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Thruxton and Combe race reports

A very busy two weeks

 

Thruxton

 

In the past 14 days we have completed approx three and half hours of racing. We started at Thruxton on 21st/22nd July for the Radical Enduro round. This was my first time at Thruxton and it showed - The first 30 mins of untimed practice were spent learning the track. Thruxton is billed as the fasted lap in the country and I can see why. It’s flat out, 100% full throttle from the exit of the complex to the braking zone for the chicane – well over a mile, with the gearing we were using this meant 145mph. We had 15 mins to qualify on Saturday afternoon; things were going well right up to the point where I lost it. Exiting Church, the long right hander at the back of the circuit I understeered off and on to the grass at which point the car proceeded to self destruct, every panel on the car was broken but at least the chassis and running gear were OK.  Back at the paddock we assessed the damage and decided to try and fix it before the following days races. The team worked wonders, Steve cancelled his evening (Sorry Lynne!). Nick went for Supplies and Mark helped to strip down the car.  It was a proud moment when the car was first on the grid on Sunday morning for the pits walkabout – Thanks Guys!!!

The races where pretty uneventful other than the need to stop for fuel in each race – by the second race were had this down to a fine art and made up time on the teams with proper refuelling rigs. We qualified in 13th overall and finished the first race in 9th place and the second race in 8th place, 5th of the 1500cc cars. As we were the only entrant in the invitation class we got a trophy for both finishes J – given the work the guys went though the old adage; “to finish first, first you have to finish” could not have been more apt

 

Castle Combe

 

So with the car repaired and looking much better it was back to Combe for the next round of the GT Championship. We fitted new front pads and tyres for qualifying and used the hard compound rears from Thruxton (a foolish attempt to save some cash). On the last lap of the session I outbraked myself on the run into Quarry and ended up on the grass, my first thought was; “This is going to hurt” closely followed by “Oh no not more repairs to be done”. I managed to catch the spin and nearly got away with it but just clipped the tyres bending the rear wing supports. Back in the paddock (Sound familiar?)  assessment some Heath Robinson repairs got the car ready for the race. We qualified 6th, one place behind arch rival Rob Clarke.

 

A good start saw me in 4th by the end of lap one closely following Louis Davidson in 2nd and Tony Freeman in 3rd. It remained this way for several laps with Rob closing in. Rob tried several times to go up the left on the approach to Quarry and nearly made it, but not quite. I now needed to guard my lines at each corner, driving on your mirrors definitely slows you down and Rob was right with me as we hit the back markers. Exiting the Esses we caught on of the Class D cars, having been caught out before going round the outside of  these cars I waited for the apex of the corner so I could run up the inside – Rob went round the outside, the Class D car kept a tight line to avoid him and I dropped a place down to 5th. Once past the road block I set off after Rob but our times where pretty close and I could not really close the gap.  The gap to Tony Freeman however was getting smaller and on lap 13 I caught him on the entrance to Camp, as he turned in the Yellow Toyota turned across him, he had to lift so I nipped round the outside, an ‘interesting’ line but it worked. So class B finished Louis 1st, Rob 2nd and me 3rd.

 

Three rounds to go, we are in 3rd place two points behind Rob. It’s lining up for an exciting finish

 

Thanks to all the team for the efforts over the past 14 days I promise I’ll try to keep it on the black stuff for the next few races!

 

Next Race; Snetterton rounds of the Radical Challenge 11th and 12th August