A weekend full of dramas!
Brands Hatch, maybe due to it being my local circuit, was a race weekend I was very much looking forward to on the calendar. The weekend, however, didn't quite go as planned.....to say we started on the back foot is a bit of an understatement!
There tend to be two outcomes to not hitching your trailer properly:
Outcome 1- Trailer detaches before setting off or upon departing.
Damage - Pride!
Outcome 2- Trailer decides it's going to be towed a few miles before detaching.
Damage- Smashed up trailer, damaged race car and demolished brick wall. Thankfully no one was hurt.
Luckily, Mike Lillywhite and his team came to the rescue and by mid morning Friday, the car was straightened out and on its way to Brands. We had one test session to get the car dialled in!
There are always things that could have gone better during sessions on track be it in testing, qualifying or the races themselves. But I couldn’t have asked for much more from this qualifying session. We set a couple of initial good laps before making a small set up change. Another few tenths shaved off and that was enough to put us on pole. Our first pole of the season may I add! Let’s see if the added pressure would get to me.
The pressure got to me!!!
What happened next is something that many drivers will tell you they’ve done before, but will also tell you it’s a mistake you only ever make once.
Yes, for all who watched the race already, I jumped the start and launched when the red lights came on and not when they went off….ooops!
By the time I realised what I had done, it was too late and not only had we then dropped to fourth place by the first corner but we would also receive a ten second penalty at the end of the race. What a pain! I had to to just keep cool and try and get back up the field. Brands Hatch is a very short circuit at only 1.2 miles long and so overtaking here is very difficult. Despite getting the fastest lap of the race and having a few good attempts at getting past team mate Dec, I didn't quite have what it took to climb back to the front. I crossed the line in third place but with my time penalty, actually finished in fifth. Very frustrating but only myself to blame!
You'd think our luck couldn't get much worse and by starting in fifth place, the pressure would be off so only upwards from here...right? Wrong! As the saying goes, all things happen in threes, and sure enough, coming through Druids corner, I was taken out and pushed off the circuit. Thankfully the driver in question was disqualified but nonetheless it put me all the way back to twelfth place. Fortunately this had happened on the first lap and so providing the car wasn't mechanically damaged, I knew I at least had a chance to claw back as many places as possible to collect as many points as I could. I pushed as hard as I dared and despite catching the leaders by around half a second a lap, it was all I could do to finish fifth with the race being cut short due to a safety car.
Two fifth places with two fastest laps wasn't a complete disaster! Now holding second in the championship, only 7 points behind Declan.
Race footage below courtesy of the BRSCC with live commentary.
Start at 8:00
Start at 6:20
A big shoutout to Lillywhite's and, in particular, Mike Dine for putting in the hours Friday morning to get the car ready in time. Again, a massive thank you to my sponsors and for everyone supporting me. Tucker Motorsport, forever making us drive better and faster!