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 News - Sports specials

Once the Astra had its engine faliure the MK was going to be the focus for the year. I went to the next round at croft and with 2 class wins it was looking like a good year untill I arrived at brands hatch. In the qualifying session I showed good speed achieving 3rd position starts for both races. In the first race after 2 laps my oil line came off which seized the engine. Back at home I pulled the engine apart and found it had seized on the big ends. The engine is in the process of being fixed but I have decided to return to racing at the begining of next season.

Silverstone - Sports specials

After the disapointment at Rockingham I decided to go to the Silverstone round of the Sports Specials. It wasnt a round I was planning on doing but became necessary if the astra isn't ready for cadwell so the sports specials will become the main focus again. It was good to see everyone and see what they had done to their cars. The Eclipse cars have made power gains which make them unstopable this weekend so 3rd in both races was the best outcome I could have hoped for. After some good racing in both races I managed to get those 3rd places and secure some good points.

Rockingham - Thundersaloons

An unfortunate start to the season. With an engine faliure in the first lap of qualifying puting an abrupt end to the weekend we had pack up and go home. The faliure that caused the problem has been found and plans are in motion to try to get the car ready for cadwell. 

Donington Test

Another succesful test in the Astra. We took the car down to Donington on an open pitlane trackday to check everything is running ok after the engine went back in. After some sighting laps I came back in and we discovered a small oil leak. This was quickly fixed and I was back on track. After some more running and getting to grips with the car we found the engine was slightly down on power. We suspected this to be a problem with the fuel system and were able to continue with the test untill we ran out of fuel. Once this happened we concluded it had been a successful day and went home. With more time in the seat I feel more comfortable for when we arrive at Rockingham for the first race. 

Oulton Park Test

I had a brilliant day testing the 2004 BTCC championship winning 888 astra owned and prepaired by Tony Tait. The FWD touring car which runs on slicks and is turbocharged to 500BHP was an amazing machine to drive and once I started to get my head around the different driving style I started to realise how fast it really is. I hope to be driving this in the 2017 season of the BARC classic touring cars thunder saloons championship

Donington: last round

I went into this weekend having just taken the lead of the championship and I was slightly nervous but also excited to see how I would do in the last round of the championship. Qualifying went quite well as I hadn't tested on the friday it was my first time on the GP circuit and I had not driven donnington with the anti roll bars. 3rd place start for the first race and 4th for the second. It was a close decision weather to go for the wet or dry tyre but I was glad I went for the wet as the downpour came just as we were about to go out on to the track. The rain turned into a thunderstorm and as we lined up after the green flag lap the starter held out the start delayed sign. We were left on the start grid for probably 20 minutes before they realised the rain wasn't going to stop. All of the racing on saturday was cancelled from the rain. The race on sunday was nice and dry. I got off to a good start into 3rd where me and the two eclipses started to break away. As the two eclipses fought I managed to get to the front and I was fast but pushing hard to stay there and making mistakes so I decided to drive a bit more safely to ensure a finish as I knew I had the points to win. I finished in 3rd and took the championship.

Rockingham

From the weather reports leading up to the weekend I knew the qualifying and race 1 were going to be the first time we were competing on a wet track since round 1 at oulton park. This meant the testing we did on friday was unnecessary. I went out on track in qualifying with the mindset of finding the grip and seeing how the car handles. I was pushing the car to the limit which resulted in me getting pole position for both races. This is the first time I have achieved pole position and I was very happy. In the first race I got off to a good start. I pulled out a gap of about 3 seconds and managed to hold that untill the end of the race. I couldnt relax at all throughout the race as that gap could have easily closed or I coulld have gone off in in the tricky conditions. The rain had cleared by sunday and it was quite a warm day. I had another good start and had good battle for the lead through the first half of the lap then I managed to keep the lead and pull a gap. I had a good gap but I could see a car closing up behind. Paul Collingwood had caught me then drove past me on the straight. Once he was infront I could get in his slipstream on the straights so he didnt pull too much distance before the corners where I could close back up. Starting the last lap I made a large lunge into the first corner to retake the lead but coming out of the last corner I lost a bit of traction and Paul had the speed advantage so he managed to slip back through. I was happy with the first and second place finishes as it gave me the championship lead going into the final round.    

Cadwell Park

As a track that I had never raced at before I was a little nervous going into this weekend as it is such a challenging track that can easily have serious consequences from small mistakes. The eclipse cars were very fast this weekend as the track suited them and the drivers all had alot of experience here which showed when they achieved the top three positions in qualifying but I was right behind with 4th for the first race and 5th for the second. In the first race I got a good launch off the line but rob johnston and stephen ward just made a better one and pulled in front of me along the start straight but I was determined to retake my position so passed stephen ward around the the outside of the first corner then dived up the inside of rob johnston into the second. I was back into third place and tried to chase down the eclipses. I managed to hang on for a few laps but they started to pull away. When I realised I couldnt catch back up I concentrated on maintaining the gap to the cars behind which I did to the end of the race. In the second race I had a much better start. I passed stephen ward on the start straight and went after the two lead eclipses. I attacked them throughout the lap and managed to force one of them into a mistake where I capitalised to get into second but he powered past me on the straight to put me back into 3rd. Just as in the first race they pulled away and I maintained the gap to the two behind but a few laps before the end the eclipse of paul boyd developed engine trouble so I managed to get to him and pass him for second. I was very happy with how I went this weekend but feel that the next development step for the car is more power as for my weight I am allowed 15bhp more than I already have.

Snetterton

Qualifying was a wet track with a dry line coming through so everyone apart from one went out on the dry tyre. I was about a second faster than everyone apart from the one on the wet tyre (by only half a second) throughout qualifying and everyone was going about 2 seconds a lap faster every lap but on my last lap I was blocked by a slow car so my last lap which would have put me on p2 was ruined but still managed p4 start for both races.

The first race was full wet and at the first corner p2 and p3 spun in front of me so I managed to get through that and get into second. I started to chase down first and was gaining every corner when halfway down the back straight my throttle cable snapped. I was quite annoyed as I felt I could have won this race as well.

In the second race there was a crash at the first corner which I narrowly managed to avoid then moved into first place. I put in some fast laps to extend my lead then took it easy for the last few laps to look after the car.

Overall this was another good weekend where I achieved a win and held my place in the championship.

Croft

Even though it is my closest track I had never been here before. Friday was my first day on the circuit so I spent alot of my time learning the lines and what was the best way to tackle it and this was very useful as all of my competitors had raced here before. This was the first race weekend for the sports specials that covered both saturday and sunday. The qualifying session took place in the morning and was my best performance all year. A second place start for the first race and a sixth for the second was achieved as I got onto the back of rob johnston and managed to draft him on the straights and keep up with his impressive pace. The first race was my first starting from the front row but that advantage was not capitalised on as a clutch issue caused a poor start. I managed to pull back a place from the 6th I had ended up in to 5th and almost took 4th on the last lap but it was too late but a 5th was still a good result in the long run. The issue was resolved of the second race which was on sunday. Starting from 6th I had a harder job than before but managed an amazing launch which took me to 3rd instantly then a brave move around the outside took me to 2nd. I pushed hard to catch the 1st place Atom before he could pull a gap and passed him before the end of the first lap. I worked hard to extend the gap so I couldnt get drafted and just kept extending the gap up to 3.5 seconds  when I crossed the line. This was a brilliant weekend as it was my first podium and first win. I am looking forward to snetterton and the challenges it will bring.

Brands Hatch

This race weekend started off with a good test day on the friday. Every session I made improvements to the setup and learnt a lot more but the car, the tyres and the track. All of the racing took place on saturday and the first session was qualifying. The track was still damp in places by the time we got onto the track so it was a steady first two laps to get temperature into the tyres. My lap times improved with every lap with 8th place being my starting position for both races. Waiting for the first race I noticed the dark clouds coming over the track and knew that there would be some rain during the session. The race started and was going well then a small amount of rain started to fall on the track which didn't appear much but redued the levels of grip largely in the first three corners. A few cars went off the road and caused a red flag. The race restarted and after a bad launch I manged to get a 4th place finish. The second race started off with me getting past a few car into 5th place where we started to pull away from the rest of the pack. I held my position for most of the race and the 4th place car pulled a slight gap but in the last few laps I caught back up and passed for 4th in the final laps. This was another good result for me as it secured me two good high points placings and has moved me into 2nd in the class championship.

Oulton park

At the first round of the season I was excited and nervous about the weekend that was ahead. I woke on the saturday morning to find that it had rained over night so my first experience of the car on a full wet track would be in the qualifying session. I went out on track with the plan of just finding out how the car would handle in the conditions. After the session had finished I was surprised to find out that I had qualified 4th for the first race and 6th for the second race. The rain seemed to be worse for the first race as the spray made it almost imposible to see the car in front with only the faint glow of the brake lights to tell me when the next corner was coming up. This didnt slow me down as I battled up front and kept my 4th position overall which was 3rd in class C which my car is in. Later in the day the rain stopped and the track started to dry. There were still damp patches on the track and around the back part of the circuit covered by trees there was only a dry line the width of one car so the decision was made to put on the dry weather tyre A048. I started the second race in 6th and moved up to 5th by the first corner. I was racing with two other cars for a few laps then me and one of the other cars started to pull away from the third car. we had a good battle throughout the race trading positions many times but I made a pass on the last lap to secure the 4th place. I was very hapy with how the weekend had gone and am looking forward to the next round at Brands Hatch.  

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