Terra Novus
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Racing Report

Cadwell Park, Lincolnshire Sunday July 19th, 1998
Circuit Length: 2.17 miles

Driver : Denise Manderscheid, Car No: 36

Prior to the race day I had a very full day of testing on Saturday July 18th which enabled me to get familiar with the circuit - sometimes getting to know certain parts a bit too well.

The morning session was fairly uneventful - during the afternoon however, it started to drizzle and for the last session of the day my team mate Rob Cullum decided he would teach his two team mates the correct lines around the circuit.

The first lap was a doddle as Rob led myself followed by Simon around the circuit. But it was not to last. No sooner than we had completed the first lap and began to negotiate the hairpin followed by another right-hander through The barn than I found myself in a slide and out of control on the bend to be followed very closely by Simon. Rob in the meantime was ahead and wondering why we were dawdling! Only when he looked in his mirror and saw me broad-side with Simon sliding behind me did he realise that we just might take one another out - not a happy thought!

As Simon and I embedded ourselves in opposite banks, Rob continued at a slowed pace. Meanwhile I backed out of my bank nearly collecting another car, and carried on down the start/finish straight. I was not to get the opportunity to catch up with Rob as he was to come to grief a short time later when another car spun off the track only to come back on in front of him. Rob t-boned him. His car was not a pretty site but he was okay.

The damage to Rob's front-end was extensive but repairable and he did get out the next day for the race. But that was the end of testing.

Sunday dawned nice and dry slightly windy but actually very pleasant. Because there were well over 40 entrants for the Mini race two qualifying sessions were held. I was in the first of these sessions and managed to come in 15th out of 21 qualifiers. However when the times were put together of both qualifying sessions I was placed 7th on the grid for the qualifying race. The first three finishers in this race would take part in the main race later in the afternoon.

My position on the grid gave me a good opportunity to go for an entry into the main race and this is what I aimed for. I made a lightening start making up two places straight away. From there I kept up with the top four cars, trading places a couple of times for fourth position. On the 5th lap I had a slight coming together with another mini at Chris Curve which cost me a couple of places. But these I made up and by the final lap I was closing in on 3rd position coming through the gooseneck and down the hill into Mansfield when suddenly the red light came on, on the dash. For a second I hoped it was a malfunction but the engine temperature started to rise sharply. And so I slammed the brakes on as I was going down the hill into Mansfield and came to rest by a marshall's point just short of the tyre wall.

My crew in the meantime thought I had overdone it coming down the hill, braked too late, locked up and gone into the tyre wall. No doubt the copious amounts of steam they saw rising only served to cement their thoughts! Also the tyre wall obscured their vision of what was going on.

Lady luck was certainly not with me that day. It turned out that the water pump belt had broken. If only - I would have definitely had 4th position.

Since that day my car has been prepped, repaired, cleaned up and made ready for this weekends race at Donnington Park near Derby. I am qualifying tomorrow afternoon and racing on Sunday afternoon. I must admit to more than a few nerves as I have not tested before on this circuit. Qualifying tomorrow will be quite daunting - 15 minutes is not very long to get to know a circuit and put in a good lap time.

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