Lydden Hill Races 3 and 4
I’m sitting writing this on my mobile. It’s the early hours of the morning and I’m sitting in the lorry looking out at the spectacular Brands Hatch Circuit. The suns just come up and isn’t that strong yet but already shadows are starting to appear.
I’m writing it now for two reasons; the first is that last night Steve reminded me that two races have gone by and I haven’t updated the site, the second is that I’m too excited to sleep!
Lydden 21st of April
Qualifying for Lydden was a lonely affair. I’d not been to the circuit since racing last year and I never felt like I put a proper lap together. I seemed to meet the corners one at a time and fight my way round them. Very different from the flowing quick circuit at Donington a couple of weeks before. The sad or maybe good thing was the car felt good and I had no excuses I just drove it badly. With qualifying deciding starting positions for both heats my weekend was looking very challenging if I was going to try and get elevated points!
Result: Race 1 qualifying position 26 /33, Race 2 Qualifying position 26/33 – oh well at least I’m consistent!
Race 1 Heat (Started 20th, finished 16th)
The first six went straight through to the final putting me 20th on the grid for the first heat. I was lined up on the left hand side and as the lights went out I made a fairly decent start tucking in behind James Kmieciak who was on a flyer. As usual it was a mad dash to the first corner and it was hard to work out if I was gaining or loosing places but when everything shook out after the first lap I’d moved up two places passing Lee Middleton and Richard Green. By Lap two I was Catching Matt Cherrington who was having problems, on lap four he retired gifting me 17th. Rob Middleton was pursuing me hard and after a couple of laps slip streamed me down the main straight and shot past sending me back down to 18th. A couple of retirements on the last two laps put me back up to 16th but Richard Green was pushing me hard and would have got the place had it not been for waved yellows on the final corner of the last lap. Not one of my best ever races but I had another three to look forward to.
Race 1 Final (Started 22nd, finished 18th)
If I’d thought the heat was bad it was nothing compared to the final! I got off the line well but then missed second gear and by the time we got to the first corner I was dead last! Groan! Oh well only one direction to go from last.
I set off after Ernie and caught and passed him on the third lap, a retirement the same lap meant I was back up to 22nd- where I’d started! I now had Richard Green and Richard Pearson ahead of me, they were battling hard meaning it was easy to catch them but impossible to get past. On lap five Ernie retired with car trouble putting me last again. I began to firmly believe that Richard Pearson had built the widest Locost ever. I know he was running with about 45kg of ballast and began to wonder if it had magical properties. His fantastic defensive driving coupled with lots and lots of yellow flags meant that for eight laps we held station but finally on lap nine Richard Green passed him giving me the opportunity to sneak through too. I was now up to 20th and hot on Richard Green’s heals but our battle had meant we were now 15 seconds behind the group in front and making up more places seemed unlikely with only a few laps left. By the penultimate lap with the leaders creeping in to view in my rear view mirror I got him. A few corners later and we were both lapped by the hard charging front runners. There was a massive battle going on for the top six and I pulled right off line to make sure I didn’t impinge on it. Richard spotting his chance glued his car to the back of Ed Pitchers car in third and I’d let them both past before I realised my mistake. I’d just pulled over and given my hard fought place away. Richard apologised later (with a grin!) but he didn’t need to, I would have done exactly the same! I have now fitted a much bigger rear view mirror to my car.
Sunday – Race 1 Heat (Started 20th finished 17th)
It was hard not to feel fed up as Sunday dawned I’d had such big plans for elevated points and they’d come to nothing. I wasn’t going to let it get to me though, racing is something I’ve always wanted to do from being tiny and I couldn’t let two dodgy races spoil it. I guess it’ll make my first race win when it happens feel even better. This may sound optimistic but one day I’ll win one, I might be 70 when it happens but I’m pretty determined! The best things in life are worth working at!
With one qualifying session giving places for both days it was in 20th I took my place for the first race of the day.
Determined I might be but good at starts I’m apparently not and yet again I lost places off the start compounded by a couple of mistakes because I was cross with myself and by lap two I was in 22nd. I was hard on Richard Pearson’s heals but again couldn’t find a way past. By lap five I’d got my head back together and round corner one over took not only Richard but the car ahead of him too. Bizarre it had taken me three laps to get one car and then I’d overtaken two on one corner! Another maneuver on lap nine and I was up to 19th. Unfortunately as I managed to escape the car I’d just overtaken there was a big gap ahead to Matt Cherrington and Richard Green and the next six laps were lonely ones with no one to battle. Two more retirements meant I crossed the line 17th.
Race 2 Final (Started 23rd, finished 18th)
Bizarrely I really enjoyed this race yet on paper it has to be one of the most boring races I’ve ever had! I lost no places of the start (Wa hey!) and stayed in the same position all the way until the race was red flagged on lap ten. I gained five places but they were all due to retirements. Of course what the lap charts can’t show is the massive battles that were going on to keep my place and to try and gain places inparticular a battle with Richard Green who was ahead of me. I never did make it past him but I had great fun trying. I think the other thing that helped was I’d realised it was not going to be my weekend for taking home lots of points and decided just to enjoy the racing and try again at Castle Combe!