Feeling blue at Brands

The Brands weekend held so much promise, and it’s that reason that makes another poor performing weekend such a pain and disappointment.

With the new engine, I really hoped I’d cracked the power issues I’ve been seeing this year. However, that wasn’t to be. Things didn’t get off to a good start with an oil leak on Thursday evening that took all of Friday testing to get fully identified and sorted.

Come qualification, I ended up 15th. Granted, the top 16 were all covered by 0.5s. However, I could tell that the car wasn’t pulling as well as others around me and 15th is my worst qualification ever… by a long way!

Race 1 was in 30 degree heat. And, unfortunately, I had to pull out before the end due to a hot engine and a burning foot. I wasn’t enjoying the race as I was just falling backwards with a lack of power and so the pain in my right foot and left knee from the temperatures in the cockpit were enough to tip me into the pits and out of the race. Others ended the race with heat blisters and burns to their feet, which goes to show just how hot it gets in the footwell.

I therefore started race 2 from the back of the pack. I wanted to get through the pack fast to see if I could latch on to the tail of the front group but sadly, a botched start and a few delayed passes meant there was just too much of a gap by the time I got through the mid field.

I’ve only posted up the beginning part of the second race. It’s all I can bring myself to post. The only other time I haven’t posted full coverage from a weekend is Rockingham in my Academy year, where I threw away my championship chances into the turn 1 tyre wall.

I’m not quite at that low ebb at the moment, but I’m running out of places to go when searching for the missing car performance. I’m driving as hard as ever – but I just can’t keep up in a straight line.

Sad days.

 

Half Term Caterham Report Card

Castle Combe saw the Caterham Motorsport Championships tip into the second half of their respective seasons.

There’s been plenty of superb racing on show and the contenders have laid down their points foundations.

But, with 6 races still to go, nothings guaranteed at this point.

Caterham Academy Championship 2015, Green Group

Rui Ferreira has moved seamlessly from the sprints into the circuit races. With 3 wins out of the 4 events so far, it’s going to be hard for the chasers to catch him.

Currently best positioned is Kieran McAleer, who’s been on the podium twice so far. He would have had a win to his name but for track limits infringements at Castle Combe and this is bound to make him hungry to make amends in the final 2 races.

David Bevan had a DNF at Combe, which means he’s showing further down the order than his results have suggested. Once dropped scores are taken into account at the end of the year, he’ll likely feature. He qualifies better than he finishes, so that is something that needs to be worked on.

Rob Yates has featured near the front at all event and this consistency has kept him close to Kieran in the points. He was also able to pick up the win when Rui faltered.

Of the rest of the pack, Jon Curry has proved far more adept at racing than sprinting and a brilliant 2nd at Combe should mean he has the momentum in the second half of the year.

Caterham Academy Championship 2015, White Group

Andrew Perry sits atop the table, with 2 wins and a second place. He seems able to rack up points well. However, Daniel Bemner is only 4 points back, also having had 2 wins so far – only a disappointing Aintree event separates the two.

It will be fascinating seeing this fight develop. If anything goes wrong for Dan or Andy, Russ Olivant and Lee Collins are perfectly placed to pick up the pieces. Both have had great consistent podium results and if they can find the winning formula, the fight could be 4 way by the time we reach Silverstone.

Daniel Quintero and Chris Aubrey will need to figure out how to break the dominance of the top 4. However, both have proved that they can get close.

Caterham Roadsport Championship 2015

The Roadsports have been a rollercoaster to watch from the stands. At times, it appeared that they would never get to the end of the race with everyone in one piece.

However, Zandvoort proved it was possible and Combe was an absolute demonstration of brilliant driving and racing. Finally – they are getting it together and it has signs that the second half of the year could be very different from the first.

Paul Aram has got a significant points gap currently. However, some of that is going to be wiped out by dropped scores at the end of the year. Paul’s proved that he can win and but for a safety car at Donington wiping out a massive lead, he’d be even more points in advance of the field.

Anthony Barnes continues to improve and consistency has placed him second in the standings. A DNF is also currently seeing him appear further away from Paul than he should rightly be.

David Webber has perhaps seen the most inconsistency so far. Some great wins have been soured by on track incident and spins. Firmly now thinking of the championship in the seond half of the season Combe could have been a turning point – and there’s still time to catch the leaders.

Damien Milkins and Steve McCulley have been right up in the mix. However, McCulley has had more than his fair share of blameless incident on track which has effectively ended his Championship charge. Wins could be on the cards for either of them by the end of the season.

The Wigg brothers have courted some controversy through the year but they remain as fast as ever. Olly put on a dominant display at Combe, with only Webber able to keep pace.

The Wiggs will be looking to head the field home more as the year goes on but with their championships effectively over, they will be aiming to take as much silverware as possible.

Of the other drivers, none have managed to be consistent enough so far to mount a serious challenge. However, the second half of the season could be just what’s needed to spur them on.

Caterham Tracksport Championship 2015

The lead pack at the front of Tracksport has regularly been 10 cars strong. Often more. With countless lead changes. This randomness has only been broken by one constant – Tim Dickens and his relentless podiums. Just one miss so far, and 5th place is hardly a disaster! Even at this, the half way point of the season, Tim’s lead is looking fairly insurmountable.

Not only has Tim remained consistent, he’s also proved perfectly capable of mounting the top step. Something that wasn’t certain ahead of the year.

Henry Heaton is next up – and has a clear margin over the chasing pack. The wins and podiums that Tim has left have usually been taken by Henry. However, a few moderately bad rounds have meant he will need Tim to slip a little in the second half of the year to be able to mount a comeback charge.

Once dropped scores come into play, the chasing pack will close the gaps at the top of the table. Chris Hutchinson will have to have an unbelievable end of season to maintain contention for the final podium step of the championship. Dan Gore and Jack Brown have managed a great string of results. Dan has a couple of wins to his name and only a non-finish where he was taken out by an errant Cedric Bloch is holding his current score back.

Jack Brown has also seen a huge step forward in performance from the Roadsport year. He’s crossed the line first to break his win duck and put the car on the podium enough to show he’s going to be right in the fight come the end of the season.

Max Robinson, Jack Sales, Richard Ainscough, Max McDonagh, Mike Evans – all have been on or close to a podium this year.

One things for sure, things will change over the next half of the year but it’s hard to see top step changing.

Caterham Supersport Championship 2015

I didn’t even mention Phil Jenkins in my pre-season preview. That’s certainly proved to be a remarkable oversight given his stella form through the season so far. Only off the podium once, he’s strung together a set of results that’s the envy of all the chasing pack. His margin is currently 28 points over Steve Nuttall. However, drop scores do level things out somewhat.

And that’s because Steve has been a bit boom / bust so far. Either podiums, or nowhere. So long as he can ensure he doesn’t have any further bad finishes, he’s still very much in the battle for the championship.

Clive Richards has picked up wins where Steve and Phil have left them and has proved capable of making his car wide and assertive where needed. He’s also pretty much level with Steve once drops are taken into account.

Danny Killeen is sat in 4th place currently, but again as bad results to drop. He’s been prominently in the lead pack all year and will be looking to continue that form.

Will Smith has carried his Roadsport speed straight to Supersport and has regularly competed for the podium. He’ll be looking to take the top step before the season is out and is well in the battle for a podium in the overall championship.

The rest of the pack have fallen slightly off pace. Andres Sinclair has often been at the front of the pack but 3 non-scores have severely compromised his overall standings. Nick Portlock has string consistent results together, but not quite close enough to the lead pack to challenge for top spots.

There are some good drivers who could yet get to the podiums but it’s looking like it will be the top 5 who are fighting it out and Phil Jenkins looking favourite at this stage.

Caterham R300 Superlight Championship 2015

The Superlight grid are now well over their half-way point in their season. Only 4 races remain and it’s looking rather like David Robinson would have to have a terrible sting of results to end up anywhere but at the top of the tables.

Aaron Head has once again been nose to tail with David for the majority of the season, however, most of the time, he’s ended up second and on occasion has slipped behind a rejuvenated Sean Byrne.

Sean has lived up to the pace he showed at the tail end of the 2014 season but, vitally, has also cut out the mistakes to become a permanent feature at the front of all the races. Aaron and David may be out of reach once dropped scores come into play, but a podium position at the end of season awards ceremony would be hugely deserved.

Lee Wiggins, Matt Dyer and Jon Mortimer have been having their own epic battles. Most of the time, just off the ultimate lead pace, but that hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm! All have made the podium at least once and each will be looking for more before the season is over.