12th March 06
Mallory Park in Leicester was the venue for my first ever race meeting. Here’s how it went…
Locosts were the first group out on track for Qualifying and as we all got queued up there was a long delay whilst we waited for the doctor to return to the circuit. (I think someone had collapsed in the paddock and he’d gone to look after them). This meant a long delay and whilst we waited the snow started coming down thick and fast. By the time we got on track it was with wings covered in snow and icy visors!
During the wait I panicked that maybe I didn’t have enough petrol for a 25 min session and went back to the paddock and filled the car up to the gunnels! In the mean time they decided to shorten the sessions to 7 minutes to recover time! (oops)
So it was in very slippery conditions with an overweight Locost that I took to the track for my first ever qualifying session.
I was right at the back of the group and whilst it was a great position for keeping out of trouble it meant I had waved yellows for 4 of my 5 laps as people spun ahead of me. I never got a clear lap.
My grid positions for the two heats whilst not at the very back of the grid weren’t much to write home about. However I’d kept it on the black stuff and not disgraced myself so I was happy. I also had the two heats to look forward to. The races were far more exciting.
Sitting on the grid for the first time and seeing the 5 second board my heart was in my mouth but I made a reasonable start and managed to work my way up the grid in the laps that followed. When the race finished I was on a high, I’d had some fantastic battles all of which were very clean and I was raring to go again.
With a drying circuit my best lap of the race was 9 seconds faster than my qualifying time! What I wasn’t sure about was whether I’d done enough to earn a spot in the final. Trying to work it out whilst I waited for the results it looked as though I was going to be first reserve, however when they were announced I discovered I’d done it and had the last spot on the grid!
The final was great fun. I made a terrible start loosing 2nd gear altogether but as I was starting 28th and last it didn’t loose me any positions! I had a fantastic race and had made it up to 22nd by the checkered flag!
In the second heat of the day I had a much better start and made up 5 or 6 places off the line before having a tremendous battle with Mark Gogle for 18th position. Several times we went through the ‘esses’ side by side and although he emerged from the final lap ahead of me I had a big grin especially when I discovered I’d again made the final.
Starting 28th again in the final I found myself battling a five car group. The battles were fantastic and being quicker round Gerrards than anywhere else I even managed to overtake round the inside of the long right hander. I finally finished 24th.
To say I was pleased would be an understatement in my first ever outing I had four races including 2 finals and the car went back on the trailer in perfect condition. Now I’m counting the days to the next race at Brands Hatch!