It all started with the preparation which started about 7 years previous when I booked my first karting session at what is now my brothers local karting track. An all-day, outdoor event for £90 to have a blast in the csma championship. Well it was wet and there was stiff competition but I was competitive if not hot headed. 5 years later on and we had some hard racing with guys that have gone onto bigger things. I remember Oli, James, Chris and the 2 Ross' battling me and it had me thinking, if only I could make it for 'real'.
I'd saved and saved. Then I went to see the aforementioned Chris Hutchinson at Croft September 2014. He was busy, he was focused but the ever smiling Chris gave me all the push I needed. As a great result came I knew I wanted to emulate his achievements. After all if he is this good in the Caterham championships, and I used to spare with him in karting, how good could I be?
Roll on to now April 2016. A lot of time and effort. I got the medical, I had done the race license test, I had done a full track day in a fiesta St, I'd bought the car and kit. This was it, ready! Well not quite, I was a bag of nerves I'm home late from work and there is Road closures on the way to the Track. I get to the track at 11pm tired and not knowing where to park. I'm in garage 10…it's locked, no sign of help at first. We eventually unload the car and I set to work on finding space in my Skoda to sleep. The glamour.
The Saturday. My first time on track. Not helpful that the pace of the mornings session was ridiculous for a first timer. Briefings were missed, I panicked my way through scrutineering and where the hell is everything! It was all intense. Just a matter of driving the car in anger for the first time. No pressure. Then visor down and all my dreams came true. Rolling into the pits at the end I was drained. What a morning. I went to get a time sheet. Dreams can last. 10 second gap ahead of my nearest rival. Surely a lead to be proud of. Qualifying was just as satisfying and I held on to a 3 second gap. New tyres for Luke really helped him get confident in the car. It was looking close.
Race Day. This is it, a culmination of the weekends work. Sarah and I refreshed from a night in the Skoda and Snetterton cold showers. Well what a start! I got passed class d's and a couple of slow starting c's but all this dicing my rival got into turn 1 ahead and I was resigned to half of the race sat staring at the Tilbury Docks back driver. I must admit we had done very well to get through the melee together. Cars all over left right and centre, I knew we had given room but fought to not be easily passed. It was going to be a clean fight all year it seemed. The 2nd half of the race started and I was gifted the class lead. Another new driver squeezed luke off, I thought that was it. An expensive bill for Luke it seemed but on the long straight there he appears in my mirror, through a heat haze and seeming to have his own soundtrack of a film where the beaten hero has one last chance. Time eeked away. I was losing ground. I had mentally given up, I'd already gone into limp home mode. Luckily wary of traffic the gap never closed in the final stages. We had to jump out the way of Priest, Thompson Going and Co who were starting their epic season battle. But there it was. A win! Victory! Luckily my camera ran out of battery, the screams and wails from the cockpit would have been cringe worthy today. I did it in front of my wife, grandma, mum, dad, brother, sister in law, nephews and in laws. It was fantastic a feeling of pure emotion. Clueless to confident. My wife knew I wasn't really 'that' happy. Luke had been taken out unintentionally. Race 2 will be clean we said!
Well what a race round 2 was. It had it all a crash, a red flag and close racing all the way to the line. I can not describe how close our battle was, if you watch the first tv show of the year we practically take up all the air time! That was half the visuals try imagining some wild lunges and door to door action. Drafting at a 100mph. The whole lap side by side at one point. It’s a shame my cameras battery didn't last but if you watch Luke's feed he will show you how close it was. Victory again and a good battle. All smiles and hand shakes and I got to meet my competitors families in the Parc ferme afterwards. What more could I ask for?
More of it please!!
Quaife Ford Fiesta Championship 2016.