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Racing Report

Oulton Park, Cheshire - June 19th, 1999
Circuit Length: 2.77 miles

Driver : Denise Manderscheid, Car No: 21
Comment : Started 27th out of 30 starters - Finished 19th

Qualifying: A very early morning start was required to get to the circuit for the 8 am sign-on and scrutineering. So 4.30 a.m. saw me hurtling up the A34 to Oxford to pickup the M40 to Birmingham and then the M1 up to Cheshire. A four hour journey - I must be mad!

The qualifying session was really quite uneventful - a new hairpin had been put in for the Island circuit slightly shorter than the main circuit, at 2.362 miles per lap. The new hairpin was to prove a pain for all of us. The sharp right-hander was just over a blind hill at the end of a fast straight called Lakeside. In the Paddock afterward we all said the same thing - don't like the new hairpin. It meant cresting the blind hill then standing on the brakes, quick gear change down into third then second then easing her into the hairpin before powering out. Not an easy one to get right. But if you got it wrong it was hello to the tyre wall!

The Main Race: Started the race in 27th position with both Jonathan and Phil ahead of me on the grid - a situation I was determined to change. Off to a good start but immediately got bogged down with the gaggle of mini's all trying to get through Old Hall corner together. Bumper to bumper we all manage to get around the first corner and down the avenue to Cascades a right-hander leading on to the fast straight before the new hairpin - the one we all love to hate.

Made it around the hairpin with out losing it totally and then up over Hill Top and down the straight to Knicker Brook chicane fighting for position all the way. Made it through the chicane closely packed with several other cars in front of me including my two team mates Jon and Phil. On up Clay Hill under the footbridge and on around Druids corner still in the tight little pack, then on to Lodge Corner and down past the pjts to the first corner again. That first lap had enabled me to pick up a few places and get settled in to a comfortable pace looking to pick off the next car in front followed by the next as time and pace allowed. By the 3rd lap I had passed both Jon and Phil separately (Phil having started three cars ahead of me on the grid and Jon 1) and was looking forward to making up a few more places.

On the sixth lap Jon caught up with me at the new hairpin and tried to out break me in to the corner. I did my usual late breaking and just as I put her into bottom gear and was about to bring the revs up Jon hit me fair and square in the area of the rear right brake light. It spun me around so the back end was in the gravel and the front wheels on the track facing two oncoming mini's. Jon mean while had stalled and was stuck in the middle of the track facing me . The oncoming cars had quick decisions to make; one dived around the corner between Jon and me (good piece of driving there he missed both of us!) and the other took the safer line inside the hairpin off to Jon's right. As soon as I saw the second car take the inside line I inched my car forward not quite sure if I could get out of the gravel and taking some gravel with me drove through the hairpin on on down to knicker Brook chicane. The car felt heavy and was not responding well - almost felt like I was crabbing down the track. But after a short distance I got used to the handling - probably I had thrown a wheel weight or put the tracking out but I was still going.

Annoyed at having lost a couple of places I raced to catch up and get my places back. But it was not to be - I finished 19th . If only…….. As for Phil he finished 21st, Jonathon retired following his valiant efforts at trying to get past me. Of our other team members, Jason had finished 10th and Rob 5th

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