The fastest track on the calender is Thruxton near Andover, a circuit that is known for close racing and as far as Minis are concerned, a fantastic spectacle for the fans. So rounds 7 & 8 were eagerly anticipated.
Having had only 2 weeks break between rounds, and a disastrous time at Cadwell, I was very keen to move forward with the racing and get my season back on track. The old faithful engine was ” recommissioned ” whilst the new engine is being repaired, and with plenty of time spare the car was ready for racing.
Despite the torrential rain and spectacular storms that surounded us on the friday night, we awoke to a dry track with a sunny outlook, which made tyre choice easy for qualification.
The session went well, and I soon found myself settling into the flowing corners and high speed sections that make up the majority of the circuit. With 9 laps under my belt in the alotted time I was pleased to find myself in 6th position for both races. From there it was realistic to stay with or be part of the lead pack.
Racing is very different from practice though, and I made a terrible start in race 1, which saw me swallowed up by several cars before the first complex. By the end of the lap I was down to ninth and struggling . I couldnt pin point where I was going wrong, but backwards was an easy way to described my progress. I am fortunate though, to have a very reliable package , and this is thanks to good prep and quality parts and service from Mini Sport . So when 3 other cars fell by the wayside , I was able to pick up some places. Due to an accident which saw a car in the barriers , we were to finish the race behind a safety car , eventually coming home 6th overall.
After some tweaks to the engine mapping by Selby race engines, alteration to brake setup and a good hard look at in-car footage, I felt confident of some progression for race 2. Yet another bad start though, saw me drop back again to 8th, then another car slowed and pulled off, moving me to 7th . A nasty 3rd lap crash brought out the red flags (thankfully the driver involved was ok) and a restart was required.
I still couldnt get the start nailed (something to work on) but I did at least manage to hold position. For 2 laps I made little progress, but suddenly found that something had clicked, and I was making ground on 6th and 5th position. When one car lost its engine, it suddenly closed the gap even more. I may not have been near he lead pack, but another position was there to be taken.
Now Thruxton is not as you might expect, all about being quick, its a thinking mans track, and you don’t want to be in front on the last lap. So as we started the final tour I was quite happy to relinquish 5th in preparation for the long haul back. When you get “the tow” here, in a car thats as aerodynamic as a brick, you really do have a huge slip streaming advantage. I started to get the effect of this way too early and had to feather the throttle for half the lap so as not to play my hand too soon. Once past Church corner, I buried the throttle and waited, pleased to hear that extra 500 RPM kicking in and easing past the car in front back up to 5th . A defensive line through the last corner saw me maintain position and come home in 5th , equaling my best finish result, so I was very pleased to say the least .
I am now running 6th in the championship, so roll on Oulton Park for rounds 9 & 10.