Hat-trick heroes

2021 Club Enduro Championship.
Round 5, Silverstone International.

We headed back to race on the Silverstone International circuit for the first time since winning the MX-5 Championship there at the end of 2019. It’s a circuit I’ve always enjoyed and so was looking forward to the weekend.

In a change to our usual Club Enduro strategy, we did some testing! We hadn’t done any since the start of the season, and so it was good to try a few things like back to back testing the roof and also a different brand of tyre. Up to now we had been on the Avon tyres that are mandatory in SuperCup, but you can use what you like in Club Enduro. It was a useful day and we made some genuine gains.

This was the fifth round out of six. Each team counts their best four races and we were equal on dropped scores with the Honda Civic of Jeremy Crook and Alec Livesely, both of us having two wins each. At the end of this race, either team could have secured the class C championship, or it could still have been wide open heading to the final round at Oulton Park.

Qualifying was a bit of a lottery. I went out first, but after only two laps another car dropped all their oil, meaning the session was suspended. During that break it started to rain, so no one went quicker. We still went out, to explore the circuit and the new tyres were incredible in the damp conditions, as both Alex and I were overtaking class A and B cars. We would start third on the grid in class, and 32nd out of the 50 cars entered.

Alex drove the first stint, and it was his best drive of the year so far. Slotting straight into third, right behind Livesely, he kept up a great pace and passed to take second place early on. This was shortly followed by a move for the lead. As the race settled down he soon had the BMW of Rory Baptiste for company and they swapped places a few times.

At about half way, with us and Baptiste still very close on track, there was a safety car. We immediately pitted for the compulsory pit stop, to change driver and add fuel. It was another super pit stop by our crew and I left exactly on the 3 minute minimum time.

I joined the back of the safety car queue, directly behind two class C cars and Baptiste up the front of the crocodile. When we started racing I quickly passed the Lotus, but had to fight hard with a BMW Z4, which had some real grunt! I eventually got past and closed up to Baptiste who hadn’t pitted under the safety car, so went in for his stop. This left us over 40 seconds ahead of second place. Other than another excitable BMW I was lapping, the rest of the race was straight forward and we came home winners by over a minute.

This win, combined with other results, gave us an unassailable lead in the class C championship. A fantastic result as we were new to these long races at the start of the year. Hats off to Alex for working so hard on giving us a great car each time and also everyone who has participated in our pit stops throughout the year. We go to Oulton Park with a slim chance of winning the overall championship, but our main target was to do well in class, which with three wins from five starts we certainly have.