Six races down, six to go! It gives me great pleasure to report that I have made it to the half way point of my first season after another successful weekend racing, this time at Mallory Park.
The last bank holiday of May saw us head up to the little village of Kirkby to race at the incredibly fast circuit of Mallory Park. Unlike my first two events, Mallory was a one day, double header event.
I was really excited to fit a qualifying session and two races all in to one day. And not only that, I had 13 friends and family in support to see it all. No pressure then!
It was action from the the word GO with a crazy first lap out of the pits in the morning qualifying session. Just 10 seconds into the session and I could see oil spewing out of a BMW up ahead on the circuit and I immediately backed off, knowing full well how dangerous and slippery it is to drive over. The BMW in question kept going and going until he actually spun off on his own fluid and narrowly missed the barriers. The session was immediately stopped and we had to form back up in the pit lane.
When we eventually got going again, I was first out on the track. The marshals had covered the entire racing line with the powder they use to try and soak up oil. With my lack of experience, I really wasn’t sure what kind of grip I would find driving through all that dust so was quite cautious during the session. I would therefore qualify 20th out of 30, fifth in class.
The action continued into the first race. I got an amazing getaway off the line, but it all came to nothing after the car in front of me had a VERY tardy start, meaning I had to come off the throttle which led to me losing some places. There was a big crash up ahead of me at turn 2 which brought the safety car out for ten of our fifteen minute race to clear away a heavily damaged Honda Civic.
When we eventually got going I saw another huge crash up ahead of me. An Alfa 145, new to the club, ploughed in and onto the barrier at the tight hairpin, taking a Saab out in the process. I couldn’t believe how much carnage there was already that day! I managed to overtake three cars up ahead before the chequered flag fell. I had enjoyed the short amount of racing we managed but was frustrated with the long safety at period. At least our car was in one piece, ready for race 2 later on!
In race 2 I started a few places ahead compared to the previous race but was still 5th in class and was not expecting to be able to fight with the four Renault Clio’s, which looked just that little bit faster than me on the day. I got a another great start and was able to use it this time, gaining a place off the line which I held onto around the first lap. As we went into lap 2 I found myself at the back of a train of the four Renault Clio’s (all in my pre-05 class) and a BMW from the Pre 93 class.
I managed to get up along side the cars ahead of me a few times but was unable to make a move stick, especially due to lacking the same amount of traction as my rivals out of the tight hairpin onto the pit straight. I knew if I was going to improve my position it would have to be taking advantage of any mistakes made up ahead.
And soon enough I was promoted into P4 (in class) when the elbows came out up ahead and one of the Clio’s got turned around. I avoided the car in the middle of the track (it happened in front of my Mum – she loved seeing that!), and knew I was now one place out of the trophy positions!
My good fortune continued after the two Clio’s fighting for the lead somehow made contact down the back straight (naughty!), terminally ending one of their races as it limped back to the pits. I couldn’t help whoop “Woohoo!” as I took 3rd place.
As the laps ticked by I pushed as hard as I could for P2 and P1 – both cars tantalisingly close up ahead. But I couldn’t improve my position and came home a very happy 3rd.
My nearest and dearest were there to greet me out of the car which is such a nicely feeling when the adrenaline is still running through your body. Another trophy for the shelf at home and the car ready to go for the next round at Snetterton in August. Bring it on!