Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Twenty-Eleven Part 2

After the success of the first half of the season, the second got itself off to a pretty poor start and continued to head downhill for a few weeks to follow.   After a month off from racing it was time for the National Weekend.    This is always my favourite meeting of the year but this year literally nothing went my way!   From the second we arrived things started going wrong.   I think everything on the truck stopped working and the racing was a disaster - the final straw being the damage I received in the Grand National when the car refused to move itself from the line at the start.    Nonetheless it was still a top weekend with all my friends and you have to take the rough with the smooth.
Things were only going to get worse at the next meeting with an accident in every race and a rather impressive falling out in the pits with my Dad to go with it - I’m still hearing different versions of this story from people now and I will just clarify that we certainly weren’t rolling round the pits fighting as so many people seem to believe!   On a more serious note it was probably the worst meeting in my whole racing career and I felt pretty terrible about ‘all things racing’ for a few weeks afterwards.
Really I have Gavin to thank for helping me find my enthusiasm again with what can only be described as a truly epic trip to Northern Ireland.    It was arguably the weekend of the year for me and I really hope I can get out there and race next year especially if the new track is going to be as good as everyone says!    I think Gav was really unlucky not to win the British.   As a lot of you will know, I don’t watch racing, but I stood in the pouring rain literally hanging on the fence shouting as loud as I could for him like a proper crazed fan!
When we were back I couldn’t wait to race again myself, and after another meeting in team Sole Bay at Yarmouth it was straight back out onto the track in my own car at Ipswich.    I can honestly say it never felt so good to drive a Hot Rod.   It was a very average meeting but I loved every second . . .   I had only been away six weeks but it was great to be back!
The next time we were at Ipswich it was anything but average.   Starting off the front row it felt great to take a win in the first heat, followed by two third places in the next races.   It seemed to make the few rough months worthwhile and was just a great confidence boost.    It’s always good to race at Foxhall under the lights and I know a lot of people moaned about the track but it was just a pleasure to be there at what is I think is the ultimate Hot Rod track.
There was no time to rest though and almost as soon as we were back from Foxhall it was time to meet Gav and set off on the long journey to Tipperary.   Racing at Tipperary has been something of a dream for me for a long time and it was great this year to go out there and do it.   The racing didn’t go to plan but once again it was another quality weekend.   It is a seriously fast track and one I’ll definitely be going back to.  Racing weekends with Gav and his team are always a laugh and this lived up to all the expectations - thanks again to Gav for taking me and putting up with my incompetence.
The last two meetings weren’t as successful as they could have been and Hednesford certainly was a bit of a let down - the fireworks were great though, and no matter what happens at Birmingham I can’t help but love the place.   More meetings there please Mr Wood!
So that was it, the 2011 racing season over and to say it has been a rollercoaster would be a massive understatement, but I think it has been my best season to date.   When I sit down and think about it we did the two things I always wanted to do - World Final and race in Ireland - and I’ve had some really good times with the best people out there.
A lot of you keep asking me what my plans are now and the answer is to keep doing exactly what I’m doing . . . . enjoying my racing and using the experience from every lap to try to get a bit quicker.  The priority is getting the car sorted and back together for the NEC when all the action begins again!
I’m just back from a top weekend away for my birthday which I’ll tell you all about next week and bring you up to date with the rebuild.
Thanks as ever for reading.
Until next time.

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