2018 Round 3, Cadwell Park
This was a game-changing weekend and hopefully a turning point for the whole season.
It started of much like the other recent race weekends. I was fairly quick over a single lap in testing and qualified 5th in my group, which was 9th on the grid for race 1A. I got away well in the race and as the front runners pulled away I fought hard with Seb Fisher for 8th, just about edging him and a tight group of 5 cars over the line.
Over night, we found what turned out to be the silver bullet. The confusion had been why my pace dropped off throughout a race distance. It turns out we had an issue with the cooling on the car. It was a double whammy really; as the engine got warmer and slowed, I would be pushing harder and harder and eventually over heat the tyres as a result. With this rectified, we were looking forward to race 2A.
Lining up on the fourth row in 8th place I had a great start, passing Charlie Burge and Jason Greatrex on lap one and then Adam Bessell on lap two when he kindly slid wide. There after I stayed in 5th, but was right on the tail of the top four, all the way to the end. The car felt great and amazingly I thought I could go quicker! I was just 0.04 seconds off the fastest lap, but also very keen to bag a solid result, so was happy to sit in 5th. For now.
For the first time, I was starting a race within spitting distance of the front and I felt fast. I was into 4th place straight away and then sneaked into 3rd at the Gooseneck on lap one. I was happy to settle for that and score my first A race podium, but as the race wore on I saw that my pace was really good in certain sections so pushed on, aiming to upset the team MCR cars, who had dominated the weekend.
On the penultimate lap I had a great run on Sam Smith and was able to overtake him into The Mountain. This put me straight onto the rear bumper of defending champion and current points leader Will Blackwell-Chambers. I enjoyed a fantastic run onto Park straight on the final lap and as Blackwell-Chambers chose the inside line I had a stab round the outside, out-braking him and cutting in ahead. Into the next right Will put his nose in but there was no move on, so I shut the door. We touched lightly and he went onto the grass, scattering the cars behind and giving me a handy cushion. How Will kept second place I don’t know; it was good driving.
All that was left was to keep it on the island and score my first A race win. It was a fantastic feeling and something we had been aiming for and working towards since my first MX-5 race in October 2016. Hopefully there will be more to follow!
Huge thanks this weekend (and all race weekends) must go to Freshcold, ValetPRO, Cambridge FD, Gibbs Read Garage, AB Motorsport and mainly Dad.
Turns out that issue we found was quite fundamental…!