Well the weather definitely played a big role in last weekend’s racing! Saturday at Mildenhall had to be cancelled as the track was flooded on Friday, and the rain was not going to stop until after the planned start time, so I think the right decision was taken to cancel the meeting.
Northampton however had done a lot of work to drain the track and on arrival Sunday morning the track did look in good order, and although first few races were little bit steady as the shale was very heavy due to the consistent rain in the week.
The Shoot Out drivers made their way to the start finish line before the start of meeting to do the junior shootout draw were our heats and starting grids are picked for the day.
It was to be top 6 and bottom 6 in the heats, meaning I had Tom who was current leader in my heat. Luckily we drew heat 2, so for us the track should be well cleared and good to race. I managed to draw pole out of the back 6 cars, which was a good start until The Hitman was drawn to start right behind me, ha ha!
Bobby G was on outside row 1 at the side of me, and was very keen to get away on the start, so keen in fact it caused the rest of shoot out drivers to set off with him, then realise no, we haven’t gone green yet, slow down, regroup, and wait for the green. Unfortunately in the chaos Tom caught an infield tyre and spun while we were still on the rolling lap and was reversing to get going as the lights went green…. not good for him and the cars around him, but meant I was away clean. After a lot of work on the car this week on the set up and tyres it was on rails and back to how it used to be when it was built.
A good fast heat with no hiccups meant a heat win for us with 555 a creditable fifth and 211 right behind him. Top results all round!
By the time the final came round, the track had taken a good beating and it was going to be survival of the fittest to even get a finish. I got a good start and was making good progress with Harris right in my tail. Next thing I know I’m heading straight towards 423 Gary Jackson who lost control on the bumps and ended up hitting the fence halfway down the straight and parking in middle of track. One minute I’m heading the right direction, the next I’ve driven through 423 and bounced up the Armco, but I’m heading the right direction and only lost a couple of places, ooh and my goggles…!
A yellow flag to check Gary was still alive meant I could gather my thoughts and my goggles and regroup and start again. Gary was fine, just bit shaken and wasn’t sure where he was.
The car was still all good after the yellows but after a few laps a right rear puncture on the holes in the track ended my race.
As I sat on the middle watching the rest of the shoot out drivers bouncing round the track I think 6 of them also got flat tyres apart from Lee 217, who managed until 2 laps to go meaning a 7th place finish moving him to within couple of points of me and about 10 behind leader Tom.
The Grand National was a strange race with seemingly 2 tracks to race on! The track down low was nearly back to the tarmac and bit bumpy and then the track above that, literally about a foot above that in vertical height, was fast but dangerous, and as nearly every driver stuck to the bottom line the points leader Tom decided the high line was the fast line, which it was until you get attacked by other cars and lose a lap, leaving him struggling to make the top 12 and scrape any points.
I on the other hand opted for the safe bottom line and all was going nicely until while in second place behind Mat 16 my power steering feed pipe leaked on the inlet to the pump making the last few laps very interesting indeed…!
Rough tracks are hard at the best of times, but when you have no power steering as well then anything can happen . I battled on to the chequered flag, only dropping one place. Unfortunately that was to Lee 217, who is now only 2 points behind me in the shoot out. A 13th place for Tom dropping him a further 2 points back into 3rd place.
So even though I was disappointed with a flat in the final, not a bad day considering. Back into the lead of the shoot out and 3 of us proper in the mix to lead with the next 4/5 not far behind it’s shaping up to be an exciting finish with only 2 rounds remaining.
Cheers for now,