27th of May 2006
Getting to Thruxton!
The run up to Thruxton was a good one. The only thing to do to the car was to swap the diff and give it a polish. That all went very well and it was in bright sunshine we set off.
Several hours and more than a hundred miles later the trailer started squealing in an alarming manner! I pulled over on the hard shoulder and a quick check revealed that the inside rear wheel hub was more than a little warm! Being on the hard shoulder of the A1 with lorries whizzing past and no spare wheel bearing our options were limited. I called our breakdown service who said that as it was the trailer that had broken down and not the tow vehicle they weren’t interested. They gave me the number of a local garage – very helpful at 8:30pm on Friday night 120 miles from home and 90 miles from where you’re meant to be! Thank you Nissan!!
5hrs and £300 worth of AA membership later we arrived at Thruxton! (Our choices were £300 to get to Thruxton or £360 to go home – an easy decision for lots of reasons.)
Our very kind AA recovery driver (who had taken us on the second leg of a two AA flat bed truck relay) drove us all the way into the paddock and left his lights on so we could see to set up our tents! At quarter past two I climbed in to my sleeping bag very relieved to be there but with very empty pockets!
My hopes were high for race day, I was one of the few Locost drivers to have managed to get a place in the massively oversubscribed All comers race. This meant I would get chance to find out which way the circuit went before qualifying. As testing is very limited at Thruxton this put me in a strong position. Only two Locost drivers had managed to get a test day there.
Qualifying for the Allcomers Race went well. I found my way round, kept it on the black stuff and decided that Thruxton was my kind of circuit. It’s very fast with lots of long sweeping corners. When the results came out I was very pleasantly surprised to discover I wasn’t back of the grid. I’d out qualified 4 other cars including a Sylva Striker, a Ford Fiesta from the Stock Hatch Championship and a Global light!!
The race itself was good fun although with cars on track 20 seconds a lap faster me I was using it purely as extra practise time. On the second lap it started to rain and the track became very slipy. This turned out to be great practice for the wet Locost race later in the day and good fun as I had only driven the car in the wet once before.
Locost Qualifying (25th out of 31)
It was with high hopes that I went out to qualify. All that extra practice would surely bump me up the grid. I knew that my lap times were in the 1 min 42’s and that pole would be about 1 min 40 so things looked good. On my 6th lap I managed to get into the 1 min 41’s and was hopeful of a higher than usual slot. When the sheet came out I discovered I was 25th and pole was a 1 min 36!! Guess you should never underestimate those Locost racers! Still I had some good people around me on the grid and the race was going to be good fun.
The Race (22nd of 31)
With torrential rain all afternoon most people were on wet tyres for the race, with the exclusion of me. I hadn’t had chance to get my dry tyres scrubbed and they still had more tread than most peoples wets so I stuck with them!
When the lights went off I made a reasonable start, overtaking some people and being simultaneously overtaken by others like Dickie in his new car who was on a mission and would go from 26th to 15th in the 15 min race and Brian Mitcham who went from 31st to 12th! When everything settled down, we’d all swapped round but I was still in 25th! I then managed to improve one place per lap for the next 4 laps as everyone had fun and games on the greasy track. By the end of lap 4 I was having a tremendous battle with Nick Street for 21st. In the end he snatched it and we pulled away from the pack and went after the next group, we’d nearly caught them when the Chequered flag and I finished a respectable 22nd.
Overall it was a great weekend and the race was really good fun. I would have liked a higher grid slot but it wasn’t to be and I guess I’ve got to remember it’s still only my first season. I love racing Locosts and the great battles I’m having in the races and I guess that’s the most important thing.
P.S. After the weekend I realised I’m in second place in the race for the Newcomers trophy. Before the weekend I had unknowingly being leading it but Samir’s brilliant performance to finish tenth puts him in pole position. Congratulations to Samir – hope I can keep improving and give you a proper fight for it! 🙂