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Racing Report

Thruxton Nr. Andover - Sunday July 5th,1998
Circuit Length: 2.35 miles

Driver : Denise Manderscheid, Car No: 21
Comment : Started 22nd Finished 15th out of 26 starters

Well I finished the day at Thruxton feeling very pleased with myself and having had a superb day. But it certainly did not start out that way!

The day dawned with clear dry but blustery conditions - not too bad for qualifying really. We were second out to qualify. I was on brand new front tyres having ruined one tyre following a puncture at the previous test session at Snetterton a couple of weeks ago.

Not long out of the pits and barely a third of the way round the first lap I lost it - the back end came round to meet me and I ended up broad-side on, stopped in the middle of the track! Not a good place to be. It shook up a few following Mini's. After the qualifying session one driver came up to me and requested that I not do that again please as it had taken him by surprise. Took me by surprise too - the track was a bit greasy and I had a further little slide into Campbell which is the beginning of the esses - all this in my first lap was a bit much!

The remainder of the 15 minute qualifying session was nothing special for me as I found it hard to get-to-grips with the circuit, and even harder to get my times down. I finally qualified in 34th position - last on the grid. I was not a happy bunny.

Meanwhile my mechanic found an oil leak - a pretty major one as I had blown the oil seals around the cam belts and oil had leaked onto the belt. It required new seals and belt. Luckily the team had the seals and I had a spare cam belt so my mechanic proceeded to put it back together again

I made a blistering start at the race and made up at least two places. This enabled me to join the rat pack and start fighting for places. The car was going great. I had decided to throw caution to the wind and just keep my foot in all the way and it worked. I had a cracking good race dicing with several cars some of which came off worse by ending up in the grass and I just kept on going! I kept it on the black stuff all the time with just one or two hairy moments at the chicane where I took it a bit wide and fast and cut across the exit of the chicane near the tyre wall. And once at Allard going into the esses where I had a little bit of a slide. While there were several of us having a battle at the back the front runners were carving one another up - literally. There were many modified body parts at the end of this race!

But disaster nearly struck for me on the penultimate lap. I was fighting for 22nd place when I suddenly started to lose power on the fastest part of the track between Village and Church. I pumped the throttle and changed into third gear and she picked up and I managed to stave off the mini behind me. Coming into the chicane he got the better of me and shot past, but he went wide on exit and I caught him on the inside and passed him. But then just before Allard he got past me again and as I tried to come up his inside he eased over and pushed me out but still I stuck with him. For a moment I thought we were going to trade some paint-work. We were pretty close. Through the esses I got ahead of him and kept ahead until the back of the circuit where I again experienced fuel starvation and this time it was severe enough for him to get past me and ahead. I managed to keep the engine running but in the time it took to pick up properly the other mini was way ahead of me. And so into the chicane and the chequered flag was ahead of me but so was the other mini. Next time…..

My next race is at Cadwell Park in two weeks time - before then my car has to undergo a thorough check over including the carbeurettor which may be the cause of my 'fuel starvation' problem.

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