Race 12 – Silverstone

Over the last few weeks I’ve had three nightmares; in all of them I’ve been at Silverstone, missed scrutineering and not been able to race. So on Saturday I was determined it wasn’t going to happen for real. I got up at 7, went to the earliest first time drivers briefing at 7:45 and signed on. I now had 2 hours before scrutineering, a good start.

I’d asked Tony Cherrington to make me a vertical piece for my side impact bar at the last race and he kindly fitted it for me and even made me a new battery strap before scrutineering so I joined the queue with a shiny car and feeling pretty relaxed. Thanks Tony.

With a pretty sorted car scrutineering this season for me has always been a formality but bizarrely not this time. My Master cut off switch failed to cut off. the engine! Bit of a problem! Everything else was fine so all I had to do was fix it and pop back for my card showing I’d passed. I pulled the car over outside the bay and guessing it was something simple started checking that all the wires were plugged in to the master switch. Then I picked up the resistor . . . very bad move!

Each time the cut off switch had been in the off position all the power from the alternator had been travelling through this little resistor, it was understandably more than a little bit warm! I jumped like a scaled cat, but my fingers were already coated in the powdery white plastic of the resistor! After trying to cool them in a puddle my brother and I pushed the car back to the garage. Luckily being at Silverstone the garages are very posh and I could run my fingers under the tap in the garage.

Whilst I was trying to stop my fingers burning and generally behaving like a girl, Keith my brother and Keith Paul’s Dad set about fixing my car. (huge thanks) By the time I’d been bandaged up and the car was fixed everyone else was out on track and I still hadn’t passed scrutineering! My nightmare was coming true!

Keith & I ran with the car to scrutineering where it passed and I shot round to the assembly area. With no idea of how to even get on to the track all that was on my mind was getting the there laps in I’d needed to qualify for a place in the race.

Seven laps later the checkered flag fell and I knew I’d done it I was going to get to race! When the results came out I discovered I’d qualified 36 out of 42! Not bad.

After the dramas of the morning the rest of the day took on a much more relaxed and fun atmosphere.

In the race I made a good start gaining places, I was then pitched in to a great battle with Lewis whist trying to hold Ernie off. Lewis passed me and I’d just got back passed him when the waved yellows came out. Turning in to the complex we found James Hughes stricken sideways across the track. I went one side, Lewis went the other but Ernie obviously had no where to go and hit him in quite a nasty accident. This brought out the red flags and both the reserves. Luckily both Ernie and James were OK.

As we’d completed less than 2 laps it was back to original grid formations for a restart.

Again I made a pretty good start and fairly quickly had made up nine places! By this point I was in the middle of a 5 car pack, comprising of me, James O’Donnell, Mark Gogle, Kelvin Foy and Richard Hall. Silverstone’s so wide that we seemed to go in to every corner 3 cars abreast and 2 deep. Down each of the straights it was a lottery as to who to slip steam, whenever I was overtaking, someone was simultaneously trying to overtake me! In the end we crossed the finish line 4 abreast! When the times came out there was less than a quarter of a second between James, Mark, Kelvin and me.

27th isn’t my best ever finish but that has to be one of the best races I’ve had this year. Thank you so much to Emma for bandaging me up and to everyone who helped get me and my car sorted over the weekend, it was greatly appreciated. Thanks again.

P.S I went to A&E on Sunday and it turns out I wasn’t being such a girl. Turns out I’ve got deep burns to my fingers and a bit of nerve damage. Good news is it should all be healed by Donington! Bad news is they’ve bandaged me up and I’ve now got a hand that looks like it belongs to Mickey Mouse!

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