Winter Strip Down: Rob Harrad #258 – Part 1

The Christmas Coventry could not have come sooner for Rob Harrad. After putting in a strong performance at the Christmas meeting Rob has wasted no time in preparing his self built car in readiness for the 2012 season. The race is now on to get the Stock Car stripped – repaired – tweeked – serviced and reassembled in time to make the start of the season.

But before we head over to the workshop, Rob gives an account of his Christmas Coventry Meeting.

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Rob Harrad 258 prepares for action. Photo Colin Casserley

So here goes my blow by blow account of Coventry Heat 2 of the Christmas Cracker Meeting. Well first off I, like everyone had been praying to the weather gods for a good dry race day. Which we indeed had but, when we arrived and saw how wet and muddy the pits were I feared the worse for the track, but as we all now know it was about as perfect as it could be for the time of year.

We’d made a couple of alterations to the car from November meeting; to try and improve the forward bite coming out the turns. So now was the moment of truth had our car set-up worked ? Right from the green flag it felt like they had and I moved straight into second place behind John Weldon #235.

The car felt real good, really positive right through the turns and giving good bite coming off the corners and I was slowly reeling John in. There were a couple of lively novices out there that needed great caution to pass. But you can’t afford to give up to much speed, and whilst just in front I saw that John was having little trouble with one. I managed to squeeze by, only to have to turn right outwards the fence and off the racing line to avoid his side ways manoeuvre.

Thankfully I’m not hooked up, I’ve avoided contact with both the fence and any other cars. And I’m there in the lead, the cars strong, handling well and I’m given the half way flag and I’m still leading. The excitement starting to bubble up inside, could this be it my first ever win !!!!! I try to settle my emotions, giving all my focus on the race. Then a couple of laps later Scott David’s #462 came a knocking, but as he came past the yellow flags were shown. On the restart Joe Booth #466 was in a bit of a hurry to get past, but as he did so to did Dave Russo #49 and Timmy Farrell #467. Although gutted to lose the lead, I thought just press on, the cars still good and I’ll be ok with 5th place.

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Rob Harrad 258 under pressure from Joe Booth 446. Photo Colin Casserley

Another yellow and this time its Luke Dennis #192 right up my backside so I’ve got to get a good start! but I had a lap down Novice in front, ahh what do I do? Luke sorted it, with giving me a hit going into turn one which fired me straight into the novice fortunately that was enough to hold me in and I was off chasing Tim and Dave only to see them tangle on the next lap which then allowed me to slip by and record my career best.

Third place. I was that chuffed, so god only knows what I’ll be like if I actually win one.

Onto the Final. I start in pole position, get a great start from the green straight into the lead and the car is going as well as it did in the heat. I checked the mirror, not a car in sight. I’m able to keep pressing on as fast as I can. In no time at all I’m already into the novice back markers, and slipping pass them with no worry’s when BANG!

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Rob Harrad 258 in the Final. Photo Colin Casserley

I thought I’d got a flat? The running gear all felt OK. So I pull straight onto the middle, only to find #106 Stu Baker stuck over my rear bumper, damn. Once out the cab and in the safe area, Stu couldn’t apologize enough, but hey that’s stock car racing and we all live to fight another day.

Rob Harrad. December 2011

Over the coming weeks Rob Harrad #258 will be updating F1 Stockcars.com with his winter strip down photo diary.

Part 1

The very first job following Coventry was to give her a good clean.

Next we removed the engine and gearbox, the engine will hopfully be ok as we had it rebuilt half way through last season.

Manifolds, Radiator & Bell-housing removed.

We will take the gearbox appart just to check every thing is ok.

Next job on the car is to remove everything down to just the axles, then it will be taken over to Jones Tanker Services, Who will remove all the bumpers and side rails.

Our first change to the car will be the front suspension: Changing to the 4 link style (a conecting bar top and bottom each side) that is being favoured by a lot of drivers now. See part 2 of the Winter strip down HERE.

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