A Good finish – by Jonathan Lewis
We arrived at Rockingham late on the Friday night and unloaded old faithful, the Mini Sport number 4 car, into garage 17, which I was sharing with Elliott Stafford and his dad Paul who have been so helpful to me and team Mini Sport during 2011 and we have in place a deal for Paul Stafford to build the new 2012 Min Sport car so I was happy to help Elliott in his quest for Championship honours.
The weekend started very well with Mini Sport car 4 going fastest in the 15 min free practices.
Elliott was a bag of nerves going into qualifying so I tried to calm him down using my old age and experience but he was a lost cause, during qualifying he was supposed to draft with me but he just forgot about it and set off after Scott Kendal, with about 3 mins left he backed off and I gave him the draft he needed to take Pole with Scott second and me 3rd. Not bad and I was happy as I wanted to help Elliott as best I could against his Championship rival Pat Ford who was placed behind me and we seemed to have much better pace all weekend.
We made our usual good start but a very fast starting car got up between me and Scott Kendall so I had to deal with him first but this meant that Scott unfortunately was now too far ahead into the distance and as long as he drove well I would have a job catching him. After a few laps I started to real Scott in but could see Elliott in my mirror getting a hard time from Pat but he had to win it for himself so I tried as hard as I could but just could not catch Scott so was happy to go for second. On the last lap I saw Elliott was closer to me and had shaken off Pat at last, so I took the decision to let Elliott have my second position and pull some more points from Pat, he went past and we decided that the next days race he, Scott and I would go together…
The Sunday race came and no rain as I had been hoping for, so we took our positions on the grid with Scott on pole Elliott on 2 and me 3rd again, I had had a long talk with Elliott and told him he had to drive it like he stole it and forget about the Championship until the 3 of us were clear of Pat and his brother, that way Elliott would be the Champion and I would have a good go for the win, well best made plans and all that!
The start was perfect with Scott, Elliott and Myself no more than a few feet apart but also pulling away from the pack. I had put new tyres on the front and the car was very fast with plenty of mid corner grip which I could see the other two were lacking, I could see way behind in the distance Pat and his brother were up to 4and 5th but they were to far back to be a problem and we had this in the bag. My plan was to draft Elliott with 3 laps to go knowing he would make my pass easy as he was now well and truly safe up front then set off and have a good fight with Scott for the win, well just before my lap to move, the Mini Sport 4 car gave me my first problem ever as she spluttered with fuel starvation and a few meters later she cut out, the fuel pump had failed me, but I fiddled with the switch and managed to limp the car back to the pit but our race was over, Elliott ran home second and Pat pulled off a lap after me as he had picked up a puncture probably by trying so hard to catch up to us 3.
The good new was that Elliott was now the 2011 Champion and we are now bang on the pace wet or Dry and I am very much looking forward to 2012 when the new and much lighter car and driver will try and win the championship for Mini-Sport, I would like to take this opportunity to than Chris and all the staff at Mini Sport for there help in 2011 and also to all the people who came up to me and said hi during the season, your support and friendship means a lot to an old fool who thinks he can still mix it with all the younger drivers!