In the months leading up to the BRSCC MX-5 Championship Pembrey weekend, I knew that many of the drivers in the grid hadn’t been there before, and even if they had it wouldn’t have been for a long, long time. The last time fellow AB Motorsport driver, Ollie Allwood visited Pembrey was 20 years ago! So, knowing this, I saw the weekend as potential for a solid points haul. To give myself every chance at succeeding at this, I booked two test days before the weekend began. I tested on the Thursday and the Friday. Thursday was purely a day of learning the circuit and its quirks, Friday was spent getting the times down and being more consistent.
When Saturday comes…
Come Saturday, I felt good going into qualifying, having good experience of the track already, I knew I could now take this into a competitive session. Heading out onto the circuit with Ollie Allwood and Will Hayden, we worked together in the tow to get the best times we could. With qualifying done, I managed to start on row 7 of the grid for the first A race, I was happy with this as I knew I could make progress from that point.
The first race at Pembrey was an interesting one. With slow corners followed by another tight corner following it, I found it hard to complete an overtake. In the early stages of the race, I found myself racing against Ollie Allwood. It started with Ollie and I working to get closer to the pack up front. I soon worked out that I was quicker and decided to make the move up the inside at the first corner, Hatchets Hairpin. Being an AB Motorsport team mate, Ollie didn’t make it hard to pass, as this would lose us both time. I made it up the inside and moved my sights further up. I closed onto Marcus Bailey’s rear bumper multiple times into the first corner, trying different tactics to get past, however the race ended before I could make the move. I finished in 14th having dropped back a few places at the start.
The second race was very similar to the first, I was fighting back again after missing a gear off the start line which dropped me to the back, but I worked my way back up to 14th.
Sunday… a good finish to the weekend
The last race at Pembrey was where I was able to make good progress off the start line. I moved to the outside of Hatchets hairpin to try and get around cars stacking up on the inside and gained at least two positions. After the race had settled down, I was battling again with Marcus Bailey. I managed to get past him this time, again at Hatchets Hairpin. I was then closing up to Martin Tolley and Dave Waters. Before I could make a move, however, Matt Luff caught up behind me, again. Being an AB Motorsport team mate, when Matt did get an opportunity to pass I didn’t make it hard, as we’d both be losing time. He came past around Brooklands Hairpin. After Matt had come past, I used his tow to catch up again to Tolley and Waters. This worked as I was now very much within range of making an overtake. With Marcus Bailey behind, however, I had to be confident in completing the move without exposing myself to Marcus behind.
I soon found that Tolley and Waters were slower than me as they were battling quite a lot and slowing each other down. Halfway through the race I saw my opportunity, I snuck up the inside of both of them at the Esses, as they drifted slightly wide. battling each other. Now at the front of the group I aimed to create a gap. With two laps to go, I locked up into the Esses chicane, letting Tolley through again. Luckily however, Tolley did the exact same on the last lap, giving me the result that I wanted, finishing just outside the top 10, in 11th.
An encouraging weekend at Pembrey with some good progress! Overall I was happy with the weekend, especially at a track I’d never been to. It was on to Cadwell next, a track where in the previous year I achieved my first podium.