Anglesey Race Report: Final Round of the British Championship
Qualifying – P8
Qualifying was a very scrappy session on my behalf as I couldn’t find any space out on track meaning all of my qualifying laps were compromised hence the low starting position. This was also my first visit down to Anglesey and as the majority of testing had been in the wet it also meant I was trying to learn the circuit and its unique characteristics during qualifying in the dry which was far from ideal. Despite the disappointing start to the weekend I was confident that given a clear track we had the pace to run with the front group and I was eager to show this in Race 1.
Race 1 – P4
The opening lap of Race 1 was great for me as I worked my way up to P6 around the outside of turn 3 and soon closed back up to the leading group. At the start of lap 2 I forced the car in front into a mistake and managed to secure the position around the outside into turn 2. By this point in the race I knew I had the car underneath me to continue progressing up the order as I quickly closed up to P4 a lap later. From the previous lap I had noticed I was much better on the brakes into the International loop hairpin and knew this was my best opportunity to make a pass for P4. On the run down to the hairpin the car in front defended the inside line, this forced me to the outside as we approached the corner, I braked as late as I possibly could and held on around the outside to take the position. Over the next few laps the gap to the cars in front was decreasing and I was comfortably pulling away from the group behind but ultimately ran out of laps to make any more progress up the order.
Race 2 – P6
Race 2 took place on Sunday morning in the pouring rain, during testing I had been exceptionally quick in the wet so I was confident going into race 2 that I could make further progress up the grid and challenge for a podium. However this wasn’t the case, after a poor start to the race I had to fight back up the grid to P4 and never felt comfortable with the car for the duration of the race. Ultimately I slid back to P6 at the chequered flag and felt disappointed in how the race had panned out considering the pace I had during the wet testing on Friday.
Race 3 – P5
The reverse grid draw put me P3 on the grid for the final race of the championship. My opening lap was pretty perfect as I climbed up to P2 at the International loop hairpin and set about catching the leader. The gap was slightly decreasing with every lap until I began to battle with the cars behind, this meant i couldn’t focus on catching the leader and had to start defending my 2nd position, I dropped to P3 on the run up to turn 4 and a lap later made a slight error into turn 2 which allowed the 2 cars behind to pass me down the inside as I slid wide. This ultimately cost me a podium in the final race of the year which was disappointing but i was still relatively happy with a 5th place finish.
Massive thanks to everyone at Cliff Dempsey Racing for their hard work all weekend and all Year! Their hard work and help allowed me to finish 4th overall in the Championship which had exceeded my expectations considering the lack of experience i have compared to the majority of the grid.
Up next is the Formula Ford Festival at the end of October.
|Brands Hatch Race Report: Champion of Brands
Friday Practice was tricky to say the least as I had an engine failure in my car which forced us to swap to the teams spare car. Luckily however this didn’t slow us down and thanks to some speedy work over the lunch break by the team I didn’t miss any track time either.
Qualifying – P3
Qualifying was over before it really started, I managed to do 4 flying laps before the gear link failed leaving me stuck in 4th gear. This meant I had to park in pit lane for the remainder of the session and missed out on any opportunity to improve my time. Luckily however my times in the early part of the session meant I still lined up P3 on the grid only 0.05 off of Pole position.
Race 1 – P1
My start was almost perfect as I made a pass on Luke Cooper into turn 1 to climb to 2nd place. I spent the next few laps sitting in behind the race leader as we pulled away from the chasing pack, this allowed me to focus on attacking instead of also checking my mirrors. I made my move into turn 1 forcing Jordan Dempsey, the race leader, to go defensive before cutting to the inside going down Paddock and completing the move on the brakes into Druids. The remainder off the race was all about consistency as I slowly pulled away from the cars behind, unfortunately catching back markers allowed everyone to close the gap in the closing laps but never close enough to force me to go defensive. I crossed the line around half a second ahead of the cars behind to claim my first ever win at Brands Hatch!
Massive thanks to everyone at Cliff Dempsey Racing for their hard work all weekend! Delighted I could bring home a win for them.
|Silverstone Race Report: British Championship Round 7
Qualifying – P3
Qualifying was a great session for me as I managed to find a clear bit of track in the beginning of the session which allowed me to settle into a rhythm and post some quick laps. Around half way through the session I dropped back into a queue of cars to try and benefit from a tow, this proved crucial as I found time thanks to the huge advantage of following a car down the straight. I ended the session P3, although I did set the exact same lap time as P2 but due to him doing it a lap earlier than me I had to start from 3rd. This was a fantastic result as it meant I was right in the mix to fight for the win.
Race 1 – P6
The opening lap of the race was perfect as the 3 of us pulled a gap at the front, however going into turn 1 on lap 2 I was forced to go to the outside and hit cement dust that had been laid down to cover oil from the previous race, Unfortunately this cost me valuable time as I slid wide and dropped back to 8th place. The remainder of the race was spent trying to move forward, I pulled of some great overtakes to move up the field before being driven off the road by another competitor which not only cost me 3 positions and valuable time to the front group of cars. I recovered to finish 6th in the end which given the circumstances wasn’t a bad result but it was still frustrating as a top 3 would have been easily possible.
Race 2 – P6
Race 2 started well as I worked my way up through the field to 4th place. However with a head wind coming down the back straight the slipstream effect was worth more than normal and it meant we were swapping positions practically every lap. In the end I crossed the line in P6 and was relatively happy considering the amount of position swaps that had happened in the race, it also meant I was in the hunt for the reverse grid race which could prove crucial.
Race 3 – P9
The reverse grid draw put me on P3 for the start and by the end of lap 1 I had managed two great overtakes to get into the lead, I held the lead for the first 5 laps followed by the entire field of 36 cars until the huge slipstream effect on the straight allowed the car behind (championship leader Luke Williams) to get passed on the run into turn 1, as we exited the corner we touched as I tried to cut back to get the inside line for the run to turn 2 but in doing so caught the nose of my car under the gearbox of the leading car, this ripped it off and left me a sitting duck on the straights due to the lack of aerodynamics without my nose cone, I battled as hard as I could but ultimately slipped down to 9th at the flag.
Castle Combe Race Report: British Championship Round 6
Qualifying – P8
Qualifying was a tricky session as I never managed to put together a good lap due to traffic and some small mistakes which on this short track cost me valuable track position which proved to be crucial for the races. To end the session in P8 was hard to take as during testing on Friday I put in the fastest lap of the day so expectations were high.
Race 1 – P7
A great initial start saw me gain 1 place of the line on the run up to turn 1. From then on the racing was essentially over because of a red flag 3 laps later and a shortened restart meant I could not progress further up the order. The racing was extremely close as the leading group ran in a line from start to finish, I was on the back of this queue but found it impossible to go forward as the tow wasn’t worth anything down the straights and it was easy to cover and lunges into turn 1 which was the only overtaking opportunity.
Race 2 – P8
Race 2 started very poorly as I was boxed in due to the cars in front not reacting to the lights, this meant i had to back out the throttle and allowed the cars behind to swamp past me into turn 1. I dropped to 10th but recovered back to 8th before the first lap was complete. When running in clear air closing the gap to the group in front I set the fastest lap of the race which showed the pace I had. Unfortunately the race was stopped after lap 3 due to another accident and it was never restarted. This meant I finished the race P8 which was very hard to take considering the pace I had in the race and the speed at which I caught the leading group.
Due to the stoppages in races 1 and 2 the organisers cancelled race 3. The race will be run at Silverstone next month instead.
Overall Round 6 was another frustrating race weekend due to things out with my control.
Next stop Silverstone
|Donington Park Race Report: British Championship Round 5
Qualifying – P5
Qualifying was a busy session to say the least with everyone was fighting for track position at the beginning of the session as a tow would prove to be crucial to getting a fast lap. To end the session in P5 after setting my quickest time with no tow was a good result as it meant I was in the mix with the leading group for Race 1.
Race 1 – P7
A great initial start saw me hold my position on the run to turn 1, however I got boxed in on the apex which allowed the car on my outside to get passed on the exit. The opening laps where chaos as everyone was running in a line not prepared to give an inch. On lap 2 the car behind ran into me at the hairpin which pushed me almost into a spin and subsequently lost me a position. The remainder of the race was littered with ‘Code 60’ which meant it was impossible for me to really mount any kind of attack and progress back the the front. To end P7 at least kept me in the hunt heading into Race 2 as I knew both the car and I were easily quick enough to progress back to the front.
Race 2 – P4
Race 2 started very poorly as my initial get away was slow, this allowed the other cars to swamp passed me and I dropped to P14 by turn 1. From then on I got my head down and carved my way through the slower cars in front in the first few laps. Again the race was briefly interupted with ‘Code 60’s’ this halted my progress through the field for a few laps, a podium may have been possible without this Code 60 as on the last lap I had managed to catch the leading group and was about to make my move to take P3 when the chequered flag was put out and I had to settle for P4. Overall this race was satisfying as I showed my true pace when I made my way through the field, also managing to overtake 10 cars in the 5 racing laps we had was also very enjoyable.
Race 3 – P5
The reverse grid for race 3 meant I started from P5, My start was better for this race as i held my position into turn 1. From this moment onwards the race was chaos, I made my move around the outside into turn 1 on lap 2 to move into P4 and set about catching the leaders. Unfortunately another ‘Code 60’ was needed to clear a stranded car, during a ‘Code 60’ you have to maintain the gap to the car in front, however the drivers behind me closed up by around 3 seconds which meant on the restart all my hard work in the previous laps to get away was undone. This ultimately cost me a chance of a podium as i now had to defend instead of attack. I dropped to P5 at the hairpin due to damage i had picked up on lap 1 was costing me huge amounts of time in the slow corners. To cross the line in P5 was a little frustrating as i felt i should have been challenging for a podium had it not been for the other drivers closing up under ‘Code 60’.
Overall round 5 was a solid weekend, The points I picked up in all 3 races keeps me P3 in the overall championship which was the main aim going into the weekend.
Kirkistown Race Report: British Championship Round 4
Qualifying – P4
Qualifying was a manic session as everyone was fighting for track position at the beginning of the session. To end the session in P4 with 3 consecutive laps good enough for this position, this was a great start to the weekend. Qualifying P4 also meant I was the first non local driver on the grid which was a great achievement as it meant I was starting ahead of most of my championship rivals.
Race 1 – P4
A great start saw me move up to P3 by the hairpin on the opening lap and I was running right with the leaders, pressuring the 2nd placed driver into a mistake I managed to get passed on the run to the chicane, holding P2 for a lap as we battled at every corner, unfortunately with us battling so much it allowed the chasing pack to catch up. This meant there was a line of cars all fighting for the same piece of road and the race soon turned into a slipstreaming battle, swapping positions every lap, falling to 4th I then climbed back up to 3rd before falling back to 4th in the closing laps. Overall P4 in my first race at Kirkistown was a great result and this ensured a great starting position for race 2.
Race 2 – P1
Race 2 started perfectly as I climbed to P2 on the opening lap. This race was similar to race 1 as the whole pack was running in a line as the slipstream was stopping anyone from pulling away at the front. Running in 2nd for most of the race meant I was constantly having to attack and defend at every corner. This was very challenging but in the closing laps I managed to pull a small gap to the cars behind and mount a serious attack on the race leader, this pressured him into a mistake at the chicane a few laps from the finish allowing me to dive passed and claim my first win of the year in the British Championship!
Race 3 – P9
The reverse grid for race 3 meant I started from P7, managing to get another good start I held my position before chaos ensued ahead. I had to run wide into turn 1 to avoid a spining car which dropped me off the back of the leading pack. However I had the speed to quickly close that gap before the safety car came out to help clear the track. On the restart I made a move for P6, due to this I ran deep into the hairpin and clipped the back of a car, this damaged the nose and meant I was very slow on the straights. To make matters worse I picked up suspension damage (broken roll bar) on the opening lap which was hurting me badly in the corners, these 2 problems meant I had to settle for P9 as it was impossible for me to make progress to the front of the pack.
Overall round 4 was a very enjoyable weekend, The pace I had both in testing and in the races showed the progress I have made this year and to pick up my first win in the series was the icing on the cake. A huge thank you to all my sponsors, supporters and of course my team for all their hard work and support so far this year! Hopefully the next win isn’t to far away.
|Knockhill Race Report: British Championship Round 3
Qualifying – P4
Qualifying was an up and down session due to oil out on track. For the majority of the session i was P3, then when there was oil dropped on track i headed for the pits in order to look after the car and the tyres until the track was back at its best. Unfortunately when i rejoined the track with 5 minutes to go in the session i was stuck in traffic therefore could not improve my lap times and fell to 4th place at the very end. This was still a great position to mount an attack from in race 1.
Race 1 – P3
I had a great start moving up to P3 by the hairpin and was running right with the leaders in the early laps. Then the safety car was called out due to accidents in the early laps when the track was damp. I got a great restart and was challenging for P2 for the next few laps, unfortunately i got held up massively by the car in front into turn one which cost me momentum and a position by turn 2. The 3 way battle for P2 got very close at the hairpin and i managed to squeeze through into P3 with a few laps to go. I then challenged for P2 over the last few laps but was unable to find a way passed and had to settle for P3.
Race 2 – P4
Race 2 was a battle from start to finish. I felt very conformable in the car and was easily faster than the car in front, i was attacking at every corner trying to force a mistake until we caught back markers. This ultimately cost me the race when i was forced off the road trying to overtake a slower car and cost me a position. I tried everything i could to get back passed but came just short of P3 across the line. Despite not finishing on the podium i felt that it had been a great race as i showed excellent speed and where unlucky not to have been P2 to say the least.
Race 3 – P2
Race 3 was hectic in the opening lap as i climbed to P2 round the outside in turn 1, however when i got to turn 2 i got hit in the rear and sustained damage to the suspension and body work on my car. The safety car was then called out again as the cars involved in the accident where removed from the track. This bunched to whole field up and when we restarted i had to attack and defend. Every time i got alongside the leading car i was pushed onto the grass on the straights, due to this i dropped to P4 into turn 1. On the next lap the 2 cars in front ran wide and i managed to get passed and up into P2. From this moment on i was catching the leader by a substantial margin each lap and pulling away from the cars behind despite the damage from the opening lap but ultimately ran out of laps to close up enough to possibly overtake.
Overall round 3 was a great weekend, i had great pace all weekend and managed to stay out of trouble when it mattered most. A huge thank you to all my sponsors and to the team for their hard work and continued support! These results have launched me up the championship standings and i already can’t wait for Kirkistown in 3 weeks time.
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