12th Apr, 2016 ‑ Car Features 

Back from the brink

article image

With seven days until the first rounds at Castle Combe, Mini Se7en newbie Dom Burger booked in for a test day to learn the ropes in his ex-Paul Spark car.

Unfortunately that didn’t go quite as Dom had planned, the car oversteering off the circuit at Camp Corner in a bid to become a Mini shorty.

Dom was OK thankfully, but the car less so. The whole rear end had been caved in, with the shelf, boot floor, rear wings, and rear panel taking the brunt of it.

These cars are built to be as safe as they are fast, however, and the extensive rollcage saved any further damage to the car.

“I’ve watched the Go Pro footage back and it was a simple rookie error of not keeping my foot on the gas through the turn,” says Dom.

“I’d been dropping down a gear into third all day at Camp Corner, then tried taking the corner in fourth. I dabbed the brakes but didn't get back on the power quick enough, which caused the back to swing out.” 

“Obviously I should've corrected it by stamping on the accelerator,” Dom continues, “but this felt completely counter intuitive, despite being told this is how Minis handle! 

“In a way I'm glad it has happened early, as hopefully I’ve learnt my lesson and the extremely knackering week that ensued I don't want to repeat any time soon…”

80 hours of labour followed to return Dom's car to a race worthy state again, and if you recognise the bootlid, it's because fellow west country Se7en racer Julian Proctor came to the rescue.

"Big thanks go to Julian who sorted me out with a new bootlid, bumper, light clusters, and boot floor," says Dom. 

"I spent a long time checking all the wheel and chassis alignment, which luckily were not affected by the crash, as the rear of the shell took most of the hit." 

The repair costs came to £230, minus the £60 Dom saved by selling the remainder of the donor shell on to help another Mini owner.

"I've made some minor tweaks to the toe settings since, which might suit my driving style a bit better," says Dom. "I think now it's just a matter of driving the car as much as possible and learning how to control it when its sliding around in the corners."

Good luck Dom - we'll see you at Brands Hatch this weekend.  

<< Back to Features