1st race weekend, 1st practice day (1st Black Flag - it was very greasy early on!), 1st qualifying - I was starting race 1 from 9th on the grid. I was well chuffed with this, a top 10 placing on my first outing (out of 24 cars qualifying for the race.).
Race 1 went well....10 laps in total on a damp track, started in 9th.....finished 3rd! I had some great battles with the Mini Cooper Challenge racers and the Mazda MX5s. Absolutely over-the-moon with that result!
I was a bit worried I had set the bar slightly too high for race 2 with that performance, and lining up in 8th position on the grid ready for the start of the second race I was praying for a good start! It came, and I was quickly up to 6th by turn 2. Had a bit of moment exiting the banking as I ran wide, putting all 4 wheels on the grass - boll*cks! - back down to 7th. But, by the time we reached the tight 2nd gear left-hander at Rocket 1 the race was red-flagged because of a coming together behind me between the XR3i of Terry Kellaher and the Mazda MX5 of Tom Roche on the inside of the very fast Church corner. The race was restarted and I was at it again - straight into 6th after turn 1, brake hard for the Banking next and i'm being squeezed out wide. This, somehow, gives me a slight opening to go round the outside of the 5th placed Mazda MX5 of Jonathan Blake and I manage to make it stick - looking good, feeling better! In front of me is Peter Cruickshank (ST), Sarah Parsons (Mini), Stuart Brine (Mini) and Yaser Almaghrbi (Clio Cup 172). Into the Flat-out Church corner again and there's a coming together between Peter and Sarah, causing Stuart and Yaser to brake hard to avoid being caught up in it. I seize the moment and jink to the right, missing all of them and suddenly I'm leading! Concentrate now, Fletch, I'm constantly telling myself! 2 laps of leading and as I pass the pitwall I notice Iain Cowie getting all animated and banging his fists on the pitwall. 'How strange' I think to myself, but I'm gonna carry on regardless as I'm at the head of the field. The next lap I put in a stormer - everything felt great, all the corners flowed, as as I came past the pitwall this time, there was Iain Cowie, Peters girlfriend, Mags, John Sheridans girlfriend, Carol, Alan and Cameron jumping and waving - I look towards the end of the pitwall and the chequered flag is out! I've won! I've fu*kin' won it! I don't believe it! To say I was happy was a bit of an understatement.........! I knew that last lap felt good - it got me the fastest lap of the race! I got a nice silver plate for my race efforts and I also got awarded the 'Driver of the Day' trophy too!
1st race: 9th start - finished 3rd. 2nd race: 8th start - finished 1st. Race 2: Fastest lap 1:29.382 62.42mph/100.46kph Driver Of The Day
It's safe to say I've got the bug for it now......
In fact, I was so nervous on Saturday morning, having never been on track with 24 other screaming cars, I was seriously considering knocking the whole thing on the head and going home. I had a heart-to-heart with Iain and Peter Cruickshank (and words with Stuart Wilson & John Sheridan, to whom I am very grateful) and I decided it would be a real shame if I didn't give it at least one go in a practice session.
Top work that man!!! EXCELLENT results for your first ever race meeting - a 3rd and a race win!!!
My ST must like Anglesey since that two wins and 4 podiums out of four!
Shame about Peter in race 2 - I spoke to Iain (Cowie) today though and it's not as bad as it looks...the AST suspension isn't cheap though - my guesstimate for the front corner suspension will be around £400 notes - ouch!
All you need to do now is build your own ST for 2008...!