Last season it proved to be one of her best weekends of the season so she was feeling very confident after her strong performance at Brands where she took a win and a second. With this being her local circuit, she also had a huge amount of support, from friends, family and sponsors.
She showed her intentions immediately with some very quick laps in practice, even the slowest of her flying laps would have put her in the top ten and five of the laps were quick enough to make the front of the field.
She continued to show the same pace in the qualifying session and even losing a time for a track limits infringement didn’t affect things as she again had set multiple quick laps so her next quickest lap was still good enough for pole, as were the next three!
So with Katie in her most dominant form of the season so far, Sunday’s aim would be to take two race wins. Before that, Katie’s British Rally champion dad Jonny would take to the track in his Toyota Corolla WRC giving a completion winner the ride of their life. Katie and her family have been running the competition throughout the early part of the season and it’s been a great success raising more than their target of £1000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Both races were in the afternoon on Sunday with race one at 13:20. Katie got a perfect start and then just drove away from the rest of the field, pulling away at over a second a lap faster than the rest of the field. Her lead was already four seconds as she began the fourth lap and she continued to lap consistently quickly, not giving anyone a chance to get anywhere near! To add to her team’s joy, her team mate Ollie Willmott had moved into second, helping Katie as it took points away from her championship rival, George Sutton. She took the chequered flag with a lead of 3.795 seconds over team mate Ollie Willmott.
Track conditions had changed by the time the field lined up for race two as there had been a shower of rain. Although the track had dried, conditions were not as quick.
Katie made an uncharacteristically slow start and found herself third as the cars headed towards the end of the opening lap. With such a big crowd of supporters cheering her on, Katie was in no mood to let them down! She first came across team mate Willmott and quickly passed him on the second lap. He kept on her tail, hoping to follow her through when she passed the leader, Sutton. She managed this on lap four and Ollie Willmott managed to find a way past as well. Katie wasn’t able to pull away quite as much as race one as Willmott tried his best to hang on to her tail. They were cheered across the line just 0.599 seconds apart with Sutton an incredible 6.953 seconds behind the victorious Merlin International team duo.
It had been Katie’s best performance to date with only her team mate coming anywhere near in the races. She now leads the championship by thirty points with four races to go over two race meetings. Her victory total now makes her the most successful female junior (circuit racing) driver ever!
Katie was understandably thrilled and emotional to have such a good weekend in front of her home support;
“I’m absolutely speechless! A double win and a history making weekend. I've been waiting so long to claim the double win and I've finally done it Thank you to the amazing support who turned up today, I really do have the most amazing family and friends. Also thanks to my sponsors, Nimbus Motorsport, Autocool radiators, Merlin international, Torco, Myprotein and Richardson transport. Without them none of this would be possible.”
The championship now heads to Scotland in September where Katie will fight for more wins on the mini roller coaster like circuit. It’s a track which is new to Katie but this shouldn’t slow her down. Then Silverstone hosts the finale in October where Katie will hope to clinch the championship although it was a round she was forced to miss last season so testing will be crucial as she gets up to speed. With her incredible pace She has already proved she is not only one of the best female drivers but one of also one of the best young drivers in the UK.
One of her targets for the future is the BTCC and with displays like the one she put on at Croft few would bet against her achieving her goal. By Marc Waller