Come race 1, I started P8 on the grid, in the A race. Before the weekend, one of my goals was to stay in three A races, and now after qualifying, I knew I had my best chance yet.
Starting in eighth place, on the fourth row meant that I would be placed on the outside of the oval for the start, not exactly where you want to be for the second corner, the first hairpin. The race started and I had to stay around the outside; Martin Tolley and Brian Trott started well and got themselves up the inside very quickly. I had to brave it around the outside of the banking, close to the Rockingham wall. Coming into the hairpin, I braked cautiously, watching both ahead and behind for any cars that had missed their braking point. Thankfully none did!.
I was then in a sandwich around the hairpin, door to door, literally. This carried on through Yentwood. I found myself battling with Clive Powells and Scott Leach. We swapped positions quite a few times, and I was enjoying the scrap in my first true A race, battling with the top 10. Towards the end of the penultimate lap, I shifted down to 2nd for the last chicane, to gain a run on Clive Powells and Adam Craig. Unfortunately though…. not being used to changing back up coming out of the chicane, I missed the shift from 2nd to 3rd, allowing Scott Leach to come straight through on to the front straight. At the other end of the straight, Scott was just in front, still within my grasp. I was on the inside and thought I could go down the inside and get through. However, I missed my braking point and went straight on at the hairpin. Thankfully at Rockingham, it’s just more tarmac and no gravel. I got the car turned around and carried on, taking a small shortcut across the grass. It turns out that was the last lap, and I’d lost five places or so, dropping me down to 17th.
After the race I didn’t know how to feel. Having had my first experience of the top 10 of an A race, but then losing places due to a silly mistake was difficult, but I was determined to make amends in the two Sunday races. But… I’d done well enough to keep me in the A race! Could I keep it going?