Friday, March 23, 2012

A gift and a lucky wetsuit

With three outings in the car in seven days it’s fair to say it’s been a hectic week.   As the car was finished and ready we decided to head up to Birmingham for a last minute practice session to iron out any problems and bed in the new tyres.   Even going round on my own I love the track and the car felt great straight out of the box.   I did three sessions then brought the car back into the pits, checked everything over and loaded it back into the trailer ready for the first meeting at Northampton.

The first meeting of the year is always great because you get to catch up with people you haven’t seen over the winter and everyone’s secret rebuilds become apparent!   Northampton has always been my problem track and to my delight the car felt good round there so I headed back in from practice pleased.

It wasn’t going to turn out to be my day however, and although the car still felt brilliant nothing seemed to come together.    After failing to finish the first heat, followed by a sixth in the second heat, I had a lot of hard work to do in the final - this coupled with the added pressure of the Premier Sports camera strapped to the side of my car meant I really had to go out and give it everything.  Things went wrong straight away though with a spin on the line relegating me from 8th on the grid to last.   I had nothing left to lose from here so set out to salvage whatever I could from the race, finishing 13th after 35 action-packed laps with cars going off and chaos on pretty much every corner.

A bit of a day to forget overall but I survived without any major damage and it was good to see everyone again.   I’m also really pleased for my mate Shaun Taylor (#152) who picked up his first win in Nationals which is long overdue in my opinion.   I also want to thank everyone who helped on the car and also to Pam and John for the picture and the card they gave me, I know you read this and will be pleased to know the picture is on the wall of my workshop and the card is on my desk at work.

From Northampton it was back home and a busy six days getting the car ready for Birmingham.  We were lucky compared to some of the other drivers and didn’t have that much to do to the car.   It was still pretty hectic though.

Even with the uncertain weather I couldn’t wait to go to Birmingham and get racing.   We left nice and early but we encountered a long diversion on the way which meant we arrived a bit later than we normally would.   We got unloaded and I headed straight out for practice, where once again the car felt brilliant.

The rain was pretty much holding off by the time my first race came and the track was still dry and very fast.   I know a few of the drivers don’t like the track but for some reason I have always really enjoyed racing there and seem to get all of my good luck there too.    After quite a good race where everyone seemed to be more sensible than the previous week I crossed the line in fifth.

I had the Spedeworth Motorsports camera on board for heat two, pointing backwards underneath my spoiler and the track was still dry so the racing was great again.   I crossed the line third this time after a great race with Carl Waller-Barrett having had him battling on my outside for a good number of laps and very nearly beating me over the line!

The final was easily my favourite race for a long time.  With a bit of a shower before we went on track - but not enough to even consider wets - I was a bit nervous as to what the track and the car would be like.    It turned out the track was still dry though and the car was just as good as it had been for the rest of the night.    Luck was obviously still on my side and I found myself moving up the grid as the laps passed by until I found myself in 3rd with two laps to go.   After overtaking Dickie and moving into second I could see Danny but would never have caught him.  So that’s how we crossed the line, only for Danny to be docked two places gifting the win over to me.  The purple Hoosier wet suit I’d been wearing all night in a bid to scare the rain off is obviously lucky.... maybe I’ll wear it every race from now on!

Even though I wasn’t the outright winner I was still over the moon and after the terrible year I’ve had it has moved me up the points to at least be in with a chance of qualifying in July.    It’s going to be a close battle all the way and one I look forward to sharing with you all.

Thanks as ever for reading.

Until next time.

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