BC Cars motorsport made their final race weekend of a very successful 2017 season at Anglesey for the Race of Remembrance 2017, providing a car, race truck and hospitality for two teams from the MX5 Owners Club.
Race of Remembrance commemorates the sacrifices made by service personnel and their families. This unique endurance race features a Heroes dinner, night racing, and at 10.45 on the Sunday morning, the track fell silent as the race paused to hold a service of Remembrance. The event, now in its fourth year, has grown in both size and quality of entrants and this year consisted of a field of 43 cars across several classes each driven by teams of up to six drivers.
It's the third time BC Cars have been to Anglesey this year, so the lorry does the six hour drive on auto pilot. We took two cars, Brian's team (Team 1) would use the car he won the championships in 2014/15, kindly provided by its new owner Matt Pickford. "It's the first time I've driven the car competitively since selling her. I'm really excited and privileged that Matt has trusted me with her." says Brian.
Testing on the Friday went well with all 4 drivers just getting used to the car and the circuit. Qualifying was split into 4 x 25 min sessions, it was a drying track so quali 4 would be the fastest. Team 2 qualified 21st with a time of 1.54.473 from Ben Tuck, and Team 1 qualified 34th with a time of 1.58.449, posted by John Chambers.
We would make nine stops with driver changes and fuel refills over the 12 hour race. The race began at 3pm on Saturday with many of the faster cars to the rear of the grid due to the damp qualifying conditions. Brian started the race for Team 1 and after an hour and 20 min stint got them into first in class just as it got dark. Team 1 member Martin Morris was involved in an incident with a BMW, the consequent recovery and repairs cost the team 21 minutes meaning we were forced into an early pit stop. A second spin in the dark by driver three dropped us down to 4th in class and 30th overall by the end of the first 6 hour section of the race. Team 2 were a little luckier finishing 2nd in class and 24th overall. Overnight the cars were kept in parc ferme conditions, so we couldn't touch anything.
On Sunday the race restarted at 9am with a single formation rolling start as per the finishing order after the first session. Driver four had a good first stint, getting Team 1 into fourth in class but then couldn't get any more time out of the car. We pitted back for Brian's go - deciding to brim the car and run until it was almost out of fuel. Brian was out for just over two hours, consistently the fastest car in class and got us up to second. Changing conditions made the morning eventful for both teams, Team 1 slipped back down to fourth enduring several heavy showers which luckily held off for the Remembrance Service.
Team 2 were the unlucky ones on Sunday, with several offs and a technical fault towards the end of the race which affected the performance of the car. Team 1 faired better and progressed up the field in the afternoon with Brian Chandler snatching third in class and 23rd overall from a Mini with a nail biting manoeuvre on the final corner. Team 2 finished a creditable 27th out of 43.
"I didn't take any BC team with me, so the guys and girls did well in what must be an unfamiliar environment. I'm well chuffed with both cars running for 12 hours without any mechanical faliures or breakdowns - testament to the prep that went into them both. It was awesome being in my old car again - it was just like an old comfy glove. and I gelled with her again as if the last two years hadn't have happened." said Brian after the event, "It was a mega weekend and BC Cars Motorsport would definitely run in the event again."
A big thank you goes out to the organisers of Race of Remembrance, Anglesey Circuit for hosting the event, the support team and sponsors, Matt Pickford for the loan of his car and, as always, the marshals for an excellent weekend.