Monday 20 October 2014

Greenpower National Finals and the Silverline Corporate Challenge at Goodwood Motor Circuit

The Greenpower Education Trust International finals at Goodwood Motor Circuit last Sunday was a perfect way to round off a successful season of racing throughout the UK. 

After 13 regional heats for the IET Formula 24 teams and 8 championship rounds for IET Formula 24+, a total of 79 cars lined up for the younger age group challenge and 26 were on the grid for a competitive senior challenge!

As well as a number of cars competing on the track, the event also featured an engineering and careers exhibition. 
Some of the low carbon vehicles on display included the McLaren P1 supercar, a Hybrid Range Rover and the Nissan Leaf Nismo RC.

Silverline was situated in Paddock 1 with a host of teams including those entered into the Silverline Corporate Challenge.  We arrived early on Sunday morning to set up our workstation, offering tools for any repairs teams may require throughout the day! We took a range of tools from hex keys to tyre inflators and pliers. As well as our fully equipped workstation, we gave away hundreds of goodie bags and soon there was a sea of blue hats amongst competitors and spectators! 

Back on the track, after Race 1 (the first fully International race including teams from the US and South Africa), it was time for the Silverline Corporate Challenge.  The Corporate Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for businesses to demonstrate their engineering expertise against a number of other corporate and academic teams.  The technical regulations are the same as for the IET Formula 24+ so each team has one pair of batteries to use during the 60 minute race!

We spent the weeks leading up to the Finals filming a selection of teams entered into the Silverline Corporate Challenge, including MIRA Greenpower, Renishaw and Jaguar Land Rover. It was awesome to follow their journey as they built and prepared their cars from scratch ready to compete in the final. We were particularly impressed with Renishaw’s set-up at their New Mills headquarters in Wotton-Under-edge. The cutting edge technology and engineering on display is seriously impressive and it’s clear to see how they went on to win the 2014 Silverline Corporate Challenge!

As well as participating in the Corporate Challenge, Renishaw has been one of Greenpower’s long term industry sponsors, supporting the Western Region Castle Combe Heat for many years, as well as housing the IET Formula Goblin event in the car park of the New Mills headquarters!

The team's first priority was to radically update the existing Renishaw Car, Probation IV, and the expertise of the former team members was immediately obvious with the car performing much better than previous incarnations. They also undertook a new build, based on the existing car but lightened and slimmed down. This new car, Reprobation, has shown that the team now really mean business, and with a win and two second places in the IET Formula 24+ Championship they took second place overall, finishing behind the exceptional Cullimore Racing's Jet. Reprobation also picked up the Silverline Corporate Challenge crown, beating off Jaguar Land Rover, MIRA and the previously indomitable Silesean team from Poland.
Following the racing; a packed to capacity presentation marquee hosted the prize-giving ceremony with special guests Jason Bradbury and Siemen’s Chief Executive Juergen Maier. Additional awards for special recognition included:

Siemens Engineering & Design Award – F24 – Team USA – ARES; F24+ - Silesian University of Technology

IMechE Portfolio Award – Bragin’ Fifers

IET Best Engineered – Penair School – Raptor Fusion 

Innovation award – Sandbach High School – Dougal

Best Presented Team award – Mandela School of Science & Technology

Spirit of Greenpower – Yabadabatwo – Yabadabatwo

Best Newcomer award – Ysgol Dyffryn Taf – Fabulous Flaming Scorchio

Top Kit Car Race 1 & 2 – Bristol Grammar – Megazord - R2

Silverline is proud to have supported Greenpower throughout 2014 and especially the Silverline Corporate Challenge. A huge well done to all teams involved and we’re already looking forward to seeing more impressive engineering in the 2015 race season!

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All the action from NASCAR in Le Mans

Nascar Final- Le Mans

The Silverline team arrived at Le Mans one man short after the famous Silverline Dodge broke down and had to be recovered back to England! However, everyone else arrived in high spirits - eager to support the Le Mans leg of the Nascar Whelen Euro Series, having followed the racers from the very start back in April.

With the stand and flags set up, we eagerly awaited the start of the finale. In our wind and rain-battered gazebo we displayed a range of automotive tools for supporters to check out as they grabbed their free Silverline goodie back complete with a free spark plug gap tool, catalogue and stickers!

On the course Anthony Kumpen (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) was the overall champion by one point on Ander Vilarino (#2 TFT-Banco Santander Chevrolet SS) - it was a very tense, close race!

Antony commented: “It’s fantastic to win the Championship in our first year with a new project. I’ve watched NASCAR all my life and now that NASCAR is in Europe, to be the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Champion is a dream come true.”

Cheever III Eddie (J) won the race, but in the final stages he saw Kumpen getting closer. In the end he took the chequered flag with a one second advantage and third place overall.

He said: “I’m really satisfied with today’s victory because it came on a wet track that made the car really challenging to drive. To be third in points, win three races and get the Jerome Sarran Trophy in my first NASCAR season is a huge achievement.”

The results from Le Mans were as follows:

1              51           Cheever III Eddie (J)
2              24           Kumpen Anthony
3              12           Gabillon Frederic
4              2              Vilarino Ander
5              32           Leinders Bas

As the Le Mans leg drew to a close we felt a little disappointed knowing that we wouldn’t see the high-speed racing spectacle again till next April – something we are already very excited about! All in all it’s been a fantastic season and we look forward to supporting NASCAR again in 2015. 

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Race Report:Enduro World Series 2014 Round 7 Finale Ligure

After a gruelling weekend of racing, Martin finished 13th and Dan 16th – enough for Martin to be placed 10th in the season overall.

Saturday was a beautiful day in Finale as Dan and Martin lined up with over 500 riders for the climax of the 2014 season.

Stage 1 of the Pianarella Trail was relatively short at 2.5km, but it was tight and technical, and soon claimed its first victim when Damien Oton crashed in the middle, losing valuable time.
Martin rode responsibly, finishing the stage in 17th (4.29.11) - just 10.23 seconds back from Fabien Barel who claimed the stage in a sensational start to his comeback from injury, having fractured his spine at Round 1 in Chile.

Dan began steadily, as he tends to do, and finished the stage in 32nd place, 4.36.03, 17.15 seconds back.

Stage 2, Neanderthal started with a pedal section and ended with a toboggan run. Martin Maes allowed himself a little more freedom and finished the stage in 4th place with 4.46.44 (+3.25 back from stage winner Joe Barnes) and Dan moved up the ranks to take 11th on the stage with 4.59.56 (+6.57).

Stage 3 featured pedalled sections and exposed technical sections. Yoann Barelli took the stage in 4.42.35. Martin had another steady run to finish the stage in 16th 4.52.89 (+10.54) but Dan found the trail really awkward, finishing 45th, 5.06.56 (+24.21).
Stage 4 is one of the steepest and most technical in Finale - much more to Dan’s taste. He finally found his flow and finished the stage in 10th with a time of 5.02.26 (+7.07) and Martin came in 13th with 5.03.64 (+9.08).

Dan commented: “A lot of riders - myself included - came to Finale, expecting the fast rocky stages that it’s famous for, but instead it was slow, tight and gruelling. I found it really hard to find any flow or to get into a rhythm apart from the final stage.”

Day 2 started with a brutal two and a half hour liaison to Stage 5, Cravarezza. Dan rode steadily but struggled to maintain speed. He finished 31st on the stage with a time of 4:27.69 (+10.51), Martin had a crash and finished 59th on the stage with 4:33.21 (+16.03).

Another pedalled liaison led to Stage 6, the longest SP in the history of Finale Enduro. This was Dan’s favourite stage of the race and he finished 9th for the stage with 14:57.26 (+ 15.84). Martin wasn’t far behind with 16th for the stage 15.05.83 (+24.41).

Dan said: “The final stages of both days have been by far the best for me. The last stage was pretty motivating after a year of injury and the focus on filming that I’ve had for the last couple of months. I’m more keen than ever to start training for next year.”

Martin said: “That’s not the end of season that I was looking for but I’m glad that the season is done now and we will have chance to rest – it’s felt like a long time, both physically and mentally. As I say, I learnt so much this season and will be back way stronger that’s for sure. It’s great to see Dan back strong even after two months digging. I think next year is going to be a good one for us.

Martin ends this season in 10th place in the Overall Classification – not so shabby for a Junior still 17 years old! 

1 Fabien Barel
2 Jared Graves
3 Damien Oton
13 Martin Maes
16 Dan Atherton

Thursday 2 October 2014

2014 ISAF World Championships - Bronze Fleet

Bronze Fleet …

The heading pretty much sums out how we performed at the 2014 ISAF World Championships, but there is a story with it…

It was a difficult start to the week for us; after just three races we had picked up a UFD (over the line disqualification) and also failed to finish another race after breaking two tiller extensions within about 40 seconds of one another. When the second tiller broke, we both knew at that point it was the end of our hopes of not just winning or medalling at the worlds, but simply gold fleet. It was quite hard at that point to find the motivation to get back on the water and carry on racing, but we did not want to just give up . . . so we kept fighting. 

We got it wrong again in the next race - this time someone crashed into us at the top mark. We got rafted up and were then back in last. Things really were not going our way, but again we had a chat and waited on the water for the wind to play ball before getting one last race in the qualifying series. 

At last we got our acts together, started well, raced well, went fast and pulled in a 2nd. We had quite the score card at that point . . . UFD,20,DNF,33,2  . . .suffice to say letters are not ideal!

Bronze fleet. To race or not to race was the question. We have seen this happen to top teams before and most of the time they just go home. After a long chat, we decided we wanted to go and race, learn what we could and also go out to enjoy racing. After a hard four days and we were not exactly having the best fun, but we were not alone. 

We set ourselves a target to win every race, which is quite a big goal even in bronze fleet. We were not the only casualty of a tricky qualifying series, so we were joined by some of our friends who were also normally in gold fleet. As it turned out bronze fleet got the best of the conditions, with some awesome racing in the harbour just in front of a packed grandstand. Over the next seven races we won six, only coming 2nd in the other - not quite achieving our goal, but we had a good time, sailing well together. It was much nicer racing, away from the shore, in our own world, striving towards a gold medal no matter what was thrown at us. 

There is no doubt we made some big errors, which we must learn from to come back stronger and compete once again at the top. We have a solid plan in place with our coach and after what was, and potentially still was, our best year - medalling at the Europeans, Test event, Palma World cup and winning the Delta Lloyd Regatta, but it’s not over yet! We still have three regattas left to go; two in Rio including the South American’s and Intergalactic’s followed by the World Cup Sailing Final in Abu Dhabi. 

Right now we are chilling out - enjoying a little holiday before getting back into training on Friday.