It was 6am when VR2U Racing teammate Dave and I set out for Cadwell, our ‘local circuit’. Dave was up at 5am to get over to my house; no small feat considering he had been to a charity function and had only had about 4 hours of sleep.
The weather forecast was for sunshine in the morning and the risk of heavy thundery downpours in the afternoon and this is exactly how the day turned out. Fortunately the MR2 races were in the dry albeit with a few spots of rain during race 1.
It was great to have Dave back; we work well together and had set up camp really quickly. There is much to do, especially if arriving at the track on the day of the race; unload the car, set up the awning, weigh and refuel the car, get it through it scrutineering, complete a pre-race check, sign on, get changed into race clothing, receive an official drivers briefing, catch up with what are now becoming familiar friends in the paddock and of course have a brew!
Qualifying turned out to be somewhat of a mystery. I came in feeling very pleased; according to my timer, which is fed from a GPS unit and should therefore be accurate, I had completed a 1.47.49 which would have put me 6th place on the grid. According to the official time keepers, my fastest lap was 1.49.21, putting me 18th on the grid. Having reviewed my lap times against the official times, I think the discrepancy was down to where the timing was taken from. My timer showed the previous lap to my fastest lap as a 1.51 whereas the official time was 1.49. This 2 seconds was most likely the 2 seconds my timer attributed to my fastest lap time.
Race 1. Off to a good start. A spin from the car in front which almost took me out, combined with getting past a competitor put me up to 16th. Giddy with the excitement I was too eager to turn into Charlies before completing my braking and paid for it with a scenic 360 degree tour of the surrounding area 3 times over! How the other cars missed me is a miracle so fortunately only my pride was dented. After some chasing and a number of overtakes, I spun at Park Bend, the second loss of control in this race. An overtake on the inside, combined with a slippery track was the problem which put me in last place (again). Shortly after that the race was stopped due to a car having buried itself into the barrier right in the line of fire. I finished a disappointing 24th.
Race 2. You would have thought I would have learnt my lesson after Race 1, but oh no; I clearly didn’t pay attention! Having been put under pressure by Wayne Lewis, a driver who finished 4th at Donington earlier this year, I lost control of the back end of the car going though Hall bends, spun and hit the barrier. I tried to continue but the cockpit filled with smoke so I abandoned ship at the closest marshall’s post and it was the end of my day’s racing.
I would be a liar to say I wasn’t disappointed with the day especially because I had only just rebuilt the car after the crash at Anglesey and it was looking better than ever. However, I have already started to repair the damage and I will most certainly take the hard won lessons away with me.
Onwards and upwards. Next event is a trackday at Snetterton to learn the circuit before the race in September, as long as I can repair the car in time.