Monday, 20 September 2010

Race win at Mallory and Champion!

The 7th and Final round of the Pistonheads 2010 Academy Championship was at Mallory Park.

After qualifying 2nd on the grid, only 0.022 seconds behind Merlin Edwards, I knew we would be in for an exciting final race. In fact, only 0.185 seconds separated the top four drivers and it was the tightest grid we have seen all year.

When the lights went out I managed to beat Merlin into the first corner but only after Blaize Rhodes made yet another superb start demoting me back to 2nd. The start of the race was frantic where 7 cars chased for the lead, which resulted in a number of light touches from the pack.

Mike Hart, one of the Championship contenders this year, defended his position from Matthew Waite into the hairpin, causing him to crash into the back of me. This unfortunately resulted in me being pushed forward into the back of Merlin Edwards resulting in minor damage to his car and substantial damage to my steering. Unfortunately this seemed to affect the cornering and performance of my car and I was unsure at the time if the damage was terminal. The corner after the incident was the first test but unfortunately it as also the fastest. With blind faith I threw the car into the corner and with some mid turn adjustment (which now continued throughout the rest of my driving) I continued to race.

It was a hard fought battle and the lead changed almost every lap. My race was not made any easier by rushing two gear changes, resulting in lost places where my competitors did well not to hit me.

After 12 laps it became a two horse race between Blaize and me where I managed to keep my cool and hold him off for the final 4 laps after he threw everything, including the kitchen sink, and a brief excursion across the grass to try and get past!

This last race gave me another 20 points towards the Championship where it was confirmed that I am the Group 1 Pistonheads Caterham Academy Champion for 2010 !!!!!!!!

The top 5 in this years Championship finished as follows;

Wesley Fox 120 points
Jon Mortimer 103 points
Merlin Edwards 102 points
Blaize Rhodes 101 points
Mike Hart 100 points

There are many people I want to thank for helping me achieve this. My wife Louise who has supported me 200% (as always), my father in law John MacDonald - who helped me build the championship winning car, Richard Grimes of Sidelines Automotive for his expert advice, support and supplies throughout the year and David Rowe of DPR Motorsport – who set the car up for the races, provided race day advice and race tuition.

The Racing Fox pit crew, who travelled the country on race days and track days, most notably Rod Germany and Martin Bielby who both made countless observations about competitors and myself at the events.

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