AeroCatch® Views, News & Reviews
AeroCatch® announces Motorbase Performance partnership
AEROCATCH® ANNOUNCES MOTORBASE PERFORMANCE PARTNERSHIP
Made public at last weekend’s BTCC round at Thruxton in the UK, was the announcement that Mat Jackson is to be the focus for a global brand awareness campaign for AeroCatch®, the world’s leading bonnet pin option.
AeroCatch® are technical partners of the Motorbase Performance BTCC squad for which Jackson drives and see this as a logical extension of their brand activities. Graham Leo, sales manager of Specialty Fasteners, the manufacturer of AeroCatch®, said of the announcement: “As AeroCatch® is now so popular around the world, we felt it was important to engage with a world class team and driver combination and Mat and Motorbase fit the bill perfectly. We’re looking forward to an exciting and competitive season.”
Jackson commented: “At Motorbase we have worked with the team at Specialty Fasteners for a while now. I am delighted to be partnering with them, especially for such a high quality product as AeroCatch®. I know that there are some imitation products out there, but there is no substitute for quality and reliability so we would always choose AeroCatch®.”
Apart from the AeroCatch® bonnet pin, two further models are available - AeroCatch® 2 is suited to hatch and door applications, while AeroCatch® 3 has been designed specifically for use on sports car bodies, eliminating the need for pockets in molds.
Notes to Editors
AeroCatch® is British Made
Designed in conjunction with the Engineering Department of the University of Exeter in the UK, AeroCatch® is manufactured entirely in Great Britain by Specialty Fasteners & Components Ltd using the highest grade materials. It has been proven in competition throughout the world and is now the panel fastener of choice of major teams in all categories of motorsport, in addition to many aftermarket applications.
Worldwide design, trademark and patent registrations are also in force to protect competition users from the perils of counterfeit products. For more information, see http://www.aerocatch.com/counterfeit-warning
Motorbase Performance are leading contenders in BTCC, British GT and Blancpain Endurance series and all team cars are fitted with SFC Motorsport Brands AeroCatch, AeroFlo and Hydraflow.
A decade of AeroCatch® - from singular product to global brand
AeroCatch® joined by AeroLoc® & AeroFlo™ at Autosport Engineering 2016
Specialty Fasteners & Components Ltd exhibited at Autosport Engineering promoting the usual wide array of motorsport products they offer, including the ever-popular AeroCatch® range. This year AeroCatch® was joined by two new innovative motorsport brands, AeroLoc® and AeroFlo™. There was a lot of positive feedback for the new product ranges with engineers excited about the features of both the quarter turn fastener and the silicone hose assembly ranges. With professional race team, Motorbase Performance already using AeroFlo™, it is only a matter of time until more teams follow...
Below are a few photos from the exhibition. For more information on AeroLoc® and AeroFlo™, check out their websites:
2015 REIS Ravenol BTRDA Rally Championship: Round 9, Cambrian Rally
The final round of the 1400 BTRDA National Gravel Championship was wide open with no less than five crews vying for Championship glory. Leading the pack was the AeroCatch® / Sabelt UK crew of Bennett / McNeil, however, there was little breathing space in the championship with only 3 points separating the top 3 crews.
Bennett and McNeil had to finish 2nd to guarantee the championship, however 45 miles of tough North Wales forest stages lay before them! Following some fine October weather this was probably one of the driest Cambrian Rallies in recent memory, the usual mud bath was not to be. Still, this did not stop the stages cutting up and which would make it the toughest rally of the year in terms of endurance and reliability – preparation would be everything.
SS1 - Crafnant
Determined not to make the same mistake as they did in the Trackrod Rally, Yorkshire, Bennett & McNeil were it on from the very first corner. They blasted through the tight and twisty 4 miles of Crafnant 4 seconds faster than main championship rival Slights and 20 seconds faster than their next championship rivals Dave & Freddie Brick.
SS2 - Elsi
Following a short management service it was straight into the even twistier Elsi stage. The stage is probably one of the most technical stages on the BTRDA calendar – corner after corner, there is no let up with both crew and car worked extremely hard. It is difficult to gain a lot of time here, however, it is very easy to go off and lose a lot of time in the ditches which line the road. And so it proved for Slights as he went off the road and picked up a puncture. This allowed Bennett to accelerate on and build an impressive lead emerging 37 seconds quicker than slights in the 1400s and nearly a minute clear of their other nearest championship rival! In fact their pace was so good that they were the leading 2wd car and sitting 18th overall – an impressive display of speed given the maximum 180 car entry.
SS3/4 - Penmachno
After the technical stages of the Gwydr forests in the morning, the crews welcomed the faster and more flowing stages of Penmachno. Bennett and McNeil continued their furious pace going 17 seconds faster than their championship rivals and building a comfortable lead as they headed into service.
Back at service Bennett reflected on a very positive morning “So far so good, its going to plan! We have been fast and tidy and really ramped up the pressure on the other guys and they have made a few mistakes. However there is still a lot of work to do and the second pass over the stages this afternoon will be really rough and hard on the car so we cant take our eye of the ball”.
SS5/6 - Crafnant (2) / Elsi (2)
After a short hold up it was straight back into action for a re-run over the mornings stages. After the passage of 180 cars in the morning, the stages were badly cut up with ruts forming on the corners and big rocks being exposed. Keeping the driving tidy and avoiding the worst of the rocks, which could cause costly punctures, was the order of the afternoon. Fortunately Bennet & McNeil cleaned the stages and headed in the final two forest stages with their lead intact. With their main rival facing further problems in SS6, it was now only Bennett and McNeil's to lose...could they hold on and claim the BTRDA 1400 Class Championship?
SS7/8 - Penmachno
With two further stages in Penmachno the team could not afford to take it easy, the championship was so close, therefore, a renewed focus was needed. A clean run though SS7 was followed by Penmachno South. The stage was extremely fast but the team held it together despite a big scare 1 mile from the finish as Bennett reported at service, “It was a fast downhill section and we were flat out in 4th gear, we took small cut on the left hand side but there was a hole and it pitched the car and we flew into a ditch at well over 90mph! Thankfully I was able to hang on and got the car back on the road – but it was too close and we backed off after that!”
SS9 - Great Orme
The last stage of the rally was a flat out blast around the Great Orme Toll road in Llandudno. The change of surface from gravel to tarmac is always a challenge and made even more difficult by the nature of the stage – a cliff face on the left side of the road and a vertical drop into the ocean on the right hand side!
Despite this it’s a brilliant finish to the Rally and is a firm favourite with competitors and spectators alike. After a nervous drive to the stage and a very tight road section, the team were relieved to reach it and entered the last 3 miles of the rally with a minute to spare!
A great drive around the Orme going 14th quickest ensured the team reached the finish and took both the class win and the Championship!
CONGRATUALTIONS Dave Bennet & AL McNeil on winning the 2015 Reis Ravenol BTRDA 1400 Class Championship!
On the finish line Bennett and McNeil sprayed the champagne and reflected on what had been the perfect rally “We've been inside the top 20 stage times all day today and to finish 14th overall with the class win and first 2WD is a real achievement given the calibre of the field. We were really up for this rally and we have been on it all day, we are so pleased to finally take the championship – we have been working toward this for a number of years and to finally do it today is a real relief. I just want to pass on a massive thanks to our Sponsors AeroCatch® and Sabelt UK, without their support and excellent products the championship wouldn’t have been possible – it’s a real team effort!”
A fantastic effort by the crew brought the curtain down on what has been a roller coaster season, despite the despair of mid year when the championship looked very far away, the team have turned their season around. A great effort by all involved has seen the Bennett & McNeil bounce back and finish the season really strongly with great speed and reliability, which has, ultimately, earned them the BTRDA 1400 crown! Next up for the team is to attempt the double by tackling the final round of the MSA English Championship, the Tempest Rally in November.
Can they be crowned 1400 Class Rally Champions of the year? Find out right here on the AeroCatch blog...
Time Attack Championship 2015: Round 6, Rockingham
The team arrived at Rockingham Motor Speedway, Northamptonshire, on a dry and bright September day. The International super sportscar long circuit was used for this round of the Time Attack Championship, the circuit 2.05 miles in length.
After eventually getting access to AJ Racing's garage, getting the car unloaded and the garage set up, the team were running close to being behind schedule. Thankfully they managed to get the car to scruteening which closed for the car’s Front Wheel Drive (FWD) class at 08.55!
The car passed the entire scrutineering tests without a problem and it was then back into the garage to put oil in the gearbox. Due to the time this took, Jon unfortunately only managed to get out on the circuit for 1 lap which was considered an 'out lap' and no time was recorded. However, we must say a big thank you to race control for allowing us to do this. With the car back in the garage again, the team checked it over, tyre pressures were set and the car was then refuelled. We were ready for the practice session.
AJ Racing always welcomes visitors to the garage, fans, supporters or sponsors, Jon is happy to chat to anyone during the intervals.
At 11.15 the pit lane opened for the practice session with both Jon and the car fully prepared for this session. Jon put in a series of comparable lap times with the best lap recorded as 1:49:025 on lap 4 which place the team in 7th in FWD class.
Once again with the car back in the garage it was time to do the usual checks, a few adjustments were made to the tyre pressures and the wheel nuts tightened. Then it was time to relax for lunch. During the lunch break Jon, dressed in full race wear, decided to entertain other competitors and spectators and set off up the pit lane on the PR Officers scooter (permission was sought and granted prior to him embarking on his voyage) Jon is now known to some as ASBO Stig!
Qualifying began at 13.30 and Jon took very little time to set his best lap time of 1:44:202, achieved on lap 3. On lap 5 he came into the pits to have the tyre pressures checked again, adjustments were made and the tyre temperatures were taken. Unfortunately these adjustments did not enable Jon to improve his lap times any further. That left the team in exactly the same position they achieved during the practice session of 7th, even though Jon had managed to reduce his best lap time by 4.823 seconds.
The car had pace but was struggling at times with grip which forced Jon to drop corner speed to stay on line. Having to sacrifice speed to ensure suitable grip was preventing a faster lap time.
At 15.10 the final began with Jon and the rest of the team in a buoyant mood as their dream was about to come true – they had competed in a full season of the Time Attack Championship! Jon managed to set consistent lap times again with the best of those times recorded as 1:44:243, achieved on lap 6. Unfortunately the team did not take the chequered flag as on lap 8 Jon came into the pits complaining of a noisy wheel bearing, Jay dove under the car and came back out with grease over his fingers, the team suspected the CV joint boot had split so the car was retired.
It was certainly an unfortunate end to what had been a great, first full season, with lessons to be learnt and carried forward into next season. The team will return in 2016 both stronger and wiser and ready to improve.
None of this would have been possible without our wonderful sponsors and supporters and we take this opportunity to say a huge thank you for your continued belief in AJ Racing.
PR Officer: AJ Racing
2015 REIS Ravenol BTRDA Rally Championship: Round 8, Trackrod Stages
A strong field of Yorkshire men set to do battle in the much fabled Yorkshire forests in late September. The Yorkshire stages are iconic for being the fastest in the county and with local leading crews Bennett, Slights and the returning 2014 1400 champion Matt Smith, the scene was set for a fantastic battle...one that was set to go right down to the wire!
SS1/2 - Langdale
First up was the langdale complex for the crews. Unfortunately it was Slights and Smith that were out of the starting blocks quickest. A spin on stage 1 followed by an overshoot at a junction in Stage 2 left Bennett languishing in 4th place 30 seconds off the pace. Some stern words back at service and an adjustment to the rear brakes offered some hope for the remaining stages, but it would take a massive effort to claw back so much lost time.
This was not the start Bennet & McNeil were hoping for but with rallying being so unpredictable, there was still hope for the pair yet.
SS3 - Gale Rigg
A big push in Gale Rigg saw the crew get back on the pace and match the times of the top 2 guys with only 3 seconds splitting the top 3 cars on the stage. Bennet gave his views on the stage:
"Although the first mile of the stage was extremely muddy and slippy, once we were up on the moorland, the conditions improved and we were able to push a lot harder and overall I was much happier with the balance of the car."
SS4 - Cropton
This is probably the fastest stage of the rally with large amounts of time spent at full throttle and speeds regularly surpassing the 100mph mark, Cropton certainly favours the braver crews. It was Bennett & McNeil who emerged victorious, 4 seconds quicker than Slights on the stage and continuing their return to the pace people expect. “We had a clean run, no major heroics but we kept it flat on the straights and got our braking points right, I was surprised to be quickest but that gives us good confidence. However, I think we have left too much to do to catch Slights and Smith as we are still 25 seconds behind with two stages left “, conceded Bennett at the afternoon service halt.
SS5 - Staindale
Stage 5 saw no let-up in pace from the top with all three crews exiting the stage with identical times. The pace of the leading 1400 teams was incredible and they were now beginning to trouble the bigger top 2WD cars as the times saw them enter the top 20 overall!
The question on everyone's lips was, could the three 1400 teams hold the pace?
SS6 - Dalby
Heading into the final stage despite the closeness of times, the positions were starting to look more settled. Slights took a 15 second lead over Smith, whilst the Sabelt / Aerocatch crew were a further 10 seconds behind.
However, the last stage was the notorious 'Dalby stage', which has so often proved to be the sting in the tail for many crews. It certainly proved it for Matt Smith in the Yellow Proton where an electrical problem saw them stop mid stage. This elevated the Bennet to second whilst Slights retained his lead, despite Bennett going 5 seconds quicker.
Back at the finish Bennett had no complaints “I made two basic errors this morning which effectively cost us the rally – with the pace so quick and competition so close, you cannot afford to give away 30 seconds on the first two stages. It was always going to be a uphill battle after that, but we were pleased with our pace over the last four stages and to get back up to 2nd is a strong result. The extra point for 2nd could also come in very handy for the Championship as it now goes down to the wire on the Cambrian in October”
A battle well fought by Bennet & McNeil, their 2nd place result meaning the race to become the 2015 BTRDA 1400 Class Champion will literally be down to the results of last round of the championship. Don't forget to check right here on the AeroCatch blog for the final results!
The 2015 West of England Stock Rod Championship, Smeatharpe Stadium,Taunton
AeroCatch Xtreme was proud to support the West of England Stock Rod Championship at Smeatharpe Stadium, near Taunton on September 27th, 2015. It was a good day's racing for the Stock Rod class with some hard fought, non-contact action. The winner on the day was car #776, driven by Simon Jones. He was presented with his trophy by or AeroCatch representative and Stock Rod racing fan, Matt Henbest. AeroCatch is always looking to increase brand awareness by creating new relationships with teams in a variety of race disciplines and this year have supported teams in the BTCC, BTRDA, Time Attack Championship and now the Stock Rod Championships.
Click on this link to view the race meeting report: http://autospeed.co.uk/race-meetings/results/sunday-27th-september-2015.ashx
For more information about Stock Rod racing and other forms of short oval racing, click on the 'Autospeed' logo on the right hand hand side of the screen.
2015 REIS Ravenol BTRDA Rally Championship: Round 7, Woodpecker Stages
The Woodpecker Rally at the beginning of September was make or break for the Aerocatch / Sabelt UK crew of Dave Bennett / Al McNeil. The pair needed a class win in order to stay in the fight for the National 1400cc Gravel Championship – nothing less would do!
For the seventh round of the series, the championship returned to Wales with 180 of the UKs top rally crews starting from Ludlow racecourse in Shropshire, before heading into the classic mid-Wales stages which included the famous Radnor stage!
SS1 – Bringe Wood
A short twisty and very slippy opening stage awaited the crews. At only 3 miles the rally was never going to be won here but it could easily be lost. Bennett and McNeil powered through the stage quickest with no issues and emerged from it with a two second lead over Dave Brick but more importantly 6 seconds over main championship rival Ash Slights. The ideal start, could they keep it up?
SS2 – Haye Park
Haypark is the iconic stage of the Woodpecker rally, run twice, once in each direction. It is a firm favourite with competitors and spectators alike. Haypark is never short of drama and this year was no different.
However, the drama seemed to evade Dave Bennet & Al McNeil who sailed through the tricky stage with a smooth and clean run. The same could not be said for their rivals...firstly there was the demise of Slights who broke his gearbox which was quickly followed by the departure of Brick, meaning the main title contenders fell by the way side and all in the space of just 5 miles!
SS3/4 - Radnor
Radnor has a fearsome reputation, one that Bennett & McNeil are more than wary of having previously rolled their car whilst leading in 2013. Despite this the pair still pushed hard on the fast and tricky stages. Radnor lived up to its reputation with some big moments and incident for the crew. There was a huge scare early in the stage when they hit a big bump, flat out, over open moorland. The impact launched the car into the air at over 90 mph and required some brave driving from Bennett to get it back under control!
This should have been enough drama for one day but that was then followed by an incident on the last corner of the stage. The car ran slightly wide on a fourth-gear-left-hander and clipped a small log pile on the outside of the corner. The impact bent the rear beam and stub axle which left the rear offside wheel pointing at a funny angle!
Limping through stage 4 it was a then a dash back to the service park for emergency repairs. The team did a fantastic job of replacing the stub axle and getting the guys back out for the final pair of Stages.
SS5/6 – Haye Park
The afternoon loop of stages saw a return to Haye Park. After the drama of the Radnor stages, a clean, trouble free run was the order of the day for Bennet & McNeil. Despite losing time in SS4 with the bent stub axle the pair lead overall by over a minute, so a measured drive over the last two stages would see them take the chequered flag...and that’s just what they did – no last minute dramas and a good run to take the class win by over a minute and 25th overall!
It was the perfect result and brought the team right back into the title battle ahead of the final two rounds.
CONGRATULATIONS GUYS...ROLL ON THE NEXT ROUND!
Time Attack Championship 2015: Round 5, Croft
The team arrived at Croft Circuit, North Yorkshire for Round 5 of the Time Attack Championship. After sitting out Round 4 at Oulton Park, the team members were refreshed and recuperated after what had been a few months of constant hard work making improvements to the car. The car also received some long overdue attention to its suspension setup at S D Motorsport, owned by Steven Darley ( a fellow competitor in the Time Attack Championship with his banana yellow Subaru), the sub-frame was realigned along with the toe-in, etc. Jonathan and Alison would like to take this opportunity to thank Stayfast and Kevin Davis for their help in getting the car to a few of the rounds this season.
After battling to put the shelter up as we did not have the luxury of a garage, 08:15 soon arrived and it was time for the drivers briefing. At 08:30 the car went to scrutineering and everything came together nicely. The track was a little damp and quite unpredictable but Jonathan reported over the radio that the car felt very different and “it was no longer trying to kill him when he came off the throttle”.
The best time recorded during warm up was 1.57.535. Jonathan came back into the pits with a renewed confidence in the cars abilities. After a few words of encouragement from his dad, for whom it was his first time seeing his son compete in the Time Attack Championship - it was practice time. The track was beginning to dry out and by 11:05 and Jon was getting to know the car again, learning how it would handle under braking in the tight hairpin at Croft. The result of this is a huge 12 second reduction in lap time to 1.46.532 from the warm-up session.
Towards the end of the session Jon brought the car back into the pits reporting that the throttle was sticking open. The team investigated the problem it was found and rectified; data regarding the tyres both hot and cold had been continuously collected by the team and reported back to Steven Darley who was happy with the readings. During qualifying Jon reported that the car felt bumpy and bouncy so the decision was made to soften off the front shock absorbers which worked as Jon reported over the radio that the modification had made a positive difference.
After a few laps the car came into the pits to have the tyre pressures checked and adjusted accordingly. Jon managed to record a lap time of 1.41.872 before disaster struck – a suspected wheel bearing had collapsed and a CV joint had snapped!
Jon does not feel that he has discovered the cars limits yet so the team look forward to Round 6 at Rockingham Speedway, Northamptonshire on 19th September 2015.
2015 REIS Ravenol BTRDA Rally Championship: Round 6, Nicky Grist Stages
The AeroCatch, Sabelt UK crew of Dave Bennett & Al McNeil headed to South Wales for some of the most iconic rally stages in the UK and determined to put in a good show to get their championship back on track. A maximum entry for the 6th round of the BTRDA rally championship promised to make the event, which covers the incredibly fast epynt gravel stages...a real spectacle for all.
SS1 – Monument
A bright sunny day following a night of light drizzle greeted the crews on Saturday morning – near perfect conditions for rallying. The AeroCatch, Sabelt UK team set off in determined mood, the Nicky Grist stages is an event where, historically, things go well due to the fast flow and wide style of stage, allowing the more aggressive crews to push their cars to the limit. However disaster was just around the corner (literally the first corner!) of the rallys opening stage. Off the start line it was a short dash to a square left followed by a 300m drag to a big crest and jump. As the crew rounded the square left and powered toward the crest everything was going to plan, as the team hit the crest, Bennett lifted out of the throttle and the car leapt into the air (everything was still going great), the car flew perfectly and landed beautifully – you might say text book... but then again, you might not! As Bennett went to get back on the power something was dramatically wrong – no drive and no acceleration, it was clear the jump had not been quite so “text book”!
On landing the car had broken its near side drive shaft leaving the team with one wheel drive and all thoughts of victory dashed within 500 metres of the start line! They limped through the stage (fortunately it was a short 3.5 miler) dropping about 90 seconds. From there it was straight into an emergency service where the service team did an amazing job to extract the broken shaft and replace it with a spare. Within 15 mins the guys were away again and heading to SS2 – despite dropping some road time they were still in the rally and still within their maximum permitted penalty free time – a great effort by the team!
SS2 – Route 60
Arriving into the stage still pumped up and sweating hard following the exertions of the service, Bennet & McNeil dived straight into SS2 with no time to spare. Route 60 is traditionally, one of the fastest stages of the year, where to be quick the crew needed to be focused and committed!
However, Bennet & McNeil didn’t get off to the best start. About 1 mile into the stage, a tight sequence of square lefts and square rights caught Bennett out, “ I knew the section was tricky and it has caught us out before, so I approached with caution and at what I thought was a reasonable speed, but the car began to slide sideways and just didn’t come back as I expected and around we spun, I think we dropped about 15 seconds” Bennett recites.
Despite this mishap the team battled on, they were 4th quickest in their class and only 5 seconds slower than the quickest 1400 – was this going to be a case of what might have been?
SS3 – Halfway
As the morning wore on and the temperature rose, the team switched on to the harder compound Pirelli tyres to try to improve the grip and increase the performance of the car for the full length of the longer midday stages. With the new tyres on it took a mile for them to warm up but they were quickly into the groove and found a decent pace without taking too many risks. Running a different stage layout to previous years, the stage starts out wide and before heading into a tight mid section with some tricky blind crests, followed by a short blast out on to open moor land before the stage heads back into the forest for a 'fast blast' downhill toward the stage finish. The team emerged fastest 1400 and 30th quickest overall however Bennett was not pleased with the performance of the car and his frustration reached boiling point at the end of the stage:
“The car just doesn’t have any power in the mid range, we are really struggling for torque out of the slower corners – I am constantly in the wrong gear, its taking forever to accelerate out of the corners and it feels like we are losing shed loads of time in the stage”
SS4 – Crychan
Bennett’s frustration in SS3 would be nothing compared to the disappointment of SS4 – 1.5 miles into the stage on a square right the drive shaft broke again – exactly the same problem and same failure mode left the team struggling to drive the rest of the stage with one wheel drive – this time it was 7 miles to the finish and the team dropped a massive 8 minutes which ultimately led to their retirement at the end of the stage.
“There is obviously a problem with the set up on the car, we have never broken two shafts in one event in all of the years I have been rallying – we are desperately disappointed, the victory was for the taking today and we have blown our chance – we need to sort these types of problems out. However we are not finished and the championship is not over, dropped scores come in now and we can still challenge – we just need a near perfect end to the season”, reported a deflated McNeil at the end of stage 4.
The 1400 class was eventually won by Ash Slights / Alex Lee in their Swift Group backed Toyota Yaris who took their maiden 1400cc class victory and ensured the fight for the championship will go down to the wire...
AJ Racing - Embracing the future of motorsport - AeroLoc
Specialty Fasteners & Components Ltd thrive on finding solutions to engineering problems.
However, solving the issues of the popular, yet inconsistent self ejecting fastener, could be somewhat problematic...well it appears not! Working closely with their technical engineering partner, Camloc, they have been able to come up with an ideal solution - AeroLoc.
AeroLoc is lightweight which adheres to motorsport requirements without any weight penalty.
AeroLoc features a locking spring ensuring consistent, positive lock performance.
AeroLoc has a mounting plate which is fully interchangeable with any panel prepared for the EHF series. The mounting plate also helps to distribute load over greater surface area.
AeroLoc's hold-out spring lifts the stud for easier panel removal.
AeroLoc is available in both cross recess and bail handle styles making it the 'quarter-turn fastener game changer'!
MOTORSPORT HAS BEEN WAITING 80 YEARS FOR THIS!!
AJ Racing have been searching for a quick and easy solution to removing the bumper off their Ford Focus. They have encountered many problems when loading or unloading the car from the trailer.
Specialty Fasteners and Components were quick to offer a simple, fast and efficient solution to this problem...introducing AeroLoc.
AeroLoc is yet another innovative product from the same, intelligent engineering company that brought the fantastic AeroCatch bonnet pin and panel fastener range to the market.
Check out the link below to get some more information on this incredible new product range:
Time Attack Championship 2015: Round 3, Brands Hatch
The team arrived at the latest stop on the Time Attack calendar one of the world’s most iconic sporting venues Brands Hatch, Kent.
The warm up session started at 10.20 with the car having only the standard Ford factory set up the driver managed to get the car up to 20th position overall and 10th in the C FWD class with a lap time of 58.758 seconds.
After the pit crew tweaked the dampers the car started to feel a little more compliant during practice the lap times started to tumble the best being a time of 57.394 seconds putting the team in 8th position in our class.
During the circuit lunch break the pit lane was open to the general public for 20 minutes to get close to both the cars and drivers – many of whom were happy to answer questions.
Qualifying began at 15.15 so the crew had a mad rush to swap the tyres front to rear ready to drop more time, the fastest lap time was recorded as 56.789 seconds which placed the team 16th overall and 8th C FWD class.
Before the final, the team made slight adjustments to the new top mounts from the current neutral position and the time dropped again to 56.663 seconds with a best speed of 95.1 mph. Other fellow competitors have commented on the cars straight line speed! The brakes are a great improvement and are now well bedded in after a spin going into Druids!
The team are filled with enthusiasm that the car is heading in the right direction and are eagerly anticipating the next Time Attack round at Oulton Park in July.
Stephanie Crooks – PR Manager
2015 REIS Ravenol BTRDA Rally Championship: Round 5, DMACK Carlisle Stages
Round 5 of the BTRDA national Rally championship was the DMACK Carlisle stages rally based in the fearsome Kielder forests. A brand new rally for the championship would mean that the crews would head into the unknown for this rally. Much of the talk ahead of the event was about the deep Kielder ditches and narrow roads which have claimed many rally cars over the years!
After missing round 4 [the Plains Rally] due to work commitments, the AeroCatch, Sabelt UK crew of Bennett / McNeil travelled to Carlisle after an 8 week break following their victory in the Somerset Stages Rally back in April.
As there were no major problems with the car, the crew were looking forward to another strong weekend in the Super 1400 class running at car 39 of a 132 car entry.
SS1 – Glen Dhu
At 7 miles the first stage saw the teams plunged straight into the action. A dry and dusty day meant the conditions were favourable for the crews although some hanging pockets of dust meant the visibility was not optimal with some dust lingering creating driving conditions akin to driving in thick fog! A cautious approach from the team saw Bennett/McNeil emerge from the stage in 5th place in the 1400s. Aware of the deep ditches and the need to get some points for the championship the team adopted a risk free strategy in the opening stages.
SS2 – English Kershop
SS2 saw a continuation of the risk free approach of SS1 and ensure the crew maintained their solid 5th place after SS2. Bennett quoted “ I am not happy with my driving, I don’t have the confidence to push the car, the roads are narrow and I cant find a good rhythm, we had a half spin in the last one which cost us some time but we are losing a lot in the mid speed corners where if the confidence is not there you lose too much speed and momentum – we need to improve!”
SS3 – Newcastlton
A change to a harder compound Pirelli tyre for SS3 seemed to inspire more confidence in Bennett as they started to find their pace and put in a top 3 time in which was closer to their usual level of performance. The stage was exceptionally fast [especially over the last 3 miles] and required total commitment from the drivers as there was a lot of loose gravel sitting on top of the stages making the cars very unstable and nervous at speeds of over 100mph. Bennett reported no problems other than having to avoid a bumper which had fallen off a previous competitors car – obviously a crew in need of a set of Aerocatch fasteners!!
SS4 – Chamot Hill
After a short service back at Rally HQ in Longtown the crews headed back out for a loop of two stages. SS4 was extremely rough but another top 2 time saw Bennett / McNeil cement their 4th place in the rally. Of the rough stage conditions McNeil was quoted as saying “it was like driving on the moon!”
SS5 – Ash Park
Proving that the team were not having their strongest day disaster befell the crew on the next stage where halfway through they picked up a puncture on the front left tyre of the car. With 3 miles to go and limited ability to turn right the crew were left to struggle to the end of the stage and try and minimise time lost – in the end 45 seconds were lost and the crew dropped back to 5th place. It was only the smell of burning rubber in the car which managed to convince McNeil that indeed the crew had a puncture, before this you can hear [on the incar footage] McNeil playing well the enthusiastic co-driver and telling Bennett to get on with it as it was just the stages that were slippy which is why the car wouldn’t turn!
SS6 – Kershop
The sting in the tale! At 14 miles the longest stage of the event which had everything from 100mph straights to blind crests to deep ditches and some of the tightest sequence of bends found on any stage in the UK. Starting the stage in 5th place, Bennett / McNeil knew they had a real race on to capture back 4th place and it would require maximum attack in the last stage. They did just that blasting through the stage 25th quickest O/A and most importantly 16 seconds ahead of the 4th placed Weston, which was enough to steel 4th place back by the slightest of margins! At the end of the stage a relieved Bennett was pleased to see the end of the rally and the chance to recapture 4th place after what had been a challenging day “We are pleased to have finished the event and bring home some valuable championship points in 4th place however we have not had a good day at the office! We never had the pace of the front runners today which is unusual and not something we are used to or like. I never had the confidence in the car to push on what are tricky stages and it’s something we need to address if we come back again up here – however no excuses from my side we were just not good enough on the day! However I am confident we will bounce back on the Nicky Grist and we cant wait to get back out and continue our fight for the championship”
Next up for the crews is the Nicky Grist stages which uses the super fast and flowing gavel stages on the famous Epynt military ranges in South Wales. Be sure to catch all of the action of the Aerocatch Sabelt UK team when they tackle the NG on July 11th.
Time Attack Championship 2015: Round 2, Snetterton
The team were in high spirits, even after spending a very wet night in May under the stars in Norfolk.
The technical team were having trouble with the dash display setup but after a lengthy telephone conversation and an awful lot of help from Dr Martin Hill from Race Technology the correct flash file updates was downloaded and the problem was rectified. Our huge thanks and continued gratitude to Dr Hill.
The sky was dark with cloud and it had threatened heavy rain all morning, but as the first session loomed, the track was dry. It was a last minute decision as to tyre selection, does the team run the risk of not going out on dry tyres or do we quickly change to the wets? The decision was made to go with what was already on the car and hope it stayed dry.
Whilst waiting in the pit lane to go out on track for the practice session, the car refuses to restart to go out on track causing a flurry of activity. The car had to be rolled out of position and put right at the back of the pack so as not to interfere with other drivers exiting the pit lane. Members of the team armed with jump leads headed off down the pit lane. A few minutes later the car sputtered back to life and off down the pit lane it went, unfortunately the problem was a drained battery from the electrical problem earlier that morning.
The team’s target of being out for all three sessions had started to look in doubt, worse still the clouds had decided to empty their payload. Now the car was out on a wet track in dry tyres and not enough spare time to pit and swap to wets, despite the limited run and the slippery conditions our driver managed to put in two laps with a time of 1:58.
The driver felt sure there was more in the car and with the track remaining damp with intermittent rain the car was swapped onto wet tyres. The qualifying session proved the drivers feeling to be correct, with more grip (and more confidence) a new best lap time of 1:44.453 was achieved.
With the final preparations done on the car it was time for the final. The team were feeling quietly proud yet nervous as it was looking like the car was going to complete the three sessions, a first for us this season. The car was looking and sounding good and really needs to be heard in all its glory to fully appreciate the beautiful sound of the Burton Power engine. The driver was confident with how the car was handling in the final. He came back in to the pits for a quick tyre pressure adjustment (increased by 10psi due to heat) and back out on track, finally setting a best lap time of 1:32.346 which gave the team a finishing position of 8th in Class C FWD Category.
Take a quick look at our final round, follow the link below:
Time Attack Championship 2015 - Round 1, Cadwell Park
On Friday afternoon we were still working on the car - installing the radiator from Radtec and the purple silicon hoses supplied by SFS Hoses. As this installation had never taken place before, a lot of head scratching and figuring out where to put everything had to take place first, but the result was a magnificent and very purposeful looking engine bay.
As it was getting late on the Friday, the team decided to relocated to the circuit before continuing with the car. Once at the track, work continued on the car until 23:30 when the engine ran for the first time with a dry sump system and after all the hoses for the cooling system had their final check. There were a few small things that still needed to be under taken in the morning, but we were exceptionally happy and went to bed with very big smiles on our faces; the sound of the engine and exhaust system gently rocking us to sleep.
Darren, from Bell Truck Services – a new addition to the 2015 sponsors, had undertaken quite a bit of the work over the days leading up to race day along with some of our forces personnel.
Everyone did an amazing job and set too finishing off the car. We used Cadwell as shakedown day for our season opener of Time Attack UK.
How did the team do? First time out in the car to ensure everything is working and Jonathan quickly beats his personal best time by 2 seconds. Qualifying: An additional 6 seconds fall away from Jonathans new personal best, that’s a full 8 seconds improvement from 2014. Considering this happened after both the power steering and clutch slave cylinder failed in operation. There was also no real set up on the on the car and firm instructions not to push the engine just yet from Burton Power. The team were more than happy with this positive start.
We qualified 9th out of 11 participants: finally managing to get some points in the front wheel drive class in our first ever completed first round of Time Attack UK at the start of our third official season.
What preparation did it need? Ready for the cars first outing we wanted to see how the car performed without touching anything on it other than tyre pressure checks for the practice session. The most important thing was to get the car out on the circuit to drive around and get the driver accustomed to the car and to be seen on the circuit. Lots of photos were taken by the circuit photographers, just in case the team had the misfortune of not continuing to compete in the rest of the day’s events. This contingency plan was not needed however, reports back from the driver over the new intercom system (kindly donated by Think Automotive) were positive. The only negative issue being the lack of power steering which meant the driver was finding it very difficult to push the car towards any of its new found potential. Without pushing the car, the driver achieved 1 min 58 sec. Back into the paddock, a quick check over the oil and water systems - everything was ok.
The team then took a little time out to check over the whole car, re-set tyre pressures and adjust the suspension settings to last year’s specifications prior to qualifying. The suspension geometry still needs to be set up properly on the car in the near future.
We’ve hit qualifying! Time to push a little, but not too hard, we still have that new engine to look after (we were listening Burton Power). The wheel time meant the gremlins started to appear in the form of lost the clutch pedal; the slave cylinder failed after 20 minutes of running. Undeterred, the driver made the decision to drive the car anyway, even if only to complete a few laps and get a little bit more seat time. We so wanted to complete a full first round of Time Attack UK. Our first full opening round in 3years was just around the corner.
What a lap to follow! A lap time of 1 min 54 sec radioed to the driver. Quick stop in the pits just to make sure things were ok and then proceeded to go back out again. Loving the new GD Transmissions Finland dog box, new engine and the whole package, the driver told the team he was just going to try and put in a little bit quicker lap without pushing the car too much. It just gets better with a 1 min 52 sec lap.
So the final...We patiently sat in the paddock ready for the off, but we sat and we sat some more. A member of the team was down at the pits waiting for the powers that be to make a decision about the final as it was raining uphill on the track. The driver was eager to get out there, the team was eager to get out of the rain. “5 more mins” “another 10 mins” “a decision very soon” finally “it’s all off”. So that was it, albeit the final being cancelled, we had done it. Our first – yes, first full first round of Time Attack UK 2015. Third year of trying to achieve a starting round and we did, teething troubles and all.
So what more is there to say! The traction and positive feel of the Titan Motorsport carbon differential is sublime; so much more than previous seasons. Feedback from the car is very positive; we got an amazing preview of the pace this car should be capable of. We as a team are very excited as is the driver about this car, using the words of our sponsors "this has been a long time coming". As the final was cancelled due to reports of torrential rainfall (the team boss could confirm this – she was more than drenched) - the track conditions were far too dangerous to go out. The decision was made by the Time Attack management to finalize the day on the qualifying times.
We thank everybody who has supported us, without your help and support we would not be where we are. We feel very proud and very privileged to be supported by our sponsors and we thank them all as we would not be able to undertake and provide such services, help and assistance to our colleagues from the forces both current and ex-servicemen and women.
Stephanie Crooks – PR Manager
2015 REIS Ravenol BTRDA Rally Championship: Round 3, Somerset Stages Rally
This weekend sees the UK’s leading Rally teams descend on Somerset for the third round of the BTRDA national rally championship. A maximum entry of 165 cars will tackle some of Somerset’s toughest forest stages which includes two blasts up the famous Porlock Hill Climb stage, the only tarmac stages in the BTRDA national gravel championship. For David Bennett and Alistair McNeil in the Aerocatch Xtreme Sabelt UK Vauxhall corsa it’s a chance to bounce back following a disappointing early exit from the Malcolm Wilson rally where they crashed out whilst leading. Since then the team has been busy rebuilding the car as a result of extensive damage from the accident, Bennett quoted:
“ Its been a race against time to get the car ready and it has been a lot of late nights just to get the car ready, so to get to the start line will be a real achievement! We always look forward to this Rally, it’s a good compact event and the race up the fearsome Porlock Hill stage is always one of the highlights of the year”.
New for this rally will be the return to conventional seeding as a result of changes brought in by the MSA (governing body) to improve spectator safety. This means that the 1400 crews will now run as part of the mainfield instead of first on the road, as has been the case for the last 10 years. This will pose a host of challenges including reliability as the crews will have to face much rougher stages caused by the passage of the big 4WD cars.
You can follow the progress of Bennett & McNeil on the rally website http://www.somersetstagesrally.com as well as catching up right here on the Aerocatch blog. They are running as one of the leading 1400 crews at Car 28.”
Round 3 of the BTRDA Reis Ravenol Championship, The Somerset Stages Rally, presented Dave Bennett and Alistair McNeil the chance to bounce back in their AeroCatch Xtreme / Sabelt UK Vauxhall Corsa 1400S and they certainly didn’t disappoint! After crashing out of the Malcolm Wilson Rally in the previous round, the damage to the car was so extensive that it had to be completely rebuilt. A new shell and roll cage were only the start of a 5 week, arduous rebuild consisting of many long nights and weekends. As a result, the team ended up heading to Somerset with a brand new car which was only completed the Thursday before the event!
The Somerset Stages Rally is only a short drive across the border from AeroCatch HQ in Totnes, Devon, which presented the AeroCatch Team with a unique opportunity to travel up and do some networking with various AeroCatch clients and fans. They included one of our main UK distributors, Grayston Engineering and of course Bennett and McNeil. Dave and Al arrived Friday afternoon after making the long trip down from their home city of York and were welcomed by the AeroCatch Team. Even more welcome was successfully getting their new car through Scruitineering – the first of many milestones accomplished - and a huge relief!
Check out some of the images from Scrutineering below...
As we were on 'AeroCatch watch', we spotted a few other competitors who have made the step up to 'The Panel Fastener for the 21st Century ' !
Good to see our fastener range filtering into the off-road scene...one of our 2015 objectives.
SS1/2 – Porlock Hill
This 3.75 mile tarmac opening stage is unique to the BTRDA championship in that it is the only tarmac stage in the forest series! The lower part of the stage is tight and twisty, whilst the second part of the stage opens out into flat out driving across the moorland! A shortage of tyres meant Bennett/McNeil headed to the stage with a slightly compromised set up running wet slicks on the rear and dry slicks on the front. However that didn’t seem to bother the crew too much as they blasted through the two openers quickest in their class and establishing a 6 second lead over their nearest rivals.
For optimum viewing, change video settings to 1080p HD by clicking on the 'cog' symbol in the bottom right of the Youtube video player.
SS3 – Knowle 1
After a successful start on Porlock Hill, a trip to service and a change back to gravel spec tyres, the team had a quick break and Bennett had the opportunity to give his view on the first two stages.
“We are happy with the times but they could have been better, the rear of the car was sliding a bit on the wet tyres so I didn’t have the confidence to push as much as we would have liked”.
SS3 was the first gravel stage and the team made a cautious star which lead to the pair losing time to their rivals...the scrap for the lead was now very close!
SS4/5 – Kenisham 1 / Chargot 1
Two very short but super fast spectator-friendly stages followed. With stages totalling less than 3 miles, the rally certainly wasn’t going to be won here but it could easily be lost!
Bennet & McNeil needed to ensure they had a clean run through both stages without any major dramas to keep them in good stead for a chance of finishing on top of the 1400's.
The pair managed to maintain their fantastic form from the first few rounds and kept the fight for the lead incredibly tight!
SS6/7 – Croydon / Timberscombe
At 9 miles Croydon is the longest stage of the rally which is shortly followed by the incredibly fast 1.5 mile dash through Timberscombe. Croydon is a favourite stage for Bennett & McNeil and it is more representative of the typical stages the teams face during the course of the series, with good mileage and a great combination of fast flowing bends and some tight technical challenges. This was also a stage where an advantage could be gained!
The pair continued with their fast but cautious approach and ended up coming out 1s quicker than their nearest rival Julian Wilkes. The race at the front was so close in fact, that as the cars headed into main service, the top four 1400s were only separated by four seconds, quite incredible after over 25 miles of stages!
SS 8 – Knowle 2
Bennett and McNeil were fastest out of the blocks in the afternoon, brilliantly making up for their earlier disappointment. They cleaned the stage 10s quicker than their nearest 1400 rival, great effort guys!
It was the perfect start to the afternoon for the pair and placed the pressure immediately back on the other 3 crews...could they catch the pace setters of the 1400s?!
SS9/10/11 – Kensiham 2 / Chargot 2/3
Back to the spectator-friendly stages and the next 3 were fast and furious! Bennett & McNeil did a great job to keep the car in one piece and not make any mistakes on these tricky short stages.
Apart from the excessive amounts of dust, the stages were completed 'drama free' and the pair maintained their lead as they headed for the final stage, Batscombe – the longest of the rally at 10 miles and surely the sting in the tail for some crews?!
For optimum viewing, change video settings to 1080p HD by clicking on the 'cog' symbol in the bottom right of the Youtube video player.
SS12 – Batscombe
After a short auxillary service where a quick tyre change, refuel and minor repairs to the rear wheel bearing were required, Bennett & McNeil headed to the last test in good shape. Without knowing the current leader board positions and the times of the other crews, the pair could afford no mistakes and had to keep pushing to be sure of claiming their 2nd win of the 2015 BTRDA Championship.
As many of the locations in The Somerset Stages Rally are used twice, the condition of the stages were starting to deteriorate and it became a real test for the team. Finding the balance between speed and relilability was key in order to bring the car home in one piece.
Fortunately Bennett & McNeil's new car appears to be a strong one and the pair flew through the final stage 10 seconds faster than their nearest rival and local lad, Julian Wilkes.
What a fantastic result for Dave Bennett and Al McNeil who claimed their 2nd 1400 class win of the season, putting them back in the running for the Championship title!
Watch Bennett & McNeil's in-car footage as they navigate the fast and bumpy final stage and claim 1st place in their AeroCatch Xtreme, Sabelt UK, Vauxhall Corsa.
CONGRATULATIONS GUYS, ROLL ON THE NEXT ROUND!!
2015 REIS Ravenol BTRDA Rally Championship: Round 2, Malcolm Wilson Rally
This weekend sees the BTRDA National Rally Championship head North to the home of Rallying for the 40th Malcolm Wilson Rally. Based out of M-Sport at Cockermouth, the rally takes in some of the most classic and iconic stages in British Rallying, including the fearsome Grizdale Forest.
130 Cars will get underway this Saturday (March 7th) including the leading 1400 crew of Dave Bennett and Alistair McNeil in their Aerocatch Xtreme Sabelt UK Vauxhall Corsa. After a successful opening round on the Wyedean where the pair finished an impressive 1st in class and 18th Overall, the guys head to the Lake District looking to build on their excellent start to the season.
After a few problems with the electrics after the Wyedean the car has been repaired and is in full health ahead of this weekends event.
“ We had a good run on the MW in 2014 taking the 1400 class win and we are aiming to repeat the same again in 2015. There is however another quality entry for this rally and we expect it to be a real fight with the other crews and we will need to be on top of our game to try and do the double on what are some of the most demanding stages in the UK ”
Catch all of the action and see how Bennett and McNeil get on right here on the Aerocatch blog!
It was a wild and blustery day as Dave Bennett and Al McNeil left M-Sport for the 2015 40th Malcolm Wilson Rally, the 2nd round of the BTRDA national Gravel Rally Championship. They were looking forward to a strong event as the Malcolm Wilson Rally is like a home round for them in the Aerocatch Xtreme / Sabelt UK Vauxhall Corsa.
A change for this event was the running order on the day with all of the 2wd drive cars together and in reverse seeding. This meant that they would be running much further down the field with less favourable road conditions, so a new challenge for the pair on top of the difficult weather conditions!
They headed to SS1 in confident mood and looking forward to getting started but an accident involving an earlier car on the stage meant they faced an hour wait before they could get onto the stages.
Eventually Bennett and McNeil got out on to the Ravelin Moss stage and it certainly lived up to its reputation, providing a stern opening test.
" It was narrow, tight, twisty and very, very slippy!! However the car was working well and despite some big sideways moments we emerged from the stage 10 seconds quicker than our main 1400 rival and fastest 2wd car, taking 11th quickest overall!! A fine start to the event despite the conditions. "
Next up was Comb, the scene of a big accident for Bennett and McNeil back in 2010 where they disappeared down a big drop! So the pair always approach this stage with a touch trepidation and then a big sigh of relief when they clear it!
This year they had a steady run and took no big risks (except a another big sideways moment through some gateposts near the start- check out the in-car footage below!)
They came out joint quickest with Matt Smith in the 1400s so a good start to the event and they were pleased to get passed the two most tricky stages...or so they thought!
For optimum viewing, change video settings to 1080p HD by clicking on the 'cog' symbol in the bottom right of the Youtube video player.
A new stage for the Malcolm Wilson in 2015 was the short 0.9mile blast through Thornsgill. A tricky narrow stage with big ditches lining the road. This was a classic stage where you would never win the rally but could easily lose it, and so it proved for Bennett and McNeil...
" About a third of the way into the stage we rounded a right hand corner and clipped a small rock. This broke something in the suspension and as we powered into the next square right, we ploughed straight on as we had lost the ability to steer the car and into a 6ft ditch that was on the outside of the corner! The car was on its side, the front wheel ripped off and the rear wheel at a funny angle - our rally was over. "
Fortunately they are both ok except a few aches and bruises from the impact. The extent of the damage to the car is due to the ground in the Lake District containing a high precentage of bed rock so when they slid off the track into the ditch, it was like sliding into a solid concrete wall...
" The car protected us well which is testament to the preparation and strength. However the car itself is now in a bad way and needs a lot of work to get her ready for the next round, the Somerset Rally. With 6 weeks to prepare, repair work has already started and we will be back and ready for action – lots of pressure to meet the Somerset Rally deadline but we can do it!! "
We are all delighted to hear that Bennet & McNeil are ok and wish them well with their preparations for Round 3 of the 2015 Reis Ravenol BTRDA Rally Championship.
2015 REIS Ravenol BTRDA Rally Championship: Round 1
What a fantastic start to the 2015 REIS Ravenol BTRDA Rally Championship for Dave Bennett and Al McNeil who won the opening round of the much coveted 1400cc KickStart Championship, the Wyedean Forest Rally.
Click here for the official results...
“We were really pleased to win the 1400cc class, finishing 18th overall and 2nd 2wd drive car home in what was a super strong field of over 180 cars starting the rally! After a long lay-off over the winter where we made a number of upgrades to the car including an engine rebuild, installing AeroCatch Xtreme fasteners, upgrades to the suspension and a new ECU and wiring loom, it felt great to be back out on the stages! ” Bennett recites.
The Wyedean Forest Rally is usually a tough start to the Championship, if it’s not snowy and icy, it is wet and very muddy…these conditions can prove just as tricky to drive in. New MSA rules for 2015 state that tyres must not be cut to improve grip which only adds to the challenge. If Bennett and McNeil were expecting a tough day at the office, the Wyedean Rally was reluctant disappoint!
“Following a successful trip down to Chepstow for the pre event scrutineering and signing on at Chepstow race course on the Friday, we woke up to a miserable grey Saturday morning! We were hoping for finer weather but the micro climate of the forest dean had other ideas. After leaving the start ramp at 08:00am on Saturday morning, we headed out to Stage 1, a short 3 mile blast through Blaize Bailey. As we ventured into the forests, the weather took a further turn for the worse and as we headed into thick fog for SS1. Thick fog, heavy mud and not having driven the car in anger for 6 months is not the best way to start a rally, so we opted for a cautious approach on the rally opener. We managed to clean the stage 2 seconds faster than the our nearest 1400 rival and made no mistakes – phew! ”
Hoping for similar success in the following stage, 10 miles of mud and fog awaited the pair. This stage is a very fast one that has a quick section in the middle where the road is, according to the pacenotes relatively straight for around a mile or so…Bennett explains that this is not necessarily the case:
“The road bends and bumps all the time and despite it being flat in the pacenotes it’s a very difficult piece of road to drive, not to mention the telegraph pylons which line the road and add to the pressure! We were going well in the stage when we were flat out in 4th gear approaching 90mph and hit one of the bumps on this part of the stage, it pitched the rear of the car high in the air and we stood the car on its nose! Fortunately the car came down well and we lived to tell the tale but it was close as can be testified by the expletives shouted by Alistair over the intercom! This bump did however have a lasting effect and resulted in some damage to the car and we left the stage down on power! ”
After a quick trip into Auxiliary Service that was much needed, the guys worked hard in less than 10 minutes to try to resolve the engine power problem but at this stage they were not 100% sure what the problem was so Bennett and McNeil had to leave service to stay on schedule. SS3 and SS4 were cleaned without too much drama other than a windscreen that continually kept misting up and a lack of top end power. On completion of these stages the pair were forced to head back to main Service at Chepstow, with a lead of 18 seconds, quite astounding taking into account the challenges they had faced so far. Top priority - sorting out the engine problems:
“ The laptop was out and the lads went to work to try to diagnose the problem. It turned out to be a failing throttle position sensor (TPS). Without a spare there was not much that could be done but the guys did a great job to keep us in the rally, changing the settings of the engine and the TPS to at least give max power at 100% throttle, although anything less and we didn’t really have any power – so it was flat out or nothing for us, which ensured a wild ride in the afternoon! We shot out of service with 1 minute to spare and headed off to SS5.”
Improvements in the weather and overall performance of the car, albeit with limited driveability, gave the pair a good chance to a good chance to stretch their lead…and boy did they take it! By the end of SS6, they had a 30 second lead over their nearest rival and headed into the last 2 stages with a much deserved air of confidence…the last two stages were sure to be literally, a race to the finish line:
“ SS7 Serridge is possibly one of the fastest stages on the BTRDA calendar and a real thrill to drive. There are a lot of sections where you’re flat out, topping speeds over 100mph, a real buzz when you’re driving on muddy roads and only feet away from the trees! It was great to see so many spectators cheering on all of the crews. It really is a great feeling when you see so many people out enjoying the sport! Despite a big tank slapper on fast right at about 85mph, we had a really good run in this stage and took 19s out of our nearest rival Ian Evans. ”
Bennett went on to say:
“ We headed off to SS8 the final stage of the day feeling good about our pace but also nervous at not knowing our position or time, so we had to find the right balance between pace and getting to the finish, without making any silly mistakes during the last 5 miles of the Mailscot stage. SS8 turned out to be the most difficult stage of the rally. This stage was by far the muddiest and the first half is pretty much all downhill to a river at the bottom before the second stage leads you back away from the river and to the safety of the finish line. There were a few heart stopping moments on the stage but we managed to keep it together and despite not driving that well, we emerged unscathed! “
Relieved to have finished without any major hiccups Bennett and McNeil headed back to the finish ramp, unaware if they had done enough and endured a nervous wait whilst waiting for the results to be updated on the internet…
In the end confirmation came through that they had indeed won the rally by an admirable 58 seconds ahead of Ian Evans and Justin Brooks and 1m 20s from third placed Ash Slights and Alex Lee! This just left the champagne to spray in front of the TV cameras giving some good air time for our brand new race suits from Sabelt UK. A well-earned pint in the bar was definitely what the doctor ordered after a hard fought day in the Forest of Dean!
On receiving the result, Bennett was quick to heap praise on their service team and sponsors, who combined with some fantastic team work and driving from the pair, helped secure a 1st place finish in their class:
“ My thanks go to our service team and our sponsors AeroCatch Xtreme, Sabelt UK, Proflex, Questmead, Ravenol UK and Pirelli, who have all helped contribute to this great win and a brilliant start to championship! The Malcolm Wilson Rally in the Lake Distrcit is next up on the 7th March and we can’t wait to get back out and build on the momentum of the Wyedean Rally. “
CONGRATULATIONS GUYS, A FANTASTIC START TO THE NEW SEASON...ROLL ON THE NEXT ROUND!!
AeroCatch supports AJ Racing
New Year, new connections...
They have current and previous serving members of the Armed Forces on the team as well as willing volunteers.
Their primary remit is to provide support to those injured service men and women, as well as providing college students the opportunity to gain experience in the field of motor-sport where by they may not have received this opportunity before.
'With the 2014 season now at an end, a year dogged with mechanical issues that affected the previous set up it seemed the perfect opportunity for team, car and driver to get realigned and come back for the 2015 Time Attack Championship ready to start the season with a bang.
Despite some of the results in 2014 it was a development rich year for a few of our sponsors including; Titan Motorsports, Burton Power, Helix Autosport and GD Transmissions Finland.
2014 also took its toll with joint team owner and driver, Jonathan Morris. Unfortunately, he had been very unwell at the beginning of 2014 suffering a PTSD relapse which had caused him a significant personal setback.
AeroCatch & Speciality Fasteners have done a wonderful job providing such high quality catches for the car. They have also provided us with fantastic, top of the range fastening solutions for the interior dash board panel.'
Stephanie Crooks - PR Manager, AJ Racing
2015 presented an excellent opportunity for AJ Racing to acquire some additional support. After attending Autosport International Exhibition in January, AJ Racing left with a valuable ally, a company that can supply a range of various fasteners for the car, combined with solutions to technical problems the team may encounter.
It also presented an excellent opportunity for AeroCatch & Specialty Fasteners & Components Ltd to get some more exposure. AeroCatch released a new product in January, 'AeroCatch Xtreme' which needed promoting to the right audience...what better audience than the motorsport industry! AJ Racing's enthusiasm to assist to promote both our company and product range, combined with their relentless efforts to help the less fortunate made them the perfect new connection.
Check out AJ Racing's season progress right here on our blog...
To keep promoting AJ Racing throughout the year we have started to progress their season right here on our blog...
A bit of background...
AJ Racing (Alison & Jonathan owners of the Ford Focus ST170) was formed towards the end of 2011 with thoughts of entering the Time Attack in the Club Class Championship in the Naturally Aspirated under 3000cc class and doing a few One Hit Wonders i.e Cadwell Park.
Knockhill was also looked at as Jonathan had family up there and could attend the local Ford Focus Owners Club meet in Perth that had been a part of his life for so long (not only being a member of the FFOC and living in that area for over 10 years), he also enrolled in the army there in the Black Watch Infantry.
This event prompted the beginnning of AJ Racing's long list of sponsors. First on board were Helix Autosport who wanted AJ Racing to be one of their sponsored cars. Following them, Burton Power much to Jonathan and Alison's delight and surprise, sponsored AJ Racing an engine!
" We are hugely grateful to not only them but all of our sponsors who provided the team with fantastic support in 2012: Vortex exhausts, Superpro, LEDA Suspension, Rallynuts, Samco, Think Automotive, Anglo American Oil Company, Sam Jackson motor engineer, Steven Sharpley commercials, Nimbus Motorsport, Ready Rent A Car, Tyretraders, Screentech hull, Jimboformance, Painzfiction, 3JDriveline, Compbrake. "
In May 2012 Jonathan and Glen from Time Attack shared an ambition...to fulfil a role of duty. Jonathan wanted to invite injured comrades to these events. This had been previously attempted within a fundraising capacity for the Help the Heroes charity back in 2011.
However, this offered rides to the public for donations towards Help for Heroes, where as Jonathan wanted to do more than just fundraise.
His background is primarily working with youth in a guidance and mentoring context, on both the streets and at youth centres. He wanted to empower this way into helping others helping themselves. This idea was received with open arms and magnificent help from Glen, James & the guys from the Time Attack team who not only donated free entry but also offered huge amounts of hospitality with a meal, a very warm welcome and a few laps in both a drift car and a Subaru around the circuits.
The Time Attack teams and AJ Racing also invited the Band of Brothers and Band of Sisters into the pits to help. This was exactly what these guys needed to get out, switch back on and have a sense of fulfilment.
Round 3 at Brands Hatch saw Jonathan on a very steep learning curve. He had never driven the circuit in the dry let alone 3 inches underwater, yet he still managed to achieve his first podium with 3rd place.
Rounds 4 and 5 were held at Anglesey, another new circuit to Jonathan. The Focus was set up slightly different to the previous round. The rear spring rate was too light, 300lbs too light in fact and caused the spectacular sliding and 'tail-out' action that day.
Round 4 had it’s spins due to a ball joint bolt stripping its thread and turning the back end round! All was well though and after a quick change and a check over, the car was ready to rock! Another 3rd place was gained at the end of the day...smiles all round!
Round 5 was on the coastal circuit which used the famous Corkscrew with Jonathan finishing another impressive 3rd place. At the end of the day, Jonathan was let loose with the public in the Focus taking the guys and girls out from Help for Heroes during the public session to give them a taste of the action, which he claimed was more stressful tha the Time Attack round!
Rounds 6 & 7 were held at Snetterton. Jonathan was now getting to grips with the car however the circuit was a new one to him so some mapping had to be done. He ended up achieving the best qualifying position of the season, qualifying 2nd but ended up with 3rd place due to driveshaft failure.
Jonathan had to withdraw from Round 7 as delay in acquiring a driveshaft and significant technical issues arose.
However all was not lost as the team who were made up of injured servicemen, women and friends had got so much from the weekend and drew so much positivity from everything that had unfolded.
Would Jonathan do it again? Yes he would and he is...follow him on facebook at AJ Racing
The aim was to have BoB’s & BoS’s attend at each round as each circuit in each round was at a different location within the country this would provide fair attendance and more importantly, allow individuals to engage.
After AJ Racing had got to the first round of their first race and then every following round until the end of the season, this awesome task was definitely a fantastic idea and one that needs to continue.
" We would all like to thank everyone from our fellow teams to the organisers to our sponsors and friends and family that helped 2012 Be The Best start to not just an awesome racing career but to what drives our hearts & passion to push not just our boundaries but our existence to be a part of the life machine. We are humbly compelled to offer this as a positive intervention between having a bit of fun and enjoyment whilst helping you to improve your own health and wellbeing undertaking something you enjoy with like minded people. "
Celebrating 10 years of business between SFC & CMA Marketing
Specialty Fasteners & Components Ltd & CMA Marketing are celebrating a decade of business together.
It has been a very fruitful business relationship, one SFC are proud to be able to celebrate. Over the years, Geoff Cook and his team of designers have provided SFC with a variety of promotional content, ranging from General Product Brochures to exhibition pop-up stands along with stickers, posters, advertisements...you name it, they've done it...and to an impeccable standard.
It is also the 10 year anniversary of one of SFC's leading product lines, AeroCatch, which CMA Marketing have helped promote from a singular product to a global brand.
A huge thank you to Geoff Cook at CMA Marketing for all of his fantastic, high quality work over the last 10 years, helping bring AeroCatch amongst many other brands, concepts and products to market...and especially for bringing a delicious cake to commemorate!!
AeroCatch 2015 re-brand
2015 plays host to the 10 Year Anniversary of AeroCatch. Yes would you believe it but AeroCatch was established 10 years ago!!
We have seen an enormous progression from a singular product only sold in the UK, to a range of products boasting a global presence and a brand that is recognised right across the motorsport industry, amongst others.
As this is our 10 year anniversary, the AeroCatch team felt it was a necessary time for a brand refresh, a new logo, new packaging and coming soon, a new website! We also felt after listening to feedback from our customers, that we needed to offer a kit that was more suited to off-road racing and arduous conditions...presenting AeroCatch Xtreme
Check out our new kit pics below...