Seventh heaven…?

2021 BRSCC Mazda MX-5 SuperCup.
Round 1, Croft.

Up to now, I’ve not really been a regular at Croft. It’s a cracking circuit, but I had only raced there once before, back in 2017. Plus, the trip from East Sussex to North Yorkshire isn’t short, so it’s not a circuit we test on either. Amazingly, I will now become a regular as we return in two week’s time for Club Enduro. This weekend though was all about the first round of the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 SuperCup.

Predictably, Friday was spent learning the circuit. It had been resurfaced since my last visit, but remains bumpy, with varying types of kerbs, corners, cambers and so on. It’s an old school circuit and the devil is in the detail.

Qualifying went really well. I followed Jack Harding – record holder for race wins and a driver who has to be considered a championship favourite. I thought he would be a slam dunk for a good tow, but it turned out his exhaust had broken, so I had backed the wrong horse! I put in my fastest laps in clean air and set times quick enough for 5th place starts in races one and two. A bit off the pace, but still pretty pleased in a competitive 39 car field.

Harding had qualified just behind me and he shot past on the run to turn one in the first race. James Cossins then overtook at Tower corner, demoting me to 7th. After that I was able to keep with the top 6, but was not quite quick enough to work through them. 7th was a fair result and we had a large gap back to the chasing pack.

Race 2 was a similar story, although I was overtaken at the final hairpin on lap one and pushed wide. This meant I had other cars all over me and I did have a little contact, but soon got ahead and pulled away. It was a lonely 7th this time.

The BRSCC MX-5 SuperCup uses a reverse grid system for the third race and my number was pulled out of the hat for a pole position start. I was more nervous than I thought I would be, but hopefully if I can work towards running at the front as the season goes on I will get more used to it.

Heavy rain fell before the race and the track was greasy by the time we went out. My start was alright and as I just touched the throttle after the first corner the car snapped sideways. It was a big moment and I was worried I’d be stuck facing the wrong way with the pack coming towards me, but I managed to collect it together. I dropped to 11th, but was soon in 8th and when a car went off in front of me I was back in my customary 7th.

The resulting safety car closed us all up and for the rest of the race I had my most competitive showing yet, all over the three cars in front battling for 4th in the tricky conditions.

Overall it was a solid start to the year. More seat time and visits to circuits I’m more familiar will hopefully help us get stuck into that top 6 soon.

Thanks for all their efforts go to BLiNK, my Dad and also my fantastic partners for this year – The Perfect View, Bexhill Property Maintenance, JLex Networks , Purple Cow Office Supplies and of course Cambridge FD.