Thursday, March 31, 2011

The view from the box

Well that’s another meeting been and gone.  Like I said before time seems to be moving very quickly at the moment and it’s hard to believe that we’ve done two meetings already.   Before we know it, Spedeweekend will have happened and we’ll be starting the mad points race all over again!
It turned out to be a meeting that can best be described as average and mildly damp!   The weather was lovely as we left home and the sun kept on shining all the way to Colchester, where the heavens promptly opened and the rain set in.   The rain followed us to the track and by the time we had the car unloaded it looked pretty set for the night.   We put four wets on the car for practice and I headed off into the truck to put on my super stylish purple Hoosier waterproofs!    Once again the car felt really good and I headed back off to the pits happy.
I’d been put in heats one and three, and by the time the first race came around it was still raining and generally pretty manky.     I love racing no matter what the weather, and a bit of rain never puts me off, but it can be pretty bleak when you’re stood around in the freezing cold getting soaked.   It’s always nice when you’re getting strapped into the car in the rain as the heat coming off the exhaust warms everything around you up!
 I was starting the heats from the back of the first group and considering the weather everything started off quite uneventfully.    I managed to make up a few places and it was all going well.   The cars behind were getting closer each lap though and by about mid-race I was really in the thick of it. Don’t really know what happened next, but as we entered the scoreboard bend I felt someone hit me and round the car went.    I was lucky as all the other cars missed me but I was at the very back and out of the points so called it a day and pulled off.
I wasn’t in the second heat and the officials have been asking for a driver to go into the box and give them a hand watching the race.   They asked me if I would go up for the race and as I had nothing to do to the car I willingly agreed.   The rain had stopped and the track was drying and that created one of those situations where choosing the right tyres was so important.   Quite a few people had opted for two and two, whilst others played safe and left four wets on.     I hate being in that situation and like it to be either soaking wet or bone dry!   I had never been into the box before let alone watched a race from it.    It does give you a different perspective to watching from the terraces and you can see a lot more of what’s going on.    Luckily it was a clean race and no one did anything wrong so I got off pretty lightly.   When you’re racing you don’t think about what’s going on behind the scenes and there’re a lot of people working hard to make it happen.   With all the radios and equipment the box could easily be compared to an aeroplane control tower!
We played it safe for the next race and left the car on four wets.   Even on the line you could see cars around had slicks on so it was really going to be a case of ‘go for it’ and see what happened.    For the first few laps the car was great and had loads of grip and was keeping up with everyone else.   But as the laps went by and the track dried it started to go off.     I managed to hold onto 5th position right until the very last bend where I decided to try a move on the outside and hopefully move up into 4th.    I thought I was going to make it work but the car lost grip and a couple of cars came up my inside moving me into 8th - but never mind, it’s racing, you have to try these things!
For the final I was on the front row of the second group and by now the track was dry and we were running four slicks.   The car started off well but it seemed really down on power.   It was running fine but was just very slow and I was going backwards quickly.    At the restart I found myself last!      I kept going though, and then all of a sudden it seemed to clear and the car was flying again.  Unfortunately it was too late and the damage had been done but I managed to make up a few places and with all the retirements finished in 14th, not brilliant but points nonetheless.
Looking back it had been a good meeting really, no major damage and a car that was going well and most importantly it had been fun.   That is the point after all.   Once we had loaded up and left it was already nearly eleven, and with the clocks changing too it was always going to be a late night.   What we didn’t bank on however was the road being closed and no detour signs in place.   After turning the truck and trailer round on a particularly dark dead end road we decided to ask the truck behind if they knew the way back to the dual carriage way.   Turned out to be David O’Regan following us - hoping we knew where we were going!    After some good map reading from Ross, we ended up going the right direction again, and found ourselves getting home just before  
The car’s now back in the workshop and work has begun ready for the next meeting.   Looks like there’s going to be quite a lot happening over the next few days so I’ll be sure to tell you all about it next time.
Thanks as ever for reading

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