April 2008 Archives

I was feeling strangely positive after the wet, cold and generally grim weekend at Oulton Park (the salt stains on the side of my car and rusting tools provided evidence that it was really 'that wet'.) My previous outings at Rockingham have varied from fairly bad to really bad as I always seem to suffer on the more technical circuits that require a higher level of skill! Testing was OK, I was probably a little faster than I expected but the importance of a tow round the banking meant that I was a little nervous of how it would turn out during qualifying. The other bad news was that a lot of people were predicting a wet day on the Saturday, if not for qualifying then almost certainly for the race.


As it happened, qualifying was dry and I did alright but it could have been a lot better. My best was a 1:36.551 (my lap timer said 2 tenths quicker but it would have only made 1 place difference) which was still an age off Tim GO who took pole with 1:34.594. James Sibbet was almost half a second behind but David Shaw was very close to James with a 1:35.000 in third; Andy Hawken put in his best ever qualifying performance to take fourth and line up on the second row. Both Trevor Newman and Hugh Smith had had issues during qualifying (Trev a leaking Apollo tank and Hugh an argument with a tyre stack) but Hugh had managed to get a time (22nd) and Trev had not. Because we were oversubscribed, the bottom six Supers drivers, including Trev, had to first get through the quali race on the back of the Classics' grid. Trev, Darrell Wilson and Nick Pancisi duly went through to the main race.

I was very focussed on the lights at the start and it seemed to pay off as I got a great start, pulling away from Andy Skinner alongside me and going straight through the middle of Ian Northern and Gareth Thomas on the row in front of me. Up to 11th, not bad! Andy Hawken had a nightmare from his great grid position, not being able to get second and quickly slipping back. Roger also had a bad start, for some reason deciding to wait for the green lights but fortunately realising his mistake before they came on. As we went round the banking I was past Andy H when Roger and Damon Rosamond slowed, giving me a clear line up the inside and past them taking me to 8th as we went into Turn 1. It was a hectic first lap with the lead only a second or two in front and everyone trying to make the post of the closeness of the field. Tim GO had dropped from pole to third with David Shaw up from third to first whilst James held on to second. By the end of lap one, Trevor had made up an astonishing 21 places (to 13th) and Hugh 7 places (to 15th). Lap 2 was just as hectic with Roger getting past me into Turn 2, but by the chicane at the end of the lap I was able to take the place back. It was now James' turn to take the lead with David in second and Tim in third.

It was lap four when I sucumbed to Trevor's pace, dropping me to 9th. The same thing happened to me with Hugh on lap 5, so I was now in 10th. David had retaken the lead, ahead of James. On lap 8 disaster struck as I outbraked myself slightly into Turn 2, letting Roger through on the inside and putting me in 11th. On lap 9 I got two places back as Mark 'IVD' Roberts went straight on at Turn 3 with a sticking throttle and almost simultaneously there was a coming together of Hugh and Trevor Clarke, ending Trevor's race. Trevor and Eddie Benson swapped places a number of times as they competed for fourth and fifth place. I obviously hadn't learned from my mistake on lap 8 as on lap 11 I did the same thing again, this time letting Gareth Thomas through. One lap later, a controversial overtake involving a yellow flag saw Hugh and Roger get past Trevor, taking fourth and fifth respectively behind Eddie Benson. The leaders had settled down a bit with Tim GO out front, followed by James and David. Although he tried his best over the last few laps, I just managed to keep Damon behind me and finished in 10th. Roger had a great result with a sixth and the leaders remained unchanged, Tim GO taking both his first podium and first win.

Full qualifying and race results.


rockingham video
(6Mb Windows Media File)





Here we go again…….

It was a long drive to Oulton for the first race of the season, especially given that it was only a single header. Testing on the Friday went reasonably well, alternating between damp, wet and (one) dry ish sessions. My times seemed OK, but probably three seconds off where I really wanted to be. It was unlikely I was going to find three seconds in qualifying, but I could try.

The forecast for Saturday was heavy rain all day and I was sure that quali was going to be wet. Miraculously it wasn’t and for the first time we went out on a fairly dry track. It was good to be back out and qualifying felt good - I managed to put in a couple of decent laps, ending up with a best of 2:00.444 which put me 10th. The 2:00 barrier wasn’t broken until Hugh Smith in 4th (where else?), with Eddie Benson on pole (1:58.141) and Trevor Newman, last season’s Classics first loser, alongside him (1:58.269).

Saturday afternoon was definitely wet, and windy, and cold, and frankly, not at all pleasant. At some points it seemed it might dry off but by the time our race came round it was tipping it down. After the obligatory 30 minute wait in the assembly area we went out onto the grid for two green flag laps. The first one was bad enough but during the second I couldn’t see a thing and seriously thought about not taking the grid. Oliver Benjamin, in 11th place, did just that. As we came round to the grid I thought there was a serious chance of it being called off and thought I’d take the grid to make sure I’d get whatever points I was due if it was abandoned but they they showed the 5 second board - there was going to be a race.

Inevitably as the lights went out, the spray went up and I couldn’t see a thing. Chris Rome, who had started in 12th on the row behind me, came past on the left and although I desperately wanted to push ahead I just couldn’t persuade myself to go faster when I couldn’t see. I lost another two places on the first lap before I finally started to pick up the pace. Trev had managed to get past Eddie to take the lead, with Hugh Smith also getting past James Sibbet to take third although this reversed again on lap two. At the end of lap three I finally managed to overtake Trevor Clarke going into Druids, only to lose the place back at Lodge when I broke far too early thinking the corner was closer than it actually was. On lap four I went past Andy Hawken who had spun, but as we came up to Druids I could see Martin Kay in the gravel and the red flags were put out. To be honest, I was relieved! But it did mean that I lost the Andy Hawken place on the countback to the end of lap three and ended up 13th.

A video just so that you can see that it was really wet!

(3Mb Windows Media File)

Trevor took the first win of the season, with Eddie in second, James in third and Hugh in fourth (where else?)

Roll on Rockingham!

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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