Race Weekend - Forrestburn Hillclimb

...a short recap of the August Hillclimb rounds.

Forrestburn is just about my favourite venue to date. I love this place.

It starts off skirting along a very solid-looking stone wall, peels up the hill and flings you over a blind crest into a meaty sequence of technical flowing corners with undulation, adverse camber and plenty of opportunity to make time in a less powerful car. Quite the rollercoaster.

I came into this event in the usual style, working right up to 11pm the Friday night and midnight hauling my way to the hotel for a few hours kip before Saturday morning practice. This time I'd managed to put together the exhaust system that was planned pre-Kames, complete with a tiny high-flow catalytic converter at the back of a short 3-branch manifold. The manifold is based on a modified Piper unit that was skillfully re-worked by a talented old friend of mine in Ft William - Aidan Purcell, Lochaber Stainless. It gives an actual 1.5" output from the collector for a 20% increase in cross-sectional area over the standard item. The system is good for up to 78bhp by all accounts (though we're not making quite that much) and suits the mostly standard engine rather well.

I'd also addressed the understeer; not by altering the rear geometry but instead I experimented in spacing the front track width an additional 6mm which softened the effective springrate, increasing grip across the axle relative to the rear and shifting the balance to a more neutral setting. I was quite happy with these changes.

Saturday was hot, a little too hot for optimal times but fortunately not as intense as Kames a few weeks prior. Running the same layout over two days allowed us to get on top of the rhythm too. Our better times came on the Sunday. It started out rather murky and damp with talk of rain nearby but a tentative first run revealed plenty of grip and everyone was on a competitive pace from the start; the weather lifted shortly after.

Forrestburn's Class A1 was probably the most enjoyable competition I've had this season. I spent the weekend battling with the 1360cc Saxo of John Ramsay for 2nd place, swapping times back and forth every run whilst Jody in his 205 held the charge at the top of the timing sheet. Eventually John found the pace in his car and got the better of me on the Sunday, I settled for a hard-fought 3rd place. It really was a great weekend.

Pushing it in practice:

Sunday's fastest timed run:

Quite aggressive, 100% commitment. I carried a bit more speed through the esses on this run and didn't expect to spend so long on the limiter there - in hindsight I should have shifted into 3rd, I doubt it cost more than a tenth overall though. Interestingly this run on list 1A tyres was a full 2 seconds faster than my previous visit in 2017 where I ran a set of NS-2R semi slicks. There's definitely more speed in the car now but I'm itching to come back and give this another go next year with some competitive 1B tyres!