A wonderful day’s racing at Snetterton saw me take three second-in-class finishes from the three Trophy races, with an overall improvement of 3.59 seconds on my personal best on the Norfolk circuit.
To avoid an extra night away from home I booked a half day of testing and I took the car out for the first session with the aim of beating my lap record – and the rain just started as I reduced it by 2.1 seconds. The second and final session of the day was wet enough to swap the slick tyres for wets and I pushed the car harder to test some of the grip limit coaching David Hornsey had given me at Thruxton the Monday before. Sadly – as I was starting to have some fun – the car developed an exhaust issue just 7 laps in and we called it a day.
Saturday was really hectic for the Newbridge team as they were running two cars over five races. Team mate Guillaume Gruchet was defending his third-in-championship position in his 997 Cup and I was to do three races in the Trophy Series of 30-minute sprints. Despite heavy overnight rain, the track was soon dry and after the drivers briefing (I remembered it this time) I headed out for our qualifying session. Nick Holden again joined us in this Ariel Atom so with Arjo Ghosh returning in his Boxster I knew I faced a big challenge to be anywhere other than last in class 4. I finished qualifying another 1.5 seconds quicker, so things were still moving in the right direction.
The first Trophy race of the meeting saw three cars not making the finish, including Nick’s Atom which span on the exit of Williams as he accelerated onto the long Bentley straight. The rear of the car hit the Armco with sufficient force to break a weld but fortunately Nick was unhurt. Arjo therefore took the class win and was third overall so took two pots from Race 1. My finish of 2nd in class and 5th overall was the best result of the weekend.
There were two more Trophy races after lunch and bad planning on my part meant the first of these would require me going out on completely new tyres. We therefore planned for an early pitstop to check pressures. Arjo was slowing down as I was speeding up but he was still quick enough to beat me to the class win in Race 2. Sitting in the Assembly Area though, we applauded the re-appearance of Nick who had managed to not only replace the damaged suspension arms but also have his broken weld expertly repaired. He and Arjo were head-to-head in Race 3 until Arjo suffered a brake calliper issue and was forced to retire leaving Nick to take a very well deserved Class 4 win.
Completing just one of the day’s races gave me the last signature I needed to fill my upgrade card, so for next season (after an ECG test at the Autosport show in January) I will be a holder of an International ‘C’ license.
Timetable issues mean that Trophy Series has been cancelled from the Silverstone round (20th September) but as with Oulton Park a place on the Sports & Touring Car Endurance grid is on offer, meaning I get another chance to do a full 90-minute endurance race. I have also put my name down for the Britcar season closer: a 90 minute “into the night” race at Brands Hatch for which I might be driving a different car.