We left home at approximately 10.45pm Wednesday for the 2.15am ferry, sailing from Heysham. We thought the journey was going pretty well. That was until after 40 minutes into the drive we were informed that the back door of the truck was open!
Frank went to investigate And discovered everything except the mini had gone. We had to retrace our steps. Anyway, to cut a long story short Danny left the farm and we turned around and between us managed to find 95% of our belongings.
Thankfully, and I don’t know how, we managed to make the ferry. We were the last vehicle to get on at 2.05am and set off at 2.15.
Young Frank was racing on the Thursday. Out in his first heat he was off to a flyer and soon made his way up the grid. He caught Ryan Fairburn 411, and as he attempted to go up on the inside he swerved to miss a marker tyre that was sticking out onto the track a little. He clipped Ryan’s car which turned young Frank right, and head on into the wall. It was a very hard impact which ripped the engine clean out of the car wrecked all the front end.
The hard hit had an effect on both the car and on Frankie. We managed to get back out but it wasn’t the same. Thankfully, he wasn’t racing again until Saturday so that gave us a chance to fix things.
Saturday afternoon, FWJ and I take a stroll to the pitstop (the campsite wi-fi room) as we think its time to book his flight, seeing he’s supposed to being flying back for the semi-final in the morning. We manage to find some and get them booked.
That evening we are back at Onchan Raceway for another night’s racing. JJ is a little anxious about tonight’s racing, as he is still a little bit sore from Thursday. He’s out in his first heat, he’s a bit steadier than Thursday and crosses the line in sixth.
The second heat he’s got a bit more pace back, he races with Courtney Finn. He ended up getting spun at the end of the straight and hits the wall flat out smashing a fence post clean out of the ground. I will give him his due, the gutsy little bugger gives the thumbs up straight away!
Back in the pits he complains of sore ribs and back. The car is trashed again but we manage to get it back out. In this race he limps over the line in 7th.
Out again for another race and he gets another 7th.
Sunday morning and Frankie gets up early for his flight. Arriving at Sheffield at 12.15, he was surprised to see the state of the track and didn’t think the meeting would go ahead. He makes a couple of calls and arranges for a local farmer with a tanker and the fire brigade to come and get the track cleared. Meanwhile, Frank Snr is on a tractor trying to clear the water.
FWJ’s view on the Sheffield meeting:-
The meeting starts an hour later than expected but at least the track is almost raceable. Had the track been cleared earlier it would have been perfect.
The semi is out. Rubber beats me at the start, but I manage to tap him wide on the first corner. Everyone’s struggling with the wet track, and soon the yellows are out.
On the restart I’m sat in third. Craig 55 puts me in and I managed to back out and continue.
All the front suspension is bent so I struggle. I finish in 8th place though, not a fantastic result but better than DNF!
The final wasn’t a lot better. The heavens opened again. I was doing ok until 55 put me in again (note to self…). Still soldiering on, I finished in 5th.
It was better news in the Grand National. I take the win, which is also the Wild Blundell trophy, and Danny finishes hot on my tail in second.
Danny had a very good meeting, winning his heat, second in the final and second in the national.
I missed my flight back to the IOM so spent the evening in a hotel near the airport. I got back to the campsite at 9.30am on Monday. Sam had to take young Frankie to the hospital. We didn’t know that he got a nasty cut on his shin when he crashed.
We gave him the choice of whether or not he wanted to race as he was pretty sore.
He decided to go back out and see how he felt. He wasn’t in the running of winning the Sword now, so hopefully he could stay out of trouble. He had a couple of steady sixth places in his heat but drove well in the final taking third place.
It felt good for all of us, after the weekend he’d had a podium place was very welcome. To top it off he was voted as best driver by Chloe Dillon who announced on the tannoy that JJ deserved it for racing well even though he had sore ribs. A sweet gesture and receiving the shield was lovely.
So another IMO trip has gone by. Thanks to everyone out there for making us feel so welcome again. Not the best results but good to go back. Well done to all mini kids for putting on a great show and of course the top 3 in the Sword :- Courtney Finn, Courtney Witts and Austin Moore.
Frankie & Sam.
Big thanks to Martin Fitzgerald for these IOM photos, and to Chris Webster for the photos from Sheffield. Much appreciated!