12th July

Off to Silverstone for the formula student competition. Bex is part of the University of Sussex team. It was a long drive not helped by an accident right on the junction where we needed to turn off the M1 which held us up for 20 minutes or so. Almost as soon as we arrived at Silverstone we managed to find their car – even before we’d paid!

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Actually paying was harder than you’d think as no one seemed to be particularly interested in taking money off us and there didn’t seem to be anything to stop us just wandering around without paying. However being good people we finally tracked down where to get tickets and handed over the money in exchange for passes. We were all reunited in time to watch the Sussex car in the acceleration event.

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It was while we were watching the acceleration event that we saw the first of the electric cars. They were very fast turning in times of around 3.5 seconds compared with the times achieved by the petrol cars, Sussex included, of around 4.5! The weirdest thing though was how quiet they were – almost like a Scalectrix racing car!

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We had lunch under a tree before spending the afternoon watching the next event which was a sprint event. The cars ran individually around a marked out track against the clock with time penalties for clipping the cones or missing out sections. Sussex spent a long time testing their car so iy was quite some time before they took to the track and it all got too much for some!

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When they did appear their first run was very fast at one minute four seconds but it transpired that the driver had missed out the slarlem section and they weren’t sure if it would count. One of Becky’s teammates telephoned the pit crew and spoke to the driver to make sure he knew before the next run. When the car got back on yhe track he was doing really well until just before the turn when the car ground to a hslt – something had gone seriously wrong.

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They pushed the car back to the pits while the team tried to work out if the first run counted or not. It turned out that it did but had incurred a 20 second penalty.

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Back in the pits the problem was found – the bolts had sheared off the cog that turned the axle. Amazingly they managed to get it fixed in time to get the car back out on the track for another teo runs before the deadline – the second of which turned out to be the very last run of the day coming in at 1:24.

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