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Maiden victory

Maiden victory!

 

Brands Hatch was the venue for rounds 3 and 4 of the Powertec Radical Challenge. We arrived early on Saturday morning and set up base camp for the weekends work, the new truck and awning make life a lot easier and the team soon had everything set up and ready to go. The 20 minute qualifying started at 11:30 on Saturday morning and we were the first car out and raring to go. The plan was to do the obligatory 3 laps to ensure we qualified then start to push for a time. That all went out of the window on lap 2 when I found myself gravel trap bound after pushing too hard on cold tyres (I will learn one day!) I managed to keep the engine running and almost got to the edge of the gravel trap but got bogged down. Luckily the marshal at post 6 gave me a shove in the right direction and got me back on the track. I now had a car full of gravel, I tried to keep off the line and even hit the brakes on the back straight to try and clear the car of its unwanted cargo. I did a couple of slow laps to get the stones out of the tyres then set about getting a decent time. Our best time was good enough for pole position by 0.3 seconds

 

Race 1

A poor start left me in 4th place going in to Paddock for the first time but I managed to get back to the front by the end of the first lap. I then set about putting some time between me and the 2nd and 3rd place cars. I could see them in the mirrors and it looked like they were holding each other up. By mid race I was coming up to the back markers, this is always where it gets interesting. Will they see the blue flags? Will they see me? You always loose time in the traffic. I had to hope that the guys behind were losing as much as me. Once clear of the traffic I could see Jon Ali in his SR3 pretty close behind. By lap 23 he was with me, I took a tight line into Druids to keep him at bay but he drove round the outside – a great move that caught me unawares. With two laps to go I did not have a chance to come back so the race finished with me in 2nd place – My best ever finish but a bit if a  disappointment having led for 23 of the 25 laps

 

Race 2

Grid positions for race 2 were based on the second best qualifying time for each driver. I was on the front row again, this time on the other side with the SR3 of Tom Aston on pole. Another suspect start left me back in 4th place again into paddock but taking Mr Ali’s example I passed a couple of cars round the outside at Druids so was in 2nd place at the end of lap 1 with the SR3 in 1st. We were pretty evenly matched for most of the race, Tom was quicker out of the corners and I was quicker into them so I had to watch him at every corner to see it I could find a way past. We were pulling away from the battle for 3rd and 4th to start with but we began to hold each other up. Once again the traffic made the difference and led to a very interesting moment on the run up to druids. All of  this allowed Jon Ali to close right up as in the first race. On the exit of paddock on lap 21 the lead car slowed for a second and I nipped round the outside on the run down the hill. Back in front! I could see Jon pretty close on the first half of the lap but he dropped back a bit on the second half. I kept the lead to the flag to take the win – Our first!

 

The whole team have worked very hard for this for over 2 years now so HUGE thanks to Steve, Nick, Sarah, Mark, Mark, Martin and Rachael – It would not have happened with out you guys!!!

 

Next Race is at Castle Combe on May 7th