After months of waiting, the first round finally arrived. We quickly secured ourselves a pit garage which was being vacated by one of the Britcar Ferrari’s which had been racing that day. The mazda looked a bit small compared!
We successfully got through scrutineering and arrived on the grid for qualifying. I was not allowed to go out on track as the pin had been left in the fire extinguisher, so I sprinted back to the van and cut the cable tie off which was holding the pin in place and managed to just get out before the end of the session. Two laps was all I had time for on a track i’d never driven before. Unsuprisingly I qualified 38th of 45 cars.
The races were split into A, B, C and D grids due to the number of cars; I was placed into group D. Normally during the lunch break there is a drivers parade with the MX5 owners club, so I saw this as an ideal opportunity to get to learn that track at a slower pace. I jumped in the car, hit the button, and the engine refused to start. I could forget about the drivers parade, but more importantly my first race was immediately after the lunch break. Finally the engine started but we are still not completely sure of the problem it had. I drove straight to the grid and the cars had already left for the race. We literally just made it in time… not the smoothest build up to the first race!
During the race I made up three places however it was obvious we didn’t have the speed of the other cars. The car just seemed incapable of holding the road like the others and I was losing out big time. Still, there was race two to go and decided that reagrdless of any issues I just needed to get my head down and make the most of it. I made up a few more places before the red flag appeared on lap three. The race was not restarted due to the severity of the accident and I wish those two people a quick recovery.
From my point of view I was disapointed, Rhys and Michael in their first race were a long way up the road, even if they didn’t suffer the same problems in qualifying as me. I began to question everything, including my own ability to drive a car. I had been able to drive Rhys’ car earlier in the week and it felt so much more responsive and grippy. I beleive that it was the car that was the issue, although i’m not denying that I will also be a factor. We now have some decisions to make and some work to do before the next round at Rockingham.
Full race results here. TV coverage will be shown on Wednesday 13th April on Motors TV (Sky Channel 413).