Qualifying went reasonably well and I ended up 23rd on the grid for both days. On Saturday the race started dry and the whole field was on full slicks. It started raining with two laps to go. This was my first experience of driving on slick tyres on a wet track. I however managed to keep the car on the track and finished in 17th place, being my best finish to date. On Sunday the heavens opened before we went to the collecting area. Tyre selection was a lottery and the choices varied from full wets to full slicks throughout the field. I went for full wets, which I realised was the wrong choice during the green flag laps. I therefore came into the pits and changed to slicks on the front. When I left the pits I was already half a lap down as the race had started while my tyres were changed. The track dried out throughout the race and my pace improved. I finished the race in 19th place. My best weekend so far with championship points in both races.
This was my first visit to Thruxton, other than a wet Stock Hatch race in 2008. With my lack of track time at the circuit I knew that I would be on a steep learning curve. I did however improve by 3 seconds a lap over the weekend, but still have some time to find to move off the back row. I qualified in 26th position for both races. In round 3 on Saturday there was an accident at the first corner with five cars retiring. I finished the race in 18th place, scoring some more championship points. For round 4 on Sunday I improved my laptimes, but finished in 21st place. I did however learn a lot over the weekend which will be useful for next season.
My first weekend as part of the TOCA touring car package. Testing went well on Friday and I went quicker than ever before in the Clio round Brands Hatch. Qualifying on Saturday morning did not go as well and I was 1.2 seconds off pole position, qualifying 24th out of 25. Round 1 on Saturday went alright and I finised the race in 22nd position. Round 2 on Sunday went better as I was only 8 tenths off the pace of the winner and finished in 18th place. This secured my first points for the 2009 championship.
Simon Hunt, Nigel Hunt, Simon Smith, Graham Mulholland and I entered a team for the Birkett 6 hour relay race. We were kindly sponsored by Leda Suspension and became Team Leda for the weekend. My first stint did not go well as the brakes failed on my first flying lap at Becketts. I ended up on the next circuit with corporate guests in Ferraris. I think they will have had a surprise when a Peugeot 106 joined them on the track. I did however manage to make it back onto the National circuit and continued my stint with no further incident. I did two driving stints and completed 52 laps in total. The team managed 268 laps and finished in 20th place out of 50 teams.
I qualified in 13th place which was disappointing as I had been 4th in our visit to Snetterton earlier in the year. This was enough though to put me directly into the final race. At the second corner a driver lost control in the middle of the pack. I managed to avoid the incident, but ended up getting hit on the driver’s door by another car. On the 5th lap I avoided a spinning Tom Molyneux at the Esses only to be hit on the driver’s door again by another car. The race was red flagged for a stranded car at Sear and I finished in 17th place. This was enough to secure 9th place in the championship overall. Many thanks to SH Motorsport for preparing the car for my best year of racing to date.
I had a poor qualifying session and ended up in 17th place, three seconds off the pace of the front runners. This however still put me straight into the final race. I started the final in 17th place and made a good start. The race was however red flagged on the first lap when Robbie Boon's car somersaulted the barriers at Druids. I made a reasonable start when the race restarted. On the 4th lap Paul Connell broke too late at Knickerbrook and drove into my driver’s door causing considerable damage. The impact pushed me off the track and I rejoined in 19th place. I managed to finish the race in 17th place with a couple of retirements. One of which was Mark Alden whose car blew up directly in front of me. I was lucky not to hit him as I was engulfed in a cloud of oil smoke. The driver’s side of the car will need to be straightened again.
The driver’s side of the car including a new door has been replaced since Brands Hatch. Qualifying was the first time I had driven the car. As I pulled out of the collecting area to qualify the driver’s door came open and I was unable to shut it. I had to drive straight into the pits and with some help managed to shut the door securely. I lost four laps in qualifying and finished 13th in my session. Due to different conditions in qualifying we ended up racing in heats with the same people we had qualified with. I started my heat in 13th place and finished in 11th place. This put me 22nd on the grid for the final race. I made a great start and was up to 14th place by the end of the first lap. I continued making good progress and finished the race in 8th place. Congratulations to Peter Felix on two race wins, despite not racing for over a year.
I got held up in qualifying but still managed to secure 8th place. This put me on the 4th row for the final race. I made a good start and managed to maintain my position. I was starting to challenge Chris Cody for 7th place when the race was red flagged. I made a better start in the restarted race and was up to 6th place by Druids. On the second lap Jeff Humphries and Lee Scott managed to get past me. I however had a good run on them down the straight and managed to get past Lee Scott and got level with Jeff Humphries going into Paddock Hill Bend. Unfortunately there was less grip on the outside of Paddock Hill and the car started sliding. This slowed me down as I was trying to get the car back under control. Chris Cody and Alex Dew were not far behind me and were unable to avoid hitting me. This pushed me into the gravel trap and I nearly rolled over. The pictures of the incident appeared in both Autosport and Motorsport News. My accident caused the race to be red flagged for the second time and a result declared. The whole of the driver’s side of the car will need to be replaced before Silverstone.
Qualifying was damp and I managed to secure 16th place despite a grassy moment on the first lap. I was straight into the final race on Saturday. This was wet with limited visibility. I finished the race in 15th place without any incident. My second best qualifying time on Saturday put me 14th on the grid for the Sunday final race. It started raining just before the start of the final and I managed to change the back of the car onto wet tyres and settings. The rain had stopped by the start of the race, but the track was still wet. I lost places on the first lap and was down in 19th place. I started to make places back and was up to 16th place by the 8th lap. I attempted to overtake Martin Ward at Park on the 9th lap. The move didn't work due to a lack of grip on braking for the corner. We made contact and both cars left the circuit with me ending up in the barrier. I managed to rejoin and despite the damage finished in 24th place.
Qualifying went well and I was nearly a second quicker that I had been when we last raced at Pembrey in 2005. I was therefore surprised to have only qualified in 13th place overall. This put me straight into the final race on Saturday. I made a reasonable start but got held up on the inside at the first corner. I had an uneventful race and finished in 14th place. Congratulations to Terry Roughton on taking his maiden stock hatch win. My second best time in qualifying put me 10th on the grid for the Sunday race. Again I was straight through to the final and did not have to take part in the heat race. I decided to go round the outside of the first corner this time, which gained me places initially. I however could not hold off quicker people in the race and dropped to finish in 13th place. A reasonable points score which keeps me on track for a top ten championship finish.
Qualifying went well and I managed to secure 6th place out of 59 competitors. This put me straight through to the final race. I made a good start only to be held up with a slower starter in front. With cars to both sides of me I had to hold position and ended up in 12th place by the second corner. For the opening laps I had a very close race with Matt Wilkins behind me and Simon Howard in front. I managed to defend from Matt and make my way past Simon without any of us touching. I then had to defend from Simon and find a way past William Hornsey. William had an oversteer slide going into Clearways which allowed me to get up the inside and secure 10th place. Congratulations to Alex Dew on taking his maiden win in stock hatch.
A week at Dennis Vessey's and the running problems were tracked down to a fault in the wiring loom and an incorrect ECU map. The wiring loom was replaced and a new map created for the ECU. Many thanks to Dennis Vessey in persevering to find the problems and solve them. A test at Castle Combe on the Friday confirmed that everything was running fine again. Qualifying on Monday morning was very wet. Unfortunately the blower stopped working and despite opening all windows I found it very difficult to see where I was going. This resulted in a poor 25th qualifying position out of 50 cars. Shortly before the heat race the rain stopped and I started to change from wet to dry tyres and settings. I only managed to get the front of the car completed before being called to the collecting area. I started the race in 8th place. I made a good start and had climbed up to 4th place at the end of the first lap. I had a close race with Matt Rozier and Matt Wilkins and eventually passed them to get upto 2nd place. I then spun on some oil at the Esses and dropped back to 4th place which is where I finished. This put me 20th on the grid for the final race. The track was totally dry by now and I had changed to full dry tyres and settings. I made up places during the race and enjoyed racing at close quarters with both Damian Cottrell and Mark Alden. I finished the race in 15th place. Overall not a bad result considering my very poor qualifying position.
I had problems starting the car for qualifying. This was sorted with a change of plugs but the car was not running properly. For the first few laps in qualifying I could not get the car to rev, but this cleared itself and I managed to qualify in a disappointing 19th place. This placed me directly into the final race without having to race in the heat. I had the same power problem in the race and was in last place for the first few laps. As the power improved I managed to make a few places up and finish in 18th place. SH Motorsport tried everything on Sunday to solve the problem without success. I therefore had a similar race with running in last place for a few laps and then gaining places to finish in 17th place. Not a great points scoring weekend for the championship. The car is booked into the rolling road next week to solve the power problems before Castle Combe.
Qualifying went well and I secured 6th place for Round 2 & 4th place for Round 3. This was despite a drive shaft problem meaning I had to finish qualifying early. Many thanks to SH Motorsport in changing the drive shaft betwen qualifying and the heat race. All competitors had to race in a heat race on Friday. I started 3rd on the grid for my heat race and finished in 4th place. This put me 7th on the grid for the Friday final race. I finished 7th on the track, but due to an exclusion was promoted to 6th place in the final results. I qualified directly for the Saturday final race in 4th place. I finished in 7th place. A good points total for the weekend for the championship.
A good start to the season. Qualifying went very well and I managed to secure pole position out of 52 competitors. I made a good start in the final race and led for the first lap. I made a mistake on the second lap going too fast into the Esses and exited on the grass. This let Simon Hunt through into the lead. I was holding onto second spot until I was hit in the rear at the Hairpin. This half spun the car and I lost a further two places. I managed to maintain fourth position to the finish despite having Ryan Bensley on my tail for a few laps. This was my best ever finish in a final race to date. Many thanks to SH Motorsport for their work in preparing the car over the winter.
Two stock hatch teams entered the 57th running of the Holly Birkett 6 hour relay race. I was in "The Six Birketteers" team with Maurice Hayden, Tony Le Tissier, Damian Cotterell, Mark Webster and Darren Gay. This was my first experience of any form of endurance racing. Our team manager (Craig Emmerson) had decided on 20 minute stints for each of us. Hayden started for our team and had a close race with Hornsey from the other stock hatch team. Gay went out next for our team and blew his head gasket after 12 minutes. I went out next for my 20 minute stint. With the huge difference in speeds between the cars you certainly need to keep your wits about you at all times. I enjoyed my stint and it appears to go very quickly in the car. In my third stint I only managed half a lap before the safety car was sent out, while an accident at Luffield was cleared. This was my first experience of racing under a safety car. I thought that would be the end of my racing for the day. Hayden was on the last stint to take us to the end of the race. He was pushing hard to try and catch the other stock hatch team and unfortunately out braked himself and ended up in a gravel track. I was in my car ready to go and was sent out for the last ten minutes of the race and took the chequered flag. I certainly enjoyed my first experience of endurance racing and will definitely take part again. Our team finished in 41st place out of 50 teams, and three laps down on the other stock hatch team.
Very many thanks to Simon Hunt for replacing the rear beam on the race car and sorting out the handling problems. Qualifying went well and I finished in 6th place out of 55. This put me 3rd on the grid for the second heat race. The race was damp and I had a half spin and a grassy excursion. I finished the race in 8th place, putting me 15th on the grid for the final race. We had torrential rain with thunder and lightening before the race. The conditions were about the worst I had ever raced in. For the first three laps I was having to look out the side windows to work out where I was on the circuit. I ended the race in 18th place without picking up any damage. Congratulations to Maurice Hayden on winning the stock hatch championship.
We had handling problems at Silverstone and attempted to sort these before the race at Oulton. I went testing at Oulton on the Friday and the handling problems had got far worse. Very many thanks to Simon Hunt and Peter Felix who valiantly attempted to solve the problems while at the circuit. Although the handling improved it was not sufficient to attempt to race the car. I therefore withdrew my entry from the race. Round 13 turned out to be unlucky for me with no race and no championship points. We hope to have the handling problems solved to make the final race of the season at Snetterton.
We managed to find the problem with the engine and have restored the power level to that from the start of the season. I was therefore looking forward to Silverstone. It had rained overnight and I arrived to a damp paddock on Saturday morning. I was in the fourth qualifying session of the day and guessed that a dry line would have appeared by then. It did not rain again and I setup the car on a full dry setup. It was the wrong move as the track was very slippery and those that had wet damper settings went quickest. I managed to do well with the setup I had and qualified sixth on the grid for the heat race. It stayed dry during the day and I kept the full dry setup for the heat race. I made a great start and was up to second place by Copse. I however ran wide and was back down to fifth place by Becketts. During the race I struggled for grip even though the track was bone dry. I managed to finish in ninth place. This put me 28th on the grid for the final. I made a reasonable start in the final race. I had a better grip level in the final race and managed to make a few places up to finish in 24th place. This was lower than my expectations of the weekend and has dropped me a further place in the championship to 13th. There are now two races remaining for me to try and climb into a top ten championship position.
Taking the car to the rolling road proved that the engine was 10% down on power from the start of the season. In the limited time available we managed to get 4% of this back, hopefully we can recover the other 6% before Silverstone at the end of the month. The Brands Hatch weekend had very mixed weather conditions. Due to the downpour before qualifying I set the car up for wet conditions. By the time we had spent 15 minutes in the collecting area the rain had gone and a dry line appeared on the track. I therefore posted a disappointing 36th qualifying position. I started the Saturday heat race in 18th position. This lasted less than a lap before it was red flagged. At the restart we managed a lap and half before a further red flag. The race was abandoned and I was declared as finishing in 12th position. This put me 24th on the grid for the final race. The conditions had remained changeable throughout the day and we still had a damp track with a dry racing line. On the second lap there was carnage at Paddock Hill bend. One car spun into the gravel and this started a chain reaction involving around twelve cars. I was in the thick of it and by pure chance managed to avoid all collisions and came through unscathed. At least three cars rolled in the gravel trap and around ten cars were seriously damaged. Luckily all the drivers were unhurt. I took the restart with the depleted grid and finished in 16th place. For the Sunday heat I started in 5th place on the grid. I had a great race with Tony Taylor and eventually finished in 2nd place. This put me 24th on the grid for the final race. I made a great start and made places up round the outside of Paddock Hill bend. I was also making places up round the outside of Druids when I was hit twice forcing me into a spin on the grass. I rejoined around the back of the pack in 30th place. During the race I managed to make up plenty of places and had a good tussle with Tony Taylor again, finishing 2 hundredths behind him in 19th place. Overall a very disappointing weekend for all involved in Stock Hatch. A lot of cars were damaged and I am sure the motorsport press headlines will be Stock Hatch Carnage.
I qualified 22nd for the Saturday races and 18th for the Sunday races. This was very disappointing as I was a second off the pace of the front runners. I started the Saturday heat race in 11th place. I had a reasonable race and finished in 9th place, putting me in 20th place for the final. The race was going well until the radiator hose split at the last corner. The coolant emptied onto the tyres putting me in a spin and I ended up in the gravel trap. I managed to get out of the car before Ian Doughty span on my coolant and joined my car in the gravel trap. We were both lucky that the cars did not collide. The race was red flagged and due to my non finish I ended up with no championship points again. Many thanks to Simon Hunt for replacing the radiator hose overnight to allow me to race on Sunday. I started the Sunday heat race in 9th position and finished in 10th position just behind Alex Dew. This qualified me in 20th place for the Sunday final. I had a reasonable race and finished in 17th place, scoring some well needed championship points. The last few meetings have seen the results slipping and I am convinced the car is not as quick as it used to be. A trip to the rolling road is booked before the next round at Brands Hatch to see if we can free up some more power.
I qualified 19th for the Saturday races and 15th for the Sunday races. This was disappointing as I had qualified 10th & 11th at Cadwell in 2005. I started the Saturday heat race 5th on the grid. I did not make a great start and was running in 7th place until the race was red flagged. At the restart I again lost places and ended up finishing the race in 9th place. This would have qualified me for the final race but for a driving misdemeanor. The clerk of the course docked me five seconds which moved me back to 14th place and no final race. For the Sunday heat I started 3rd on the grid. Again I didn't make a great start and was running in 5th place when the race was red flagged. At the restart I made a great start, but to no avail as the race was red flagged before I got to the second corner due to a huge start line accident. The result was declared from the previous red flag and I therefore finished in 5th place. This put me 20th on the grid for the Sunday final race. I had a pretty uneventful race and finished in 19th place. Good news is that I scored reasonable points for the championship and the car came away without any damage.
Qualifying did not go well. I seemed to come across slow cars and yellow flags on each lap and then oil was dropped at the Esses half way through the session. I managed to get one reasonable lap in to put me 9th on the grid for the second heat race. The weather was hot and sunny as we went to the grid and I was on a full dry setup. The heavens opened as we started the green flag lap. At one point during the race the rain was so heavy I could not see the end of the bonnet, let alone the track and other competitors. I managed to keep the car on the track and in the top 15 until the ninth lap when I span at Camp. The car ended up in the field in the middle of the track. I managed to reverse out of the field and rejoin the race near the back. In the two laps remaining I managed to make a couple of positions to finish in 19th place. The top 21 finishers from each heat race were entered into the final race of 42 cars. Although the weather was dry for the time between the heat race and the final I decided to gamble on a full wet setup for my car. My reasoning being that starting 38th on the grid I had nothing to lose. My gamble worked and the rain started as we went to the grid. I made up five places on the first lap and was continuing to claim positions on my second lap. However I got hit on the rear three quarters on the fast Hammerdown corner on the second lap. I span along the grass and managed to just avoid hitting the barriers. I rejoined the race in last position and started to chase the pack. I caught the back markers up and managed to climb to 34th place by the finish. Not a great weekend, but at least I scored more points than the one I got for turning up at Donington. The bodywork on the car will be repaired for the next rounds at Cadwell. The Castle Combe people made us all feel very welcome and I hope we are invited back next year.
A bad weekend which got worse! I went testing on Thursday evening and discovered a braking problem. This took a couple of hours to find and resolve. On restarting the engine there were plumes of smoke coming out the exhaust. I did a few laps to see if it cleared, but no luck. It was decided to race the spare car rather than swap engines. Keith Bird Motorsport did a sterling job to get the spare car race ready for Saturday morning. In a damp qualifying session I managed a disappointing 39th place out of 72 cars. All competitors had to go into a heat race and I started in 20th place in the first heat. The heavens opened half an hour before the race and I swapped to full wet tyres and settings. I had an enjoyable race and managed to climb from 20th place to 8th place by the finish. This put me 15th on the grid for the final race in the afternoon. The weather had cleared up and the track was totally dry for the final. I started well until around lap 3. Under braking for Redgate I nearly span for no apparent reason. I carried on and the engine got hotter until all the warning lights were on. I limped on at a slow speed to complete the race and score some points. Following the race I discovered that a water hose had exploded and I had lost all the coolant at Redgate. A disastrous weekend with two engines damaged and Castle Combe coming up in only two weeks.
Qualifying went well on Friday morning. I managed to do my first three laps all within a couple of hundredths of each other. This gained me 6th position for Friday and 2nd position for Saturday. An extra stock hatch race was inserted into the Friday meeting. This meant that all competitors took part in one of the heat races and the top 19 finishers in each race would progress to the final race. I started 3rd on the grid for the first heat race. I managed to run in 2nd place behind Martin Boon for the opening laps. I lost a few places towards the end of the race and finished in 6th place. This put me in 12th place on the grid for the final race. The race was very hectic and was run in two parts due to a red flag stoppage. I managed to finish in 14th place. On the Saturday there was only one heat race and the final. I had qualified in 2nd place directly for the final. I made a great start and lead the race for the first lap. I then gradually lost places through the race and finished in 7th place. This is my best finishing position to date in a final race. Not a bad weekend and some consistent points for the championship. Congratulations to Hilary Howlett on his maiden stock hatch win, a feat I hope to emulate.
The car was only finished on the Thursday before this weekend. I therefore tested it on the Friday and discovered a few problems. The car was taken back to base and all problems resolved on Saturday. So back to Brands for the Sunday. Qualifying went well and I managed 3rd place out of 58 cars. The top 21 cars were only seperated by a second so the race was going to be tight. I started the race well and was in the lead by Paddock Hill bend. On the run to Druids John Hemming came round the outside of me and half spun in front of me. I backed off to avoid hitting him and lost a few places. The race was manic and there was a downpour half way through. I managed to hold everything together and stay on track to fiinish in 10th place. Not a bad start to the championship, although I am not happy with losing seven places from start to finish.
Not a good weekend to finish the 2005 championship. I was in the second stock hatch qualifying session in the morning. We had only just started the session and completed a couple of laps when the session was red flagged due to Matt Fincham rolling his car. After the restart I managed to get a bit of space and set a good laptime which I was confident I could better. On the entry to Gerrards I was hit by another car which had lost control and came back onto the track to hit the rear of my car. This put me into a spin and I ended up entering the gravel trap sideways at a fair speed. This put my car into a roll and I ended up with the car on its side close to the tyre barriers. The marshalls did a sterling job to right the car and allow me to get out unscathed. The car is a complete mess with most of the panels dented and the majority of the glass missing. Not a good way to finish the season. What is very disappointing is the time that I did set put me third on the grid out of 65 cars. Congratulations to Darren Blumson on winning the championship in an exciting final wet race. I also send my congratulations to Maurice Hayden on an excellent season challenging Basher Blumson all the way.
As with all double header weekends the best qualifying lap counts for the Saturday races and the second best lap for the Sunday race. My best lap put me in 10th place and directly into the Saturday final. My second best lap put me in 12th place, just missing out on an automatic place in the Sunday final. In the race on Saturday I got hit going through the first corner on the first lap this put me sideways across the track and I was then hit hard on the rear wheel arch. I managed to limp round to the pits and discover the race had been red flagged. With the help of the marshalls we pulled out the bodywork from impeding the rear wheel and I managed to make the restart. The car was not handling as well as we discovered later the rear suspension had been bent. I managed in the restarted race to not lose too many places until I was hit very hard in the back at Mansfield corner. The impact was so heavy that it bent the exhaust and severly restricted the engine power. I limped on to finish in 21st position. Luckily Keith Bird Motorsport were with me for the weekend and they set about repairing the car for the Sunday races. Many thanks to Keith and Ian as they did what they could at the circuit and then took the exhaust back to their workshop and finished it at 11.00pm on Saturday night. The car was put back together on Sunday morning ready to race. I was on pole position for the first heat race. I started well and led the race for around four laps. Matt Fincham managed to get past me on braking for the Mountain. I chased him for the rest of the race but was unable to pass him and finished second. This result put me 15th for the final race. I again started well and and was up to 12th place and tried to go round the outside of Martin Boon at Park corner. I couldn't make the pass stick and saw a train of three cars nose to tail go past me before I could get back onto the racing line. I had a very interesting race with several people and ended up in 17th place. Many thanks to all my friends and colleagues who came to see me race at Cadwell.
I qualified in 9th place out of 55 drivers. I was entered directly into the final. The race was red flagged on the first lap with at least three cars not making the restart. The restarted race was very hectic from start to finish. I managed to stay out of trouble and brought the car home in one piece. I finished the race in 14th position just behind Darren Blumson who is leading the championship. I also managed to get fastest lap for a Class A car in the race. This will give me an additional championship point. Congratulations to Andy Barnett for getting into the final race for the first time.
Qualifying went very well and I managed to claim my first ever pole position. I was entered directly for the final race. I made a reasonable start and was still in the lead at Copse. I got a nudge in Copse which unsettled the car and allowed Gareth Wright to go past me. I maintained second place until Luffield on the first lap when I had a problem selecting 4th gear coming out of the corner. This dropped me to 4th place. During the race I had a few problems getting 4th gear which saw me drop down to 8th place. I managed to maintain this position and had at one point got past Chris Petto into 7th place. I finished the race in 8th place equalling my best final race finish to date. Overall a good weekend following the poor performance at Lydden Hill. The 45 points will help me start climbing up the championship ladder again. Very many thanks to Peter Felix, Simon Hunt and Pat for changing the setup on my car during Friday testing which allowed me to take pole on Saturday.
From all the bad things I had heard about Lydden Hill this was the one weekend on the race calendar I was not looking forward to. I arrived at the circuit on Friday afternoon and walked round a couple of times and it did not appear that bad. Qualifying on Saturday morning was wet. As I was learning the circuit I decided to take it easy to start with. On the second lap Pat Grove crashed head first into the tyre barrier a few car lengths in front of me. I therefore decided to concentrate on keeping the car on the track and posted my worst qualifying performance of the year. I was 16th on the grid for the first heat race on the Saturday afternoon. The conditions were again damp for the race. In the race I realised that there is only one line round the track and unless you are significantly faster there are no opportunities to overtake. The end result being finishing the race in 16th position where I started. On the Sunday I was 13th on the grid for the first heat race. I started well and Tony Le Tissier got into a slide at the first corner. I managed to miss him and make up a few places. The familiar snake of cars then settled into counting the laps off. I did manage to make a further couple of places up in the race and was in 7th place when it was red flagged on lap 9. The result was taken at the end of lap 8 when I was in 8th position. Overall not a great weekend and again a lesson of qualifying being critical in the stock hatch championship. The benefit of having been to the circuit will no doubt help me next year. I was also very fortunate to come away without any damage on the car.
I had the first mechanical failure of my racing history in testing on the Friday at Pembrey. The clutch broke a few laps into the second test session. Many thanks to Maurice Hayden for providing a replacement clutch and to Scott Stroud for spending three hours replacing it on Friday afternoon. Due to the noise curfew at Pembrey the first time to try the clutch was qualifying on Saturday morning. I however managed to improve on my lap times from the limited testing and qualified in 10th place out of 50 drivers. I was entered directly into the final race on the Saturday. I made a poor start and lost a few places before the very tight first corner. At the end of the race I finished 15th which was a poor result based on my starting position. In the Sunday race I was again entered directly into the final starting 10th on the grid. I made a better start than the day before and was running in around 10th position for the first few laps. After around six laps I had to take avoiding action to miss two cars having an altercation in front of me. This happened in the 4th gear flat out Paddock bend and unfortunately I ended up crashing into the tyre barriers at a fair pace. This was my first experience of hitting a barrier and not one that I would like to repeat as I still have a sore neck after 24 hours. The car has sustained a fair bit of frontal damage, but will hopefully be repaired for Lydden Hill at the end of the month. Congratulations to Mark Alden and Damian Cottrell on their first wins in Stock Hatch.
Qualified 4th out of 84 drivers. I was entered directly into the final starting 4th on the grid of 30 cars. I made a reasonable start and was running in 6th position. I caught Darren Blumson up in 5th place and was starting to challenge for his place. Pete Morgan was ever present behind me and gave me a nudge each lap at Druids, but I managed to keep him behind me for around 10 laps. The next time at Druids he gave me a stronger nudge which pushed me off the track. This allowed Pete Morgan and Simon Howard to go through and relegated me to 8th place. I finished the race in 8th place a tenth of a second behind Simon Howard. My best ever finish to date and a massive 45 points for the championship. Congratulations to Maurice Hayden for taking his maiden win in Stock Hatch.
Qualifying didn't go well as I had problems with my brakes which turned out to be the pads. I had been testing on Friday afternoon and was over a second slower in qualifying on the Saturday morning. I did however manage to qualify 21st out of 81 cars. I was entered into the Saturday heat race starting 2nd on the grid behind Martin Boon. I didn't get a great start and was down to 5th by Redgate. I managed to pass Paul Sheehan down Craner's and up to 4th place on the first lap. I was up to 3rd place by mid race and managed to snatch 2nd place on the last corner of the last lap. I also managed to get the quickest lap in the race. This meant that I qualified in 21st place for the final on Saturday evening. I started the race poorly again and there was lots of action on the first lap. I ended the first lap in last place. Throughout the race I managed to make up six places and finished in 20th place. I qualified directly for the final race on Sunday and therefore didn't have to go through one of the qualifying heats. I started the race in 18th place. I had a race long tussle with a group of around ten cars. I again managed to pass on the last corner of the last lap and finished the race in 15th place. Overall a good weekend, three races, no damage on the car and a good points score for the championship.
This was the first race in my new race car. My hopes before the event were to qualify directly for the final and to finish the race. Qualifying went well and I was astounded to end up second on the grid. In the race I made a good start and was a couple of lengths in the lead by Paddock Hill bend. I still had a reasonable lead when approaching Graham Hill bend for the first time. Unfortunately I went in too fast and lost control of the car, ending up across the track. I waited for the inevitable collision as 29 cars tried to avoid me. I was hit on the rear wheel arch causing damage to the suspension. I was able to continue at a slower pace and managed to finish the race in 19th position. Motor racing continues to be a series of highs and lows for me. I would like to thank the many people who have told me to concentrate on the positive aspects of the weekend in that I qualified on the front row and led a race for the first time. I would also like to thank Keith Bird Motorsport for their hard work in building an excellent car.
There were three sessions for qualifying. The first session was wet, the second damp and the third nearly dry. This meant a spread of lap times of 17 seconds. The grids for the races were therefore taken with the fastest from each session, then the second fastest from each session etc. I was entered into the second heat race starting 12th on the grid. I was up to 8th place until the last lap when I was overtaken by Mark Alden and Alex Dew who were recovering from earlier spins. The end result being 10th place. For the second round I was 11th on the grid in the second heat race. This was again on a damp track with the addition of oil at the Bomb Hole from a previous race. I was hit at Russell Bend and picked up some damage to the back of the car. Luckily the new race car was not ready for Snetterton and the damage is therefore on the old race car. I managed to finish the race in 9th place and was close to overtaking Jim Little for 8th place on the line. Congratulations to Darren Blumson for winning both opening rounds of the championship.
Qualified 38th out of 66 drivers. I was entered into the heat race starting 5th on the grid. I made a good start and was in 3rd place by the first corner. Unfortunately there was an accident behind me and the race was red flagged. I cruised back to my starting position on the grid. Due to the accident there were now only two cars in front of me on the grid. At the restart I made a terrible start due to being in 3rd gear instead of 1st. I started making up some places and had an interesting battle with Ged Hall for a while and was running in 5th place. I span on some oil at the first corner on lap 6 which dropped me down to around 12th place. I spent the rest of the race catching and passing people to finish in 9th place. Congratulations to Craig Shepherd on winning the stock hatch championship.
Qualified 31st out of 57 drivers. I was entered into heat 2 on Saturday starting 13th on the grid. I made a poor start and lost about three places by the first corner. I managed to make a couple of places up in the race and finished 14th. On Sunday for round 14 I was 15th on the grid for heat 2. I made a better start and held my position into the first corner. I was overtaken by Damian Cottrell who unusually qualified behind me. I had an interesting race with a gaggle of four cars but did not quite have the pace to get past any of them. I did get alongside Matthew Perks a couple of times, but not far enough to make a full pass. I finished in 14th position again. Congratulations to Mark Rodway for securing his 4th position in the class B championship. Next race at Snetterton and the last round of the championship, I cannot believe that my first season of motorsport is nearly over.
Qualified 31st out of 77 drivers. I was entered into the heat race starting 10th on the grid. I made a good start and managed to avoid a couple of cars spinning at Copse. Mark Rodway had problems at the start and was battling his way through the field. He passed me into Copse after about ten minutes of the fifteen minute race. I swapped places a couple of times with James Marshall who eventually finished half a second in front of me. I finished in 12th place and was reserve for the final yet again. I went to the assembly area all ready to go, but did not make it into the race. Overall a good result with no damage to the car. I still have my aim of getting into a final and finishing the race before the end of the season. However only three races to go to make this a reality. Many thanks to Simon Mason for his driver coaching at Silverstone.
I did not enter the Lydden Hill races as I will be at Le Mans watching the Classic 24 Hour races.
Qualified 24th out of 43 drivers. I was entered into the heat race on Saturday starting 11th on the grid. I lost a place at the start and started chasing the pack in front. By lap 2 I managed to regain the place. I then had a very lonely race with gaps to the front and back of me and finished in 11th place. I was reserve for the final but did not get into the race. On Sunday for round 9 I was 13th on the grid in heat 1. I lost one place at the start and was in 14th place for the first few laps. I was then caught by a Fiesta who was better on the brakes than me into the Hairpin and I was down to 15th place. After this I had another lonely race and finished in 15th place. I was again a reserve for the final race, but due to a six hour drive home decided to leave. I have since found out that no reserves were needed for the final so I wouldn't have got into the race. Good news is that I now have six signatures on my licence and will be able to remove my novice cross for the next race. Many thanks to Al Boulton and Mark & Ken Rodway with their invaluable help in sorting problems out with my car over the weekend.
Qualified 27th out of 72 drivers. I was entered into heat 2 starting 7th on the grid. I was managing to maintain my 7th place when the race was red flagged after half of the 15 minutes. In the restarted race I was running in 9th place until the last lap when I overtook into Clearways to gain 8th place at the finish. The 8th place finish qualified me for the final race for the first time. I was 29th on the grid out of 30 drivers in the final. I made a good start and due to an accident at the first corner was running around the middle of the order. However after about five laps I lost control of the car at Paddock Hill bend and ended up in the gravel trap. The force of going into the gravel sideways shattered the passenger side window, which came as a shock. I caused the race to be red flagged. However I left Brands Hatch happy with a good qualifying time and getting into the final for the first time. My next aim is to get into the final race and finish!
Qualified 32nd out of 46 drivers. I was entered into the heat race starting 10th on the grid. The race was red flagged on the first lap after a heavy impact with the barriers at the gooseneck for one of my fellow competitors. I started 9th in the restart. I was doing well until lap 2 when I was hit from behind at the hairpin by a competitor who had left his braking too late. The rear right wheel was obstructed by the bodywork and I was unable to continue. The car should be fixed in time for Brands Hatch and I am hoping for some better luck.
Qualifying was on a wet track mixed with oil. A competitor in the first qualifying session had dropped oil for two laps on the racing line. This made for a very slippery qualifying session. I qualified 36th out of 48 drivers. I was entered into the heat race starting 15th on the grid. By the race the track had dried out and we had a dry race. I finished the race in 11th position. However a few competitors were disqualified following the race and I was moved up to 10th place.
Qualified 39th out of 77 drivers. I was entered into heat 2 starting 13th on the grid. I span approaching the old hairpin to avoid an accident in front of me. When I restarted I was second to last in the race. I managed to overtake about 7 people in the race and finished in 13th place. I did not make it into the final, but finished with the car in one piece and another signature on my licence. A good result after the previous outing at Donington.
I have finally found somebody to repair my 106 XSi. The car has only just started to be repaired and I was therefore unable to race at Snetterton. I did however go along to meet up with my fellow competitors and support Andy Barnett (car 36), Gerard Hall (car 119), Gary Parkes (car 79) and Simon Hunt (car 10). The final race was won by Paul Taylor who led from start to finish. I hope that my car will be fixed in time for the next round at Donington Park.
Qualified 23rd out of 77 drivers. I was entered into heat 1 starting 5th on the grid. At the first corner I was tight into the corner when a car turned in on me, hitting the front of my car and then spun in front of me. In the ensuing accident my car was damaged, not a good start to my first season of racing.
Qualified 34th out of 66 drivers. I was entered into heat 2, starting 11th on the grid. The race was wet and I had a bad start and lost about five places before the first corner. I did manage to overtake and gain a few places in the race, and with some retirements ended up 11th at the finish. I was reserve for the Stock Hatch final race but did not make it into the actual race.