The Main Race: With
a few clouds in the sky but no real threat of rain the Mini
Se7en race started at 3.30. Prior to the green flag lap we
were kept sitting on the grid waiting for the damaged single
seaters from the previous race to be retrieved.
When the green flag lap commenced
we all streamed slightly uphill to Avon rise followed by a
fast right hander called Quarry, down Farm Straight to The
Esses (first of two chicanes) followed by a fast right round
Paddock Bend down to Tower Corner leading onto the second
of the chicanes called Bobbies. Once out of Bobbies it was
straight down to Camp corner a tricky but fast right hander
leading onto the Pit straight and the grid once more.
The lights changed quickly
from red to green - I had a space directly in front of me
which I dived for in order to get some places but others around
me had exactly the same idea. We all jockeyed for spaces as
we drove up to Avon Rise for just over the Rise we would hit
the brakes to make (hopefully) a quick and clean turn around
Quarry. The guys around me had other ideas .
As I came up to Quarry on the
inside (not the best way to approach it) four cars to my left
and directly in front decided to fight over the tarmac. Seeing
this I thought 'carry on guys' and just drove over the grass
nearest the corner. This put me alongside Chris Huck who had
made a very clean and fast exit from Quarry - so much so that
I had to tuck in behind him for the upcoming chicane, The
I followed Chris round until
we came to Camp. By this time he was gaining ground and getting
away from me. Just as I was about to change into third for
the corner I saw another car lose it in the corner, spin and
thankfully go off backwards. I was through and past him before
I really knew what had happened.
For the remainder of the race
I was to stay behind Chris sometimes catching him up at either
Quarry or the chicanes, but never quite being able to get
past him. Camp corner gave me a couple of interesting moments
on following laps because there was now oil down at the apex
- with the rear end trying to break away it was just a question
of keep your nerve and keep your foot in.
On the last lap I could feel
me losing time and grip - whether I was getting tired or my
tyres were going off I will probably never know but I was
definitely losing ground. I made one last push to catch up
to Chris as I was going into Bobbies on the run up to Camp
corner and the chequered flag.
I overdid it and entered Bobbies
all out of shape, on the wrong line and ended up going off
the track onto very rough ground mainly grass but with some
gravel as well. Bumping along the ground it seemed to take
forever to get back onto the black stuff but I did eventually.
Going off however, had lost me very valuable time and there
was no way I was now going to catch up with Chris - instead
I was being caught by two cars which until then I had been
able to keep safely behind me.
As I came down to Camp I just
didn't have the speed to fend off the two behind me and so
instead of coming in 16th I had to make do with 18th - sigh
Next race is June 9,10 & 11
at Spa Francorchamp, Belgium. A real treat and highlight of
the racing season.