The previous rounds at Rockingham had clashed with the BTCC which meant the Brett Smith was left to be the team’s only representative as Jeff and Jo were doing driving and team duties at Croft. Brett had got a second place at Croft, the team’s best result of the year so everyone was feeling positive going into the weekend.
Friday testing went well and so the team headed to qualifying feeling confident. The weather on Saturday morning was already very hot and Jo found her car handling had changed from testing slowing her pace and leaving her in twenty sixth.
“I’m not sure what’s wrong, it was great yesterday but it just doesn’t feel the same today. Jeff’s car isn’t handling as well either.” Said Jo after the session. Jeff was indeed having problems as well leaving him eleventh on the grid. To make the mystery more confusing, Brett’s car was fine and he took an impressive pole by 0.015 seconds.
The first race of the weekend was on Saturday afternoon so there wasn’t much time to do many changes but the team worked on the cars to try and get them all equally up to speed.
As the lights went out at the start of race one, Brett got a good start to lead with Jeff also making a good get away ready to make progress up the field. Jo kept in front of fellow female race Rebecca Jackson and got on the tail of Steve King. Jo had to be careful as with Rebecca still not far behind, a failed passing move on Steve would leave her vulnerable to being passed by Rebecca. Eventually though, Steve made a slight error, leaving a gap and Jo sliced through in a decisive move.
By now Kevin O’Connor was too far up the road for Jo to catch although their lap times were similar. This left her in twenty fourth, an improvement on qualifying. Jeff had fought his way up to seventh and Brett held off the challenge of several determined rivals to take the team’s first win of the year.
Brett would start on pole again for race two, held around Sunday lunchtime with Jeff starting from his finishing position of seventh and Jo in twenty fourth. With it being the mini festivl, the grid was opened up to the public to come and meet the drivers. Jo and the others spent thirty minutes on the grid meeting the fans and posing for photos. Unfortunately this race wasn’t so good for the team, although Brett still took an excellent second, for another trophy. Jeff had been progressing well until a spin dropped him back to fourteenth. Jo had hoped to pass Kevin O’connor this time to make further progress but he edged away leaving her in twenty fourth again.
The third race was the penultimate race of the meeting held around 5pm. The race was red flagged after the initial start when the two Mini’s collided heavily just before Paddock Hill bend.
Luckily none of the Eurotech cars were involved and once the mess was cleared up the race was restarted. Brett didn’t make such a good start this time and was left fighting with rivals which prevented him from fighting back to the front. He finished seventh, Jeff was a few places further back in eleventh.
Jo had her strongest race of the weekend. After an early battle with Rebecca Jackson, she then finally managed to catch Kevin O’Connor, her target in previous races. She stuck close to the rear of his car but was unable to find a way past during the shortened race distance. She ended up twentieth overall and set her quickest laps too.
“That was my best race of the weekend, I was much quicker and felt like I had made some progress. It’s a tough championship though and I need to keep working at it. It was great to see Brett take his and the team’s first win of the year yesterday. Thanks to the team for this weekend and to all my supporters that came to cheer me on this weekend!”
Jo and the team’s next Mini race is at the Oulton Park Mini Festival on August 20th. Before that the Eurotech team are in action at the BTCC at Snetterton on the final weekend in July.By Marc Waller