Quick fitment of a new crank sensor, rush out for some sighting laps and sure enough the car is pulling cleanly up to 7500 every time. Misfire solved ! And Steve Greenalds recent remap really is shining through. The throttle is electric and the engine is zipping inertia-less right up through every gear.
Next time out and its time to start working to a basic pace on which to build. Spa is daunting, a huge wide long fast fast place and the big 3 are just real monsters. I put just 5 or 6 laps together and begin to get flowing. I end on a lap chasing some 380bhp BMW race car. At the beginning of the lap he is unsighted and it takes me over half the lap to get up close. Up the hill I go to overtake but he has some serious high speed grunt so I pull back a safer distance and decide to reel him in under braking.
After a break checking the car over I go out in convoy with Donkey in his honda westfield. We run a few laps together and its clear I have plenty of speed to build up to in Pouhon and Blanchimont. Dave pulls in and I continue for another 3 laps or so. The sun is out, the scenery is just stunning and the car is sweet as a nut, tons of grip, ultra feelsome, fiercely fast and loud and it just settles itself so beautifully when turning into Les Fanges and Les Combes. I'm savouring every second.... its this good and we have well over 1 and a half days left of this ! Without doubt its going to be the best days ever in the Duranail.
No need to cram laps in then. I cross the line and go into a cool down lap. Pottering down towards eau rouge im doing maybe around 80mph maximum. Up the hill and I'm pointing the car over the racing line making a mental note of the track at slow speed. Then out of the blue, touching the kerb on the rhs the car spins outward in what feels like the flick of a switch. The only thought that goes through my mind is that this is most definitely my 2 days over and an early bath. Unbeknown to me at the time I instinctively apply some opposite lock but its way too little and way too late... the spin is way too sudden and far too unexpected. BANG, the car hits the tyre wall but strangley that doesn't really hurt that much and I'm not really that conscious of the actual smash taking place or me hitting my head.
The car bounces back across the track and comes to rest on the racing line of the exit of Eau Rouge, a blind corner and one of the most dangerous corners anywhere. My instincts tell me to get out the car and get away ASAP. An exiting radical could be doing 130mph+ and if it fails to avoid me then who knows what could happen. I undo my belt then start to climb out the cage but looking forward a Honda has risen the crest seemingly fully committed and now I watch chaos unfold as he's swerving across the track in a similar trajectory to my own. By the time he hits the wall I'm almost on top of my rollcage and I now realise he is going to hit me, its only a question of how hard. I have to turn my back on the car in order to leap off the cage but knowing and fully expecting to be hit. The impact is far sooner than I anticipate and before I've had chance to actually jump I get shunted off the top of the car and fall to the ground in the space between the nearside front and back wheels. As the car gets knocked back the front wheel hits my chest. I roll a little then immediately get up and run to the side of the track.
The bad part then comes. 'How injured am I'. I become acutely aware of my body and urgently look over myself. My body is filled with adrenaline and although I feel 100% fine I have no idea how much damage I've really sustained. The doctor listens to my chest there and then in the middle of Eau Rouge which seems fine, I get a lift back to the pits and immediately am told that a caterham a few corners in front of me had dropped coolant all up the racing line through Eau Rouge and was now broken down somewhere the other side of the track.
To cut a long story short I get an Xray at the hospital in Verviers and its 2 broken ribs and a small bit of concussion. My lungs are clear and blood pressure is shipshape. The car is a mess but I feel elated that I'm alright. I wrestle with the stark lesson that you can come to trackdays and always drive well inside a decent safety margin, you can in fact never put a foot wrong... yet on an outlap at maybe 65% of your proper lap speed something as destructive as this can happen. I scan the forest around me glowing in the warm sunshine and its sharply apparent that I quite easily could not have still been here yet everything else around me would have. It felt like I'd been given a token, a spare..... I'd been let off.
I can only say a huge thank you to everyone at spa, posters on various forums and also to those who've contacted me personally or even popped round my house shwoing their concern, sympathy and help. Your warmth is truly felt and appreciated. The car came away form the accident remarkably well and had it been a tintop or something like an Exige then it would surely have been tens of thousands of pounds worth and an automatic write off. The wreckage and indeed the soft indentation in my Helmet, highlights so very well the importance decent safety equipment. Had I not had a full race cage who knows where my neck/head would have travelled to on impact and without my proper FIA rollcage padding my mild concussion could have meant something far more sinister.
The Duranail will be back up running as soon as possible and with a full strip will be better and cleaner than ever before with everything newly powder coated. Stripping down will also give me the opportunity to perform some cosmetic upgrades that otherwise would have been too costly or time consuming.