Blue sky greeted us at Anglesey for the BRSCC Winter Race Day for an end of season day of mixed class racing. Like last year it was a mix of Radicals, Caterhams and tin tops.
Race 1 video
Race 2 video in 4k 360
Also in car video: https://youtu.be/jkq_aTIAyys
Quali – P5
As it was a mixed class quali the best I could hope for was 4th. Given Dan French and I were likely to be the fastest Caterham on track it became a battle between the two of us for the coveted Caterham class pole. Our plan was to go out together and take it in turns to lead the other around to give each of us a fair tow. I totally messed that plan up by leaving the pits thinking Dan was behind me only to find out a few other cars got in between us (sorry Dan!). I decided to push on and clear the traffic to get into some clean air followed by some fast laps to see what I could do with no tow. At which point Dan should have cleared the slower cars and I would back off to wait for Dan to catch me then we could spend the second half of the quali working together. I could see Dan progress and had literally just slowed down to wait for him and the red flags had come out and stopped the session.
The red flag meant we had to return to the pits and wait for quali to be restarted. The good news is Dan was now behind me. The bad news was there were several slower cars we found ourselves behind in the pit queue. So much for best laid plans! First rule of racing is plan for everything but don’t expect any of it to actually happen the way you wanted.
After the quali restarted Dan and I made quick work of the slower cars and we had a few laps to help each other in the tow. This worked pretty well for Dan as he managed to use my tow to set a faster time. I on the other hand despite following Dan didn’t improve on my earlier time set in clear air because I misjudged the gap. Still was happy with my pace as I knew it was going to be a fun scrap in the races.
Race 1 finished 4th (1st in class)
At the start JJ got an amazing start and blasted past me while my start was pretty tardy. Annoyingly I had finally worked out my race starts but a gearbox rebuild and a new clutch has meant that the biting point has changed slightly. That’s my racing drive excuse anyway! For the first lap I followed JJ around but knew I had to get past him. Before Dan had an opportunity to make a gap too big for me to close. After getting passed JJ I set about trying to chase Dan down.
The tow effect in a 270R is less than in the Roadsport due to the removal of the windscreen. Which means that it take a lot more work to catch up with people. I was faster in some parts of the track while Dan was faster in others. Eventually I caught him up and managed to overtake after a bit of a battle the safety car was deployed to dig poor Al out of the mud. I knew that once the safety car went in Dan would go back on the attack and I just needed to hold him off for a few more laps to take the effective Caterham 1st place kudos.
On the restart we both ran wide on the first corner and I just about stayed on the track. Dan behind me was less fortunate and had a ‘moment’ which gifted me a couple of seconds lead. At this point I knew I could win the battle as long as I didn’t do anything stupid. Typical at this point some back markers started to play their part and it was a case of being forceful and getting past without losing too much time to Dan.
I might have ‘only’ finished 4th on the road behind 3 fast quicker cars but to be first in the Caterham class felt like the victory I had failed to get all year. Also got the fastest Caterham lap as a bonus.
Race 2 finished 3rd (2nd in class)
One of the faster cars didn’t take part in the second race which promoted me to 3rd on the grid along side Dan French in 4th. It was pretty cool lining up behind two radicals.
Despite getting a better start than race one, JJ still managed to rocket past me. Not wanting Dan to get away I got past JJ on the first lap and decided to sit behind Dan for a couple of laps so we could get in some fast laps and build a gap from the rest of the pack. Once Dan and I had gapped the rest of the Caterhams it was time to play. The rest of the race was an epic battle where we traded places multiple times a lap and it was one of the most fun races this year.
Dan ultimately beat me after I overcooked an overtake on the last lap and locked up. Slightly annoying to mess up but that is motor racing. It turned out one of the Radicals has been disqualified which promoted Dan into 2nd and I got 3rd. Picking up a trophy was an added bonus. I did lose out on the fastest laps kudos to Dan by 0.001 seconds. Which really showed how close it was!