Such a shame. The highs and lows of motorsport! Prep for Rockingham had been great. I like the track and I’m quick around it. I turned lap after lap of consistent times, right on the pace, throughout testing. The good news continued into qualification, with a lap which put me on pole fairly comfortably. After the mega weekend at Brands, this was looking awesome!
Moving to the grid, we had another delayed start – enough time to get the adrenalin all over the place. As the lights eventually went out, I made a good start. Henry made a stormer from 3rd on the grid and was alongside going around the banking. It’s then that it all started going wrong. I was on a tight line and braked far too late for my position. I completely lost site of the fact that this was turn one, lap one and not only that, I was in a great position after a good start.
I didn’t quite get to scrub off enough speed on approach and turning in caused the back end to break away. Sadly, I caught the slide rather too well and this straightened up the car directly towards the small tyre barrier. Had I left the slide, I would have been better off. Unfortunately though, I had the sickening feeling of knowing I was going into the barrier.
I don’t have any experience of hitting a barrier – so I didn’t know what damage I’d done. I sit very low in the car so couldn’t see but did know that I’d broken the nose and the front right looked at a very strange angle. I tentatively pulled away from the barrier.
Unfortunately, at the previous weekend at Brands, one of the Roadsports guys smashed his radiator and carried on driving – meaning his engine was a write off and he was left with a massive repair bill. The newsletter also warned of the dangers of this type of damage and I made the decision to go slowly back to the pits to have it checked out.
There was nobody from Caterham in sight, so I asked the marshal at pit exit if he could see any leaks from the radiator. He said no and I blasted onwards – always with one eye on the temp gauge! I was almost a lap down now but decided to try as hard as I could for the fastest lap. I turned in extremely consistent fast laps but at the end of the race, I found out the I’d not managed to beat Henry’s time.
So, stone cold last was the end result and I felt pretty down to be honest. It’s turned the championship on its head and instead of the cards stacked in my favour, I am left with an uphill task and also relying on bad results for others. After a day of sulking and ‘what ifs’ I’ve pulled a lot of lessons from it all and am focussing forwards!
After the race, the car was taken to the support guys and they checked over everything. No component damage! There was a 5 inch damage line on the radiator where the nose had contacted it – this was as close to a radiator puncture as you can get! No steering arm damage or suspension problems! A quick straighten of the radiator mounts and I was all clear. I will have to put in an order for a new nose and wing though.
I was genuinely happy for Henry to get his race win. 3 races and a different winner at each! Shows how competitive things are at the top. I was also happy for Jack sales in group 2 who finally got his win over Will Smith. But Will got his well deserved championship sewn up. Seemed like it was everyone elses turn to have a good day 🙂
Looking forward to Silverstone now but have no idea how I’m going to be able to cope with a 6 week gap! Hopefully things will go slightly better than the Rock!