The opening rounds of the MR2 Championship had taken place on 22 April at Donington, one of my favourite circuits. Unfortunately work commitments meant I couldn’t make it and so Silverstone was my first MR2 Championship race of 2019. We had finished 2018 on a high with 2 top ten finishes at Snetterton, the last round of the Championship and I was wanting to build on this success over the coming year’s racing.
Qualifying was really encouraging, if not somewhat surprising! I felt as if I was going really slowly but was delighted to have earnt 10th place on the grid out of 42 cars, only 0.7 of a second separating me from 6th place.
Unfortunately Race 1 did not go to plan; I had a poor start losing 2 places. Instead of settling down and finding my pace, I was too eager to regain lost ground, out braked myself at Becketts, went off the track and by the time I had collected the car together, rejoined last. The next few laps however, were great fun as I managed to regain lost ground working my way through the back markers.
Unfortunately disaster struck shortly thereafter. I had a good run out of Copse managing to get up the inside of a competitor (Car no 19, a white Mk3) on the exit. He started to lose the back end of his car, panicked and lifted, which was the worst thing he could have done. His car rapidly rotated into a spin smashing into my front left wing. This knocked my car out of control and I helplessly sat there as I headed to the inside barrier at about 70mph. The impact ripped a hole in the offside front tyre, smashed the front wing and buckled the main chassis front member to name but a few issues. It was off to the paddock on the back of a lorry; the car wasn’t going anywhere. However, the damage was no obstacle to VehicleRepairs2U mechanic Dave Jacobs – he spent a few hours working on the car and miraculously I was out for race 2!
Starting position for Race 2 is based on the quickest lap time achieved in Race 1. Given that I was in traffic for the whole of Race 1, I didn’t manage to get a great lap time therefore started on row 11 in 22nd place. It had rained prior to the race and the track was wet and greasy. I had to overcome the fresh memory of my unwanted rendezvous with the crash barrier and decided to take it easy for the first half of the race. This tactic seemed to do the trick and I eventually finished 16th out of 40; not quite the top 10 result I had wanted but nonetheless it wasn’t too shabby given the circumstances.
Arriving home after the race I had a long hard think about my involvement with the MR2 Championship. Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the close racing, I was becoming increasingly disillusioned with the amount of avoidable damage that was going on; the latest episode being the closest I have come to having my car written off. I had participated in a number of Roadsport events last year and found the etiquette far more to my liking so the decision was made to withdraw from the 2019 MR2 Championship and take up Roadsports instead.