Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Castle Combe

Testing (at a Bookatrack track day) was wet. Race day was supposed to be dry, and maybe it would have been if our qualifying session wasn't scheduled for 9am. Ugh.

I knew my qualifying time wasn't great, so I was moderately happy with 13th place. The race wasn't until 1:15, so plenty of time for the track to dry - and it did. The sun came out, and the crowds arrived in droves - I've not raced in front of so many people since the old Brands Hatch "MCN Pound Days". Well done to Castle Combe for, err, whatever it is they do to get so many people through the gate.

You could tell Trev was on pole from the pace of the warmup lap. Hang on, we're supposed to be checking out the green flags as well as warming our tyres!

I got a good start, only to find myself completely blocked by Mike Rowland, who had somehow managed to mislay second gear. I was tempted by the grass, but bottled out - and had to watch a big group of cars sail past on the other side. Eventually I found a gap and moved past Mike - and then managed to get past a couple of cars who were queing up for the inside line round Quary Bend.

First lap video here.

It took me a couple of laps to get into the swing of things, and realise just how fast you can go into Camp on a dry track. I was down in 15th place by then, but gradually climbed back up to 10th, and fought Oliver Benjamin for 10th and 11th place. Then things started to go downhill. With Oliver in the lead, Mike Rowland reappeared (presumably having found his second hear) and stuck himself between us. Then Richard Curry did the same. Although I had no problems keeping up with them, I just couldn't get a pass to stick. I'd go for it, bottle out, and lose time which I'd then have to catch up again.

I dropped to 13th and only climbed back a couple of places when Ben Rockey and Chris Rome got a little too intimate on lap 12.

In the final lap Tim GO appeared, having spun on the first lap and rejoined dead last. He'd made his way up through the field, setting and then breaking lap records as he went. I hoped to hold him off, but he got past at Tower and I had little chance of fighting back.

That left me in 12th place, just one up from my qualifying position. A little disappointing, but at least I finished the race in one piece once again.

And the good news is that consistency counts - I'm currently in fourth place in the Supergrads championship! I have few illusions that it will last - once the table starts showing dropped rounds I'm sure I'll be well down, but it's nice while it's there.

Friday, May 02, 2008


Castle Combe this weekend - Bank Holiday Monday. We were there on Wednesday for a Bookatrack track day, but it was wet pretty much all day. It looked like it was going to be dry for the first session after lunch, but lunch got extended by half an hour, and just before we were due out, it started bucketing down.

I'm not over-confident for Monday. Combe is a fast circuit, and I'm never quick without a decent amount of practice. There were several other test days, most of which were dry, so drivers who picked a different day for testing are bound to be more dialled-in (assuming that qualifying is dry, of course).

Just got this months credit-card bill for the racing account. £897, to be paid out of the regular £750 that goes into the fund each month. Hmm. That settles the question of whether I'm camping or staying in a hotel Sunday night then!

Early start Monday - qualifying is at 9 o'clock. So I'd better be careful on the booze Sunday evening.