15th May 2016
Champion of Brands
Monoposto 1600 race
Well that was one hugely successful weekend!!
After an absolutely crazy past couple of weeks since I did 1 test lap at Brands before my clutch let go. We have been working like crazy to track down the correct clutch only to find the issue was not just the clutch it's self but the bearing seals AND pipes. so in total I think we had the back of the car off about 4 or 5 times in as many days.
Thursday arrived and it was time to pack the half built van diemen in the trailer and head to brands to set up ready for the weekend and prepare for Friday testing.
Friday morning we finished the car and had a fully working clutch AT LAST!!
First 2 sessions where a success and my times where coming down with nearly every lap.
Session 3 and my Friday ended pretty ubruptly with an F3 Cup car taking me out on the exit of Graham Hill. This totally wrecked the left side of the car and we initially thought our weekend was over before it had started.
Many phone calls all over the country and an amazing member of our team that made an eight hour round trip to John Loebell at Medina Spares got us the parts we required.
Another late night and early morning for the team see the car amazingly back together and set up in time for sunday.
With all this going on and my already over due pregnant wife who is literally about to drop any time now - I left my monoposto race entry until the very very last minute the very understanding organiser Steven Connor let us enter late and I was set for 2 qualifiers and 2 races.
First up was Monoposto qualifying, having not driven the car since the big shunt on Friday I wanted to use this more as a test.
By this time the army of fans who made there way to brands to support us and to wish Jenson a very happy first birthday (my eldest son) I was on my way to the assembly area to start my first qualifying session of the day.
A busy track with some much faster cars out made it difficult to get a good rythemn going. I managed to get some laps together and surprisingly the car felt better than ever, my confidence was up and I had smashed my target time by 3 seconds. I had qualified 14th. From 18.
A quick spanner check, refuel and happy birthday sing along for Jensons first birthday later and we was back on track for the James Becket Mountny Champion of Brands sponsored by no other than SC Promotions and ACMotorsport.
I found some decent space on track while also trying to follow the masters of formula ford. Again the car felt great and my confidence continued to grow with each lap - Chequered flag and it was over I had qualified p11 in my first Champion of Brands race.
No time for birthday cake this time round as it was straight out for the first race of the day in the Monoposto championship.
I was nervy as hell pulling up to my grid slot having only ever done one race start other than this (at Snetterton) and this would be my first where I actually had some cars behind me. A slight down hill grid position gave me a new challenge in the car I had never even thought about before. My green flag lap getaway wasn't to bad on reflection but I knew I had to do better when the lights went out for real. Adrenaline, nerves, emotion everything was going through my mind and all I could think was not to creep forward of my marks. The lights go out and bang I'm away, or not as it seemed as everyone behind streamed passed as I nearly stall the car. After finally getting away I enter paddock for the first time tucked behind a pack of single seaters.
After the first lap I found my self in a great close battle with 2 ahead and one on my tail. I managed to keep the other FF behind until the entrance to clearways got the better of me and I found myself rejoining the track from the infield.
After the spin my race was over and I was just putting in lap times, I was on the last lap as I swept round paddock for the time to find one of the faster cars tangle just ahead of me with a back marker, not knowing which way either where going I headed for the gap and found my way past, this brought the red flag out and it was time to head back to the paddock. P14 to p13 in my first race I was over the moon that I made it back in one piece and was actually involved in some close racing!!
Another quick turnaround and it was time to head back on the grid for the James Beckett Mountny Champion of Brands sponsored by ACMOTORSPORT.
I was starting in p11 and had a much better start than in the Monoposto race, Simon Pruce managed to pass me on the out side heading into paddock for the first time, from then on in I was staring at the back of his Jamun trying to pass at literally every corner until lap 15 when I finally managed to pounce on a small mistake made by Simon at Graham Hill, after a great battle all race I managed my 2 fastest laps on the last 2 laps of the race. I had finished P9 in my first Champion of Brands race and I was absolutely buzzing.
A very successful day in the car on Sunday gave me and the team beaming smiles from ear to ear after the disappointment of Friday.
I really couldn't have had the day I had if it wasn't for the team I have behind me especially the mega support from my dad and the most amazing tuition from Andy Charsley.
The support this weekend was unreal.
Thank you guys!