Lydia Walmsley shines in her Saxo at a sunny Silverstone

Waiting to race (Photo by Marc Waller)

Waiting to race (Photo by Marc Waller)Co-incidently, Lydia Walmsley runs number 82, the same number as former BTCC driver Fiona Leggate who scored the best ever result by a female at Silverstone in 2005 when she took fifth place.

Silverstone was the venue last weekend for Lydia to start her first full season in the Junior Saloon car championship (JSCC), where young drivers start on a career path which could take them to the BTCC.

Lydia had entered a couple of rounds in 2016 but this would now be where her JSCC challenge would properly start.

First up was the Friday test session and here she could learn the track and reacquaint herself with her Citroen Saxo. It was also an opportunity to work out where she might be in the field this season. As a relatively new driver amongst several who have been racing the cars for a while, anywhere around the top half of the field would be a great result.

Lydia was helped by instructor Joe Tanner during the test sessions but once the weekend got underway properly she would be on her own. Things went very well in the test session and Lydia found her times were not just competitive but she was up with the front runners, drivers far more experienced at racing the Citroen Saxo than she is. She was now really looking forward to the rest of the weekend!

There was one further practice session on Saturday morning before the competition started with qualifying and Lydia took seventh in this, just half a second off the fastest time. Everything still felt good and so it was on to qualifying.

It shows how much Lydia’s expectations had been raised by her strong performance so far when she was actually disappointed after the session despite taking eighth on the race one grid and a stunning sixth for race two.

She knew areas where she could improve for the race and was feeling confident for race day on Sunday.

Race day dawned dry and Sunny in perfect conditions for racing. Lydia headed out to the grid and waiting for the lights. As they went out she made a great start and was soon passing rivals. She found herself racing with the lead pack who were initially fighting for second. This became the battle for the lead when early leader Drydal pulled off with a mechanical issue.

Lydia continued to fight through the leading pack, lunging up the inside of one rival to take fourth place with a podium almost in site, an incident elsewhere in the field brought out the red flags and Lydia’s fight for a podium was halted. Fourth was an incredible result for a driver in only her third ever JSCC weekend and is better than some previous champions have finished at the same stage in their career!

Lydia was happy and hoped to have another strong race in the afternoon.

She was now starting sixth and as she roared off the line, she found herself in a battle with the cars just ahead and behind of her. They battled for most of the race with Lydia at times making it up to fifth before dropping back. The hard battling meant the lead four got away from this smaller battle but Lydia kept pushing. She eventually crossed the line in seventh, unlucky to have dropped behind them as the chequered flag fell.

The racing was close (Photo by Marc Waller) On the limit in qualifying (Photo by Marc Waller) Lydia was passing people like she had been racing in the JSCC for years rather than just 3 weekends  (Photo by Marc Waller) Lydia was genuinely fast (Photo by Marc Waller)




But seventh was another very strong result and her consistent points scoring over bother races puts Lydia very much in the fight for the championship despite this still being a learning year!

She heads to Rockingham next, a track she is looking forward to;

“I’m Looking forward to Rockingham as I’ve had two test days there recently,one in the wet and one in the dry with the fantastic Joe Tanner! I’m prepared whatever the weather does!”

If she can continue to race how she did at Silverstone it appears that Lydia Walmsley should continue to make herself noticed in the 2017 JSCC. By Marc Waller

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