We always love going to brands! It's the circuit I know the most, we love it's setup and the kids love the park, the two eating venues which always do good food, Bluewater shopping centre not far away. It was a different weekend this time going up on the Friday, qualifying and one race Saturday, followed by two races Sunday.
It was a pretty toasty Saturday, wow it was hot. It was pretty grippy track, or I was pushing the car harder more like a go-kart (which I've been getting into for the fitness and practice). I set one of my fastest times of the weekend. But I was feeling rubbing on the left side, and that really bothered me. It also felt a bit unstable at the rear, and those things combined brought me back to the pits, because after a tank slapper coming out of clear ways (nearly hitting a car stationary on the finish line!) I was convinced I'd had a blowout.
Funny enough, so had he. There'd been some coolant dropped on track which he hit and thought he'd had a puncture too, so parked it. A marshal checked the car and couldn't see anything wrong but I was so spooked and I'd set the minimum laps, so was done. I'd changed the front wing so thought this was catching. I raised the front up slightly, and went for race 1.
Race 1 I got a great start, taking Ken Briddon and Howard Gaines, but probably took it too cautiously and lost 1 at Druids. I half tried to get it back at the next corner but knew Ken would be a faster driver anyway. I had a good scrap with Howard for a lap but I'd seem to have forgotten how to do clearway, went too slow and he took me on the inside. From there he stretched his lead, I did reign him back in slightly once I'd hit a good rhythm hitting consistent 1:01s, but he was gone. It was a bit of a lonely race but I was pleased with my consistency. The last time doing indy I'd only managed a 1:01 twice in a race. Now I was hitting them consistently when I was up to speed.
Race 2 I'd made some small setup changes to sure up the rear some more. It was overcast in the morning nowhere near as hot as Saturday. Again I made a goods start and again, I was too cautious and lost the places gained. But this time Gaines (who had re-passed me - again) was stuck behind a struggling Mark Hegarty. Turned out he had a handling problem, but wow it made my weekend.... I was on his bumper for lap after lap and it was fantastic. The best experience racing laps of my life!Race 2 Onboard Video
He was clearly struggling and holding me up, so after a good run out of Graham Hill I aborted a pass at the following corner. But a lap later I had a good run out of Paddock and went for its at my favourite passing place - (a harpin as usual) at Druids. To say I was over the moon is an understatement! It was mega! He decided sadly his car had more pace so passed me back at Paddock but it was great racing. We has a quick chat in Parc Ferme and we were both complimentary about the racing and giving each other room. Exactly how it should be.
Race 3 I was boxed in behind Senna Osman after another good start, so couldn't capitalise. But I got on to the pace much quicker than usual, and it showed as I kept the guys in front in reach for much longer. But they were getting really punchy with each other which slowed them down, which was great for me! Again, clearway was my Achilles heel though, and eventually they stretched away.
It was a good weekend in summary, some good points, a bit of progression, all going forward. Managed to stay on the track the whole weekend too! What is annoying me (as usual) is the lack of time for this project. I love it to bits but it's almost not worth doing if it can't b e done properly. Took the suspension off as it's not been serviced for 5 plus years and I'll get it to Gaz. I had a shock when I took off the rear struts....
But... it is what it is. 3 kids, a busy job, side projects and side work don't leave much time for something that needs a lot of attention. I love this racing to bits so will carry on like this if I have to, though I have some thinking to do. But for now, it's a look forward to Brands Hatch GP in October. Oulton Park is this weekend but we'll have to take it as our dropped rounds, as we can't justify the cost unfortunately. Maybe when the youtube channel is generating lots of subscribers and sponsorship, I can dream!