Birkett Six Hour Relay Race @ Silverstone GP.
The Birket is a pretty unique event which has been running since 1951 and pretty much anything with ‘covered wheels’ that races at club level is allow to take part. As it’s a relay race each of the 70 team taking part could have up to six drivers/cars. This leads to a pretty busy track with some massive differences in speeds both along the straights and through corners. Leading to some really interesting on track battles.
Both the Green and White Academy group entered teams so regardless of what the other teams were doing it was all to play for between us. After the first three hours our team was leading the others by about six seconds. That lead was not to last since we had a couple of spins then some badly timed safety cars. Which dropped us behind whites by a lap. After covering 125 laps we finished 44th. The best we could have possible got was around 40th so given none of us had done any endurance events before I think everyone was really happy with the result and the fact all the cars survived.
My first thirty minute stint was pretty uneventful as within two laps I caught up with an orange BMW which was slower than me around all the corners but a lot faster down the straights. This lead to me lapping a few seconds slower than I could have been but without doing something really kamikaze down the inside there was no way past. Which would have been pointless because even if I did pull it off I only would have gotten overtaken down the next straight. Instead I decided to try and play it smarter and just sit behind him so we could both concentrate on lapping consistently instead of losing time fighting.
The second stint was a lot more fun. I tagged on to the back of a slightly faster Caterham which meant I could benefit from a tow. I also spent a fun couple of laps trying to get past a Ford Falcon which was monster fast in a straight line but couldn’t brake or go around corners.
The best thing about the event was getting to race with some mates instead of against them. Both teams did themselves proud can’t wait till next year.
The second race of the weekend was a chance to see who really is the best in the Academy as it was a non championship race with both groups mixed. Due to it being oversubscribed the quali/race was replaced with two races.
The format was odd numbers in one race, even numbers in the other. I finished 5th in the championship so started in 5th place with both championship winners and in the middle of a fast group of drivers. All I needed was a good start. Surely after 5 races I would be 6th time lucky right… I consider I was lucky that no one hit me from behind as I dropped from 5th to 12th. I enjoy a bit of a fight but seriously I have to stop doing this to myself.
Since everyone had done a race the day before everyone was really on the ball and the whole race was another brilliant scrap. It was a lot of fun going wheel to wheel with some of the white group for a change who I had never raced against. Managed to get back into the lead at one point and narrowly missed out on 3rd place to Andy.
Accidentally hit Tom at one point due to a misunderstanding over lines which was totally my fault. I shouldn’t have assumed his line would have been the same as James was in the same situation the race before. Really happy that neither of us were seriously damaged and Tom went on to win and beat both champions!
Managed to claim the fastest lap for my third race in a row but due to the rain a little slower than the new record I set on Saturday.
Silverstone was a special weekend for several reasons:
- It’s the last championship round of the year
- It’s the last I will get to race some people who will not be moving to Roadsport next year. I will miss you guys!
- There is an extra non championship race where the two Academy groups race together for the first time to see who is really the fastest.
To keep the race reports short I’ll split them up then add a summary once I’ve collected my thoughts on an amazing year.
Saturday morning was quali and I managed to get P2 alongside James who was on pole. Really happy to get my 3rd front row start in a row. The front five was the usual crowd so it was going to be another exciting race. I have had a serious problem with my starts and all I wanted to do was get a decent one this time.
The red lights went out and I leapt forward and nailed my best launch. In my excitement I then mistimed the clutch missing 2nd gear and dropped to 5th. Four minutes later I managed to pull possible my best move of the year into the chicane as we went four abreast into the Club braking zone, 4th to 1st in one move! Found myself leading a race for the first time until the Hanger Straight where I was a sitting duck and back to 4th. This carried on for another five minutes until Graham and I were battling over 2nd and in hindsight either of us should have given way and we didn’t and both spun out without hitting each other or anyone else lucky. From 2nd to 11th in one move! Looking back it was a silly situation but on the video I can’t see any reason why the line didn’t work that time. Oh well that is racing.
Graham and I both rejoined the track with five minutes to go and started chasing down the pack. On the way to claiming 6th place I managed to set the fastest lap of the race and a new lap record by 0.4 seconds.
Obviously annoyed with myself for throwing away a likely podium again but getting a new lap record made me feel a little better about it. Also getting away with a massive spin and not damaging anyones car is a big thing to be happy about!
More to follow on the other race.