Here is last weekends Race Report from the AL Motorsport Team:
Rounds 2 & 3 were held at Rockingham Motor Speedway, the UK’s fastest track. Originally catering for the American Indy Car Series the grandstands tower over the track so everyone gets a good view of the racing. Shortly after they built the infield for circuit racing who wish to turn left and right! With corner names like Piff Paff and Tarzan it was going to be an interesting first visit for both AL Motorsport drivers.
Both Drivers were up early on Saturday morning before qualifying to get some tips from Max Hunter, past champion and who has to be one of the most consistent drivers in the championship. Although it is the UK’s newest track, it is quite featureless and one corner leads in to the next with not many opportunities for overtaking apart for a late lunge or some drafting down the long straight, making qualifying important.
Adam and Leon were first in the assembly area with the view of getting out on a clear track first of all and get the tyres and car up to temperature whilst learning the track. This was the first time Adam had been out since his car was taken to Track, Road and Race in Northampton, so it was a learning curve all around. A couple of laps in, Both drivers eased slightly and let some of the faster drivers by so they could see where they can make time up. Leon dropped back a lot, due to the car jumping out of gear. (This was later found to be a missing detente spring in the gearbox) Adam was managing to hang on to the back of Andrew Deviny, last year’s runner up in the championship and although slightly dropping back, he managed to keep within sight of Andrew and Gareth. With Qualifying over and the learning curve vertical, Leon managed to limp to 14th and Adam managed his best ever qualifying of 6th for both races.
The weather would be the key to Race 1 of the day on Saturday. With it raining on and off, a last minute call for a tyre change made all members of AL Motorsport rush and get the wets on both cars, with limited tools for such a last minute change Leon only just made it on to the now drying track with wets and Adam had to start the green flag lap from the pit lane, unable to make use of his 6th place grid spot.
Leon made the best of his wet tyre choice and managed to get a lightening start slicing through the field like they were stood still before everything bunched up for the first corner hairpin where some very late braking saw lockups and overshooting a plenty. Adam was carving his way through the field, taking 4 cars before the first corner, with the hammer down and with a wide line on the first corner Adam managed to take one more car on the exit of the hairpin. With all the first corner jostling for position things start to take normal order. With a grid on dries and wet tyres, anything could happen… although the track was drying and drying fast. Black clouds were looming and both Leon and Adam were praying for rain to preserve their wet tyre choice from destroying themselves. It was not long in to the race before the soft wet tyres were overheating and with fighting for positions, both drivers were finding it hard not to overcook their Dunlop wets.
Adam was battling hard with Julian Proctor till the chequered flag, but both cars made contact on the run out of Tarzan hairpin but fortunately both cars could carry on with Julian piping Adam in 13th and a well deserved S-Class win!
Leon was protecting his 11th place unable to catch the cars in front, but protecting any attack from the rear. A great result bearing in mind that both drivers had no wheels on their car when called up to the assembly area… something the team are ensuring will not happen again!
With the weather more settled race 2 seemed like it would be a good race with Adam starting at the pointy end in 6th, and Leon in 14th with a point to prove. As the red lights faded it was a poor start from Adam, just about clinging on to 7th place and Leon jumped a car on the inside before the first corner. With Rockingham’s wide first corner cars were 4 abreast under heavy braking in to turn one, Adam went wide on the entry as the inside line was full of 998 mini’s – hoping to get the cutback on to the small straight before the next right. Although pulling alongside Darren Thomas, Adam was on the outside of turn 2 and Adam was hung out to dry with Graham Davis leaving Adam no option but to back out of the move and allowing 2 cars through on the inside. Leon was having his own battles further down the grid chasing the leading pack and having an epic dice with black and yellow car of Baker. With BigMac all over the back of Adams car he chose to leave the door open going in to the last chicane and regroup. It was not long before Adam was chasing hard and being slightly held up as 7th, 8th, and 9th were getting away. With all the fighting for position, Leon was managing to claw his way back up the grid, now on the hunt for Adam! With the Fluro Yellow highlights of his team mate filling Adams mirrors, it was time to press on and get past the green and white car of BigMac…. A great exit from the last chicane and a tow down the main straight, meant it was easy pickings to out brake him in to the first hairpin, hold the apex, and power out to catch Astin, Davis, and Davis! Within a lap or two, Adam was fighting hard with Graham Davis and Damon Astin while Ashley was heading the bunch. With Damon slipping back Adam was slightly quicker and was waiting to make his move – but the parts Adam was fast on, gave no opportunity for an overtake due to the nature of the track. His only place was the last chicane, but with all the fighting, Adams tyres were not at their best and Damon was getting great traction out of there and holding station down the main straight. In the mean time Leon managed to get past BigMac in the last lap, giving AL Motorsport a formation finish of 10th and 11th – both drivers happy to finish in one piece and some learning done along the way!
A huge thank you to MiniSport for helping trackside! Bringing parts along for road and race cars alike is a great asset to not only the Championship, but to the racers! Also a thank you to Dave Yardy at www.trackroadandrace.co.uk for spending the day putting car 44’s wheels pointing straight!