Croft Race Report

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Racing Team Vee escaped the torrential downpours in the Midlands and made the long trek to Croft in North Yorkshire for an unexpectedly sunny and dry two days.

Having spent every moment repairing the crash damage picked up at Brands Hatch, a few last minute problems were only spotted as we loaded the Primrose Hospice sponsored Sheane Formula Vee car onto the trailer, and so things weren’t looking great for results at one of James’ favourite tracks.

Despite the worries, Glenn Hay had managed to balance the car well and James was able to put some good lap times in to start from 14th and 13th for the races.

James gained a couple of places at the start of the first race before getting stuck into a 6 car battle. With the car struggling on the straights due to lack of power, James tried to make up as much time as he could through the corners but got shuffled back in the pack.

On the final lap the car ahead had a misfire on the fastest part of the track, blocking James at a crucial section and allowing Mark Egan to sneak through and dropping James to 16th overall and 5th in Class B.

Craig Pollard took the win over Daniel Hands and Ian Jordan, with James Harridge winning Class B followed by Andrew Cooper and Jamie Harrison.

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Race 2 saw James taking 9th place through the first few corners after some close wheel to wheel action with Andrew Cooper – the battle for second in Class B.

Despite being chased hard for the whole race, James was able to pull out and hold a safe gap to the pack behind who were waiting to pounce on the slightest mistake.

With James pushing to the limits around the high speed circuit the race was red flagged for another incident, leaving James with a solid and best ever result of 10th place and 3rd in class.

The overall honours went to Craig Pollard once again, who just pipped James Harridge and Ian Jordan to the early flag. With Harridge also taking the class B win that left Cooper in second again sandwiched between the James’s.

The next round will be a very rare international race at Mondello Park in Ireland on the 7th and 8th July, where the UK Championship races will form part of the Irish Vee Festival. James will be hoping to repeat his new found confidence and build even more speed to take him closer to the leading pack.

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Brands Hatch Indy Race Report

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With the damaged engine still in pieces, we put in a last second entry for the second round of the Heritage Parts Centre Formula Vee Championship at Brands Hatch in beautiful sunny conditions.

James Cater would treat the weekend as a test to see how the rebuilt engine in the Primrose Hospice sponsored RTV Sheane would perform, hoping to stay out of trouble and pick up whatever championship points were on offer.

Qualifying was marred by two red flags which cut the session short as James was still running the engine in, leaving him way down in 24th and 23rd place for the races, and having to fix an oil leak to get out for the first race.

A great start thrust James into a seven car battle for 14th place with all the cars swapping positions.

Unfortunately one car dropped it’s oil going into the top gear Paddock Hill bend, making James and Rory Melia ahead of him spin. With the rest of the field narrowly avoiding them, James spent several precious seconds trying to restart his stalled car as he rolled down the other side of Paddock Hill.

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With lots of oil now down on the track from other leaking cars, James was still able to chase down and pass Vaughn Jones with two laps to go to take 4th in Class B and 19th place overall, but finding the car running rough and down on power.

Graham Gant took the win in his WEV FV01, by 0.2 seconds from Daniel Hands and Craig Pollard picked up third overall. James Harridge won Class B after starting dead last (5th overall) from Andrew Cooper and Jamie Harrison.

Toying with the idea to pack up and go home, Glenn Hay found some valve clearances had slipped – an easy fix that had the engine sounding sweet again before we focused on the second race the next morning.

With the sun burning down yet again, James made up a few places on the start and was immediately in a 9 car scrap for 14th place.

Four laps in, James had a great run down the pit straight and was easing around the outside of Neil Aldridge around Paddock Hill bend when Vaughn Jones spun on the inside of the corner.

Neil moved right to avoid the spinner, still leaving James room on the outside of the track, but then Vaughn clipped Neil, sending him hard into the side of the RTV Sheane on the high speed exit.

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This impact bent a steering arm joint and put a hole through the side panel, and though James tried to continue the damage was too severe and he had to retire from the race.

The restart saw another red flag after three laps, with Ben Miloudi winning fromCraig Pollard with Daniel Hands picking up another podium. Class B went to James Harridge who only made it from last up to 6th place this time, with Andrew Cooper 2nd again and Rory Melia getting an excellent 3rd.

It was a frustrating weekend for RTV, as all we were trying to do was stay out of any trouble to assess the engine, but when the racing is as close as in Formula Vee these incidents will always happen – we just got unlucky this time.

Round 3 of the championship is at Croft in North Yorkshire on May 26th & 27th where we will need to get more from the engine to be competitive.

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Before then, James will be focusing his attention on the skies, as he will do his first ever tandem parachute jump raising funds for Primrose Hospice on 5th May. A huge thank you to everyone who has helped to raise £527 so far, and please donate what you can at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jamescater18

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The Death Of An Engine

Here’s the damage to the engine, and how we’re hoping to fix it in time for Brands Hatch this weekend:

James Cater Racing

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I was building up speed on the wet and flooded track, but nowhere near the upper ends of the rev range – I was pulling between 5000 and 6000rpm when something metally-sounding happened inches from my head.

The throttle instantly felt light and so I pulled the clutch in and the engine stalled instantly.

It’s kind of hard to know what to listen for when an engine goes bad on you, as you don’t want to be pulling the car up if you’ve just rattled part of your exhaust loose. Keep your foot in when chunks of metal are crashing around the engine will mean a huge bill, however…

I thought that we’d had a main bearing failure, as it reminded me of how it went on my first time ever in the car, and as it turned out the engine had seized solid, so it’s a good job I…

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Castle Combe race report

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Easter Monday saw James Cater in his Primrose Hospice sponsored RTV Sheane heading to Castle Combe for his first visit in the Heritage Parts Centre UK Formula Vee Championship.

Several changes had been made to the 1300cc VW Beetle engined car since last season, but a few modifications and upgrades were unable to be completed in time for the opening round.

The morning qualifying session was in heavy rain and cold temperatures as 30 cars took to the picturesque Cotswolds circuit behind a safety car.

After a sighting lap to identify the parts of the track covered in standing water, James upped his pace, passing several other cars as he looked to set a good lap time.

James has made a concentrated effort to enjoy racing in the rain, and was feeling comfortable and confident, going around the outside of a competitor through the final turn, still building up his speed.

Unfortunately, his engine then seized solid in top gear when a valve head embedded itself in the top of a piston.

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Without the time or parts to repair the major damage to the engine, those were the only two laps James would be able to complete.

It was a major blow to the Class B championship points, but the positive to take away was that James’ first ever laps would have qualified him in 16th place on the grid before he’d had a chance to push.

Glenn Hay will now investigate the engine damage and RTV will hope to have the car ready to take the grid at Brands Hatch on the 21st and 22nd April.

James will be completing a tandem parachute jump to raise funds for Primrose Hospice on 5th May. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far, and if you are able to give even a small amount you can do so online at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jamescater18 or catch James in person.

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Charity parachute jump for Primrose Hospice

Please give anything you can for this great charity! Many thanks.

James Cater Racing

I know many of you often wish I’d jump out of a plane, and now you can help that to happen without incriminating yourselves!

On 5th May 2018, I will be doing a tandem skydive to raise money forPrimrose Hospiceand in memory of my Step-Dad, Vic Dovey, who was taken by cancer in February this year.

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Primrose Hospice cared for Vic in his final weeks and have been a massive help to our families during this time, and have helped with others close to me in the last few years, and so I’ll be proud to raise funds for them, as well as displaying their branding on my racing car again this year.

Despite being a bit of an adrenaline junky, I am actually scared of heights, so you can rest assured that this won’t be easy for me!

If you would like to sponsor me for…

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Donington Park Race Report

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James Cater went to Donington Park 3rd in the class B championship and 1 point behind Colin Gregory, with another two very fast drivers chasing to take the places away. With rear tyres that should long have been assigned to a skip and a slipping clutch, plus an engine badly in need of a rebuild, it was always going to be a challenge to hold 3rd – but why settle there? We wanted 2nd!

A safe qualifying somewhat appropriately left us on the grid 0.01 seconds behind Colin, and with yet another flying start by James Cater on a very slippery circuit, he used his head and did just enough to finish ahead of Colin to take 3rd in class in Race 1 – but with Andrew Cooper and Jack Wilkinson finishing ahead the gap was reduced for championship points.

Ian Jordan took the overall win, followed by Craig Pollard and championship leader Ben Miloudi – who still needed a few more points to wrap up the title.

Working out the standings for Class B showed James was now 1 point ahead of Colin, but on dropped scores he was actually still 1 point behind going into the final race of the year!

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Nailing the start again, James was ahead of Colin and even Andrew at one point, before Colin and Ross Price both passed James after a fluffed gearshift.

The safe plan to hold 3rd in the championship should have come into play as Colin pulled away with Ross, but James couldn’t live with that, digging deep and getting back into the battle with them, finally pulling a slight gap ahead on the last lap to take an ecstatic 3rd in class to give him 2nd in the championship!

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Sadly, the celebrations ended with a stewards enquiry with an unintentional and irrelevant overtake under a yellow flag in the early laps. The officials chose to apply an overly harsh and unfair penalty even after an appeal which dropped us down the order.

A sad way to tarnish a brilliant race, but we’re not letting the decision take it away – we went in to take 2nd in the championship and whatever the history books will say, we know we did it!

Well done to Jamie Harrison for winning the B Class championship, taking it easy as he only needed a single point from the weekend to wrap it up.

In the official race results Graham Gant took the overall win, with Adam Macaulay’s 2nd a great charge but not enough to stop Ben Miloudi taking the championship win for 2017. Martin Farmer took the final podium spot. In Class B Jack Wilkinson and Andrew Cooper took the top spots again, and Ross Price gets 3rd after my penalty.

Massive thanks to everyone who’s helped out through the year, and to all the drivers and crews who make Formula Vee so wonderful, to the marshals and the photographers – and of course to sponsors JooVuu and Primrose Hospice and to Bromsgrove Standard for their exposure.

We still appreciate every single day how privileged we are to be able to race amongst such talent – huge thank you to you all!

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Rockingham Speedway Race Report

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Rockingham Speedway is a new track to most of the current drivers in the Ravenol UK Formula Vee Championship, having not been used since 2013.

With budget a factor, James Cater in the RTV Sheane was unable to join the two test sessions that all but four drivers took advantage of, opting to learn the track during the qualifying session.

Despite several red flags stopping the sessions, James took advantage of his track knowledge from previous motorcycle track days, qualifying in 14th and 15th place out of the 30 car grid overall, and 5th in Class B for both races.

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The heavens opened with a torrential downpour just before the start of the race, leaving the track extremely slippery with lots of oil also down. Using the banked oval circuit for the flat-out first turn meant the cars would be inches away from the solid wall, and any mistake on that part of the track could be horrific.

Scrabbling for traction on the warm up lap, James made a decent start before locking up on oil at Turn 10 with two other cars and getting airborne over the gravel trap before rejoining. Luckily, another incident forced a restarted race, and James retook his original grid position.

After another good start, James lost a handful of places as he was trapped on the outside of the track going into Deene hairpin, and then avoided three cars spinning directly in front of him as he fought his way back up to 12th place by the end of the first lap.

He maintained the pace on a drying track, staying ahead of several race-winning drivers until making a mistake and out braking himself at Deene, having to turn around to rejoin. Unfortunately this turned out to be the final lap, and James had dropped to 16th place and fifth in Class B as he crossed the finish line.

The race was won by Ben Miloudi, with Adam Macaulay still chasing him for championship honours, with Graham Gant taking third.

Eagerly awaiting the second race after the rain came back with a vengeance, the organisers took the (correct) decision to cancel racing for the day on the waterlogged track.

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Whilst James was still kicking himself for his mistake, he was glad to have brought the car home safely, as they were displaying it the following day for the Sue Pike Equine & Animal Rescue charity.

His results also left James third in the B Class Championship, a single point behind Colin Gregory in second place. Rival Jamie Harrison finally escaped his reach and wrapped up the championship win.

With the final round at Donington Park on the last weekend of September being one of James’ favourite tracks, the 40 year old hopes to take that second place spot in only his second year of racing for his sponsors JooVoo and Primrose Hospice.

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Silverstone International Race Report

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A fuel and oil leak hampered qualifying on a sunny morning in the Formula One pit garages at Silverstone.

The fuel leak was easily fixed, but with time a factor before the first race, we had to try something more temporary to fix the oil leak.

Starting from 19th place on the grid, James made a great start but soon the oil leak returned and reached the clutch, and with that slipping James had to drop back to make sure the high revs didn’t blow the engine.

Despite this he still tried to make the speed back through the corners, and after a heated battle with Martin Snarey he just lost 6th in Class B by a tenth of a second, bringing the car back safely in 22nd overall out of the 35 car grid.

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Graham Gant won in the WEV, with Ben Miloudi unable to capitalise on his pole position, leaving James Harridge struggling for straight line speed in 3rd. Harridge also took the B class win, followed by a limping Jack Wilkinson (who never made the second race), and Andrew Cooper picked up 3rd for AHS.

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Glenn had the engine out overnight with the help of several other Vee drivers (special thanks to James Harridge and Jake Hockley) and replaced a blown oil seal and the clutch, and James made the grid to start from 21st place for race two.

He made up some more places on the start but lost touch with the group ahead after Ian Rae spun in front of him at Abbey Curve.

As he chased to draw the pack back in, the current B class leader Jamie Harrison caught him on the final lap of the race.

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After swapping places a few times with both drivers having some brave lunges, Harrison snuck past with 3 corners to go and James was unable to retake the place over the finish line, this time missing 3rd in class by a tenth of a second and finishing 19th overall.

This time Ben Miloudi did take the win, pushing Gant back to second with Adam Macaulay just over a second behind. Harridge was snapping at Macaulays heels to take the B class win ahead of Andrew Cooper.

It was a good weekend overall, despite the ups and downs, with several very fast and experienced competitors coming back to the championship such as Daniel Hands. And with top racing stars like Johnny Herbert and Tiff Needell praising Formula Vee recently the series looks to be getting stronger by the race.

Racing Team Vee will be out next at Rockingham Speedway on 9th September for the penultimate round of the UK championship, representing sponsors JooVuu and Primrose Hospice.

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Missing pictures!

As you may have noticed, many of the pictures from this website have disappeared.

This is because the ‘free’ Photobucket account I used have suddenly decided that I have to pay them £400 per year or something daft!

Rest assured I’m migrating all the pictures to a reputable free hosting site and then I’ll have to relink them all from there… This may of course take some time, so sorry for the look of the site and blogs until then!

If you have any suggestions for free picture hosting sites that aren’t a rip-off feel free to share them!

A rare viewing of the RTV Collection

As I’ve said before, the aim of RTV is to get several cars out on track again.

Last weekend, I took a very rare look at some of the cars we have in storage.

There always seems to be a great sadness around racing cars that are covered in dust and up on stands, or in a million pieces! Here is a quick look at some of what’s to come:

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This is Glenn Hay’s Scarab Mark 1 that he won the UK championship in. It’s still the car that he wants to drive again – and that’s not too surprising when you consider how many races he’s had in it!

You may also know this as the car that Ian Flux won the title with.

It’s been well stored, and since it’s been sat here since 1999 it’s in amazingly good condition.

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Initially we were going to repair the Ray, but now this looks like a more viable option to get back on track first. At worst you should see Glenn back in this for the Formula Vee Festival at Brands Hatch at the end of the year – and it might even make it to the 50th Festival at Cadwell Park!

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This chassis was initially known as a ‘Swift’, but then the name was changed. To swallow, possibly. Built by Clive, driven by Dave. Tim Flynn got 3rd at Donington in wet.

There is no current plan to get this one back on track.

The red rear cowl you can see on top of the Mini Cooper (and that’s a whole other project that Glenn wants to get track prepared!) is from Glenn’s first ever Vee – a Landar.

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Arguably the most significant Formula Vee here, this is certainly of the most value historically. This is the Beach which won the first ever UK Formula Vee race in 1967. Not only that, but the winner was the excellent Jenny Nadin.

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Glenn acquired this in the early 80s when it was known and run as an Express Vee by VW North London. Its heritage was traced back to the car driven by Jenny Nadin as it has has packing behind the front beam which was done by Stuart Rolt as part of a repair.

Although it looks abandoned, there has always been a plan to have this car back out again. It will take a lot of clean-up work but isn’t as bad as it may look buried beneath tins of Roses!

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This is the 1997 Ray, last driven by Rob Cowburn and crashed at Mallory Park. It is the sister car to that currently driven by Mark Egan, although there are some differences between the rear suspension on each car. You should see this one track ready before the end of this year, too.

And, of course, there is still the 1997 Sheane driven by James Cater!  This car actually won the B Class championship when Rob Cowburn drove it in 2009.

If you would like to see your company or brand on these cars, please get in touch and we can agree a package that’s right for you!  You can contact RTV in the Contact section at the top of this page, or come and meet Glenn and James at any of the races or shows.