This weekend saw the Championship opener take place over the 2nd and 3rd of May at Brands. Dad and I arrived at the circuit around 8:30pm on Friday and prepared the car for the usual early start on Saturday. Dinner in the caravan at 11pm and we didn’t know where the evening had gone!
Saturdays signing on and scrutineering took place with minimum fuss then it was time for Qualifying. Despite the car being in the best place its been ever on arrival I am still nervous but its straight out and off we go. The car feels good and the track is a familiar one so its off we go. Unbeknown to me at the time Paul Bryson and I swap lap times several times and we end up with me 1.03 and Paul 1.04 so I just shade the fastest to get in P31 and Paul gets a fastest second lap 1.045 with me 1.047 to get P31 in the second race. This is great as the car is finally competitive!
Race 1 and I get a great start and pass Jonathan and John Gil the new 160 driver but they both get straight back past. Paul then passes too but I retake the position and I try and keep up with John and Jonathan but boy are they quick. I then move into defending and spend the entire race making sure I don’t get wrong footed by traffic and give Paul the opportunity to nip back through. This works for the whole race except for the last lap when I get wrong footed by traffic through Clarke Curve and lose momentum and Paul gets through to take the chequered flag! So fourth and last in class but at least the car is good and in one piece.
As I sit in the traffic through to get weighed I notice the temp gauge rise so I shut down the engine and manage its temperature through the weighing process. It turns out to be a faulty temperature switch which is swapped with a donor from Chris Boulton (Thanks Chris) and does the trick.
Overnight InCar Solutions come forward with the sponsorship deal we have been negotiating so its up early and the decals are fitted ready for a wet race 2. Two green flag laps because of the weather and we are away, again a good start with a little wheel spin but I keep up with Jonathan and Paul is in hot pursuit once more. John pulls away and Paul, Jonathan and I carry on tussling finally after a few tries by myself Jonathan over eggs it at Druids and slides off and Paul and I go through. Paul then gets past me and we fly off, then the Safety car is out so we line a stern for two laps and away once more. No sign of Jonathan in the rear mirror but I spot John’s 160 in the gravel at the bottom of Paddock Hill and the SC is out once more. As I head up to Druids the drivers wiper flies off and Dan is getting frustrated behind me in his 170 but I just don’t have any grip in the bends. The SC is in an we complete two more laps to come home second behind Paul, as we pass the start/finish straight I spot Jonathan in the gravel at the top of Paddock Hill.
The car was kissed a few times but other than a lost wiper blade there is no damage. Well done on a successful weekend, and its not long to Donington.
P.S A note to thanks to Ian Boulton for supplying me with a spare Toyo