The test day for the 2022 Vinyl Detail ST-XR Challenge at Oulton Park on 22nd January was a great success. Around 15 drivers went out on track with many giving passenger rides to their family and friends.
There were more of our regular competitors in attendance, albeit without their cars, around the paddock which was buzzing with everyone catching up having been absent from the circuits for a couple of months.
Reigning overall and Class D Champion, Chris Jones, was blasting round at his usual rapid pace in his Fiesta ST and scaring a few passengers in the process while Chris Grimes brought along his fleet of 5 Tensport Performance cars with a number of interested parties testing out the fun factor of his hire car.
One of these was former North West Formula Ford 1600 Champion, Chris Chisnall, who is looking to switch from single-seaters to tin tops and has already booked the Tensport hire car for the opening meeting of the season at Oulton on 9th April.
Another having a run in a Tensport ST was Chris Lindley who’s Dad, Graham, is one of the BRSCC’s Clerks of the Course. Chris is having a car built by Automech and wanted to get a taste of what to expect.
Matthew Morton had a 20 minute blast in a Tensport car. Matthew said, “I loved it! It was really good and so different to my XR2 in terms of power and braking. No wonder I used to get stuck behind them in races!” He is now debating whether to keep his XR2 because it is such fun to drive or sell it and buy an ST that would put him in the thick of the action.
Someone who has recently made that switch from XR2 to ST is Greg Speight who lapped rapidly in the ex-Matthew Spencer car. Greg had already done some track days to get a feel for his new machine and here in the dry his confidence was really building. He tried various set ups which gave him food for thought as he learns the secrets of his Fiesta and looks forward to the season ahead.
But it wasn’t only STs that were out on track as Alex Causer was circulating in his XR2 as he provided passenger rides to his family and friends – he wanted to give them an idea of how exciting his hobby can be. This included his mum, Trish, after she was persuaded to leave her handbag behind!
Trish is a nervous passenger at the best of times and Alex didn’t hold anything back. His mum did very well to last for two laps before calling it a day having screamed her way around every corner!
Alex’s father, John, meanwhile enjoyed a spell behind the wheel of the car early in the day. Causer was delighted to provide him with such an opportunity as throughout the season his dad helps him to prepare his race car before transporting it to the meetings where he becomes his mechanic.
Also having a turn behind the wheel was Alex’s friend Tom who had previously competed in Global Lights. He couldn’t believe how nimble the little Fiesta was!
Unfortunately, a missed gearchange saw Tom buzz the engine and Alex decided to put the car on the trailer in case the valve-train had been damaged. When the engine was stripped on Monday evening, Causer’s worst fears were realised when 4 valves, 4 valve guides and all 4 pistons had very much seen better days.
Before the day was brought to an early end for Causer, his Aunt (Kate), girlfriend (Kelsey) and Kelsey’s grandad (Ron) had all been treated to some fast laps.
With everyone having such a good time, the Test Day was an excellent curtain-raiser to the new season!
Thanks to PS Images and Neil Draper Photography for these pictures.