So here I am back again, and this time I’m going to bring you bang up to date with what’s happening and how things have been going for me over the recent weeks.
After Birmingham there wasn’t a great deal to do to the car besides all the
usual things, but there were a few tweaks we wanted to try on the suspension
and spent quite a long time fiddling with it until we got it how we felt was
right. It’s amazing how long all these
things take though and even what you think will be a simple job can end up
taking the entire evening.
Seeing as I had no racing I decided to head up to Scotland for John (Sibbald)’s
first meeting of the year. Besty and
Norden were heading over from Northern Ireland too so we made a road trip of
it. I picked them up from Birmingham Airport
at 8pm on the Friday and we drove up through the night. It was easily one of the funniest journeys of
my life. It took me ten minutes to get a
sentence out at one point - I just couldn’t talk from laughing so much!
Saturday night saw my first trip to the Racewall at Cowdenbeath to watch the
Stock Cars and Saloons. I don’t know
what it is about that place but I absolutely love it. There isn’t an atmosphere to match it
anywhere and the racing is first class as well.
It would have been rude not to go out after the racing so once the
clothes had been changed it was back out the door and time to sample some of
the legendary Scottish night life. It’s
a long story as to what happened but I ended up in the pub until 6am after
everyone got split up!
Regardless of a pretty severe headache the next morning no doubt due to some
bad ice or an iffy kebab eaten the night before, it was time to get down to the
serious business of John’s first meeting of 2014 at Lochgelly. After all the work from everyone over the
winter it was great to see it all pay off with John not only winning a heat but
the final too! The car looked good all
day and I gradually started feeling better too!
It was a great weekend and brilliant to see everyone. It really left me buzzing to get back up for
the European! HRP have a great complex
and I can’t wait to try both the track and the new bar out for myself!
It’s fair to say the trip home was more subdued than the one up and it seemed
to go on and on but we got back safe and seeing as the lads didn’t go home
until Tuesday evening I managed to get a couple of days work out of them
driving the truck and picking up a few scrap cars. Cheers guys - I’ll make sure I buy you a few
Almost as soon as Besty had gone home it was time for him to come back. My parents were heading away for the week and
he flew over to give me a hand at work whilst they were away. Before any work was done though, we had the
small matter of a meeting at Ipswich to deal with. After driving John’s car there a few weeks
before it was great to get out in my own and do a few laps. As soon as I did a lap in practice I knew all
the changes we’d made to the set up had worked.
The first race was pretty uneventful. After
trying the outside for the lead I ended up getting rail-roaded back a few places
and finishing somewhere mid-pack. The second
race was brilliant though, and after making a pass stick on the outside I
managed to hold on to the lead and take the win - my first in over 18 months
and my first with the Duratech under the bonnet. I love my racing no matter what, but taking a
win after so long felt good and made all the work we’ve put into the car
worthwhile. I have always had faith in
John Toovey and the Duratech and it was nice when it all fell into place and
The final was another good race and although I didn’t perform any miracles I
really enjoyed it. I scored points in
every race, the car wasn’t damaged and I managed to take a trophy and some prize
money home! All in all it was a very
good night out!
Besty bought us tickets for Brands Hatch to watch the first round of the
Touring Cars the day after getting home from Foxhall at 3am, so the idea of
getting up again at 7am and driving two hours to get there didn’t exactly fill
me with enthusiasm… But I’m glad we did,
and I really enjoyed my first taste of circuit racing. The facilities are great but the prices are
frighteningly expensive! I was also
shocked at how many people we knew there - we even heard Dave Longhurst being
interviewed at one point! The racing was
great and the sound of the Touring Cars is something else - it just doesn’t
have the closeness and excitement of oval racing though so don’t panic, I won’t
be jumping ship just yet.
With my parents being away I actually had to take some responsibility at work
and it wasn’t the week long party you would expect from Besty and me. We did
some long days and had a fair few problems to deal with so when Saturday
evening arrived it was time to go wild and live up to our reputations! Kym and Smiffy drove up to join us and we
headed out into Oxford to see what we could get up to. The random disorganised nights always turn
into the best ones though and although we visited what seemed like every bar
and club in the city, it turned into a great night out!
Once again after Ipswich we didn’t have much to do to the car. The gearbox had to come out and go back for
some changes and once again we decided to play with the suspension. A slight delay with the gearbox left us
rushing around trying to get finished though, and the now traditional late
night before the meeting and loading up ten minutes before we leave didn’t fail
After a few practice laps the car didn’t feel as good as it had for the last
few meetings but after a couple of ideas from my dad and Kym it was sorted and
feeling good for the second race. Due
to a higher average I had been moved back to the yellow grade. The first race got off badly with me having
a terrible start but I got going ok after that and I managed to get the car
home in one piece and score a few points.
The second race seemed just too good to be true. The track was terrible where oil had been
spilt and there was literally no grip.
Eventually it all seemed to come together though and I managed to sneak
through and collect another win. After
waiting 18 months, to get two within three weeks felt amazing!
In truth after such a good second race I just wanted to survive the final and
make it to the end with a straight car. Luckily
I got my wish and after one of the most chaotic races I have ever seen I
managed to complete the 35 laps and pick up a fifth in the process. I breathed a sigh of relief that I survived
the carnage and got home in one piece. I
just want to say well done to my mate Shaun on a long overdue and much deserved
win in the final and bad luck to my other mate Chris who had a huge accident in
practice after his throttle jammed open.
I was just pleased to see you with a beer in hand afterwards!
All in all it has been two great meetings for me and I want to thank everyone
for all their kind words. Going back to
racing purely for fun has been the best decision I ever made - I have no stress
or worries and am going out and just enjoying every single lap.
It’s now time to get the car sorted for Lochgelly next weekend. After countless trips to Scotland this will
be my first time racing and I cannot wait. Unfortunately I’ll be flying solo though as Dad
has to stay home and work. I’m looking
forward to seeing everyone and I just know it will be a cracking weekend.
Thanks as ever for reading.
Until next time.