So off to Donny we go for Rounds 7 and 8 of the Welsh Sports and Saloon Car Championship. This was looking like a cracking meeting with a grid of 33 cars. However, with the understatement of the week - the weather was not looking great. Weather warnings for high winds and heavy rain were annoying accurate. Even more annoyingly, my Gazebo imploded and now I’ll have to fork out for a new one (probably more sturdy this time) at £400 odd quid.
Nonetheless, it’s a circuit I love and I had my Wife and a few mates along for the craic. Quali went well enough, even if I did outbreak myself going into Goddards. No harm done though other than to my lap time for that lap. It was properly wet and so I went for a full wet set-up. No ARBs front or rear and my soft Khumos. The car performed faultlessly and my lines were not too bad having watch several Caterham wet races (off the apex at the Old Hairpin and a very late apex at Coppice). That said, I had a big moment at Coppice and thought I was going round, but with more luck than judgement, the car stayed on the black stuff. Overall, I was 9th and more importantly, first in my class. The lap times between Pole and last were 33 seconds apart with a mix of cars and driver experience/ability. This was going to be interesting...
When I got back in the paddock I was running the usual checks on the car and saw my front tyres…. It looks like running these soft tyres in the dry earlier in the year (it dried up as we were held in the assembly area for an eternity) didn’t help the tread and parts of the tyre came off on track in chunks (really). Not good. Not good as the first race was looking to be even wetter than quali….and it was. The surface water running down Craner Curves was like sheet glass. Thankfully everyone behaved themselves at the start and although I lost a place to a quick BMW at the start (I had no hope of keeping that rocket behind me!) I managed to hold 9th place after the first lap. I had a bit of a shocker mid race when I want to lap one of the slower cars, the driver slowing right down to let me past going down Craners but I don’t think they realised that there were yellow flags being waved at consecutive Marshals stations. I haemorrhaged time (about 6 seconds) and this meant I could see one of my Class competitors in my mirrors. Keeping the car on the track was the priority and I managed to stay in front in the heavy rain, but I was happy to see the last lap board. I had a good dice with a BMW towards the end of the race – he was holding the biggest of slides, great to watch but I was nervous about being collected: ‘If you want to finish first, first you have to finish’ and all that. I finished 10th overall and 1st in class. Happy days.
Race two was on a drying track and I opted for the semi-slicks. Despite a constant light drizzle for most of the race the heavy rain held off (not long after the race finished it hurled it down which was a pain packing the car away) so it turned out to be the right choice.
I had problems even before the rolling start as I had bit of grass lodge itself under my visor. This was seriously distracting and to make things worse I then kept catching my wrist restraint on something (seat maybe). These are my pathetic racing driver excuses for not finding a gear, again (arrgghhh), at the rolling start. I lost 6 places including one to a class competitor. Still, I managed to settle down to get in some ‘ok’ lap times. I was a little worried when the drizzle started but the grip levels didn’t really diminish. I managed to pick off the places I had lost at the start and even managed to just pip the sideways BMW from race 1 over the line (it was only by 87 thousands of a second! Brilliant fun) for 8th place overall and 1st in class.
I picked my battles at this meeting and bagged the results I needed, but nothing more really - I’m currently leading the Championship and there are only 4 rounds left with one round of dropped scores. Both remaining rounds are at Pembrey. Roll on the 19th of August when I’m out next. Hopefully not in the biblical wind and rain this time……
Wet, wet, wet:
Enough said about this one....Lol at me putting my hands in the air in disgust! Good battle from 7 minutes
Battling with a Westie - but he was just toying with me! Drag race to the line