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Saturday 16th August

Silverstone GP Qualifying

Slipstreaming would play a massive part at Silverstone as it has the longest straights and really fast corners and qualifying would go to those who managed to time it right and get the tow to get a really fast lap.

Coming out the pits my confidence was high after a really good practice the day before, I followed Gideon for a lap but he didn’t really want to be followed and pulled out of the way – I didn’t want to be followed either so I made a gap and tried to tag onto the back of a JCW just in front.

I caught up the JCW of Webb through Maggots and Beckett’s but he was just too quick on the straights for me to get much of a benefit of his tow.

This was a good boost to confidence though and I kept pushing, All the while I saw the rest of the cooper class in my mirrors trying to get a tow and not be the car leading.

Ricky page was on a absolute flyer after getting a boost of speed following Stoney, he then latched onto the back of me and flew past – must have gained about 6 -7 mph and the ground he made up was amazing, at this point the red flag came out and ruined all our laps.

I have been spot on this year guessing what the pole time would be and on Friday I guessed that it would be 2m39 seconds and I’m sure this would have gone to the lap Page was on.

The red flag was for nearly the whole field being accused of exceeding track limits, this was a really hard line to take as not all the cars had exceeded them but never the less qually was over and I was 6th!

   

Saturday 16th August

Silverstone GP Race 1

I had a good start again – meaning another part of the racing puzzle nailed – but needed to be harder with other competitors as lost a few places that would hamper my 1st and 2nd race dropping behind William Davison (who was just racing at Silverstone.)

I proceeded to have a fight with him and Wakefield for nearly the entire race, dropping down to 9th behind Norman – so still things to work on!

This let the leading train disappear never to be seen again in this race, but getting in behind Norman I managed an easy pass into Stowe. By the end of the lap Wakefield was back in sight.

Loosing places didn’t really annoy me too much as I knew that the race was long and anything could happen, but cars using the parts of the track that stopped qualifying did annoy me as they could use them to gain an advantage!

The Coastal car of Davison was really fast in a straight line and could just drive round people but got caught up in a fight with Wakefield which allowed me to pass them both.

I managed to finish right on the tail of Davison after he overtook late on to match my worst finishing position of the year 7th.

   

Sunday 17th August

Silverstone GP Race 2

Nearly every driver went out on brand new slicks, but starting from 7th I didn’t see the point and my tyres didn’t look too bad from the first race.

With a rolling start this time I was just set on over taking Davison to get back to the real fight at the front and coming out of Woodcote the race was on.

Wakefield came through between Norman and me through Chapel and I found myself back where I was in race 1. This time I found a way past through Vale finding a JCW in front of me!

I managed to pass the JCW through Farm and I was back with the front coopers, this was good as if you loose the tow it is easy to get left behind, but the JCW was back in front and slowing me through Becketts  again I overtook but the gap in front was growing.

Now I had two JCW’s right in front and I manage to get both of them, and another joined the battle 3 JCW’s – I thought I got into the wrong car! At last I was on Wakefield and Stoney. Davison joined in too and ended up pushing off Wakefield and obtaining a 10 place grid drop. I just had to get into the top 6 to try and get a pole position start for race 3 – although I didn’t know this at the time.

Davison was right on my tale and found a way past into the Wellington straight, I pressured him for the next lap and made him make a mistake on the last lap allowing me through, I parked it on the apex of Luffield to make sure I had the position and the flag was out – so happy for 6th.

   

Sunday 17th August

Silverstone GP Race 3

New Tyres please! Pole position with the reverse grid, and a cracker of a start – this is where it’s at!
I flew into Beckett’s for the first time and JCW’s were going every where – I kept my foot to the floor and overtook 3 JCW’s looked in my mirror and I was clear!

I had a few big moments especially through Brooklands with cold tyres but the pit board said -0.4 that meant I was extending the lead – fantastic. I kept pushing even fending off the JCW that was trying to overtake again, I knew the car was faster so held him behind until a straight so he would not hamper me through the corners.

A few more laps and I saw that the cars behind were starting to gain slightly, if they could get my tow then their advantage would see me swamped with 4 cars fighting for the lead – exactly what happened. I had Josh who hit me from behind then overtaking on the grass on the right and Phillips overtaking on the left and Page behind..

I found myself in 4th but kept it tight round Stowe to get back into 2nd, through Vale Josh got onto 2 wheels and I thought he was going over – I should have kept my foot in but a little hesitation handed him the position.
With Phillips on the left page came flying up the inside, the only thing I could do was to try and make his corner sharper than it was and kept him behind. It looked like Phillips missed a gear exiting Aintree and I was back in 2nd and followed josh across the line.

A fantastic end to the weekends racing - and what I’m doing it for; to race with good drivers in extra close wheel to wheel battles. So massive thanks to RBC, Excelr8, Little big Andy and of course Josh, William, and Ricky.

Hopefully brands will bring more of the same and can’t wait to watch it all again on motors TV.

   

Saturday 2nd August

Qualifying Castle Combe

Castle Combe qualifying was a wet one, practice went well and I was expecting to be somewhere up with the front runners but knew that I would be docked 2 places after the contact I had in the last race at Oulton Park

Normally I make a little room to have a few laps on my own during qualifying but was very aware that slip streaming would take a very important role in the whole race weekend.

I left the pits and straight away the JCW’s stopped any idea of following someone around getting a tow. So I warmed up the brakes and had a few easy laps then started to push. Getting the balance right and getting out on the track with out the JCW’s interfering must be the hardest thing about the whole season and those drivers that can balance this can get a few extra unhindered laps in – some thing I have to learn to do!

Castle Combe rewards those who are not worried about the closeness of the barriers to the outside of the track as if you do spin that’s what you are going to hit.

Anyway it seamed to be over really quickly just as I started to enjoy the Excelr8 car in the rain, it felt planted and gave confidence to push. A respectable 5th was achieved which gave me a 7th place start in race 1.

   

Saturday 2nd August

Race 1 Castle Combe

This was fun! Starting 7th I decided along with the front 3 to go out with slicks on the front and wets on the back as the track was drying quite quickly. At the time I was deciding between this and full slicks. And at the end in hind site I think that full slicks were the right decision that I should have made.

I got a flyer of a start after putting as much heat into the fronts as possible and by the first corner I had made my way up into 3rd after Gideon had a massive slide and Phillips was slightly hampered by a JCW.
Being only the 2nd time I have been racing with this tyre combo I was not pushing as hard at the start as I should have been and the front two were pulling away ever so slightly.

Phillips was gaining and the rear tyres were struggling to hold on. This gave way to some great over-steering action, Phillips went through at Quarry and I tried to stay with him. Some places I was faster and some he was faster but I knew at this point that the full slick cars would be going faster at the end of the race.

Plenty of steering with opposite lock made for a fun drive that I was really enjoying and then once Ricky’s tyres warmed up fully I could not really fight to keep 4th. 5th was a good result.

   

Saturday 2nd August:

Race 2 Castle Combe

Now back on slicks I was starting 3rd after the reverse grid mix up, this was also to be a rolling start a combination that was to prove explosive.

Again I managed a good start and held my position but up into the first corner I could see that the cars behind must have stated accelerating before us front runners meaning that 9 cars bunched up.
Seeing that I had no where to go I backed off the power early, this was a good decision as 4 cars ended up in the barrier with 2 of them retiring right there.

I came out in 4th position and chased after the leaders – the race was then stopped to get rid of the crashed cars.
The race restarted with me on pole position – result. On the restart Ricky was flying and went into the lead, followed by Creswell then Stoney came from nowhere and flew pasted into 2nd.

Creswell made a mistake and I went up to 3rd, here I stayed pulling slightly away around the circuit until the start line where the tow came into effect and Gideon kept closing the gap making me defend.

On the very last lap Gideon dived through to finish on the podium – I was disappointed not to get on the podium but then again I would have done the same if I was him. This was the 4th time that I had finished in 4th place about 0.2 of a second behind 3rd place and I was determined to get back on the podium at the next race.

The car felt good all weekend so thanks to Excelr8, Andy and RBC who were along for the support. Roll on Silverstone!!
   

Saturday 12th July :

Qualifying Oulton Park

Unfortunately Qualifying for Oulton Park turned into a practice session as the day before my gearbox went putting me out of testing. So still learning another new track I tried to put in a few quick times, but knew something was wrong when other cars were gapping me quite severely on the straights.

I was able to corner with the same speed as other competitors but the straights were a night mare for me I would loose 4 car lengths alone on one straight.

Qualifying 10th and looking extremely disappointed I returned to the garage insisting that there must be another problem as well as the gearbox fault the previous day.

Sadly due to time constrains with having qualifying and 3 races on one day the team were unable to find the fault before race one.

   

Saturday 12th July :

Race 1 Oulton Park

Starting 10th was a new experience for me, and I was struggling to even keep up with the pack due to my issue. But every cloud has a sliver lining and there were cars going off left right and centre! This meaning that every lap I would gain another position – result! I just had to keep going!!

I eventually finished in 7th position and even though I thought the track was fantastic with the undulations, twisting nature and close barriers I think in some ways I was really happy with 7th considering – Plus I knew Excelr8 and my mechanic Andy would get the car sorted for race 2.

   

Saturday 12th July:

Race 2 Oulton Park

I knew the car was now ok as Excelr8 and John Robins from DNA tuning found the issue with the car and Andy fixed it before Race 2 –thanks Guys!!!

Starting in the middle of the pack I set about trying to get a good rolling start, and with the cars power back I tagged onto the mid field and set about some overtaking.

Simon Walton ran wide and I tagged onto Ricky page through ‘shell-oils hairpin’. Through ‘Hislops’ a few cars tangled and I though about making a move – lucky I didn’t as the door was well and truly slammed shut and it may have ended all involved races.

In front Ricky and Creswell were having quite a battle, Creswell got quite a slide on around turn 1 and I overtook on the outside through to follow Ricky again. A few laps later a small mistake by myself allowed a recovering Phillips through after his first round crash, this helped out though as later Phillips and Ricky fighting allowed me to latch onto the back and make a move on Ricky through ‘deer leap’.

I was keeping the gap to Phillips until with 2 laps to go the dreaded lack of power re-appeared, this slowing the car and allowed Ricky an easy overtake. Just as quickly as the power had gone it came back again and once more I set about chasing him down.

The next lap unfortunately through the first chicane I could not slow the car and hit Ricky with quite a force, this damaged my bonnet and radiator and a small amount of steam was seen. My first though was to switch the car off, but I took a look at the gauges and my rear view mirror and both looked good, no overheating and no one behind. I wanted the points so stuck it in 6th and tip toed around the circuit fixated on the temperature gauge.
What a relief to see the chequered flag, I parked it up pleased with 5th but still wondering why I hit Ricky.

I found after the event from reading my data that a few things caused the accident. My data showed that my deceleration was exactly half of what it was on all the previous laps, because the car was not slowing I took too much kerb to avoid Ricky, this in turn shot the car into the air and landed in his boot. I pumped the brake 3 times before the impact but the car would just not slow down. In my eyes this could have been 2 things: pad knock off from the previous corner or brake fade. Either way sorry once again to those involved.

   

Saturday 12th July :

Race 3 Oulton Park

For race 3 reverse grid I lined up 2nd next to Wakefield and bogged down badly putting me into 5th after the first turn. After a few laps I was fighting Wakefield for 3rd place after Phillips went off at turn 2.

I overtook Wakefield in a pretty special move into turn one (proud of that one!) but then started to overdrive trying to catch the front runners, Phillips also went off but with a few laps to go caught Wakefield and I up to joint the most ferocious battle I have ever been in.

First Wakefield overtook me into the hairpin after a R56 slowed were the coopers are normally flat causing me to slow and Wakefield overtake in another good move closely followed by Phillips a few corners later, But then they started to bang door handles and go off roading, I dropped back a little so that if they made a mistake then I could take advantage.

With the laps counting down I noticed that Creswell had started to close in and a poor exit from Wakefield through the second chicane ‘lit the TNT’.

I got an excellent exit and managed to overtake Phillips and drew along side Wakefield – I was almost on the grass and then our cars touched once, twice, three times – I thought I had the corner but then got hit from behind and Wakefield went onto the grass. Phillips went through into 3rd for one corner before I retook the position.

As my wing mirror was bent back I could not see Phillips, through turn two I got a ‘Plato’ tap and fought to keep the car straight, Phillips retook the position and I finished 4th.

Again some strong points for me – and a lot of work for the team through out the weekend.
Thanks to Excelr8 and DNA and ‘Little big Andy’ for all their hard work.

   

Saturday 21st June Qualifying: Snetterton

This went quite well - although I knew that we could only get a few laps in as the track was long and we only had 15 minutes to qualify.
I went out straight after Phillips and tried to keep with him and set a few laps before the JCW's started coming through spoiling our lines.
This didn’t work the JCW's messed up nearly all my laps; it was only on the last few that I put any times in, so was over the moon when P3 was on my pit board
Fantastic - 3rd at Donington, 2nd at brands and 3rd at Snetterton.
I knew I had to make a good start this time and not throw the positions away.

   

Saturday 21st June Race 1: Snetterton

Phillips and Stoney were on the front row and I lined up next to Page on the second. I got a really good start and respect to page he left me just enough room to squeeze through and keep my 3rd place - in fact I was 2nd as Williams didn’t get off the line as well - hooray!
The first corner Golin smashed through on the grass and into my driver’s door so I was down to 3th after all.

A massive crash on the start for Grace brought out the safety car and the yellow flashing lights were on already at turn 3.
At this point a few cars were still racing and were deemed by the stewards to have over taken on yellows and I was down to 6th.

As soon as the safety car was in I set about retaking the positions I should already have, Gideon was really early onto the brakes into Agostini, I braked but could not slow the car enough - I had to overtake. Half way through the corner the door closed and we hit; a move that earned me a 2 place grid drop for the next race.

I kept going and caught Ricky into the hairpin, I made a move - Ricky saw me coming and left room. Golin was miles down the road and it took me until the last lap to catch him up.
I made a second mistake on the penultimate lap taking too much kerb into Murrays - this threw the car onto two wheels and I had to steer towards the barriers to put all 4 wheels back on the road.
Unfortunately this lost me about 1 to 2 seconds on Golin and lost me a podium (although I do have a fantastic picture of it).

I crossed the line right on Golin's bumper for 4th.

   

Sunday 22th June Race 2: Snetterton

 

After race one and all the penalties given for contact and overtaking on yellows; I lined up 6th on the grid next to Creswell.
My start was alright but I got squeezed by Phillips and had to come off the power to avoid contact, this gave the cars behind me a good run to over take into the first corner.
So I found myself having to work hard right from the beginning.

I managed to get inside Poole and complete the pass at Agostini, and then I set about Walton down the long back straight and got a good tow which kept me on his bumper all the way round to the Montreal hair pin where I made a move up the inside.
He fought back and we were side by side to Agostini where I got the undercut and made it stick.

Happy with progress so far I chased after Chris Stoney. The Old part of the circuit was my favourite part it is just much better than the rest, with really fast corners and trying to brake while the car is on the limit.

Within a couple of laps I had pulled clear of Walton and was on terms with Stoney who was fighting with Golin and Creswell. I had a really good run after Stoney overtook Creswell, this is where I found that my straight-line speed was still down as Creswell could just pull away from me.

I also started to have issues with my gearbox -having difficulty selecting any gears, this put me around 2 to 3 seconds down. A few laps later and I was back with them again showing that I had the speed even it the car didn't.

Stoney made a mistake and I overtook into the hairpin, Creswell was having issues staying on the track as him and Golin were beating each other up a little.
I had a good run through Hamilton and Creswell was slow to exit Oggies, a bit too slow I was not expecting his break lights to come on and with my speed difference we contacted
this slowed me through the whole straight and both Stoney and Walton retook their original positions.

Walton then stayed on the brakes too long under the bridge and went into the weeds, I was braking so hard to try and avoid hitting him - in the end I just had to turn as I couldn’t see the corner but luckily I didn’t hit him and didn’t loose any time either - result!

This is where things went really wrong; I went to overtake Stoney again and lost all power then on the next lap lost all gears.
I eventually crawled over the line in 6th then promoted to 5th after Creswell was disqualified.

I was really disappointed with the weekend and the car as I felt that the track suited me and I could have had some podiums.
I just hoped the car would be fixed for Oulton Park. Fingers crossed.

   
Saturday Qualifying: Brands Hatch Indy

This was great fun after a load of oil was dumped on the track in a previous session. It was like driving on glass for the first few laps with every one going slowly through graham hill bend.
After a few laps I found a line where it was not too bad and started to make my way up through the order. My last lap was as clean a run as I had had and was over the moon when the team said I qualified 2nd on the grid.
I was not expecting this as I had only had 1 test here ever before this race weekend.

   
Saturday Race 1: Brands Hatch Indy

After qualifying 2nd on the grid I wanted to get a good start and did manage to overtake Stoney on the way up to druids after he got held up by a slow moving JCW, this meant I was leading the first race I ever entered at brands hatch!
I managed to hold onto the back of the JCW cars and had pulled out quite a lead until I was eventually reeled back in.
With the help of yellow flags through druids I was able to keep the lead until around lap 10 when Stoney found a way passed along with Cresswell.
I enjoyed the slippery track on cold tyres and got side ways on Paddock hill bend a few times. I was really pleased to get my second podium in my 2nd ever race event finishing in 3rd place.

   
Sunday Race 2: Brands Hatch Indy

I started 3rd on grid next to Creswell behind Stoney and page and as the lights went off I rounded the first turn 4th.
Going round graham hill bend one of the Oakfield cars span taking Stoney and page onto the grass on the left and Cresswell on the grass to the right, with the track completely opening up for me to go through into 1st place!
Going through Surtees for the first time this race the back tyres were still cold and the car slid sideways, plenty of opposite lock dragged the car back into line.
The safety car was then brought out for Chris Stoney's car being recovered after contact; this was really disappointing as I had a massive lead in the Cooper class.
Cresswell made a move after a few laps and had a massive slide round paddock, this gave me a run up to druids, the car had been struggling with top end power all weekend and he was able to keep the position.
Phillips was then able to make the same move two laps later as I did not have the confidence round the corner that they both had plus with the cars issue made me a sitting duck!
Because Gideon and Phillips where fighting it enabled me to keep up and have a few looks to overtake, one lap I had a good run but yellows at druids stopped any attempt.
On the penultimate lap going into Paddock hill bend I had a lot of under steer then over steer and went into the gravel, I fought hard to keep the car straight and managed to keep my 3rd place.
After the race Phillips was disqualified for contact with Stoney and I was promoted to 2nd, this was a fantastic result for only my second race at brands.

   
Sunday Race 3: Brands Hatch Indy

For race 3 I started in second place because of Phillips disqualification and managed to get another ok start, Cresswell on pole pulled away as I was fighting off a recovering Shane Stoney and Ricky page.
coming through Surtees for the second time I turned in and Shane Stoney was on the inside which pushed me sideways, with full power and opposite lock I managed to save a full spin and rejoin but a long way down the field.
This was now about damage limitation and I tried to fight my way back up the order.
A few laps later I was homing in on Adrian Norman, A few times I had a run on him and he slammed the door closed, so I was happy in the end when he spun off saving me the hassle, although I am glad he did not damage his car.
I finished 6th in the end so not as bad as I first thought.

   
Sunday Race 4 : Brands Hatch Indy

After a reverse grid I again started 2nd next to Simon Walton a really good start and I was out in front - although as usual Gollin got a fantastic start and was on the inside going into druids. A few laps later Phillips followed suit and I was down to 3rd.
Cresswell followed and I found myself in 4th - the car just did not have the speed of the other cars up the hill to druids and it was found afterwards I had a 4 to 5mph disadvantage no wonder I was getting mugged on this corner.
But saying that this has to be my favourite race of the season so far as the racing for 1st and 2nd involved the top 6 cooper runners throughout the whole race and I was just about mixing it with them.
Cresswell squeezed Williams and Gollin going into paddock which ended up with him in the gravel.
After battling with the top 2 for a few laps Stoney managed to squeeze through again at druids!
Phillips went into the lead and was uncatchable with his new found speed, I found my self in 5th after Page went through - I'm not telling which corner!
Many laps followed where we were all together until the JCW cars come through and ruined my race a little, splitting up the coopers and even tangling with Stoney.
I'm not sure if it damaged his car but I was able to overtake him through Surtees but because of my slower exit speed he retook the position only to get a slide on at druids where I made the position stick.
I then chased after Gollin crossing the line only a few 10th's behind him for 4th place.

   

Thursday 24th Testing: Donington Park

This would be my first ever time on this track and it is fantastic!
I went out in the morning not being sure what to expect or even where the track went, It was sunny and the track was dry so after avoiding the GT cars like Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s my confidence started to grow.
The car was on new suspension and I was soon playing around with the settings to get a dry setup. I started to push and had a few favourite corners where the car felt like it was floating around on the circuit – just what I wanted to carry the speed through.
Just before Lunch I had my first issue of the weekend – the left front wheel sensor packed up and I locked up the front left under massive late braking into the ‘Roberts’ chicane.
I dived back into the garage and Andy my mechanic put on a new one. Back out on track things were going well and I clocked a time of 1m26.626, but as I had no reference I was not sure if this was good or bad!

   

 Friday 25th Track Day: Donington Park

The second day on the track was overcast and rain threatened for much of the day. The car had felt slightly down on power towards the end of Thursday but today was a little worse.
First the right drop link popped out and I went into the first corner ‘Redgate’ fully sideways, thinking I had just out braked myself I continue on through craners onto the old hairpin. Here the car again shot sideways and I just managed to keep it on the track. I slowed for the next few corners but the car would not turn right so I went back into the pits thinking ‘damn I’m rubbish today’. (Or words to that effect!!)
It was only afterwards that I found out the drop link had gone – now I can see there importance!!
With this fixed I was back on track, as the rain was closing in and trying to go faster and faster the track was getting much more slippery. I tried to turn into Redgate and had difficulty and then going through Craners thought that I would keep my right foot planted although I could see the rain getting heavier. This resulted in 4 spins at around 90 to 100mph, working the wheel I managed to keep it out of the gravel and stop it rolling over, clutch down select first and away I went.
It was just after this that I had a few laps on a drying track after lunch that the engine would not rev over 6000rpm; I changed up to forth and heard clunking from the engine. I coasted back to the pits to find the engine had given up.
That was the day over but a massive thanks to the Excelr8 team especially the two Andy’s for getting a new engine back into the car ready for qualifying.

   

 Saturday 26th Qualifying: Donington Park

This was it the start of my first race qualifying, I lined up in the holding area midfield. We set off and I let everyone past so that I was not stuck in traffic or getting put off by other racers lines.
A few laps to gain confidence, especially after seeing one go into the barriers and I put the hammer down. It was all over quite quickly and the car could have had a few setup changes that I was actually thinking of coming into the pits to get a change but time would not allow.

This qualifying flew by and I did not want to think of how much these 15 minutes of my life had cost, I came into the pit lane with the whole Excelr8 team cheering, I did not know at the time but I qualified 3rd on the grid. Still can’t believe this as it was my first time there with people that had raced for seasons.
   

Race 1 Saturday 26th: Donington Park

I had the worst start ever dropping to around 10th, but I did not let this effect me and got straight back on the times and overtook a car a lap for five laps.
Some good fights ensued – even if one driver did not know how to leave racing room pushing me onto the grass, after this trying to get past Grace Williams was great! Even after I had track position she tried to fight back without contact massive respect!
I was catching people so fast that I think I got far too much confidence and going into the Roberts Chicane totally out braked myself and went over those fat stupid sausage kerbs. If I went straight over them it would have been ok but I ran along it as I almost made the corner. This scuffed the sump and put a hole into it. Oil then ran down the car hitting the rear right brake and caused it to smoke. This smoke was a good sign as I knew straight away it was terminal and coasted to a safe place switching off the engine, this saved the brand new motor as the oil light never came on.
Back at the Excelr8 garage they feared the worse but once I explained they set about fixing it for Sunday’s race.

   

Race 2 Sunday 27th: Donington Park.

I stated last on the grid with seasoned Mini Challenge racer Ricky Page along side, I knew he was fast and though if I could tag onto the back of him he could pull me through the traffic. As it was I pulled him through the traffic – everywhere I went he was almost glued to my back bumper.
We were sometimes faster than the race leader even through traffic, overtaking car after car. I suffered major pad bounce causing a few issues with braking going sideways more than once through the ‘old hairpin’.
A safety car period helped out with Gideon going out on cold tyres and having a spin just leaving Shane and Josh upfront as the intended targets.

The run of over taking slowed when we met Simon Walton, I’m not sure what happened but going into McLean’s we hit pretty hard causing my wing mirror to brake off – now I could not see where he was, this slowed me enough for Ricky Page to fly through on the inside. I followed Ricky for a few laps gesturing for him to not worry about me trying to overtake but to catch the leaders, this worked as on the last lap Josh had a mechanical issue and slowed down, Ricky and I few either side of him in to 2nd and 3rd. What a Result 3rd in my second race – I still have novice crosses on the back!!
   

Race 3 Sunday 27th: Donington Park.

Race 3 was a top 8 reverse grid meaning that I lined up 6th, another poor start ensued but I did get away this time not loosing too many places. This was the first time that I ran in the rain with other cars and tried to stay out of trouble for the first few corners.
On the first lap Henry Dupery span and was right in my line through Craners Curves, William Phillips was on my right and I had no where to go, I had to brake and find room to pass Dupery.
The next few laps were taken conservatively and I manage to find a groove to race at the front pace and save the tyres as a drying line was forming. I was playing the long game and waiting to see what happened in front as Grace Williams was seriously struggling.
She went all four wheels onto the grass and on the next corner with yellows out again left the track, Simon Walton overtook and got penalised which promoted me to 5th. This is a shame as I was gaining on both but had issues with one corner which kept loosing me time. I think 4th place was defiantly on the cards!
What a great weekend – probably the best week end of my life - sad that it’s over, but looking positively there’s Brands hatch in less than two weeks time.

   
19-3-2014 Brands Test

Brands Hatch was the venue for my second test session with the RBC-building Mini cooper and the Excelr8 race team.

I had been on the circuit once before in 2010 for a taster with the mini challenge, but back then the funds were not there to do a full season.

I was glad to be on a track that I at least knew and set about getting up to speed with some tuition from Hamish Brandon who was runner up last year.

The car felt good until around lunch time when the increased speed started to show up a little under steer, this was made better with a few tweaks to the suspension.

After lunch I was out in the car on my own just playing a round with the car and gaining confidence with it, although I didn't feel like I did as well as my Snetterton test I was still pleased with my time in the car. Now I'm looking forward to the start of the season at Donington Park on the 26th April

   














13-3-2014 Snetterton Test

 

 

The nice foggy start to the 13th of March happened at 3.30am followed by a 3 and a half hour drive to Snetterton circuit for my first ever proper test in the RBC and Green Group Sponsored Mini.

After seeing the car in the flesh for the first time I forgot how early it was and how tired I felt and just wanted to get strapped into the car! So Steve from Excelr8 adjusted the seat and I went for a briefing.

3 sighting laps then followed and on cold rear tires got it sideways on the 2nd corner the new Montreal hairpin! This showed me two things, 1 the car was easy to control and more importantly that I should let the tires warm up.

Daniel (Excelr8’s boss of mechanics) then went out in the car for a few laps as I had never been on the circuit, or in this car, or on slicks before. He went quite quickly and I just wanted to show that I could do the same.

The Mini had so much grip and was so fast in the corners that I was being held up by a Nissan Skyline although it did feel like the straight went on for ages.

My first couple of sessions I struggled with finding 2nd gear as the box was different to anything I have driven before but after lunch my pace had improved dramatically and I just loved the flowing part of the old circuit.

With heal and toeing into the corners the centre exit exhaust sounded amazing and I could have lapped all day. Towards the end I started to lean on the car a little but felt that there was a load more to come.

Unfortunately we were not allowed to time as it was a track day but a spectator had timed my session before lunch and this would have put me around 6th on the grid for race one in 2013 so slap bang in the middle of the pack.

This news was encouraging as I felt I went much faster after lunch and I have no previous race experience at all. So really pleased with how the day turned out and can’t wait until I am out at Brands Hatch next week with Hamish Brandon.
   
   
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