Typical bank holiday weather was on offer at Castle Combe with rain all through the day. We finished getting the engine back together on Saturday and it seemed to run well and have higher compression which is a much better starting point. Qualifying occured quite early in the day, and I was looking forward to getting on track and seeing what the engine was like. It feels strong and pulls through the revs much quicker than before. Unfortunately with all the expense of the engine we are still yet to order another set of rims so we had to run our dry tyres which was not ideal.
For the first time this year I can offer an onboard view after buying a camera during the week. The video is of my quickest lap in qualifying. The chicanes were very slippery and so I was trying to apply karting logic of staying off the racing line but in reality this did not work in such a fast corner and compromised my lap time. I corrected this for the race. I qualified 22nd out of the 37 in that group.
Race 1 saw me start from 21st and I got a good start and moved up to 17th by the end of the first lap. As the race continued I managed to work my way further through the field and got up to 14th in the closing stages. My lap times were faster than in qualifying as I was getting more familiar with the track. I was not getting overtaken in a straight line anymore like in past races – in fact it was quite the opposite! On the last lap I couldn’t quite manage to hold on to my position and after a close race had to settle for 15th.
Race 2 in contrast was much more disapointing. I got a good launch off the line but then had my progress slowed when someone came back onto the track from the grass in front of me. This lost me a few places and mixed me in with cars that I had out-qualified. I was able to make my way back through this group and things were going well until the car I was following got out of shape coming out of the corner, it looked as though it was going one way and so I went the other. Unfortunately for me it flicked back in the direction I had chosen and we made contact putting me into the armco barrier. The car seemed ok and I was able to continue to the end of the race but I’d lost so much time that I only just managed to catch up the group ahead before the chequered flag. Luckily for me I avoided being caught on camera, but looking at the video below it seems as though the Mazda’s provided some great entertainment for the spectators as always;
I feel I should just mention that although Race 2 was not as planned, Race 1 gave the best finish so far this year and showed great potential in the engine performance. It was a wet weekend and we weren’t running wet tyres. The car needs some setup changes and I’ve got a long list of things that I want to try out! I feel more positive because I feel we have something that we can work with now and make it competitive, it’s a shame it’s taken so long to get to this stage but I’m prepared to be patient if the results come eventually.
Full race results can be found here. I will try to record the races with the onboard camera next time.