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The Month That Quickly Deteriorated...

Good afternoon. I hope you are all well, and everything is going well for you.

September was set to be a very exciting and adventurous month - a month which would see me compete in the London To Brighton Off-Road Cycle race, Bathurst 1000km and return to Uni for my final year - but it wasn't to be.

Despite the Artemis rocket failing to launch (due to later in September), the first four days of September weren't overly bad. A Year ago, on the 3rd September I headed off to Scotland with a friend - and saw the one and only road/street in the UK that bears my family name. (located in Sheffield). This would start a two-week holiday.

Previous Blog:

Scotland Blog (Pt. 1) (Sept. '21):

29th August, 2022

Arrived back in the UK after a week in Madeira

30th August, 2022

Rest Day (I had been pretty flat out since the 14th August):

- 5 Days on the mainland (since 1st August)

- 2 Rest Days

- 6 days helping Felix (starting on the 14th)

- Le Mans 24hrs on the day after I got back home

- 7 Day holiday in Madeira (Relaxing, but also we went out and did stuff)

I'm not mad, I'm split - I like having things to do, I like being busy, I like being out and not just sitting on my a*se - I like having things to write in my calendar and seeing my friends.

But at the same time, I'm human too and have my limits and can/do get tired.

I suppose, I'd rather stay a month away from home because I'm busy and have got things to do then spend a month at home, twiddling my thumbs.

31st August

Robin's Taxi Service is back in action and I go shopping with a close mate.

1st September

Visit my other friend for the first time since my holiday and since she gave birth.

2nd September

Had my hair cut for the first time since...2001.

3rd September

Visited friends' relatives/family

4th September

Had Pizza with a mate before heading back to the Isle Of Wight (for Week 13). Saw lots of nice cars including a Lamborghini Diablo. Apparently it was the "Shere Hill-climb" but I didn't have the first clue where they were holding it. (not in Shere weirdly enough).

5th September

Not overly sure what happened. Waited for Week 13/worked out what series were running and what the schedule was (no more official announcement).

6th September

Midnight. Another season comes to a close - season championship winners are crowned, and a new week of chaos begins.

Usually Week 13 is split into two sections - Tuesday, when Week 12 ends and a few Week 13 series start, and Wednesday, when the new content is added and series that "test" this new content is added.

In all honesty, the content this Week 13 was a bit...lackluster. One car and two tracks. Specifically, it was the Porsche Mission R which isn't even in production/racing yet, but alas - a small content release this time hopefully means something (big?) is in the works.

With very few series of interest running during Week 13, I ran with the only car/series I knew I'd enjoy: The Ferrari GT3 Challenge.

There was a GT3 series (utilising all of the GT3 cars), however this was on a repeated loop of the two new tracks - Oschersleben and Rudskogen - and I was looking for a slightly more "varied" schedule.

My Week 13 went something like this:

After a surprisingly successful Le Mans 24 Hours (finishing 7th in GTE class) I was left on 1176 iRating.

Day 1/7 (Le Mans) - Tues 6th September | 11:15am | 😊

Week 13 could not have started better with a 5th place finish at Le Mans - from 13th on the Grid.

Granted, this was due to a monumental pile-up through the Porsche Curves wiping out a good portion of the field ahead of me (almost including me), but it was certainly the start to Week 13 I needed.

Day 2 (Spa Francorchamps) - Weds. 7th | 11:45am |

Wednesday came along, and there was still no unofficial/fun series that tickled my fancy/interest - and it appeared that only the two tracks and the Porsche Mission R were to be released that Week 13. Tough Shit.

As for the race...I couldn't have asked for a worse "weekend".

After qualifying 4th, I knew I just had to keep it together, and I was on for some serious iRating gain - hell even a podium was on the card- Oh, wait, hang on, what's that? What's happening? Why's he pitting?

Yup. From the second row of the grid - my best qualifying since...July and I jumped the start and threw away any chance of a good result.

In order to get a better start, I usually rev and hold/pull the up-shift paddle halfway/three-quarters of the way. (less distance for it to travel when the lights go out/less time/better start) - but I must have got too excited and pulled it too far, initiating Gear 1 - meaning a jump start by the smallest of fractions - and as I stopped as soon as the gear changed, the advantage gained (from launching early) was so minimal that I could have served the penalty by slowing down, waiting on the grid an extra second or two or even got out and done a silly dance - but no, they wanted me to do a stop-and-go, so I did so.

I emerged in 20th and finished 19th. The only reason I continued was for damage limitation purposes (iRating)

Day 3 (Road Atlanta) - Thurs. 8th | 1:45pm | 😊

Road Atlanta was a good race. Or at least...I think it was a good race.

I qualified 9th. Through others' misfortune, I climbed up into the top 5. Honestly, I think I was happy where I was, but there's always a competitive side of me that thinks "it would be SUCH a shame if those two battling cars ahead would crash each-other out."

Up until the penultimate lap, I was on-course to finish 4th. Miraculously, on the penultimate lap, the car in 3rd, and 4th (passed me earlier on in the lap) both had a nightmare at the final chicane.

I'm not sure what happened - but both had separate incidents - previously-3rd ALMOST reversed into me (don't know how he didn't hit me, but in avoidance, I cut the final chicane, overtaking the recovering 4th place car.

I felt bad for overtaking him (off the track) so attempted to give him the position back - little did I know that 4th then spun/crashed out at the final corner, and I had just given the car in 5th (who didn't get involved in any of this) 3rd position.

Yes, I had a slow-down penalty, but I could have made it a lot more challenging on him (hence the loop-the-loop analogy - I COULD have scored a podium, but at the same time, what if those ahead of me hadn't crashed? I'll take 4th.

The Month Deteriorates

Up until this point, despite SOME Week 13 happenings, I was enjoying September fairly much - I gained good iR (and admittedly lost it again, but knew there was always a chance tomorrow), saw my friends again after a hectic August and it was almost time to go back to Uni...but something was about to go horribly, horribly wrong.

Day 4 (Rudskogen) - Fri. 9th | 10:15am |

Day 9, or Friday 9th September, 2022 was the first sign that there was something "not quite right". Usually when not in iRacing, my wheel is in "limp" mode, or the default setting/free-roam mode - since no sim is open, there should - and usually is no force on the wheel, meaning it's basically in it's "off" setting/position (same setting as when the PC is turned off.

This time, I noticed that the wheel was heavy - almost as if someone had turned off power steering - or the wheel thought it was in-sim.

Even more peculiar, when I went over kerbs, I felt no vibration. I restarted my PC/Logitech G-HUB - but the problem appeared to continue - so I ran with it...for the metre of the race I competed in before being pinned to the pit-wall with a fellow competitor underneath me.

I had the meatball flag (repairs required) and called it quits from there.

Back to the low 1100's I went.

Day 5 (Twin Ring Motegi) - Sat. 10th | 12:15pm | 😐

All things considered, Twin Ring Motegi wasn't a half bad race. I qualified 8th and finished 6th. I think my biggest "gripe" with the race was that it was rather "boring" - the cars ahead scampered away (as this is my least favourite circuit on the calendar), and the cars behind either didn't attack me, or overtook me and scampered away.

In writing this blog, I quickly found out why. The race was the only split running (at that time slot) - meaning everyone - from the highest iRating driver, to the lowest were squished together in the same split. 15 entered, and to make it an official event, you need 8+ drivers - which in this case would not have worked for an equal grid.

1st - William Macintyre - 6918 iRating

2nd - Christian Seitz - 5764 iRating

3rd - Daniel Handover - 4808 iRating (yes, the BTCC and MOFO Racer)

4th - Maxim Rehem - 1162 iRating (gained +75 iR as a result of race)

5th - Jye Cowling - 1121 iRating (gained +63 iR as a result)

6th - Robin Truswell 1164 iRating (gained +47 iR as a result)

14th - B. Ernst - 633 iRating

15th - Rookie.

After dropping to 1117 iRating, I was just happy to gain again.

Day 6 (Oschersleben) - DNE

After my race on the previous day, I saw gameplay for a strategy game called "This Land Is Our Land" and I installed it.

Now, I don't know if the problem was present in my E: Drive beforehand, or this installation was all the E: Drive needed to show that there was a problem, but there was an issue installing the game.

Now, I don't know the exact timeline of events, but I think, first of all, I couldn't access my E: Drive, then when I shut down my PC for the night, it took 10 Hours (there, there abouts) to boot up - apparently repairing the E: Drive.

Long story short, I missed when I wanted to race on Day 6.

This "10-Hour-launch" lasted a few days, and during this time I did my most recent race to date.

Day 7 (Road America) - Monday 12th | 10:45 | 😐

The race at Road America, I think perfectly described my situation.

I qualified 13th, not the best lap in the world (okay, last of those whom completed laps) - but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise as into turn 1, P12 lost control and wiped out a good 3 - 4 cars...Had I qualified any higher, I would have almost definitely been a victim.

Unfortunately, this good start (well, luck) undid itself as I gave someone too much room (they were overtaking me on the inside), braked on the grass and had a half spin - allowing pretty much everyone back past. It was a recovery drive from there.

I ended this race with 1186 iRating, which was pretty tragic as I wanted to end on at least 1200 before I either headed back to University, or (foreshadowing), my computer got any worse.

Well. That ended well.

After my race, I contacted my University, and they said I'd either have to completely re-do Year 2, or re-do the courses I failed in Year 2 (plus public affairs)

This combined with the computer issue becoming terminal meant that I had no future (or idea about what I wanted to do in my future) and no PC - meaning no iRacing, no Teardown - all my hobbies and passions lay in behind a blue screen of death. (or an equivalent)

Since then, life has been difficult, but I've been working on it - working on improving it and giving myself SOMETHING to look forward to.

See you next blog. Let's spread positivity.


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