Thursday, July 19, 2012

Twice Lucky

According to the Laws of Probability the chances of drawing pole for the support races and the Best in Britain are 1000 to 1 so it’s fair to say that I certainly had luck on my side when I made my draw each day.

I can’t believe Spedeweekend has been and gone again - it feels like only yesterday that I was getting ready for my first one in the Saxo!  It’s going to be National Weekend before we know it and then the season will be underway again.

Although I didn’t qualify for the ‘big one’ it was still my best Spedeweekend to date.  We got the car all tidied up and I even plucked up the courage to run my Compomotives - a decision I now regret as the brake dust has turned them from brilliant white to a sort of dirty looking grey and no matter what I do it doesn’t seem to want to budge.  I’m willing to look past this though as everything else went so well.

Rather than head up to Ipswich on Friday night after work we got everything loaded up, grabbed a few hours sleep and then headed off straight to the track early on Saturday morning.   We got up at 3am, arrived at the track at 7am, and the first race wasn’t until 2pm . . .  so we’d almost done a full day by the time I even set a tyre on the track!

After the drivers meeting we did the draw for the grid and I managed to pull pole and in an instant it went from a weekend having a bit of fun to something I really desperately wanted to win.  As I pulled round to line up for the first heat and saw the yellow 41 machine looming only two rows behind me I really thought my chances of victory were dead and buried.  But somehow I managed to hang on to the lead for the entire race, eventually crossing the line still in first place after what felt like days of racing the car.   Leading a race is the hardest thing you will ever do in a race car - when there are cars in front you focus on trying to catch them but when there’s no one to catch you start looking behind and that’s generally when the mistakes happen.

Winning a race always feels good but doing it in front of a big crowd at Spedeweekend felt amazing, easily my best moment in racing. After starting from the front there was of course the challenge of starting last on the grid for the next race and although I didn’t create any miracles I made up a few places and managed to qualify 6th for the final on Saturday night.  The final was another great race and I didn’t make or lose any places crossing the line still in 6th after 30 pretty intense laps of racing.

As I’m sure you know I’m not really the biggest fan of watching racing but I can safely say the 2.0L Hot Rod British on Saturday night was the best race I have ever seen, all credit to Shane Murray - his balls on the outside were brilliant and to see him make it stick was great.  The whole stadium was fixed on him for the entire race and it was one of those times when the atmosphere was electric.

Saturday night was very calm for me with only a couple of pints and a chat before heading off to bed . . . .  saying that, it was still well past 2am when I did retire for the night, only to be woken again several hours later by the rain beating against the hotel windows.

In all honestly the thought of a wet Spedeweekend was pretty bleak and those first few hours trudging around the pits were grim!  I’ll even go as far as to say I was pleased to be standing inside our tent as the cars made their way out for the first ‘national power boat world championship’ at Foxhall.  I can’t take anything from Glenn though and in a race that is in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons people seem to be forgetting what a brilliant drive it was!  Starting twelfth and winning is a feat in any National race these days - let alone the world final.  It was a faultless drive and Glenn a worthy world champion  . . . . . maybe it will convince you to stay now Dinger?  It would be rude to forget the main man Gavin Murray with his second place, starting what I’m sure he won’t mind me saying has been a pretty ‘special’ couple of weeks for him and his family!

Now what happened after the world final has completely restored my faith in the lucky purple wet-suit - not only did it stop raining the second I put it on but I pulled pole once again for the Best in Britain. Like I said earlier the chances of that are like 1000 to 1 so chances are I’ll never pull pole again!  I can honestly say I have never been so nervous as I lined up on the grid, I was almost shaking as the warm up laps started. The fact that the ‘Murray Missile’ was lined up behind me didn’t help the old nerves much either!  Considering the amount of rain we’d had over the weekend it’s a miracle that the track was dry.  Murray was soon gone into the distance on his way to his first championship win with Graeme Callender disappearing as well.  I managed to cling on to third place although I think Billy Bonnar had other plans about that had there been a few more laps.

I know it wasn’t a win but to get a place in a championship and have the chance to stand on the podium was a great experience and the trophy is pretty impressive to say the least.  It was great to see Gavin win too especially after all the hard work he puts into his racing.

So another Spedeweekend gone, a straight car and a big smile on my face and it’s now time to look forward to National Weekend where I hope I can actually make the grid for the first time.   I did get a booking today so that’s a start!

I’ll be back next week with some epic tales from a wedding, an update on the car and news of another very special race I’ll be taking part in.

Thanks as ever for reading and thanks to all the people who came over for a chat and say they read this blog- it really is greatly appreciated and nice to know people enjoy it!

Until next time.


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