Well the weekend of mixed emotions. Friday practice I was with the super star that is Paul Taft once again. The day went very well with constant and steady improvements throughout the day both in my driving and with the car setup finding a massive 5 seconds from the start of the day to the final session giving me great confidence for the weekend ahead.
Saturday started with a fifteen-minute practice session that I used to do the normal things like scrub in a new pair of race tyres and bed in new brake pads. With this in mind I still managed to be 3rd fastest on track.
On to qualifying, now what can I say about that apart from well…. FAST. After learning to manage my pre-qualifying nerves and following a strategy set by my team I managed my best ever qualifying results finishing with third place for race one and second place for race two. I was super happy with that.
Race one started great with some very close fast and fair bumper to bumper racing with Thomas Ward on lap 1 before he slipped past dropping me to 4th place but not for long, flying through Craner Curves we managed to pass Joel Wren bringing me back to third place. I was still hot on the heels of Thomas going into McLean’s when I managed to dip up the inside taking second place, now time to chase down the leader. Within around three laps I had closed the gap and was all over leader while all the time defending against Joel Wren who had managed to close the gap and was now putting a lot of pressure on me.
This time going into Redgate I managed to pull a hard but fair pass up the inside of the leader and after a little mirror to mirror action I came out very slightly ahead. Now this time going down through Craners in the lead of the race I was forced to defend against some very aggressive attacking moves that sent me out to the right and onto the grass before he managed to get in front of me. As we both approached Old Hairpin off line slightly out of shape and braking very hard I just managed to get round but unfortunately due to a bit of contact between us, the other car wasn’t so lucky. Entering the gravel trap at high speed and at an angle the car dug in and unfortunately flipped and rolled. This incident was found to bring out the red flags and race end, giving the win to my racing buddy Joel Wren.
Unfortunately after a post-race enquiry into the incident, although not malicious I was found to be at fault so had to watch my second place finish disappear as I was excluded from the results.
Onto the second and final race for the weekend. Due to a penalty imposed to me for the race one incident I didn’t start on the front row where I qualified, instead I was pushed back to the third row and started in sixth place.
With a lot of work to do now the race started and as the pack of nineteen screaming Saxo’s entered Redgate for the first time I was clipped from behind and sent into a spin, this time it was me going into the gravel backwards.
After managing to free myself from the gravel I re-joined the track and with super determination I managed to catch the pack and after some good clean passes I finally finished in thirteenth place. The one consolation I can take from race two was the fact that I held fastest lap for a few laps before the race winner Lewis Saunders finally pipped me for it in the second to last lap. Well done Lewis!
All in all, a mixed weekend but I came away with so much confidence knowing I was again one of the fastest on track all weekend and was battling for the win. This weekend has been another very steep learning curve with so much learnt in terms of racing at the front and battling for the lead of the race. Note to myself “pick your moments and be patient”. Now onto Silverstone this weekend.
Once again a massive thank you to all my racing partners Blue Lizard Signs Herock Workwear Fixings Power Tool Centre & Toyotec.