It’s amazing as I write this that it’s under two weeks ago since this happened but it feels like such a long time ago.
What is “it” you talk of you might be wondering? Well, I rolled in the Formula Ford a few times in qualifying for race 4 a week or so ago at Castle Combe.
It was an interesting situation. The session was red flagged earlier and we all needed two fast laps as they set the grids for races 4 and 5. I’d popped in a 1:15.3 and, yet again, I was stuck in the lap times I desperately need to get out of. Ahead of me was the fastest driver in C class going a little slower and I’d hoped he was cooling his tyres for another run. ‘Perfect’ I thought, I’ll follow him and if he is about to go for another run I’ll follow as close as I can to learn from him.
As we came through Tower I was ready to setup for a run through the Bobbies chicane and lay down another lap. I constantly look in my mirrors and hadn’t seen anyone behind as we came through Tower. As Bobbies is so narrow (not wide enough for two cars) I didn’t glance again in my mirrors, instead focussed ahead and looked to my next lap turning down to the racing line for the corner.
It all happened quickly. Another driver was on a flyer and was committed to the corner. He couldn’t stop in time and his left front got on the inside of my right rear. As I drove over his tyre I had steering input in and it flipped the car and I rolled a couple of times landing upside down.
It’s was frightening at a couple of moments but the main hoop protected me and the straps held me tight. In the end I bruised my foot and leg but was cleared by the track doctor to race that afternoon. The car, however, wasn’t in such a good place and wasn’t cleared by Wayne to race in the afternoon.
I talked to the other driver and we called it a racing incident. His lap was already compromised and perhaps shouldn’t have gone for a pass in Bobbies. I should have glanced again in my mirror but I’m still wondering where I could have gone in such a narrow turn to let him through. Either way, a massive learning experience for me.
In a closed wheel car this would have been a bump and likely carry on situation but wheels inside wheels on open wheel cars is a different story.
The track Marshalls and Medical Staff were superb. I am so grateful to them all for their kindness and responsiveness. You often don’t appreciate them when you race but if you do have to visit them, they are fantastic.
Wayne has fixed up the car and we’ll be out again at Oulton Park in a week or so.