She had a third and a fourth place at the previous double header at Brands Hatch but this meeting consisted of three races so there was even more chance of scoring some good points for the championship.
Qualifying was held on a wet but drying track meaning the circuit was getting quicker and quicker as the session progressed. As the session was drawing to a close, Abbie was sixth fastest but she was on a very quick lap that would put her much higher up the grid but as she rounded the last corner, a back marker was going slowly right on the racing line. Abbie was slowed enough that her lap time was ruined, losing at least two seconds and she was left in sixth.
The first race was later that Saturday with race two and three being held on Sunday. Saturday’s race was later that afternoon and by then the track was dry. Abbie got a great start and as they entered the first corner she was level with two of her rivals as they went three wide along the narrow circuit! By lap four she was challenging strongly for third and at the start of lap five she made a daring move to snatch third going through Charlies. Things were looking great when disaster struck. Going into the quick Gooseneck corner, Abbie ran slightly wide which sent her spinning down the hill. She recovered without contact but the incident had dropped her down to eighth. For the rest of the race she fought back and crossed the line in sixth place back where she started. With Abbie’s rivals Mike Comber and Tom Roche finishing in the top two this wasn’t ideal for Abbie’s championship Roche had actually gone off himself from the lead on the last lap but re-joined and crossed the line in second with a damaged car.
Race two was early on Sunday and it had been raining with the track still quite wet. Abbie and her team opted to setup the car for mostly wet conditions, gambling that it would probably rain again. She again got a great start and ran comfortably in fourth for much of the race. As it turned out the track started to dry rather than remain wet and so Abbie, with her wet setup dropped back from the three cars ahead. But up ahead, Tom Roche, one of Abbie’s main rivals was called into the pits as his exhaust had fallen off, making his car too loud to race within the rules. This put her in a podium position but with her tyres going off she was under heavy pressure from Matt Davies. Fortunately help came in the form of a back marker. Abbie managed to get past them quite quickly but as Davies tried to follow through he was blocked. The resulting delay gave Abbie the break she needed and she broke away to cross the line in third. She now hoped to take another podium in the weekend’s final race. She would be starting third where she finished but as well as having Matt Davies next to her on the grid, she’d also have to beware of Tom Roche coming through from the back.
This time, although she got away well off the grid it wasn’t as quick of a start as compared with the other two races. Matt Davies managed to slip through but Abbie held fourth from a number of rivals. As the laps passed by she looked increasingly comfortable in keeping her fourth place but Tom Roche had been gaining on her. On lap five he made a last minute lunge up the inside of Abbie leaving his braking extremely late.
It was perhaps a bit too late as he made contact with Abbie pushing her wide. With the battle being so close, another couple of cars slipped by at the same time leaving her down in sixth. Although she was comfortably ahead of seventh and below, she was finding it hard to make up ground again as her car was slightly down on power compared with some of the cars up ahead. So, as the laps ran out she crossed the line in sixth place.
Although she had hoped for more than one podium, she had scored strong results in all three races with a great podium in race two. Abbie was mostly happy with the weekend;
“I Learnt lots about setting the car up this weekend and I feel much happier. I just need a new engine now as the car is down on power compared with some of my rivals! Thanks to my Dad, for working flat out on the truck and car the past week making sure everything was ready for the weekend. Also thank you to the rest of the team, my sponsors and all my supporters.”
Abbie’s next race will be at Snetterton in July. It’s a track where power is important so Abbie will be hoping to secure funding to upgrade her engine. She’ll then be in a position to fight right at the front for wins. By Marc Waller