The race of truth – or 2 races of truth to be accurate! Due to the number of entrants and track capacity, previous rounds of the MR2 Championship this year have been split into 3 groups, 2 racing against each other at any one time. Silverstone is big enough to accommodate the entire grid (39 cars) in one go so this time my finishing place would be a true reflection on how we are fairing against the entire field.
Our arrival at the Silverstone garages on Saturday afternoon was challenging. To start with it was pouring with rain (of course!). As we were unloading the car from the lorry one of the ramps became displaced dropping the car’s nose cone onto the tail of the truck leaving it suspended and firmly stuck! Ironically DJ had expressed a concern about relying on the winch alone and was fortuitously sitting in the car in case the winch cable snapped so he was quick to stop the car from falling off the truck’s tail. A bit of head scratching and we figured we could jack the ramp up under the wheel which worked and the car was finally off loaded without further to do. Fortunately there was no damage to the car. However the winch trigger cable had been cut and a hasty repair was required. Cables were the order of the day – our electrical hook up cable was cut shortly after by a car driving over it but thanks to DJ it was soon repaired.
Sunday morning qualifying was in the wet and I was delighted to get 13th out of 39. Some top ten regulars were behind me; it was really encouraging especially as I have little experience in the wet. Unfortunately I had a mediocre start to Race 1 dropping several places after the first few corners but was pleased to avoid any incidents. I eventually finished 14th which was a reasonable result. The most encouraging thing was that I was in sight of the front runners throughout the entire race – the first time this has ever happened.
Race 2 was even better. Based on my best lap time from Race 1 I started 15th on the grid. I was under lots of pressure from a Mk3 (driven by Jonathon Grimes) the entire race but I managed to fend him off and finished 12th, only 16 seconds behind the first car. Not quite a top 10 finish but I was absolutely delighted with the result. I felt I could have been quicker but the car was understeering in the fast corners so my focus is to try and dial this out and establish a more even balance to the car. I also thoroughly enjoyed the close but CLEAN racing, especially from Jonathon who didn’t make any stupid, unrealistic moves. On the contrary, he just kept the pressure up all race hoping I would make a mistake. You can see how tight the battle was from the cover picture to this report – Jonathon’s car is barely visible tucked in behind me.
As ever DJ was such a help and support. He is so willing to do whatever is needed to get the car out on track. In addition he is a great guy to be around – we can have a laugh amid the chaos and adrenalin fuelled environment motor sport generates.
Next month it’s Donington and I am really looking forward to it.