2022 Season
2022 was the year when we hoped that we would finally have the Force and L8 Suzuki engine running reliably and competetively at last. Over the winter Cougar engineering had discovered that the gearbox issues had extended to the scavenge pump in the dry sump so a new one had to be sourced from XLR8 in Vancouver. The cooling (oil and water) problems had been further investigated and addressed with twin oil and water radiators in each sidepod so we headed into the season with some optimism.

The Year:

March: A brief tests at Llandow confirmed that we could run multiple laps without problem - at last!

April: April 2/3 to Anglesey. Day 1 was on the National circuit and started wet. I wasn't really prepared and spun in practice and again in T3 as it dried out leaving me with a poor 61.22s best and not feeling at one with the car. Chris J, however, was going really well and a pair of Run Off fourths and a new class record was a tremendous result. Day 2 on the International circuit began with frost and very cold temperatures so, being first out, I decided to withdraw so we could concentrate on Chris J who promptly had a spin on Run Off 1. Chris P had been studying the telemetry and discovered that even in the low air temps the inlet air tems were sky high meaning we were losing significant power so we decided to run without the engine cover. Chris J more than made up for his earlier spin in Run Off 2 with a shared third place and a new class record. A fantastic result.

June: Pembrey 4/4 June. Day 1 was warm and dry but I was still lacking confidence behind the wheel. A last minute change in track layout (to the club circuit) caught me out in practice and didn't help. With only two timed runs possible a 126.52 wasn't very inspiring. Chris J spun on the only Run Off although he had set a new class record in qualifying. Day 2 was mostly wet and I had to miss T2 as oil and smoke appeared in Chris J's run. I made it out for the final damp run for a 125.25s. Chris J made amends for the previous day with a 4th and 7th in the Run Offs and a new class record.

Following Pembrey Chris J and Chris P took the car to Triple M for set up checks and a day testing at Blyton. Spring, damper and Belleville changes (all stiffer) were made and the Launch was fine tuned.

July: July 16 and Chris J and I entered the British Sprint event at Lydden Hill with the car sporting a pair of linked oil catch tanks to try and overcome the problems experienced at Pembrey. I had not been to Lydden for many years and it was Chris J's first visit.The track's challenging camber variations, elevation changes and blind apexes was a challenge and, still not having had a trouble free event, taking in all available runs I was still somewhat apprehensive. From a very slow start I managed to complete all four runs getting quicker each time ending up with a ,still slow, 76.19s but progress at least. A hot day so we were still suffering high air inlet temps (50c and above) and problems fitting new tyres as the OX wheels were fouling the rear wishbones restricted Chris J to an 8th and 9th in the Run Odds and under the old class record. But only second fastest 1100.....July 23rd and Chris P and I entered Dick Mayo Sprint at Combe, both intent on trying Launch for the first time (because it uses traction control and this makes manual starts impossible to spin up the rears). Running second with warm tyres my 64ft times were 1.80, 1.80, 1.82, 1.82 and 1.83s Wow! Chris P worked hard on his telemetry and worked down to the high 57s, winning the class and and 8th overall. I took it easier (i.e dong what I was comfortable with) and worked down to a 59.99s run for tenth overall and quite pleased. August: August 27th and a one day event at Snetterton on the 100 circuit. An up and down day with overheating and oil coming out of the catch tank again which hampered our running a bit. However, I was now comfortable in the car and finding Snetterton quite benign so was able to push a bit more. An 89.34s was good enough to come 5th out of 9 in the class, eleventh overall and beating three of the 1600s. Very pleased.

End of season: After Snetterton, closer inspection revealed that the oil scavenging just wasn't working properly with the scavenge pump being damaged again. The decision was taken to curtail the season and concentrate on sorting out the dry sump and engineering a new airbox/inlet manifold to accept the air scoop and engine cover. Next year.....


Comfortable at last, at Snetterton June '22+

A magnificent 3rd(=) at Anglesey for Chris J*

Picturesque Anglesey, April '22*

+ Kim Broughton
* Neil Lambert

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