So we made it!
The car is repaired and back in one piece after crashing out in a racing incident during the opening round of the season last month.
We like Rockingham speedway nr Corby a lot! It's a compact 2 mile race track incorporated into the oval speedway, which needs a well setup car and a brave driver to get the best out of it.
After a couple of years based in the outer paddock we have the benefit of pit garages and are right in the centre of the action.
Also this round marks the introduction of the Toyo R888R, replacing the R888 as the standard tyre for the championship.
As expected pretty much all the other drivers have bought new rubber and tested to understand any difference. Comments range from little difference to transformational. For now we will stick to the original spec tyres.
A last minute gap in the timetable afforded us and early shakedown test ensuring the car felt fine after its recent re-assembly. After a quick pit stop for tyre pressures we got a few quick laps in going 2 seconds faster than ever before.
We were last to the assembly area for Qualifying so decided to sit in the pits for a minute and go out alone on the empty half of the circuit. I immediately went as fast a in practice and managed to improve a little right at the end of the session too, qualifying an impressive 5th place.
Race 1 - Saturday PM
I got a poor start and dropped 5 places off the grid, but managed to salvage one or two round the first corner. It took a few laps too long to size up and pick off the next couple of cars. Being right on someone tail is sometimes harder as you normalise to their braking and acceleration points. With a DNF from front runners I finished a fantastic 5th place.
Race 2 - Saturday PM
The final race of the day came round fast, with little time to clean brakes and tyres and consider adjustments. I went very slightly stiffer on suspension and kept everything else the same.
We were kept waiting the assembly area for what feel like ages, as a Fiesta Junior was recovered from an impact with the unforgiving concrete pit wall.
A better start this time, but still lost a couple of places. I again closed quickly on the cars in front. One went wide under pressure allowing me to skip past, the other required a more forceful pass. I was able match the cars ahead for pace, but wasn't able to close the gap. As the race concluded I seemed to catch slower cars to be lapped in all the wrong places. (Round the outside of turn one banking on the marbles was tricky to say the least) holding on for another 5th place.
Race 3 - Sunday AM
The the traditional reverse grid and and I struggled with over heating tyres, never quite feeling as confident as the day before. I followed a road-train of cars battling for lower positions until the inevitable spin occurred. With the mantra. Of "No Damage" I was overly cautious in avoiding them and found myself dead last of the Boxsters. We finished a credible 8th with passes, spinners and DNF's.
A great result over the weekend, not only one without any damage, but where we finished as high as realistically possible and showed it does not take take two sets of new tyres and days of testing to be competitive,.