Round 1 Silverstone 25th April 2021

We'd spent the Friday practising in a mixed bunch of 750MC closed wheel racing cars, many of which were significantly more powerful than ours. Jack coped well with the situation, I'm far too polite and kept getting out of the way. All in all though it was the first time either of us had driven a race car on track and it was a success. The car behaved pretty well, throwing up various warning lights which needed investigating and resetting and the exhaust came loose threatening to fall off until three of the support rubbers were replaced.

Saturday evening we travelled back to Silverstone with Alan Swain providing his race support truck for accommodation, a shed load of equipment we don't have and of course help. Also helping was Ryan Greenaway and on Sunday Alan's daughter Rachel, who races in Formula Vee, also leant a hand with mechanics and pit work.We spent a bit of time on the ABS sensors and reluctor rings as we'd had a few ABS warning lights come on and Jack flat spotted one of our tyres with a large lock up in to Brooklands Corner. It was when doing the ABS check that Alan pointed out we had no front brake pads left.After a tour of those teams that were still around on Saturday evening we managed to scrounge a set of used front pads from Forty Forty Racing, many thanks guys!

Sunday morning resulted in an ABS sensor change as one of them was giving a spurious signal before 25 minutes qualifying at 10:30 am. I went out in the car first, primarily to get my 3 laps mandatory qualifying in but also because I'm a bit more mechanically sympathetic (slower) than Jack and wouldn't punish the new tyres and brake pads so much. I got out of the car 22nd fastest. Jack then got in and proceeded to qualify the car in 12th place, unlike some we had a full fuel load on board so not a bad result at all.

The race set off at 2:30pm with Jack at the wheel, there was a bit of confusion with the rolling start as the lead car went a bit too soon and the red lights stayed on, however it seemed he didn't see the red lights so the organisers, after a couple of laps decided to continue the race rather than continue to try and stop it. Ryan remained in radio communication with Jack throughout the race relaying signals and Jack was able to feedback any incidents on track as to whether they would possibly need a safety car, that way I could get ready to get in earlier than planned. Jack was lapping well with good pace, he had a couple of minor off track moments at Becketts where there was some fluid down but no contact, at some point though the toe setting on the rear left wheel was knocked out and it was toed out by about 6mm from parallel. In the YouTube coverage the car can be seen grabbing down the club straight. A lengthy first stint for Jack saw him bring the car in after around 45 minutes to hand over to me. He then did his first interview, good job done.

I was certainly more comfortable in the car than in qualifying, just seat time and maybe the lighter fuel load helped. Apart from a car spinning in front of me at Copse at about 90MPH my 25 minutes in the car were pretty uneventful, I passed a few cars on track, a few passed me. I chose not to have the distraction of the radio and relied on pit boards to give my position, as time went by we dropped from 9th to 8th, 8th to 6th and then 3rd magically appeared as the leading cars made their second stops. Was happy with that! I brought the car in and for a brief moment we were leading the race, not bad for a first attempt.

Jack took the car back out to complete the 90 minutes, I had a good chat with some 750MC officials who seemed genuinely pleased to see us doing well and offered a bit of advice as to how we timed our stops ( a lap earlier we may have made 8th given Jacks great pace in a light car) in the end we finished in a pretty fantastic 9th place, he crossed the line with much light flashing, a swoop to the pit wall and much waving from us on the wall. Lots of smiles!

Thanks to Alan and Rachel Swain of RCS racing for time, accommodation, transport, knowledge, help, belt tightening and most of all company. Thanks also to Ryan Greenaway for his help and company on the Friday and Sunday, particularly holding the exhaust in place while I swore at it. He mastered the pit radio which proved a bit confusing to the rest of us and timed the pitstops to the regulation 90 seconds. Thanks to Victoria for Marley sitting Sunday and Maddie, Mark and George for Friday. He's a lucky dog. Thanks also to my neighbours for putting up with the shuffling of cars, trucks and trailers that goes on.

It was great and now seems a little unreal, in 1984 I watched the Tourist Trophy at Silverstone, an endurance saloon car race, it took me thirty six and a half years to get to race there. Jack managed his dream a bit earlier, but best of all we shared it.

Donington next on 23rd May all being well.