After Round 8 & 9 we move into 2nd place in class A!
Another round and another track to learn. It was my first time driving the circuit in this configuration although I had been around 3 corners before during the MLR sprint in 2010 in my road car. Very little had changed between the last round and Rockingham apart from just a new set of front pads. I have discovered that they don’t seem to last very long anymore!. I knew the competition at this round was going to be fierce and it was good to see everyone including Steve Linton in his Supra and Ian Froggatt with his new engine after problems during testing at Donington. I only could achieve a 1:32.522 that put us on the 5th row for race 1 hampered a little with the new pads although.
The race didn’t get off to a good start when I hesitated coming into the first corner after darting up the inside of Steve Linton’s Supra which unfortunately let several cars from behind through around the outside of both of us. I was able to take one of the positions back that lap but it was several more before I could take back the position from Ian Craigs BMW. I then set about chasing down the Honda and Marcos of Derek Hale and Doug Ellwood. The sprinkling of rain was the first I had encountered whilst racing and time was lost as I flapped about at 130mph trying to get a good setting on the wipers! After the race, telemetry data was checked and indicated all was well with the car so we packed up for the day and went to enjoy watching some of the other championships racing. We finished the race 5th in class (out of 9 entrants).
The next day we were woken by the sound of heavy driving rain (no pun intended!). Not a good sign I thought and began to prepare for my first full wet race in race 2. Fortunately the rain was short lived and by the start of race 2 the track had even dried out. A slight panic ensued whilst checking the car over a final time when we couldn’t find the top up oil. It suddenly sank in that it had been left behind in error (the oil now lives in the boot of the car!). We asked around several other teams but unfortunately nobody had any to purchase. Luckily we found a Halfords 5 minutes down the road that saved the day with the correct spec of oil!
It was a better start to this race and I was quicker, recording a 1:31.010, although some way off the pace of the leading cars. The race was very intense as I was able to get past the TVR of John Wilson. His attempts to retake the place were relentless however I was able to defend where necessary and was able to stretch out a slight lead when he out-braked himself into the first hairpin. I ended up finishing the race 4th in class.
At the end of the race weekend we are currently positioned in 2nd place in Class. It will be hard to retain but we will try in the remaining rounds.
I would like to thank Mark Harrison (Owen Developments) who prepared the car for Rockingham and the whole of the Owen Developments team for all their support in the lead up to the race weekend; Karen Roberts for all the support, Jonathan Faull (brother-in-law) for race analysis, advising on where I could go quicker for the second race, and other full support; Bettina Gallagher and baby Jake for popping up to watch Race 1.