After enjoying some winter testing, and getting my first crash of the season out the way, I felt ready to go at Brands Hatch for the first weekend of the 2019 BRSCC MX-5 Championship. Heading into the weekend, I enjoyed having a season’s experience of knowing how everything work, something I didn’t have last year. However, the thought that remained was one of apprehension. I thought a lot about how qualifying would go, how race 1 would go and so on. But the thing is, there is no way to tell, you just have to get on with it and stay out of trouble. Testing
1. Mindset and attitude When I first set out to write this post, I didn’t intend to put the ‘things’ in any order, but this first one was one of, if not the most important lesson that I learnt. This is something I grasped quite late on in the season, at Anglesey, the third to last weekend. My second race that weekend didn’t go to plan. I spun… and things went downhill from there. The main shortcoming that affected the race was my attitude after I had spun. My driving deteriorated from that point. After the race I came back to the AB Motorsport paddock
Apart from winning a few awards for my scintillating football skills ( Player of the Year at U10, Golden Boot at U14 for Berkhamsted Raiders CFC), I can’t say that my life has been littered with awards. Nevertheless, I’m beginning to make my mark in the BRSCC MX-5 Championship. I made it on to the podium in the B races at Cadwell Park and Oulton Park and, as the season progressed, I moved up the championship rankings. In the last two race meetings at Rockingham and Donington Park, I qualified 4th and 6th fastest in my qualifying group. At the end of the season, I
So, my first season in the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship. Never karted before, never raced competitively before. My pre-season experience consisted of: Learning to get round a track quickly in our Mazda Mk3 2.0 (BBR Super 200 conversion). Getting car control instruction at Milbrook Proving Ground. Drifting session with Learn2Drift. Spending a day under instruction in Brian Chandler‘s championship MX-5 A couple of track days in my new championship care with AB Motorsport. Watching endless videos on YouTube! Here’s a summary of my season performance. Started slowly, got quicker, and a consistent A race competitor by the end of the season.
I would start 17th for my last race of the year, having dropped back in the previous race after a silly mistake, but that’s what the first season is for! I knew I could make ground back up to where I should have started. Off the line I gained two positions quickly, coming past Clive Chisnall and another driver. I got myself in a good position, in the second group in the race. I was again having a good battle with Scott Leach and Seb Fisher. The battle continued for a fair amount of laps. However, one lap coming up to Coppice, it would all
For the first race, I would start 14th, as I had a three place grid penalty to carry over from my last weekend at Rockingham. I was confident I could made up positions though as my pace was quicker anyway. I also had some of my family down, so I wanted to perform well for them. The first race of the weekend went well, with myself holding positon and battling with Marcus Bailey, Seb Fisher and Scott Leach. For the second race though, I made a mistake early on after initially making a good start and making it to the front of the second pack.
The weekend for me started on the Monday before the race meeting. I decided to book a track day beforehand as I’d never driven at Donington Park before. It turned out that the day would be a full on wet one. It didn’t stop raining all day. However, I took this as an opportunity to really learn and improve my wet weather driving. This I did. My confidence grew throughout the day, with lap times tumbling down. This was partly down to me getting more confident with the conditions, but also because Ali Bray from AB Motorsport was improving the setup each time I came
For Sunday, my aim was to only move forward, having fallen back after a silly mistake in the first race in a great battle with the top 10. Starting P16, up one already after Steve Foden received a penalty, I felt good. Having stayed with the top 10 on Saturday, I knew I had it in me to get back up there… leaving out silly mistakes, this time. Race 2… making progress I aimed to make a better start than Saturday and make it to the inside of the oval and crucially, the first hairpin. My start was better, and I managed to get to
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
Having visited Rockingham before, I was in good spirits leading up to the race meeting. My main focus for the weekend was to go back to basics, and not to try too hard nor make silly mistakes (as I had at Silverstone and Anglesey!) I felt that would lessen the pressure I put on myself and get better results. Testing… a tyre change pays off For Friday testing, it was very much about getting re-acquainted with a track that I’d driven before. Rockingham is a track that I like a lot, unlike many who race there. I enjoy the technical, fun layout of the track;
The weekend started positively on a track where I had actually driven before in a Mk3 MX-5 BBR in the Mazda Spring Series in 2017. With progress made in testing, I felt good and wanted to make amends for the disappointment of Silverstone. In my final testing session I managed to pip Ollie Allwood, the leading AB Motorsport driver! That was a first. The three cars ahead of me in the timings were all Porsches. They’re a bit quicker than an MX-5. So, I went into qualifying, confident that I’d make it into the A race and progress further. My ambition for the weekend… compete
The BRSCC Mazda MX5 Championship Silverstone weekend started on the Friday with testing in bright sunshine and good dry conditions… perfect for getting used to a new circuit. And some good lap times were recorded in testing. However, this was all to change on race day! A mistake, but a good recovery I qualified 15th of 30 in my qualifying group which put me on pole position (a new experience) in the first Group B race. I started with a dry setup on the car. Unfortunately, the heavens opened and this made the track very treacherous. I slipped down to 3rd, and then on the
The last race in the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship at Oulton Park on Saturday took place in two halves. I started in 7th on the grid, with my aim being to get on the podium; I knew I could do it. I lined up in my grid spot aiming to move forward with a good start. However, I also knew of the consequences of jumping the start; I received a 10 second time penalty in the previous race, albeit I thought it was a bit dubious! With the 5 second board up, I readied myself. My start was good, gaining positive momentum to the cars
The second race at Oulton Park in the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship on 16th June was… an experience. During the day, we’d been waiting for the rain to arrive. And on the second lap it did… big time. A band of torrential, monsoon rain swamped the Oulton Park circuit. After 6 laps, the red flag appeared (although many of the drivers couldn’t see it!), and the race came to a premature end. Take a look at the video to see just how bad it was. Next time I’m going to check Weather Radar and get the wets on at the start of the race.
Not exactly the way I wanted to start the weekend… It would be my first time at Oulton Park. Having seen the track on TV and Youtube, I was excited to experience it for the first time in the car. I arrived at the track the Friday morning for testing. It was the first time I’d seen the car with its new fresh Car Magic livery on. It looked great and spurred me on for the weekend. So, I was ready to head out for the first session of the day, behind fellow AB Motorsport driver, Michael Fisk. I headed out on track for the