Abbie fights setbacks at Snetterton to find success

Abbie EatonAbbie Eaton headed to Snetterton last weekend for the latest rounds of the BRSCC Mazda Mx5 Supercup unsure of how well things would go.

She had hoped to get more funding after the previous rounds at Cadwell park, to be able to purchase a newer engine in the hope of gaining more BHP. This would help keep her car competitive with her rivals down the long straights of Snetterton. Sadly this wasn’t found and despite ongoing backing from Mx5 City, Oughtred and Harrison and new backers RS computers, she is still racing on a very small budget.

First practice on Saturday morning gave Abbie her first opportunity to find out where she’d be in the field and she was pleased to take third fastest time only a tenth off the fastest cars of Tom Roche and championship leader Michael Comber. Qualifying was later on Saturday afternoon and by now it was much hotter. Abbie took to the track driving absolutely flat out but the hotter temperatures didn’t suit the setup on the car and Abbie was unable to get anywhere near her fastest time of the morning. She was down in sixth place with her slowest time of the weekend so far. Abbie was extremely disappointed, but all was not lost and some great results were still possible, particularly if she could make one of her great starts.

Abbie EatonSunday was race day and Abbie received some more bad news with not much time to go before race one. Her dry tyres were judged to be illegal leaving her to use the only other set of tyres she has, which are the wet tyres with lots of tread on. Obviously wet tyres on a dry track are next to useless so Abbie now needed it to rain or her weekend would be ruined.

As time edged closer to race one things weren’t looking good with bright sunshine across the circuit. But incredibly as she waited in the assembly area the sky turned dark with clouds and as they started to head to the circuit the rain started. As the race started the track was damp rather than wet but it meant Abbie had a chance. She got a stunning start from sixth on the grid and as she went through the first corner she was already up to first place. By the end of the first lap she was in the lead. With the rain so unexpected all the other cars were on dry tyres as usually wet tyres would be too much of a gamble. Abbie spent the first half of the race fighting with Tom Roche with the two of them swapping the lead but then Roche passed her heading towards the hairpin and nudged Abbie on the way past, knocking her onto the grass and losing her momentum. This gave him a gap. By now the rain had stopped and the track was quickly drying. Abbie needed to try and keep her tyres cool to prevent them from overheating.

Her pace dropped off and third place Michael Comber caught up with her. Going into Murrays he made his move but as he went through he drove Abbie off the track.

She recovered once more but Comber was now well ahead. With only a couple of laps to go, Abbie kept her pace up as much as she could and she crossed the line in third place. A great result given the circumstances and Abbie was pleased;

“All in all I’m chuffed to have finished third and looking to the next race for more of the same.”

The second race was later in the afternoon and by now it was looking very hot and sunny again, not the conditions Abbie needed. But it seemed the weather gods were Abbie Eaton supporters that day as soon a massive dark cloud arrived which dumped a huge amount of rain on the circuit. Although it stopped before the race, the track was now very wet and perfect for her wet tyres.

Abbie started well and launched straight into a battle with Michael Comber for second. For much of the race they fought until Abbie got past him heading into Brundle. As soon as she was past she pulled away and had gained a second lead from third placed Comber by the end. Sadly Leader Roche had gained too much of a lead while Abbie was battling and so she crossed the line in second.

Abbie EatonAbbie EatonSo despite everything, Abbie had a great weekend in the end with two strong races ending in two podiums. She also won the award from the weekend for most places gained, her drive from sixth to third in race one was enough to secure that this time and so she had three trophies from two races. Abbie was pleased and feeling positive;

“That was a really wet race, it was quite tricky out there actually. So that’s a third and second place and the most overtakes during the weekend. A big thank you to Oughtred & Harrison LTD, Mx5 City and RS Computers Limited for supporting me this weekend. Bring on Anglesey!”

Abbie had her strongest weekend yet at Snetterton despite her engine and tyre disadvantages. If she does this well with a tiny budget imagine what she could do with a big one!

The next rounds at Anglesey in Wales will be on 9th and 10th August. By Marc Waller

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