race 1
A lightning start managed to put me from 10th place to dead last (note to self: you’re not driving the automatic A6 Audi - you need to actually use the clutch!) and things didn’t really improve from that point on. I managed to get back up to 9th but the gap between 1st to 6th was 13 seconds further up the circuit with the battle for 7th to 10th covered by one second at the end! The positive was to be back in the car at a race pace dicing with others and not having any ill effects from the previous outing.

Sunday Race 2

Again, as Saturday the race was dry as we managed to sneak our race in just before the heavens opened - which makes a nice change normally we are stuck before being called to the holding area in a “shall we” / “shan’t we” dilemma about putting wets on!

Another trademark lightning start left me in last place but one, so next year I’m campaigning for rolling starts or we all have to use auto boxes!

This race invigorated my racing juices - a great race and long battle with a final placing of 8th. It may have been a place higher had I not had to take evasive action when turning into Roberts/Goddards/Essess (call it what you like it seems to have 3 names) only to find a car alongside completely out of control with no chance of stopping resulting in me taking to the gravel to avoid a T-Bone - but then on the flipside it may have also been a place lower had a certain different driver been successful in trying to put me into the pit lane grandstand!! Still nothing a post race chat and handshake didn’t sort out!

Anyway, with the car packed up and on its merry way across the Severn Bridge it allowed me to indulge in my favourite pastime on the way home…… KFC!!!!