Tough start

2020 BRSCC Mazda MX-5 SuperCup.
Round 1, Cadwell Park.

It wasn’t exactly my dream start to racing in the BRSCC MX-5 SuperCup. We were at Cadwell Park, which is a circuit I love driving and have enjoyed success at in the past. Despite this, to come away with a brace of ninth places was a bit of a disappointment.

The weekend started well, with good pace on Friday testing and seemingly more to come with new tyres lined up for qualifying. In the final session I had a spin at the fast first section of the lap (see it here). We didn’t think too much of it at the time, but it would come back to haunt us.

Qualifying was my first time on new tyres and I got a bit of a shock when I few off the track straight away at the end of the straight! No damage was done though and my two best lap times would mean I started the races 8th and 9th.

I negotiated the first lap of race 1 fine, until the final section where the car in front pulled up with a mechanical and I had nowhere to go except run straight into him. Then on lap six I out-braked myself into The Mountain and ran wide, dropping two places to finish 10th where I finished as a Safety Car period took away any chance of fighting back. A post race disqualification further up promoted me to 9th.

The grid for race 2 is based on the second fastest times from qualifying. It was a lively one from the off as race 1 winner and three times champion Luke Herbert was performing multiple 360 degree spins up the straight while the rest of the pack tried to avoid him. I gained out of this, but promptly lost out at the hairpin as I again wasn’t able to slow the car quite enough and slid wide. I had a little bit of contact later on, but was able to claw back a couple of places before another safety car and the end of the race.

Alongside the SuperCup, Alex Miller and I were sharing his car in the ClubSport Trophy. This involves a 45 minute race with a driver change and racing against all sorts of cars, from Lotus Exiges to Citreon C1s. It’s a very different kettle of fish!

We qualified 15th overall, which was 8th in class, but we were fighting a gearbox issue throughout. This continued in the race, which meant our position yo-yoed as we both fought with it. My stint was good fun as I had a fight with a Ford Capri which was slow in the corners but rapid down the straights. We finished up 12th overall and 6th in class, but I’m sure we can improve on that.

After the ClubSport race it hit me how good the brakes were in Alex’s car. Retracing our steps, we worked out that something changed after the spin in testing. At the time we thought it was flat spots on the tyres making me lock up, but it turned out something was sent awry in the braking system during that spin. After this point, for the qualifying and both races, I couldn’t work out why I kept locking the brakes. Only when we were investigating afterwards did we find that I had no rear brakes at all! Not ideal, but at least I slept better knowing I wasn’t going mad.

Overall it was a tough and busy day! I’m thankful to all my partners including The Perfect View and Cambridge FD who were able to attend, BLiNK Motorsport, Alex Miller and of course my Dad. Now though, I’m really looking forward to the next race, which thankfully isn’t far away. We go to Donington on 23rd August and I’m determined to show improvement.

Circuit photo credits: Dave Luck.