She was determined to leave the Hampshire circuit still holding that lead but the fastest road circuit in the Uk and two tough races stood in the way of that goal.
She had tested at the circuit a few weeks previously and with what she had learnt felt confident that she’d be on the pace.
But as she headed out for qualifying something seemed to be wrong. The car just didn’t have the performance that Jo was expecting and she found she could drive flat out into corners where she should need to brake. But with such a short session, there would be no time to fix anything so she went for a time anyway. Initially she was reasonably high up but soon started dropping down the order. Something seemed to be seriously wrong so in the closing stages she pitted only for the engine to fail just as she entered the pits.
With the engine failed and race one only hours away, there was no time to replace the engine and race that car. Fortunately the team had a spare car with them for this weekend and if all the other drivers agreed, she’d be able to race that.
This is where being popular pays off, Jo certainly is and everyone agreed she could race the spare car. She would have to start from the back of the Super mighty mini grid but at least she’d be racing.
The first race was on Saturday afternoon and Jo made a good start. The two cars in front started battling each other and so didn’t leave much room to get past. After a couple of laps, Jo found a way round both but the rest of the cars had pulled a bit of a gap.
Jo wasn’t in a mood to be foiled and put on a charge to catch the pack which she did in only a few laps. She then cut her way through eventually moving into a fight for third.
On the next lap disaster struck when she was forced off the track at Church, the fastest corner on the circuit. Jo somehow managed to hold the car from crashing but she had a massive slide which dropped her back down the order once again.
With a mixture of adrenaline and anger, she again fought her way back taking fifth position by the time the chequered flag came out. Her charge from the back had also got the fastest lap of the race by a decent margin, showing she could have won the race had things worked out differently.
Race two was almost 24 hours later. This time she would be starting further forward in fourth due to the reverse grid. She got a good start to run third in the early stages. But a rival once again caused her to run wide. Not at Church this time but the loss of pace was enough to drop her down the oder in the super competitive field.
She again fought back up to fifth and was right behind the top four who were close to running four abreast at times. Things were incredibly close but Jo’s car seemed to be slightly lacking the pace she had in race one and although she was able to hang on to the pack, she couldn’t find the extra pace to get back to the top three. She took fifth once again and when the team examined the car post race it turned out to have a carburettor vacuum pipe split which explained the drop off in pace.
Despite her misfortune this weekend, Jo still leads the championship which was her main goal of the weekend so even though she didn’t get a trophy this time, she could be happy with her efforts particularly as both results were due to factors outside her control.
“Wow that was some race on Saturday but I finished fifth with fastest lap from the back of the grid, Including a huge sideways off at Church, an unfamiliar car and 29 degrees heat It was a Rather frustrating second race today, I didn’t quite have yesterday’s pace with a carburettor vacuum pipe split but I’ve managed another fifth which was enough to keep my championship lead! Thanks to Icon Autos Limited, Ball trucking Atherstone, Jeff, and all the team, it’s been a great weekend!”
Said Jo afterwards
Jo’s next races are due to be at the Mini festival at Brands Hatch in August. By Marc Waller