June 7, 2005

Super Graduates 2005 Round 5 - Silverstone

Less than a week after the double header at Snetterton we were out again, this time on the Silverstone National circuit. Due to the impending F1 race there was no testing on the Friday and we had to make do with grabbing a test session over the last couple of months (and for a handful of people, a non-Graduates race too!).

Whilst not the most exciting circuit in the world, it does have a fun feel to it and the long sweeping corners stick in the memory. Unfortunatley Roger Ford wasn't able to make the race as it wasn't possible to repair his car in time following the accident at Snetterton.

I wasn't very hopeful for qualifying as my times here in testing a few weeks ago had only been reasonable, being over a second outside the lap record (on the old and slower tyres). As we set out for our 15 minutes, rain started to fall and I put my foot down straight away hoping that I could get a coupld of half decent times before the rain descended. In the end that didn't happen and my lap times continued to fall; I took 2 seconds off my best time from testing to do a 1:09.502. It was quite difficult to get clear laps and I was praying that I would get round for one more but the chequered flag put a stop to that. Back in the paddock it appeared that my time was pretty good but I had never expected to end up in 5th! Normally I'm surprised at being lower than I had expected but this time it was definitely the other way round. Chris Rome was right up there in 7th, just one tenth behind, Keith Chanter in 8th. Jamie Bashall and James Sykes were further back on the grid, having not driven the circuit before. Jamie Ellwood was on pole with 1:08.998, Paul Manyweathers alongside him and Matthew Gillbanks and Rory Young making up the second row. MST have the grid and full details of qualifying.

I was much more nervous than usual as the red lights came on - it's a new experience being able to see the front of the grid. As the lights went out my start wasn't too bad at all and I was gaining on Rory. All the leaders move to the inside to defend their positions and I take a no-mans line round Copse, droppping back. I fear the worst but manage to keep the group in sight and by Brooklands, am gaining a little. Paul goes in a little too fast and spins out so I'm up to 4th by the end of lap 1. I drop back a little as we go into lap 2 and Rory moves up into second through Maggots. I get a good run down the straight but am too far from Matt to get the inside into Brooklands. As we go into Luffield I'm quite a bit faster and get through the inside on the exit (it looks like Matt is in 2nd whereas I'm in 3rd and don't have the shift to make). Up to 3rd place now but Matt is looming large in my mirrors and I'm almost a second behind Rory. There are waved yellow flags at Copse as Dan Whiley, Simon Powell and Ben Sturges have come together. I ease off, perhaps a little too much judging from the distance that those in front of me pull out. Matt has an easy run past me on the straight and I'm back down to 4th. Again I'm faster through Luffield but I don't have enough pace to take the place back. As we go into Copse again the yellows are still waving and Andy Molsom has to back off.

On lap 4, Edward Benson comes off at Brooklands and buries his car in the gravel, ending his race.

I start concentrating far too much on things behind me and Andy gets past at the end of the Club straight. Onto lap 5 and Jamie Bashall is already up to 14th from 23rd on the grid. Chris is in 8th with Keith now behind me in 6th. He's all over me down the Club straight but I just manage to keep in front. Yellow flags are waving again at Copse and there is something slippery on the exit which causes a rather butt-clenching moment. I can't keep Keith back down the straight this time and he goes past on the outside although I stay close through Luffield and get a tow down the start/finish straight but I'm on the outside and have to back off - down to 6th. Briefly I'm in 7th as Sean Southwood d comes past me on the inside into Brooklands but he doesn't get far enough ahead and I have the inside line through Luffield and take the place back. It only delays the inevtiable though as he goes past down the straight on the outside into lap 8. Jamie is still in the lead with Rory in second and Matt in third. Andy is in fourth with Keith chasing. Chris is still in 8th and Jamie is now in 14th. As we head towards Maggotts and Becketts, Paul Manyweathers arrives back on the scene having driven back through the field from 19th. He gets a cleaar car in front and makes sure of the place. Into Luffield my extra pace gets me into a bit of trouble as I don't back off quite enough and tap Sean from behind [apologies again Sean]. When Toby Briant comes past me on lap 9 (down to 9th) I resolve to concentrate harder on the cars I'm chasing rather than those behind me. I don't have a lot of chance to put that into practice as Sean and Toby come together at Brooklands on lap 10 and Toby loses a wing which neatly jams under my car. The shock allows James Weedon and Andrew Ennis through and I've now got Chris right behind me. It's now Jamie, Rory and Andy at the front, Keith in 6th and Jamie Bashall in 13th.

My intial worry is cooling with the wing blocking some of the radiator but the temperatures look ok. However, I am being robbed of speed everywhere and my grip is badly affected round right hand corners. Chris comes through into Copse on lap 11 and I'm down to 12th. Jamie comes past me on the Club straight on lap 12 but I don't give in too easily and take the place back into Brooklands, also lapping Nigel Richards out of Luffield. I get it badly, badly sideways into Copse on lap 13 (remember that excuse about grip?) and only just manage to hold on - but at last I lose the wing!

At the end of lap 16, Paul has retaken the lead with Rory in 2nd and Jamie in 3rd. Keith is in 5th, Jamie in 9th (up from 23rd on the grid remember) and James Sykes in 19th from 26th on the grid. I'm in 14th and unable to catch the pack in front of me. Going into Brooklands on the last lap, Keith is lying in 6th but sees a gap on the inside which he goes for and gets up into the group lead (i.e. 2nd in the race). An unfortunate clip with Paul on the exit means a trip onto the grass but he rejoins, just keeping ahead of Paul and Rory and finishing second, behind Matt who takes his first win and ahead of Paul in third. Two podiums in a row for Keith! Jamie Bashall finishes 9th, Chris 12th and James Sykes 19th.

Again, the video is large at around 75Mb. Please, please use a download manager such as GetRight as every failed download counts towards my bandwith limit.

Silverstone Round 5 - June 4th 2005 (> 75Mb Windows Media File)

It's great to see Jamie take the best best improver award for making up 14 places from his qualifying position and James Sykes the 3rd best improver in class for his 7 places. [I forgot to mention that I won 2nd best improver at Snett race 1 too!]

MST have the full results.

Next race is a single event at Donnington on 31st July.

Posted by charles at 11:37 AM | Comments (1)

chris s said:

Do you actually take a pen and notepad around with you? How do you remember that much detail, not just your race but everyone else's?

Great report Charles, and a good result too.