We’ve not featured Lydia Walmsley before on Girlracer. Lydia has been racing Karts since 2010 but this year is her first step into cars as she moves up to the Junior Saloon Car championship (JSCC) for the final two meetings of the 2016 season.
Lydia has been preparing since March having driven her first laps in a car at Silverstone. A Citroen Saxo was bought and converted to a racing car during the year and now everything was ready for her debut. It’s over to Lydia…
It was with both trepidation and excitement that we set off for the long journey from Suffolk to Knockhill last weekend for my first JSCC race meeting. My only experience in my new golden Citroen Saxo were track days at Brands Hatch and Donington ten days previously. Test day on Friday started off with bright sunshine but cloud and light rain soon descended upon us. My first practice was tentative but as my confidence grew my lap times were slowly reducing. However, by the end of the third test session Scotland threw all the elements at us with driving rain and gale force winds.
I was praying for rain on Saturday but the morning dawned dry and bright. Twenty one cars were booked in to race but unfortunately a roll over on Friday finished Emily Glanville’s weekend reducing the start number to twenty. My qualifying position was nineteenth on the grid. I was somewhat disappointed but as my lap times were reducing each session I had to be satisfied.
Race 1 saw me nervously line up on the back row. As the lights changed I had a good start until I snatched for second gear but unfortunately went into fourth. A novice mistake! My kart does not have gears so this is unfamiliar territory for me and I found myself slowly creeping off the line at snail’s pace as all the other competitors’ cars disappeared into the distance.
However, I did manage to make up one place and crossed the line in eighteenth position.
Sunday was again dry but dull and windy. I managed a much better start in race two and being in the correct gear certainly helped! I even managed a little overtaking and was much more on the pace of the other competitors than I had been all weekend. Again an eighteenth place finish rounded off the weekend.
On reflection I certainly didn’t set the world alight in my first outing but I did not finish in last place in any race either. My beautiful new car finished the weekend with all panels intact and getting quicker each session and I did manage to only be a tenth of a second slower than the fastest driver in sector three. Considering only a few weeks earlier I was kangarooing around my grandparents’ garden I guess I should feel proud of my achievements.
I am now looking forward to further improvements at Silverstone in October. By Lydia Walmsley