Race Day: Very soon after qualifying the sun came
out! And the track started to dry slowly. It was not to last.
By the time we came to race the rain had been hacking it down
at intervals. The track was very greasy but there was not
quite so much standing water.
Starting at the back meant I had a lot of work to do and
I set to it - not an easy thing in the Mini Se7ens! The cars
are so evenly matched that it takes a lot of effort to propel
yourself through a field of 22 strong.
The start was a bit tricky because the track was wet. Nevertheless
I managed a good start and made up a couple of places, tucking
in behind Sarah Munns who in qualifying had blown her engine
but managed to borrow one from another competitor. Sarah was
three places on the grid in front of me.
Around Riches we went with no trouble. I suddenly saw my
team mate Rob Cullum moving very slowly indeed. It turned
out he had been hit on the start and was having difficulty
getting going again. Rob had started in 6th position.
From Riches I followed Sarah down to Sear Corner, a right-hander
to the long Revett straight. Part way down the straight Sarah
slowed and beckoned all behind her to pass. She was about
to pull off because of electrical problems. I passed Sarah
with another car alongside looking to get ahead of me, but
I managed to creep ahead of him down the straight to the Esses
at the bottom. Once through the Esses I carried on to the
Bomb Hole and around Coram.
The track seemed much dryer than for qualifying and I was
relieved. The next couple of laps saw me catching and overtaking
another couple of cars. On about the 5th lap I was coming
around Coram with another car on my tail. We headed on down
to the chicane Russell Bend. I was in the lead and turned
in first - the car behind misjudged his braking distance and
hit me in the rear sending me spinning into the gravel at
the beginning of Russell.
Facing the wrong way, back wheels embedded in the gravel
and a stalled engine - what a great combination!!
With the engine re-started, I had to wait while two Mini's
passed before I could rock the car out of the gravel and back
on to the track. I wasn't sure what damage had been done to
my car so all I could do was continue and see how she drove.
Luck was with me - the handling seemed a little shaky round
corners but within limits. Guages were showing no adverse
affects and so I continued.
I caught up with the Mini that had punted me off. I followed
him through the chicane aiming to pass him on the start finish
straight but he pulled off into the pit lane entrance.
Continuing onto the last lap of the race I could see in front
of me the Mini that had taken me out at Silverstone the week
before. I almost caught him up but at the chequered flag he
was ahead of me.
In Parc Ferme afterwards Paul Triffit came up to me and apologised
for punting me off at Russell - I just shrugged my shoulders,
that's racing, it happens.
Checking the damage to my car afterwards all I could see
was a scrape mark on the bumper and a cracked rear brake light
cover. Paul's car in contrast had both headlamps smashed,
dented grill, and a crack in the body work below the right
front headlamp. It looked a little sad.
Final race of the Winter series is next Sunday November 22
at Brands Hatch. I am planning to test at Brands on the Saturday
before and then hopefully we'll have a dry race!