and Katie Milner headed there after some good results at the previous rounds at Oulton Park and so she was hopeful of continuing where she left off.
Snetterton is one of the longer circuits on the championship and so it takes more learning than most, it’s also easier to lose time on than a shorter circuit. You only have to lose a small amount f time on each corner and by the end it adds up to a lot. So testing would be especially important for Katie here as she needed to learn the track as quickly as she could. Her usual driver coach, Adriano Medeiros was away racing at the Oulton Park Gold Cup this weekend so Katie had the services of Howard Hunt instead.
This weekend was over the Bank Holiday so everything was a day later than usual with practice and qualifying on Sunday and the races on Monday. This meant testing was on Saturday. The day started off wet but the track began to dry before the end. Things went well and Katie improved her times throughout the day as she got to grips with the tricky Norfolk circuit.
Sunday started dry but rain overnight and into the early hours left the track still damp with wet patches so conditions were tricky. Katie set out hoping to build on what she learnt in testing but the car wasn’t running quite right and they had problems with fuel surge. Katie had several visits to the pits and so she lost track time while the problem was looked into.
Qualifying was in the afternoon and as Katie took to the track they hoped the problems had been sorted. Sadly they started reoccurring and then the alternator packed up altogether meaning she had to stop. Despite this Katie only just missed out on the top ten and she knew that once the car was fixed she’d be able to fight up the field although this wouldn’t be easy.
Monday started wet and despite the occasional short gap in the rain, it became obvious that it was only going to get wetter. Because of this, the organisers decided to turn one of the day’s three races into a practice session so everyone could adjust to the now soaking wet conditions.
This was useful for Katie both to adjust to the conditions and to check that the car was fixed. Things seemed fine and she managed to stay on track unlike some of her rivals.
So what would have been the second race was now race one. The day’s proceedings had been held up before lunch as the rain got heavier and the race was to start an hour late. The weather was the worst they had experienced all weekend as they headed to form up on the grid.
Katie has always been good at starts but this was one of her best ever as she rocketed off the line. Before the field had even reached the first corner she had already passed three cars and by the end of the lap she was up to seventh place. For the next few laps she battled with her rivals as conditions worsened. Several of her rivals went off into the barriers but Katie kept it on the tarmac. She stayed composed when rivals tried crazy moves past her only to go sailing off the track leaving her to calmly repass them.
Almost unbelievably though, the rain continued to get worse and as the race entered the final couple of laps, the standing water on the circuit caught Katie out and she spun. She kept her head though and kept the car out of the barriers. She was quickly back on track and pushed as hard as she could.
She crossed the line in tenth place, a good result in the circumstances but little reward for such a strong drive, especially her early laps. Hopefully race two right at the end of the day would give her chance to take an even better finish.
By the time the final race got underway it was past 6pm as the rain had delayed the day significantly. This also meant the race time was shortened and there would only be time for six laps.
atie again got a good start but it soon became obvious something wasn’t right.
“I could hear it misfiring from the pitwall.” Said her dad afterwards.
The car’s lack of performance meant she wasn’t able to fight as hard as she did in race one but things went from bad to worse on the penultimate lap when the car lost all power and she had to pull over to retire from the race.
The circuit tow truck brought her back to the paddock after the race, where her dad had a look at the car. It was immediately obvious what was wrong so the only thing to do was to pack up and head home.
“Although it’s been a disappointing weekend, we have still gained lots of information and we can look positively as we head into the next round. I want to thank my dad for running me and Howard for days training! Onwards and upwards!” commented Katie, trying to not letting the difficult day get her down.
The next rounds of the JSCC are at Silverstone on 19th and 20th September. Katie is hoping to get back out there and show what she can do on the world famous circuit. By Marc Waller