2018 Round 5, Silverstone International
Racing an MX-5 at Silverstone is all about one thing: slipstreaming. With three long straights and (essentially) only four corners, towing results in close lap times and closer racing. Plus, with 57 cars entering, it’s important to qualify well.
With that in mind, my AB Motorsport team mate Ollie Allwood and I worked together in qualifying to set the best times in our session. I was lucky enough to go a shade quicker (0.011 seconds!) and score my first pole position.
Being on pole position is an odd thing if you are not used to it. It’s something we are all aiming for, but once you get there it’s pretty nerve-racking! Nevertheless, I managed to have a good start and even pulled a small gap, which didn’t last for long as the group behind towed back up. At about half distance I was overtaken and, as happens at Silverstone, I was out of position so the ‘train’ came past. I was briefly down to 6th, but quickly back into 4th. In the last few laps I was able to rise to 3rd, then 2nd, and I even had a stab at taking the win on the last lap. Second place in the end was still a pretty pleasing result, even if it was only by 0.4 seconds.
We were all pleased to have the pit garages on Sunday, as it was a wet one. It looked like it was starting to dry before race 2A so we didn’t go for our full wet weather tyres. The rain got heavier just as we grided up though. Not ideal.
After a fairly even start I was in second place, which then became the lead when Sam Smith slid off ahead of me. I lead for a while but soon Will Blackwell-Chambers and Brian Trott came past on their ‘full’ wets. As the top two drove away I was having a good fight with Charlie Burge. We passed and repassed in the spray and gloom until I looked in my mirror one time and his bonnet had flipped up! That took the pressure off me and Charlie did really well to bring it home in forth.
It wasn’t as wet in the afternoon and the track was greasy for race 3A. I initially ran third, and then forth, before making a mistake just as the four of us were pulling away. This put me in fifth and the second group on the road. The gap to the front guys was opening and while I did get back into forth, there was no way to close up to the leaders. There were four of us in this group and it was close racing. I was hit near the end of the race and dropped to seventh, but took two places on the last lap and nearly another in a drag race to the flag.
Overall it was a great race meeting and we were really happy to come away with pole position and two podium finishes. We also had all of our partners and sponsors in attendance, as well as friends and family. Happy days!
On to North Wales next…