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.

Croft Formula Vee race report

The promise of a rare dry race weekend didn’t happen, with conditions ranging from scorching sun to thunderstorms.

Several cars laid down oil on the racing line, meaning those who’d tested the previous day got their fastest laps in early on the good track. Unfortunately, with the disastrous Brands Hatch weekend still fresh, James Cater was still building up lap times and so suffered – a spin on his fastest lap leaving him down in 17th and 16th place for the races respectively.

Even this meant James qualified his RTV Sheane 3rd in the very strong B class field, and with James Harridge blowing his engine this meant a realistic 2nd for both races directly behind Colin Gregory, with a very real chance of class wins! Jamie Harrison had engine issues putting him all the way down to 27th and final spot on the grid for both races.

Ben Miloudi stamped his championship lead with pole position with Adam Macaulay hot on his heels, and Craig Pollard a second off the pair. Race 2 would see Macaulay, Pollard and Miloudi lining up.

Making a very fast start for race 1, James aimed to stay safe and out of trouble, holding a tight inside line through the first corner already having taken the Class B lead. Unfortunately Mark Egan cut back hard across the track at Hawthorn Bend, his rear wheel smashing into James’ front hard enough to snap the steering arm joint and rip off the front beam, stripping the bolt out of the nut.

Up the front, the top men had spaced out a long way, with Macaulay beating Pollard, and Miloudi completing the familiar trio. Harrison came through to 10th to take the B class honours from Gregory and Ross Price in his first ever Vee race.

The parts were easy to fix ready for the race the following day, but unfortunately setting up the rest of the car was more complicated at the track. With massive problems to the camber and toe of the front wheels, changes had to be made to the opposite side to try and compensate. A huge thanks to Gary Richardson for helping to try and sort the set-up out.

As the race began it was obvious that the handling of the car was severely affected, with James dropping down the order before a red flag forced a restart.

Thinking driver confidence may be part of the problem, James renewed his efforts to drive around the issues on the restart, pulling clear of the pack behind Colin Gregory who was leading class B.

Understeer through the flat-out, high speed corners around the back of the circuit meant James ran wide enough to put a rear wheel off the tarmac in a crucial braking zone on the exit of Barcroft resulting in a 130mph spin.

With the rest of the field narrowly avoiding James he was able to rejoin the track dead last, but managed to claw back two class positions before the end of the shortened 3 lap race, meaning a disappointing 5th in class and 17th overall.

In a much closer race at the front, Miloudi beat Macaulay by 4 tenths of a second, and Pollard was within a second of them. Harrison came through again to 11th to win Class B, with Ross Price making an excellent 2nd and Gregory snapping at his heels.

This was a great shame for a weekend that should have seen James fighting for a class win for sponsors JooVuu and Primrose Hospice at one of his favourite circuits, but the car will be back to fighting condition for Angelsey Coastal circuit on 8/9th July.

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Brands Hatch GP Race Report

It was a rare opportunity to use the full GP layout at Brands Hatch, but in a common theme of Formula Vee events, the weather did its best to throw some chaos into things.

With the event run by MSV, and the cars all sporting new VW Heritage sponsor stickers, James Cater in the RTV Sheane took to slippery track in heavy rain to qualify.

With not even a lap complete, the safety car had to be called out, and conditions were so bad drivers even had problems staying on the track behind the safety car.

James felt good on the restart with his new-found wet weather confidence, despite getting 4th gear wheelspin on the main straight, and tried to tag onto the back of some faster cars.

Unfortunately, the tricky conditions caught him out as he got on the power too early at Paddock Hill bend, going into the gravel at high speed and getting stuck just as another car hit the barriers and brought the safety car out again. Despite the short end to his session, the times still put James in 18th and 16th places on the grid for the races.

The frustrations continued as gearbox problems on the green flag lap of race one meant starting from the pit lane. The problems returned after a few laps and forced retirement, having lost 3rd and 4th gears. The only saving grace was that the problem was a tiny nut on the gear linkage that had worked loose, so the car would be fine for the second race.

With the conditions worsening again for the second race, and almost being cancelled, James made a good start and was running well in 12th place and looking for a strong podium in Class B.

Disaster struck at Paddock Hill once again, as the rear wheels locked up on the entry, and despite some frantic steering work the car ended up sideways in the gravel once again.

Unable to restart the car, this mean a second DNF for the weekend.

There is a lot of work to do to clean the gravel and dirt off the car ready for Croft at the end of May, and fears that it may have been an engine issue causing the rear wheels to lock, but we’re hopeful that it wouldn’t restart due to a flat battery rather than anything more serious.

It’s a shame that we had to come away from our first meeting sporting Primrose Hospice sponsorship with such poor results, but some decent (although short) onboard video has been captured by the JooVuu cameras, as always.

We’ll look to have a strong performance at Croft – a very fast circuit that James loves and that suits his driving style.

Primrose Hospice – Who are my newest sponsors?

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As you may have seen on Twitter and Facebook, Racing Team Vee have formed a proud partnership with Primrose Hospice for 2017!

Primrose Hospice is an independent charity supporting patients and families living with a life-limiting illness, across North East Worcestershire.

Their staff and over 450 volunteers are involved in a massive range of activities from supporting patients in the Day Hospice and Family Support Team to running fundraising events all year round.

With the main base in my own home town of Bromsgrove, the results of their help are well known to all my family and friends, and having recently witnessed how they helped my fiancée’s Dad come to terms with recovering from prostate cancer I knew I had to try and help out in any way I could.

The whole team is very positive and upbeat, and that shows with the strength and outlook it gives to their patients, too.

A unique thing I found on a visit is Trevor – the Therapy Dog. He wonders around the place making friends with patients and offering the kind of supporting ear that only dogs can. A brilliant idea, and you can follow his exploits every week on Trevor Tuesday on Twitter.

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I’ll be showing my own support for Primrose Hospice later in the year as I jump out of a perfectly good air plane for a tandem parachute drop – so watch this space and please help me raise some much-needed funds!

You can, of course, donate directly to Primrose Hospice, and I’ll be setting up a facility myself, soon.

For me, this is a great chance to give something back to a charity I really believe in, and I hope you will welcome them aboard RTV. Their branding will be prominently on display on James’ Sheane Formula Vee car at the legendary Brands Hatch racing circuit this Monday along with existing sponsors JooVuu.

Please like and share and stay tuned for an exciting year!

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Oulton Park International, Rounds 1 & 2

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With Glenn Hay only finishing preparing the car the night before, we arrived at Oulton Park with a only few hours to spare before we had to qualify.

Already at a disadvantage to those who’d been able to test at the track we knew that realistically this would have to be a shake-down day, despite it being James’ favourite track from motorcycle track days.

We’d gone back to the older engine which seemed to have more power (although still using most of the same internals), but hadn’t been able to make some of the suspension changes intended over the off-season.

As James exited the pit lane onto the damp and greasy track, one of the spark plugs tore itself out along with the thread, leaving him to limp around the track so slowly it was impossible to get any feel for braking or cornering. This meant a very disheartening 26th and 27h place start for the races – if we could fix the car.

As James brought the car back into the paddock the throttle jammed open and he had to kill the engine before it blew. Another problem…

Some hasty repairs with help from the AHS team meant we just about made the start of the first race, in monsoon conditions. Without having taken a single corner at race pace, the aim for the day was to try and keep safe, and try to get some feel back for the car. We also opted to try some very different damper settings, as our full wet set-up from last year seemed to be a bit disastrous.

James Harridge took pole, getting his quick lap in before oil on the track slowed the times, followed by Adam Macaulay and Ben Miloudi.

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Avoiding a first corner crash and red flag stoppage, James flew off the line on the restart, finding the experimental set-up working well with the repaired car, and despite a few off-track excursions in the horrendous conditions, made up 14 places to finish 4th in class and 12th overall. Even better was that he was a few hundredths of a second behind Jamie Harrison who was 3rd in class, and just pipped David Leniewski at the line after a great battle.

At the front, James Harridge took his first win, 6 seconds clear from Ben Miloudi and Pete Belsey.

Race 2 saw opposite weather conditions, and James would now have to take his first ever laps on a warm and dry track, starting from 25th place.

We took a gamble and stuck with the wet settings, hoping for a downpour as we knew we’d be quick, but the sun continued to shine as James pulled onto the back of the grid.

Expecting to flounder at the back trying to learn the dry circuit, another demon start saw James on the fringes of the top 10 yet again. A mixture of bravery and guesswork kept him at a decent pace, and after a close dice with returning veteran Andrew Crighton, James pulled clear and gave chase to David Leniewski.

The scrapping pair pushed each other to very quickly catch the group in front, but unfortunately the chequered flag ended the race just before they could take the extra places.

On the back straight going into the last corner James had such a great run on the pack ahead he had two wheels on the grass flat out in top gear, attempting to go past 3 cars at once, before backing out of the move. In hindsight that move would have meant James took his first ever class win, but he had to settle for a still ecstatic 2nd behind Jamie Harrison, and 13th place overall.

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This performance also meant James got the fastest lap time in Class B – not a bad present on what was his 40th birthday weekend!  The results also put James 2nd overall in the B class championship.

Craig Pollard took an excellent overall win, with Ben Miloudi second again to lead the championship, and Paul Taylor snagged the final podium place.

The next round is a very rare outing at Brands Hatch on the full GP layout on May 1st, where James hopes to significantly improve his performance on his least favourite track.

You can read his in-depth perspective of the races soon on www.jamescaterracing.com

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Race 1:

Race 2:

MSVR Vee Festival 2016

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To end our 2016 campaign, RTV headed down to Brands Hatch for the annual non-championship MSVR Vee Festival at the weekend.

This is always a great event with loads of track time at a great price – qualifying and 3 races – which attracts star drivers from other series alongside a few who only ever do the Festival and no championship rounds. Stephen Morrin brought an Irish spec 1600cc Leastone over, whilst there were a few rather older vintage cars in John Bowles’ Hawk and the even older Appal driven by Erle Minhinnick.  Gavin Buckley was also over from the Irish Championship, but this time in a UK spec Vee hired from Team Carbrooke Racing, and there were a few new faces at the track, too.

James put the Sheane 12th on the grid in qualifying out of 21 cars, but unfortunately had to pull off the track after losing all the gears.

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Fearing a very short weekend, Ben Miloudi offered his spare gearbox to us, which would have at lest got us back on track for Sunday – luckily Glenn found that it was just a circlip that had come off. This was fixable, except it was a struggle to get the shaft back out to replace the clip. A little help from John Bowles soon got things back together, and the car was ready about 15 minutes before we were called for the first of the three races.

Knocking a second off his previous best lap times, James fought hard to stay with the leading pack, but dropped back a little not quite able to match the pace until a big crash between Ian Buxton, Ian Jordan, and Charles Merrill stopped the race.

Buxton was taken to hospital after going into the wall backwards at Paddock hard enough to bend his flywheel, but was seen hobbling around the paddock on Sunday morning to spectate. All three cars suffered fairly extensive damage and so were out for the rest of the weekend.

After the restart and a 2 lap sprint, James brought it home 10th – the perfect place to take advantage of a reverse-top-ten grid for the next race.

Sunday morning brought thick fog and ground moisture, testing the confidence that James had built up overnight ready to lead the field into Paddock for the first time.

After a slight delay, it was deemed safe to see a sufficient distance, and the Vee’s gridded up, with the yellow RTV Sheane lining up in the number 1 spot.

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Despite his confidence, James bogged down a little at the start on the camber, which was enough for Stephen Morrin to use the 1600cc and lower gearing of his Irish spec car to get ahead into the first turn.

There was never any real hope to storm away from the pack, but some good, clean driving was again displayed as the faster cars came through to regain their natural order, with James back to 6th at the end of the first lap, but still giving his all.

He managed to knock another 0.5 seconds off his best lap times, but again didn’t really have anyone lapping at the same pace to scrap with.

Claiming another 10th place, this race held yet another first experience as James caught a bunch of hard-fighting back-markers and had to lap through them, still carried by the extra pace gained from being up with the front runners for the early part of the race.

Starting 10th again for the 3rd and final race of the Festival veteran racer and Formula Vee legend John Bowles was all over the back of James for the first few laps, forcing him to give it everything until he finally eased clear to safety.

We were again expecting to end up in a somewhat lonely place in the middle of the pack, but James was still working hard despite aiming to bring the car back safe and sound without risking too much.

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This paid off as Jamie Harrison went straight on at Druids into the gravel, and then Irish Vee regular Gavin Buckley (on his second visit to the Vee Festival, but this time hiring the British spec Team Carbrooke Racing Sheane) went onto the grass to avoid tangling with Paul Taylor.

Coming down the hill from Druids, James saw Gavin rejoining the track and shot past, just about holding him behind to cross the finish line on the next lap in a best ever 8th place overall.

This also carried with it the unofficial Class B victory (although no classes were officially recognised for the Festival) – something that James will need to find another 2 or 3 seconds a lap to repeat in the regular season!

Massive congratulations to John Hughes who won the 2016 Vee Festival despite barely racing this year, and then failing to make the track for qualifying – everyone will agree that he drove amazingly all weekend, and has re-affirmed that he’s a very fast driver capable of big things next year.

Also congratulations to Craig Pollard and Pete Belsey for 2nd and 3rd respectively, having also barely driven in Vee this year!

Huge thanks again to MSVR for hosting the Festival for us – I know a lot more cars would have been out but had some unfortunate damage to them or the drivers which stopped them racing.

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And that will be the last time that RTV will turn a wheel in anger in 2016!

It won’t be the end of the updates, however, so make sure you click to like us on WordPress, Facebook and Twitter. There are big plans for 2017, and lots of work to be done in the off-season.

2017 will also be the 50th year of Formula Vee in the UK, so all eyes should be on what is already a respected and hard-fought championship – with rumours that the Vee Festival will be held on the full Brands GP circuit with some star names jumping back in a Vee.

Please get in touch if you want to help in any way, or if you want to sponsor us.

As ever, all the action from the weekend was captured on the excellent JooVuu X and Mobius action cameras supplied by JooVuu, and you can view them on YouTube: