Monday, November 25, 2013

Another year over

Well, that’s that - the 2013 racing season is over.  It’s certainly flown by with all the expected highs and lows that come along the way.  Overall, the first season with the Duratech has gone well and has left me in a good position for next year.  I have a few small changes planned for the car over the winter but nothing too major.  Although I am unfortunately sitting outside of the top twenty at the moment a good meeting when we start back will put me straight back in the mix of things.

The last two meetings didn’t go to plan at all for me and although nothing went seriously wrong, nothing seemed to actually go right either!  I could look for all sorts of excuses but don’t really think there are any valid ones - it was just racing and it didn’t work out!

It was a glorious November day for the Hednesford meeting and although it was cold it stayed dry all day.  The car carries so much speed round that track and it always feels like you’re going so fast.  It was just one of those meetings with nothing to report and although I got points in each race with a tenth, an eleventh and a twelfth it wasn’t anything to write home about!  Due to some good organisation by the Incarace staff we were able to load up and leave straight after the final even though it meant we missed the fireworks.  It’s not a bad run for us either so we found ourselves back at home nice and early.

With only five days to get the car ready for the last meeting at Birmingham we were lucky that we didn’t have much to do; a good check over, a diff change, a quick set up and a general tidy up and we were ready to go again.  I’d been complaining that the brakes had been feeling inconsistent all day though so a deeper investigation was needed into what was causing that.  It didn’t take long to find the problem - the pads had overheated and started to separate.  A quick phone call to SHP soon had this sorted and a new set of pads arrived next day ready to be fitted.

Birmingham was a disappointment for me.  I love Birmingham and I had talked myself into a good meeting before we even arrived.  The car felt great in practice but once again when the racing started I couldn’t get it to come together.  Looking back this was down to the driver more than anything else.  I did manage points in the first two races with a ninth and an eighth but from where I was starting I wasn’t happy with these results at all.  I vowed to make the final count but this plan was over before it had really begun with me ending up getting spun just a couple of laps into the race.  This put me last but I kept going and was catching the main pack but still ended up outside the points, a really disastrous way to end the season.

I came off the track in one of those moods every racing driver has where everything is for sale and if I ever saw the car again it would be too soon!  Of course I’d calmed down again by the following morning and the car was unloaded and I had all the panels off ready for its winter rebuild by lunch time!

I’m racing in the NEC again in January 2014 so the next few weeks are going to be spent getting the car ready for that.  I have some new panels ready to go on and a slight colour change planned just to make things look a little different.  The paint has very kindly been supplied to me by PC Paints and Components of Ballymoney, Northern Ireland.  The chassis has all been cleaned off by my neighbour Chris who runs EasyLife Valeting and we have a couple more little jobs to do before everything can go back together.  The biggest decision at the moment is what colour I should paint my precious wheels!  I’m also in a dilemma as to whether I should show everyone the car or keep it under wraps until January!

I do just want to stop now and say “Thank You” to everyone who has made my racing possible; my family, my friends, my sponsors and everyone who supports me.  Without everyone’s help, especially my dad, the racing wouldn’t happen - simple as that!  I also want to thank everyone who picks me up when I’m feeling down and convinces me to get back out there and do it all again.  I’m very lucky and do appreciate everything.

I am really determined to have a good go next year.  We are so close and I’m going to make that final big push just to get up to speed with the top boys.  I love my racing and one day I am going to crack it!

Over the coming months I have a few exciting things in the pipeline and I’ll keep you all informed of what’s going on.  By my calculations we’re getting towards the 100th blog mark now so I’m thinking of something special for that one.  Thanks to everyone who keeps reading my musings - I still enjoy writing them so you’re all stuck with me for a while yet!

Finally, before I go I just want to say congratulations to Neil Rowe, the webmaster himself, on his marriage to Eimear.  Sorry I couldn’t make it to your big day but I have such a lot happening here at work that I just couldn’t get over.  I wish you all the best though and many happy years together!

Thanks as ever for reading.

Until next time


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