May 2, 2016

Donington Historic Festival Race Report

The 2016 season opener was at the Donington Historic Festival on 1st May. A dreary day presented the familiar will it won't it rain question. The rain stayed away and we came home with a solid result.

Competing in the Pre 80's Sports and GT race, we were up against some fairly exotic machinery. Lola 282, 292's and Chevron B19's would hard to beat. We qualified 5th which we considered to be a good result amongst this competition. The day stayed dry if not very overcast so it was slicks for the race.

As the lights went green, I got a great start, moving into 4th by Redgate, the first corner. We quickly moved away from the trailing pack although I ws struggling to keep in contention with the more powerful cars in front. After about 4 laps, two of the leading cars started to slow dramatically however which lead me to think I had missed a safety car board or full course yellow flag so I slowed as well. It turned out they both had issues but by the time I had realised, 5th place car of Richardson and Gathercole has caught and passed me. I took off in pursuit but disaster struck and the engine started to sound really sick. I had to come into the pits and the team discovered a plug lead was loose. By this time we had lost 2 laps and were back down in 12th place.

It was then head down and put in the laps to try and bring ourselves back into contention. I had rejoined just behind the Richardson / Gathercole car and had a great battle for several laps until they too had problems and had to retire.

I managed to battle back to 5th overall with the help of one or two further retirements and to win the class. We were really pleased to get a finish after the disappointments of last year. The car ran very well so it stands us in good stead for the rest of the year. It was disappointing to get the plug lead problem as a podium was a real possibility but it was a solid start to the season.

Thanks to Dad and Barry for doing a fantastic job in the pits, David Gathercole for identifying the issue with the plug lead which certainly saved us from falling any further behind, and of course our sponsors for their continued support.