Terra Novus
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Racing Report

Cadwell Park, Lincolnshire - April 29th 2001
Circuit Length: 2.17 miles

Driver : Denise Manderscheid, Car No: 21
Comment : Started 10th out of 22 starters - Finished 13th

Qualifying: What a wet and muddy weekend! True to form the English weather had thrown lots of rain down over the circuit during the week prior to the race weekend. On the day before the race general testing had seen conditions change from dry and pleasant in the morning to intermittent rain, sunshine and occasional heavy rain during the afternoon.

The mainly grassy Paddock had standing water in several places and was going to prove downright frustrating to a lot of competitors who arrived on race day and were left only with grassland to set up on.

Qualifying was first session of the day - the track had varying degrees of dryness - from bone dry to wet and greasy. Not wet enough for wet weather tyres but in places a bit greasy for dry weather tyres. In other words a challenge!

For me qualifying did not go particularly well - unable to get it together properly I managed a best lap time of 63.69 mph, just under 5 seconds off the leader. Normally my favourite track - hard work but very rewarding.

The Main Race: It rained a couple of times during the morning then began to clear. By lunchtime the sun had come out - it was going to be a dry race. As 22 cars lined up on the grid the sun shone and the track had dried.

When the lights turned to green we all hammered down the pit straight into the left hander up the hill to Charlies then on around to Park straight leading to the long right hander Park and Chris curve before the Goose Neck.

As usual on the first lap there was a tight pack up front. There was the usual door handling. As we all came up to Chris Curve I saw a couple of cars come together and go off. From where I was I had a choice of stand on the brakes and try to avoid everyone on front of me or go for the inside line and try to go around the mayhem.

I opted for the latter in the hope that I could sneak through on the inside safely. I almost made it when a car I was overtaking got tapped up the back and spun in my direction. I jinked right onto the grass to avoid him but not far enough away. My front wing and wheel was caught by his rear wheel.

Forward momentum threw me across the grass. As I bobbed and bucked my way across the by now dry grass of the infield I wondered quite where I was going to end up. To my surprise I managed to keep going and regain the track. I cringed in the hope that no-one was too close to me as I snaked across the track to the other side before regaining control of the car. Phew I made it!

Engine seemed fine, steering was okay but not brilliant. I kept going on to the Gooseneck, down the hill to Mansfield and then on to The Mountain, through the woods and onto Barn the right hander before the pit straight.

I called in at the pits to let my crew take a look at the damage. By this time the red mist had come down and I was rarin to go - it had not been a great weekend. Darren and Steve checked around the car and pulled off some torn and hanging bits of body work. There appeared to be no oil leaks despite there being a fair bit of damage. And so out I went - a lap down but eager to make up some places.

I spent the remaining 7 laps swopping places with a few drivers. On the final lap with Andrew Ruthven closing behind me I was trying hard to get past Naomi Anstiss. Although slower than me she was doing an excellent job of blocking my way past.

As we all went into the hairpin I held back a bit in the hope that Naomi would give me a clear chance of turning in tight and getting past her. As I slowed Andrew came up my inside and attempted to go around the hairpin beside Naomi. In so doing he leaned on Naomi literally and as the two cars rubbed bodywork I took my chance up the inside and got past them both. I then had a clear run up to the chequered flag.

I finished in 13th place and had managed a best lap time of 1 min 21.9 secs.

Back in the Paddock it was time to survey the damage - from bent sub-frame to a badly damaged wheel rim plus all the body work damage …… this was definitely not one of my better race weekends. But that's racing……………

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