Charlotte Birch and the Silverstone curse

Qualifying was reduced to a queue behind the safety car (Photo by Marc Waller)Charlotte Birch recently headed for Silverstone for the second time this season to race in the JSCC.

Silverstone had been unlucky for Charlotte so far in her career with the front of her car being badly damaged through no fault of her own during both previous visits so she hoped this time would break the curse!

Friday testing went well with her instructor Paul Taft and Charlotte was feeling confident heading into the weekend. Saturday would see Practice and qualifying with both races on Sunday.

Saturday dawned very wet and cold. The Junior Saloon cars were second on track by which time it was soaked with rivers of water running across the circuit. The session was stopped almost immediately by a car going off and Charlotte returned to the pits. As soon as it was recovered the cars headed out again. Charlotte had just done an out lap feeling confident in the rain when two rivals clashed bringing out the red flags once again. With the entire session only fifteen minutes long, they were now out of time, barely before they had even started.

With the on-track conditions now so bad, the stewards made the decision that qualifying wouldn’t be run as a competitive session. The cars would do three laps under the safety car and the grid would be decided by championship position.

With Charlotte going so well in the wet, this was a blow as she would line up eighth instead of a position right at the front which would have been a realistic target had she been given the chance.

Fortunately race day dawned dry and Charlotte was feeling confident as the first race got underway. She made a good start into the first corner but as the cars in front of her exited the bend, two got together and spun right in front of Charlotte! Was the Silverstone curse about to strike again?!

Somehow Charlotte found her way through and although the shuffling around meant she also lost a couple of positions but things were looking good. Sadly it was a case of Déjà vu a lap later on the final corner when Charlotte again found a car spinning in her path except this time there was nowhere else to go and she ploughed into it with a sickening bang. The Silverstone curse had struck again after all!

The car was recovered to the pits and there was a lot of damage. But her small team including her dad, Russell thought that they could fix it. There wasn’t long before the next race so they decended on the car, pulling off the damaged parts and bringing out replacement components from the race truck. Amazingly, just two and a half hours later, a car emerged from the crowd of people working on it, looking mostly like it did before. Most importantly the car was mechanically perfect. Charlotte could race once again. Unfortunately she’d be starting from the back after her earlier dnf.

Not how she wanted race one to end (Photo by Marc Waller) Work in progress (Photo by Marc Waller) Charlotte waits to race (Photo by Marc Waller) Two and a half hours after coming in - it was fixed (Photo by Marc Waller)

 

 

 

With nothing to lose, Charlotte threw herself into the race slicing past rivals from the first lap. As she progressed up the field, it got harder to pass and overtakes took longer but they kept coming. If the race had been longer you wouldn’t have bet against a win but as JSCC races are quite short, it was already the final lap. But she crossed the line in an amazing eighth place.

“It’s been another difficult weekend of twists and turns but that last race was amazing. It was disappointing the weather stopped us qualifying as I’m sure my weekend would have been very different if I could have been up the front from the start. At least we ended on a positive with the last race, it certainly ended too soon!”

“A huge thanks to my team this weekend for rebuilding my car so well and so quickly and Once again a massive thank you to all my racing partners Blue Lizard Signs Herock Workwear Fixings Power Tool Centre & Toyotec.”

Charlotte just avoids disaster (Photo by Marc Waller) She flew up the field in race two (Photo by Marc Waller) Out braking rivals (Photo by Marc Waller) Charlotte fought well (Photo by Marc Waller) Conditions on Saturday were terrible (Photo by Marc Waller)

 

 

 

“Unfortunately we’ve decided as a team to not race in the final round of the JSCC this season. I’m selling the car to help fund my next step into senior racing in 2019.”
“But my 2018 is not over quite yet as I will be heading to Silverstone once again in November to race in the BWRDC all comers race. This will be my first ever senior race and I’m really looking forward to it. Let’s go and break this Silverstone curse for good!”

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