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A great Start

A great start to the season

 

Silverstone – Round 1 Radical Challenge

We arrived for the first round of the Radical Challenge with the car resplendent in it’s new red white and blue livery. Once again we were blessed with a warm sunny morning, perfect for qualifying. As I drove the car from the pit garage (These are huge at Silverstone, The F1 boys must get lost) one of the other teams mechanics came running after me to stop me, there was a huge pool of oil under the car. This put an end to our qualifying session before we had even begun. All we could hope to do was to find and fix the problem then see if the Clerk of the Course would let us qualify out of turn. The cause of the flood was a badly fitted oil filter (The driver had best stick to driving and let the people who know what they are doing do the oil changes). Once this was sorted and the huge mess cleared up I was let out ahead of the Minis in the last practice of the day. A trip to race control resulted in me being allowed to start from the back of the grid – nice chaps!!!

Race 1 - With nothing to loose I pushed as hard as I could from the very start, I made up 5 places on the first lap and by lap 10 I was in 4th place. I could see the class leading car ahead but could not get any closer so race 1 finished, 4th overall and 2nd in class

Race 2 - This was a repeat performance of race 1. The grid for race 2 was based on the 2nd best qualifying times, as we didn’t get out we were at the back again. As before I nailed it from the off and ended up with the same result, 4th overall and 2nd in class.

Not a bad day’s work, the car was great, we beat several larger engined cars and proved all the work over the winter was worth it. Next stop Castle Combe…

 

Castle Combe – Round 1 Castle Combe GT Championship

Yet again we were greeted with a bright, warm sunny morning for qualifying. It was great to get back out on the track at Combe, it is one of the best tracks anywhere to drive and the paddock is a great place to meet old friends and have some fun. Te car was fuelled up and out I went. With 35 cars of massively different performance on the track it was always going to be hard to get a clear lap and so it proved I only got a couple of chances to get a clear run. Despite this we ended up 6th on the grid, a best ever qualifying position.

The warm up lap provided drama and we nearly didn’t race as I couldn’t get the car started for the green flag lap, at the last second the engine caught and I kept my position on the grid. As the red lights came on I suddenly realised how many cars where waiting to try and get past….One of the class A cars stalled on the grid so as the lights went out I had already gained a position. I spent the next 15 laps trying as hard as I could to pass Marcus Pye in the Jade, I could keep with him from Quarry all the way round to Camp but as soon as he got on the straight the extra CCs and horsepower of the bigger engine meant he could pull away. Within 4 laps we were starting to lap the back markers. The challenge was to make sure every time Marcus made a pass I got through as well before the door was shut, it certainly focuses the mind! The signals from Steve on the pit board showed P-5 as the laps reeled off. With 2 laps to go I saw two of the lead cars retired, this put us in 3rd place – now I had to concentrate, not make any silly mistakes and keep it on the road for 2 very long laps. At the chequered flag we were 3rd overall and 2nd in class!! It was great being interviewed on the grid at the end of the race and it was good to get the first trophy of the season. We are now have 5 championship points, the car is working really well and we can’t wait for the next race at Brands Hatch on 21/22 April

 

A really big thank you to Rob Clarke for helping out at Silverstone - he got more than he bargained for - an oil shampoo!

 

As ever Thanks to the team; Steve, Big Mark and Young Mark (Tux)