March 31, 2005

Super Graduates 2005 Round 1 - Thruxton

Sorry for the lack of updates, but it all starts again here. I had actually done a pre-season track day at Rockingham (we race there later in the season) but this was the first time out for real, and at a circuit that I'd never driven in the Caterham. The one test day available prior to our race was fully booked before I'd even decided to go with Super Graduates!! Roger Ford and I had done an Elise Experience here a couple of weeks ago but 13 laps in an Elise does little more than teach you which way the circuit goes.

Make no mistake, Thruxton is a fast circuit. From the start, flat through Allard, brake for Campbell and then accelerate through Cobb and Segrave. Then flat through Noble, Goodwood, Village, Church and down the hill to the Club chicane. Get the idea?? It's fast :-). I took the first 3 laps fairly easily, getting used to the circuit in the Caterham and then gradually put on speed. I was pleased to see a 1:32.08 on my lap timer and looked forward to the qualifying sheets. When they came, I was pretty shocked to be down in 19th, and even more shocked to have a time of 1:33.409. After some frantic checking of the lap timer and chats with Chris, Roger and others about their times, I noticed the fact that MST were saying my transponder wasn't working. Boll*cks. A 1:32.08 would have put me in 12th so I wasn't too happy, but the bottom line is that it's my responsibility to check the transponder. Thanks to Graham Ford for helping me quickly rewire the dodgy earth lead and getting it working again.....

Chris was in 10th with a 1:31.192, Keith Chanter in 5th (great result) 1:30.372, James Sykes in 20th with a 1:34.177 and Roger in 25th, and extremely disappointed, with 1:36.926. The full times can be found here with the grid here - courtesy of MST as always. Jamie Ellwood was on pole with 1:28.861, Rory Young in 2nd with 1:29.096 and Toby Briant in 3rd with 1:29.585.

On to the race. Lights go red, go out, and we're all off again. Unfortunatley it's a three abreast grid which always makes it more difficult to make up places. I make up a couple of places, but before the end of lap 1, Roger has made it through the field from 25th to overtake me! Here's a video of his first lap (video courtesy of Roger Ford).

Thruxton - Roger lap 1 (18Mb (!) MPEG)

From my point of view, there isn't much to write about the race. After a few laps I've got no-one in front of me and so no slip streaming opportunities, so the race is pretty much a drive to the finish. I do manage to lose a front wing when I get Church totally wrong and run wide....

Thruxton - losing a front wing (1.5Mb Windows Media File)

It was obvious throughout the race that our tyres were going off a bit. Chris managed to demonstrate the effect of this through Church (video courtesy of Chris Rome).

Thruxton - Chris round Church (1.5Mb Windows Media File)

So, in the end I cross the line in 18th, very disappointed and not really having enjoyed the race. Keith Chanter finishes 7th, Chris 10th, Jamie Bashall 11th and Roger 15th (great from his starting position). Roger also managed to pick up Best Improver for the number of places between qualifying and the race which cheers things up a bit. Rory Young took the 40 points with just 2 tenths over Jamie Ellwood in second and Toby Briant in 3rd.

Results are here and the full PDF booklet here.

Positive attitude needed now, and I'm looking forwards to Cadwell.

Posted by charles at 7:28 PM