The team was back up to three cars for this round as with no clashing BTCC event, Jeff Smith was able to race his car.
Qualifying was mixed for the team, with Brett Smith in fifth, Jeff in twelth and Jo in twenty sixth. Jo wasn’t particularly pleased with the starting position but with just over 2 seconds separating the whole field she was closer to the front pace than she has been this season.
Things would go disastrously wrong for Jeff as his clutch exploded on the first lap sending him spinning off and out of the race. Brett meanwhile got into a good battle with the drivers around him. Jo was also determined to move forward and she successfully passed Kevin O’Connor and also Steve King. As they crossed the line, Brett had ended up in sixth after running third earlier in the race with Jo in twenty first making good progress from her grid spot and taking another half a second off her lap time.
The other two races were on Sunday with one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. The team had fixed Jeff’s car overnight and so they were back up to three for the start of race two. Jeff got a great start off the line as Brett held his position. Jo didn’t get such a good start this time and she was passed by Rebecca Jackson, the championship’s other female driver. They battled round lap one and Jo came out on top and set off in pursuit of her rivals further up the track. She got up to nineteenth continuing to make progress. Brett was again the best Eurotech finisher in sixth with Jeff fighting his way to eleventh after starting from the back of the grid after Saturday’s retirement.
Jo felt she was really getting to grips with the car now and looked forward to the third race of the day. This time she got a great start and moved forward several places. Up ahead Brett and Jeff were also making progress but Jeff had an off at turn two when a ballsy move around the outside didn’t pay off and sent him spinning off the track meaning he would spend the rest of the race catching up.
Brett was in another fierce battle for third with several cars all swapping positions. Jo, meanwhile was fighting for sixteenth and she was driving the best she had done all weekend, taking a second off her previous best lap during the race. Her battle for position was as tough as Brett’s was at the front of the field. Meanwhile behind Jeff was gaining on the pack and picking off rivals with every lap. Just two laps before the end he caught up with Jo. She knew there was little point preventing him passing and could actually benefit by chasing him up the field. Brett crossed the line in fourth, narrowly missing out on his first podium of the year. Jeff had recovered to sixteenth and Jo crossed the line in eighteenth, another strong finish pulling a big gap on the chasing cars behind.
Jo was happy with how things had gone;
“I’m still buzzing from the weekend, I finished P19 and P18 in race 2 and 3, great progress from where I started after qualifying in twenty sixth, I think I’ve turned a corner with mastering the gen 3 JCW beast; getting to within nine tenths of the lead times. These cars may look cute like a MINI but they are proper little touring cars, because they are turbo-charged and have so much power they are very twitchy and a real handful to control but I’m getting more on the pace with every round as my confidence grows in it. A big thank you to everyone who’s helped me especially Eurotech for putting a great car under me and sports mind-coach Linda Keen for helping me find my confidence again.” By Marc Waller