Round 2 Donington Park 23rd May 2021
We had tested at Donington at a track day a few weeks before this event, as ever Jack filled me in on where I was going wrong but by the end of the evening I was only just doing a chicken lift through the Craner Curves.
Jack qualified the car on 10th place in a dry morning session, rain was forecast during the race so the decision was made for me to start in the car and then Jack double stint to the end of the race. Before that however we had a problem to fix. Since the previous race I had replaced the left rear hub and driveshaft having had a problem with them seizing after 16 years of being together. A quick change of a reluctor ring for the ABS turned in to a mammoth job. During qualifying the left rear tyre was rubbing on the wheel arch through the Craner Curves, which was a bit of a concern. There followed 3 hours of checking dismantling measuring and comparing of sides of the car, the left rear was 10mm further out than the right. After much discussion and some changing of bits it was decided we couldn't do any more so adjusted the suspension, adding camber and lifting the ride height to try and alleviate the problem. As I write this I can confirm that we had the rear hub from a later car, they're nearly identical but not quite. Thanks as ever go to Alan and Rachel Swain for their work on the car and also Nathan Ward who came along to have a relaxing afternoon watching racing. It was back together in time for the race.
Now I've never done a race start, and have very little experience of racing in traffic so starting 10th in a 33 car field was a bit daunting and in retrospect may have been an error. A rolling start, and I think I made the first passing move of the race, unfortunately this left me with very little track at the first turn and a mixture of cold tyres, track grip and general lack of confidence saw a large proportion of the field pass me, we dropped to 27th in the opening two laps. After that I settled down and slogged round with only a couple of minor mistakes to get the car up to 22nd after about 25 minutes when Jack took over. It was just beginning to rain.
Jack then got his head down and in increasingly wet conditions started to reel everyone back in. Alan's pit board was indicating a steady decrease in the gap between Jack and the next car lap after lap and numerous cars were passed. He had a few hairy moments, three abreast on the approach to McLeans corner, cars spinning in front of him and on one memorable occasion passing someone on opposite lock down the Craner Curves (great in car video, I'll try and upload it). By the end of the race, at about 6:30pm he finished 9th on track and when penalties were applied this was raised to 8th. In the wet he was the fastest on track.
A other good result. Thanks go to Alan and Rachel Swain for so much help, Nathan for rolling his sleeves up, Ryan for his radio work, the many teams who lent us advice and tools, particularly Andrew Tsang who pointed out the induction hose on the engine had come loose and Victoria who Marley sat for us.
We may be at Snetterton on the 26th June but Jack is having trouble getting leave and the closing date for entries is looming.