A racing assignment

About a month ago I saw a vacancy for a voluntary role at Motorsport Vision (MSV), the company who own and run a number of the UK’s motorsport circuits. The role was for a Press Officer for their Club MSV section. After pondering whether to apply or not, I went ahead and put my name forward, submitting some previous articles that I had written. About ten days later, I received an email inviting me to the MSVR weekend at Cadwell Park, along with the other applicants. The instructions were to arrive at the circuit for 9am and head to race control, where we would each be assigned a race series to report on. Immediately I thought not knowing what race series you’re going to be reporting on prior to the day was going to be tricky. I spent a few days browsing the various championship websites for info on the drivers, teams, and previous results, hoping to gain a suitable level of knowledge before race day. After writing copius amounts of notes, I felt my mind rest a little easier. At least I would have some idea what I would be talking about!

One of the series scheduled at the race weekend was the Track Day Trophy, a series that I had written an article on before. The series is aimed at novice drivers and those who have done track days and want to dip their toes into racing. There are four classes, based on power to weight. My previous article required me to research the series, finding out entries, rules and regulations and other useful information. I was hoping that I would be assigned to report on the Track Day Trophy.

Being based in Surrey, I figured that the trip to Cadwell would be a 378 mile roundtrip. With it being quite a way, I decided to treat myself a bit on the hotel. Hotel and route planned, the race weekend neared.

Travelling up on the Saturday, I checked in at the hotel before popping out to catch the last couple of races at the circuit. Having never visited Cadwell, I wanted to check its proximity to the hotel, where the good places to watch were, and get a general feel for the Lincolnshire track.

Race day arrived and I headed for the official’s office to meet Alex Baker and Nick Rice of Club MSV. Once I signed on, I was told that I would be reporting on the Track Day Trophy race. Good news. Shortly after, the drivers briefing took place, with Nick describing pitlane protocol and giving advice. Fifty minutes later, and the teams took their cars to the track. As a perk of the job, I was allowed to report on qualifying from the pitwall. With TSL timing on my phone and notepad ready, it was time to get reporting. The half hour session was lead from start to finish by an entry called Team Cream Slice, who run a Clio Cup Racer. Whilst on the pitwall, one of their drivers got chatting to me, so it was good to hear from his perspective about the racing, and to ask him some questions.

Qualifying ended and I took refuge in the cafe, figuring out who qualified where in each class. Once done, I headed up to the paddock where all the teams were based. In the paddock I caught up with a few teams and got chatting to them about their previous experience, thoughts about qualifying and if they were going to make any changes for the race. With a bit of spare time between tasks, I caught some of the Northern Saloon and Sports Car Championship race. This race also had a good mix of cars, and seeing a Ford RS200 and Metro 6R4 in action was a personal highlight. The race started on a bone dry track but a few minutes in, a sharp heavy shower completely changed the race. It was interesting to see how the various car types coped, the 4wd driven cars now picking up the pace and taking advantage of the conditions.

At lunch I was taking around the circuit in the safety car. I have seen onboard footage of cars racing round the circuit but to feel and see it for yourself just made it. The safety car was a BMW X6M, and even in a high riding car, you still experienced the blind summits and the camber/gradient changes. With that in mind, driving something like a single seater must be pretty immense.

Two more races from the Production BMW Championship and VW Golf GTI Championship followed, and then it was time for the Track Day Trophy race. The race would take the form of 45mins in duration, with a mandatory timed pitstop (2m45s for teams with two drivers, 3m for single drivers). For the race I took position at the top of race control, providing me with a privileged and wideview of the circuit. My camera and notepad were ready to go.

The race stayed dry throughout and the safety car made an appearance on a couple of occasions. The battle for the lead was excellent and the racing remained clean. At the podium presentations, I did get sprayed in champagne by happy drivers but managed to get a couple of photos in the process.

I made my way back to the hotel and laid out my notes, displayed my photos and the timing sheets, and began to type up my race report.

A very enjoyable weekend and a good introduction into the world of race reporting.

The race report I wrote is available here.

Leave a Reply