Our series’ return to the Norfolk circuit saw us share the bill with the British Superkart Grand Prix and FIA/CIK European Kart Championship under the BARC – so the paddock was awash with officials and media from all over Europe. Forecasts predicted hot weather and that’s exactly what arrived, with temperatures approaching 30C for the Saturday. I’m not fond of anything beyond 25C so I assumed I would have real problems but once you’re strapped in, you tend to forget everything but the race – as it should be!
We had the largest number of drivers registered to race that the series had seen for many years and in theory expected a grid of 31 cars, including the return of two very popular drivers from previous seasons: Sean Siddall, who has moved from a 924 into a Class A “Race Spec” Boxster like mine; and Andrew Hannington, who hired a 924 for one of two “guest” appearances with us this season. I had hoped that with Sean being totally unfamiliar with the car I would stand a chance of taking a Class A scalp but he was 3.6 seconds ahead of me in the Saturday morning qualifying session – for me a significant lead – showing that there’s no substitute for experience.
Gear change issues dogged us through both Friday test and Saturday Qualifying, leading the team to change first the gear cables and later the short-shift gear selector for the standard version.
For Race 1, my great friend and mentor Rebecca Jackson was lined up with Julian Brown and newcomer Michael Goodacre in the Class B Boxsters just behind me on the grid. I was held up briefly by Nick Hull going slightly agricultural on the run up to turn 1 and Rebecca and 924 frontrunner Hen Sharpe made it past me at the first hairpin. The significant extra power of the Boxster took me back past Hen along the Bentley Straight but Julian stayed firmly on my tail, desparate to catch up and pass Rebecca. He took me on the inside at Coram and the pair stayed ahead of me for a couple of laps before Julian’s engine failed on lap 6 leaving me to attack Rebecca who I finally managed to pass on the start/finish straight on lap 7.
Full race video from my in-car VBox – click through to watch it on YouTube for best quality:
For race 2, Richard and Dan at Newbridge (my team) decided it was time for a change of approach. I was to adopt a different line in some of the corners and try to chase a particular driver in my class. Again I made a reasonable start and kept up with the pack for a little while before I started making mistakes and they pulled away – but I had created a sizeable lead ahead of the Class B and C cars and was never threatened for position. A retirement mean I grabbed an extra Championship point.
Video highlights from the second race:
Our next races will see us at Brands Hatch in Kent for a triple header and the possiblity, for the first time, of an over-subscribed round. Needless to say, I’m already booked and paid for. Hopefully the weather will have cooled a bit by then – but that’s not to say I want it to rain!