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Racing Report

Castle Combe, Wiltshire - September 13th 1998
Circuit Length: 1.84 miles

Driver : Denise Manderscheid, Car No: 36

Following an interesting week which found me testing in the pouring rain at Silverstone's International circuit followed two days later by a semi-dry test day at Castle Combe the race day finally dawned dry and with clear blue skies but very cold.

Up at 5.30 out the door by 6am to be at the circuit for 7.45. Sign-on at 8am followed by scrutineering at 8.15. Qualifying at 9.25 for 15 mins.

Had a high speed spin and came flying off backwards during the qualifying! Ruffled a few feathers that did! And not just mine either - there was a marshal's post surrounded by a tyre wall that I was expecting to go into backwards but I missed it and the marshal's contained in it! I suspect they were secretly relieved. I know I was.

Well that little off didn't do much for my times - but at least I was able to put in a 1:23.19 lap time which put me in 30th position out of 41 qualifiers. Only 38 were allowed to start the race. The remainder became reserves.

For once the weather looked like it was going to be good to us - nice clear blue skies and a very light but pleasant breeze, even some sunshine! By 2pm it was throwing it down with rain. This made for some very exciting racing during the afternoon. Many a car went into the tyre barriers at Quarry and Camp both very fast corners in the wet. My race was delayed by an hour. When we finally got out it was dry, the sun had come out and it looked like it would stay out.

From our grid positions we all waited for the lights to turn from red to green and suddenly we were off. It must have been quite a sight 38 mini's all hammering up to Folly and across to Avon Rise then piling into Quarry an interesting right hander. I made up a couple of places on the start and got myself into a good position for Quarry where I made up a couple of more places. Some were not so lucky at Quarry and carried on into the tyres. I continued on down Farm Straight into Old Paddock Bend where I had had an interesting moment earlier in the day. And from there I stayed with the pack keeping up very well indeed. But it was nor to last.

Someone had come off badly at Tower and the Yellow and Black quartered flag was brought out. This meant the race leader had to slow down significantly (to around 50 mph) and all competitors had to line up in order behind the race leader. We were held in that formation until the obstruction at Tower was cleared. However, we were soon shown the green flag to continue racing and off we went again.

It was difficult to pick up the momentum again after having to slow down - for me this was the first time I had been in a race where the Yellow and Black flag had come into play. But pick up the momentum I did and had some very good dices with people I don't normally get a chance to race with.

I finally finished in 22nd position with a best lap time of 1:21:24 giving an average MPH of 81.59 - the winner put in a best lap time of 1:18.68.

So all in all a very good race. My next race is at Silverstone on the International circuit with qualifying on Saturday October 3rd and racing on Sunday October 4th at around mid-day. That should be an interesting race weekend with TVR's, MGF's, Porsche Cup, Marcos Mantis, GT's and of course Mini Miglias and Mini Sevens. If any of you would like to come let me know and I'll get you tickets and of course you are more than welcome to come into the paddock, meet the team and take a look at the cars.

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