It’s not often that you get to do something that is brand new. So, to be able to combine multiple things together this past weekend at Castle Combe was a little bit of a dream come true. New track, new car, new starting procedure, new competition and new team.
Not everything was new. I still felt the same nervous excitement, I still remembered how to turn left and right and I had an absolute blast racing in this new environment.
I qualified 18th (out of 24 total runners) in C class car, which is a car manufactured before 1990. Class B and class A cars dominated the grid but there were 4 cars in class and I qualified 3rd. On the positive side, not last. In the mind of a race driver, second to last in class. Nice thing was there were class A and B cars behind me. It’s fair to say that having a practice day at Castle Combe the Thursday before was super helpful.
Race 1 had another new experience; a standing start. Thinking back to traffic light experiences in my Ford Fiesta from my youth I channeled my inner boy racer and focused on a good start. In the end, it was OK. Rev to 4,000 to 5,000 rpm, release the clutch and watch the competition. In many respects it was easier than a rolling start as you can all see the starting lights. On lap 1 I managed to get past my team mate Steve and get up to 2nd in class, result. This didn’t last too long but I managed to bring the car home in 3rd.
Race 2 was a different experience. The start was the same, I actually managed to squeeze up the inside of the first corner and gain a place or two, however, a line of oil from the 1st corner (Quarry) all of the way to Tower (2/3 of the way around the track) meant that the track was slippery. It caught out a couple of drivers in the chicane (The Esses) and I lost a place avoiding the issue. A full course yellow put me solidly in 3rd place again but worries over engine cooling saw me retire a few laps from the end.
All in all it was a fantastic weekend. The team I’m running with are wonderful (Wayne Poole Racing) and the team dynamic is friendly, kind and competitive also. Something that makes the racing experience really special. Next race is in a week or so and I can’t wait.