Friday, 12 November 2010

Croft Winter Race

On 9th/10th October I competed in a non championship round at the fantastic Croft race circuit in North Yorkshire. Whilst it was a non-championship round, the only entrants permitted were the drivers from either of the two Caterham Academy groups. This meant that it was the first time that I would have the opportunity to race against those in the other group.

The weekend included a 20-minute qualifying session and 20-minute race on Saturday, and a further 20 minute race on Sunday.

Having never visited the circuit before, I only had the qualifying session to learn the circuit. I went out late in the qualifying session to get a free track and slowly my confidence grew. The car felt good and I finished on Pole, over 1.5seconds faster than my nearest competitor.

Race 1 was dry and the first lap was full of activity early on with cars tripping over each other to get the advantage. Behind me Chris Bingham and Joel Wymer were victims of their own late braking which helped me break free from the chasing pack. This enabled me to finish 1st, Mike Hart 2nd and Kurt Brady a very close 3rd.

Race 2 was a real fight, I started on Pole having won race 1 but, as always, I was suffering from very bad brakes, so much so that I even warned Mike Hart before the race who was starting in second, just in case I found it difficult to stop at the hairpin before the start finish straight.

I got a very good start and was followed very closely by Mike and Kurt for the first 5 laps. At the mid way point Kurt overtook me for 1st place, but then I pulled it back soon after. With the brakes still not improving I continued to suffer where Mike pushed me down to 3rd with one of his trademark lunges from nowhere, only for me to get it back again before the end of the lap. With one lap to go, Kurt had pulled out a secure lead where he finished 1st, me 2nd and Mike 3rd.

It was an excellent weekend with some very close racing. With about half of the competitors from this year expecting to stop racing based on previous years, there is likely to be only one grid in 2011. Those who have been at the sharp end are going to continue, so it looks like another great year of racing when we progress to Roadsport B.

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