Brands Hatch into the gravel

In race 2, I started 7th on the grid again, as the result you get in the previous race is where you start for the next race. I was happy with this as I would be starting in the same place, also on the inside again. The field completed the warm up lap again, and we lined up again for the race start. This time, I focused on getting a better start. The lights went out, and my start was much better. I immediately gained a position off the start line. I again carried the inside line down the hill through Paddock. Coming down to Graham Hill bend it was two wide, I kept the position around the outside and aimed to move forward.

For the next few laps, it was neck and neck, single file, bumper to bumper every lap, the pressure was on. The car I went two wide with through Graham Hill passed me a few laps later through Druids. I knew wasn’t there to make up the numbers, so I pushed to overtake them back, and so I did. Getting myself on the outside rounds Druids gave me the inside line for Graham Hill. I positioned my car up the inside on the apex and got the position back, yet I still wanted to push more. I could see a bright green MK1 ahead, which became my next target. It was early on in the race so I knew I had the time to battle.

I'm behind you...
I’m behind you…
Image courtesy of Jonathan Elsey Motorsport Photography

Before long I had closed up with the back of the green car. Meanwhile all this time, Ivan Leary had been driving in the same manner, overtaking and staying right on my bumper the whole time, making me defend and attack at the same time. A couple of laps later, I had closed the gap again to the green car. I found that I was faster than most through Graham Hill bend, meaning I could push for a move through Surtees. Then, I had the chance. I got up alongside, and went up the inside through Surtees, and made a gap up through Clearways. The lap after I saw that Ivan Leary had done very much the same, and was again, on my bumper.

For the next few laps I concentrated on defending from Ivan as he was quicker through Clearways giving him a run on the main straight. In the meantime, we were catching up with my fellow AB Motorsport rookie teammate, Will Hayden. It got to the point where I knew I had to get past, as Ivan was behind again coming down the main straight. Will moved to the left at Paddock and I braked late and flew up the inside. This again granted me a position, but I knew I had to hold on for the remaining laps. With open air ahead, I tried to push on and make a gap behind me. But Will and Ivan were not disappearing in my mirrors. They held on. I could see the battle between was getting closer & closer.

It feels better in front
It feels better in front
Image courtesy of Jonathan Elsey Motorsport Photography

On lap 21 coming up to Druids, I approached a back marker. I stayed on the racing line as it looked like the back marker wasn’t getting out the way. I then took a deep line into Druids which meant I came across to the apex. This move caught Ivan, behind me, off guard; he braked hard. Unfortunately, this left Will with nowhere to go, meaning he made contact with Ivan, forcing Ivan into the side of the back marker. I heard the collision and looked in my nearside mirror. I saw Ivan’s car spinning off! The pressure was off. I completed the lap and that was it, it was over. The relentless pressure from Ivan had subsided. During the cooldown lap I ran through my mind what had just happened. I was more than happy with how I drove. I came back into the pits and Jack congratulated me and told me I came in 4th  from 7th on the grid. I was ecstatic to say the least. This result meant I got into the A race the next day, Sunday. The top five from the B race get promoted to the A race. I got back into the pit garage and Ali gave a me high five and a hug… that’s when you know you’ve done something right. A fitting end to the Saturday. I didn’t sleep that much that night.

Race 3: An excursion into the gravel!

The morning came and the excitement from yesterday’s race was still very much there.  I felt good going into the A race starting 23rd on the grid. This meant my start would be different, as I would pretty much be at the back, meaning I could see everything ahead. However. this race was not quite as successful… I finished 22nd, having gained a position despite a minor excursion into the gravel.

I’ll put that one down to experience… or lack of experience.

Overall, it was a brilliant first weekend, I was very happy with how I had performed on my debut against individuals who had been driving for much longer than I had.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *