Thursday, 4 July 2019

Round Four - Snetterton 300 - 2019 Caterham 270R Championship

Round Four of the 2019 Motul Caterham 270R Championship
Was held at Snetterton Circuit near Norwich, Norfolk...  I'm still the current lap record holder of this track in the Caterham Academy, and although I consider this not to be a technical track, and as such not one of my favourites, I seem to usually have good pace here, and as such was feeling confident for the weekend.

Thursday testing went well, tried a few different setups, harder, softer, higher, lower and ended up settling on my 'baseline' as the car felt good as it was, and at least I'd tried the other setups to know they definitely didn't work!  

Thursday night is usually beers with the lads night, and we did just that.

Friday morning, the weather was dry, sun shining and I was in a great mood, looking forward to the day of testing... Until....... I managed to drop my Caterham onto my left index finger (the finger was on top of the axle stand) and crushed the finger!

I went straight to the circuit medical centre and Sam from Caterham took me to the A&E of Norwich and Norfolk hospital.  The finger got x-rayed, and it was confirmed I'd badly broken the intermediary phalange of my left index finger.
Broken Intermediary Phalange of my left index finger after dropping my Caterham onto the finger
Broken Intermediary Phalange of my left index finger after dropping my Caterham onto the finger
The doctors wanted to operate on the day, but that would've left me possibly in a cast / structure that I couldn't race with, so in true 'racing driver' fashion, I delayed the operation so I could at least try to race!

Qualifying
A couple of friends I know suggested to move the steering wheel further towards me, so I wouldn't stub my broken finger on the dash.  This was a great idea, but not my ideal driving position!  I fully strapped y finger up for qualifying, but it wouldn't fit in the glove, so I had to remove most of the strapping, and brave it!
Daniel French qualifying P8 with a broken finger for race one of the 2019 Caterham 270R Race at Snetterton
Daniel French qualifying P8 with a broken finger for race one of the 2019 Caterham 270R Race at Snetterton
Every gear change hurt, and particularly the slower hairpin corners hurt very much too, but I managed to slightly adjust my gear shifts and also how I rolled the car into the corners, and managed to qualify P8 on the grid, which all things considered was very good!

Race One
Lining up on the grid in P8 felt a touch 'unusual' as this was my worst qualifying grid position since I started racing Caterhams...

I got a reasonable start, and tried to make my way up the field... Miraculously by the end of lap one I was nearly in the lead!  The full onboard race video is below:-

Unbelievably, I only went and won the race!  The narrowest win of my 'racing career' - by only 0.006 of a second.  James Murphy and Matt Sheppard both raced really well, but this is by far my greatest victory of all time. 

Here is a link to the official Caterham Hayfisher Media TV Coverage:-

I will never forget the feeling of pure unfiltered joy, having achieved what was considered by many; impossible.  It just goes to show if you put your mind to it, almost anything is possible with the right attitude and desire.
Daniel French in Parc Ferme at Snetterton 300 Circuit in the first Caterham 270R race of the weekend finished - P1
Daniel French in Parc Ferme at Snetterton 300 Circuit in the first Caterham 270R race of the weekend finished - P1
The podium pic:-
l-r James Murphy (P2), ME and my finger (P1), Matt Sheppard (P3)
l-r James Murphy (P2), ME and my finger (P1), Matt Sheppard (P3)
The top eight drivers making fun of my fortune and misfortune!
Top eight drivers giving the one fingered salute!  Great cameraderie fellas!
Top eight drivers giving the one fingered salute!  Great cameraderie fellas!
After race one finished there was a paddock party (provided by Caterham), which was really good... Great evening, warm weather, having just won the race, a few beers, food and banter - brilliant stuff.

Race Two
The finishing position of race one decides your race two grid position, so I was on pole position with James Murphy P2.
Daniel French leading the pack round Corum corner at Snetterton Circuit in race two of the 2019 Caterham 270r championship.
Daniel French leading the pack round Corum corner at Snetterton Circuit in race two of the 2019 Caterham 270r championship.
I got an OK start, James Murphy got a better start, so I was down to P2 by the first corner... The race was a long battle of swapping places, tactical positioning, and defending and attacking at the right places so as not to make any mistakes - basically true, raw, fun racing!  Onboard race video below:-

I was in P1 onto the final straight, but got out-towed by Justin Heap to the finish line, which meant I finished P2 (by just 0.1 of a second).

The podium picture:-
l-r me! (P2), Justin Heap (P1), Greg Monks (P3)
l-r me! (P2), Justin Heap (P1), Greg Monks (P3)
Championship Points Table
Given that I was in A&E on the Friday morning of the race weekend, I was thinking of 'damage limitation' and top ten finishes at best, however I managed to score the most amount of points of any 270R driver this weekend - 58 out of maximum 60 (fastest laps aside), which means I've managed to claw back another three points from Justin Heap (current championship leader).  

Round Five - Spa Francorchamps
I'm currently typing this blog post whilst waiting in hospital for my finger to be pinned back together.  It's been agreed with the surgeon that he'll give me hidden pins, which allows me to race in two weeks at Spa (with suitable protection) - which is fantastic news!  Fingers crossed ☺

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Round Three - Oulton Park - 2019 Caterham 270R Championship

Round Three of the 2019 Motul Caterham 270R Championship
Was held on the weekend of the 1st June 2019 at Oulton Park Circuit in Cheshire
.  Due to noise regulations, the weekend is compacted into one hectic day of qualifying and racing!


Qualifying
I made a fairly significant setup discovery whilst testing over the Thursday and Friday, so was feeling confident for the day ahead.  Qualifying was at 8:30 in the morning, and I think I got pole, but Matt Sheppard's time was 1.3 seconds faster than mine (as his transponder wasn't working), but the circuit is never wrong of course ☺, so we were both delighted to be on the front row!

Race One
I got a great start, then made a bit of a break away.  This gap was wiped out by a safety car 6:45 (in the video below) due to an accident between four drivers at 7:00 (all drivers ok!).
Daniel French starting the first Caterham 270R race of the weekend at Oulton Park Circuit
Daniel French starting the first Caterham 270R race of the weekend at Oulton Park Circuit
The race was restarted 7:30, and I made a great restart, and broke away from the pack again.  Got a good gap, only for my wheel to come loose 16:00 and fly off 16:46 on the penultimate lap!  See the video here below:-

Race One Onboard Video:-

Unbelievably, after my wheel flew off, it's final resting position was right on the racing line.  I was furious at myself of however this had happened, and was not going to get out of the car as I probably would've had a massive childish strop at the side of the track, so I got the car back parc ferme (whilst on three wheels), as the race was red flagged.  
P1 on three wheels??? How on earth was this possible?  Someone higher force was certainly looking out for me today!
P1 on three wheels??? How on earth was this possible?  Someone higher force was certainly looking out for me today!
Unbeknownst to me, due to the red flag count-back rules, and after some confusion I still ended up being declared the winner of the race!  After a bit of investigation, that although I torque my wheel nuts up before the race (as I always do), my torque wrench was set incorrectly!
(l-r) Matt Sheppard (p2), Daniel French a.k.a. me! (p1!), Justin Heap (p3)
(l-r) Matt Sheppard (p2), Daniel French a.k.a. me! (p1!), Justin Heap (p3).
Race Two
Starting from pole position, I was excited for the second race of the weekend, and having not crossed the finish line in first place of the previous race and still somehow winning, I wanted to put that right in this race.  
Daniel French leading the chasing pack in the second Caterham 270R race of the weekend at Oulton Park
Daniel French leading the chasing pack in the second Caterham 270R race of the weekend at Oulton Park
Race Two Onboard Video:-

Race two was a great old school battle, James Murphy (and Matt Sheppard) both drove really well with James crossing the finish line in 1st place, but received a 5 second penalty for exceeding track limits.  This meant he he was relegated to 4th place, and I inherited the win.  

Great to score a double win this weekend - I wonder how many times in racing someone has won two races in one day without crossing the finish line in 1st place on both occasions?  A very fortunate weekend, and I'm grateful for the luck and championship points that I've secured.
(l-r) Matt Sheppard (p2), Daniel French a.k.a. me! (p1!), Greg Monks (p3)
(l-r) Matt Sheppard (p2), Daniel French a.k.a. me! (p1!), Greg Monks (p3)
Here is a link to the Official Caterham 270R Hayfisher Media coverage for the race day:-

Championship Points Table
After picking up the maximum points this weekend (fastest laps aside), I've clawed my position back somewhat to a joint second place with Daniel Halstead, but this is still 13 points behind Justin Heap (due to the crash at Silverstone race 2).

Round Four - Snetterton 300
Round four of the championship is at Snetterton, a circuit which I'm not a great fan of, but seem to go well at.  There's also a paddock party on the Saturday night, so I'm looking forward to the weekend.  The qualifying and race one are on Saturday 29th June, with the second race of the weekend the day after on Sunday 30th June.

Feel free to come and say hi if you're coming to spectate.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Round Two - Croft - 2019 Caterham 270R Championship

Round Two of the 2019 Motul Caterham 270R Championship
Was held on the weekend of the 4th May 2019 at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire.  As it's quite some distance from where I live it'd never been a circuit I was interested in testing, and as such had never been to the track.  I decided it best to book both test days before the race weekend to learn the track and get up to speed.

A quick note on life in the paddock
Having taken things probably too seriously in the Academy, 'a little' less seriously in Roadsport, and now 'much' less seriously in 270R - it's great to enjoy the experience, and you quickly get to see what the Caterham paddock is really all about... The highs and lows of motor-racing come and go as quickly as each another, but the true part of race weekends is the hanging out with like minded mates, testing, setup chat, going for beers and just generally having a good time!
Paddock life - good banter with like minded mates
Paddock life - good banter with like minded mates
Qualifying
After two days of testing I was happy with the car setup and it was onto qualifying on the Saturday just after midday.  Qualify went as good as it could - I got a great lap in early on in the session which was fast enough for pole... Considering the first time I'd ever driven round croft was only two days prior, I was delighted to get pole position, and was in the best place possible for the start of race one!

Race One
I managed to get a good start, led for the first five laps, before being out-towed by Daniel Halstead, so sat in his and Justin Heaps tow for the remainder of the race, then decided to pounce on the last lap...
Daniel Halstead and Daniel French battling for position in the 2019 Caterham 270R Race one at Croft Circuit
Daniel Halstead and Daniel French battling for position in the 2019 Caterham 270R Race one at Croft Circuit
Race One Onboard Video:-

At 29:59 (in the video above) the last lap begins... I waited patiently throughout the race and then put on some pressure; pounced when Daniel Halstead went wide on Sunny Out... I made the move into first place stick into the complex, and block Dan from coming back through, but he made a lunge into the hairpin which I had to avoid a crash by getting out of the way.  Nevertheless I was happy finishing in P2, my first podium of the year, and hopefully the start of more to come!
(l-r) Daniel French (aka me!) P2, Daniel Halstead P1, Justin Heap P3
(l-r) Daniel French (aka me!) P2, Daniel Halstead P1, Justin Heap P3
In hindsight I think I should've reported Dan's overtake on me into the Hairpin, as I was confident the room wasn't there, and I didn't brake early - looking over the footage he was off the track as well, which is leaving the track and gaining an advantage.... Anyway...  A lesson learnt, and in future I will report such an incident, as I'm confident (with team support/backing - see my note below) this would've been reported had the shoe been on the other foot.

Race Two
The grid for race two is (as always) decided by your finishing position in race one, so I started on the front row again, albeit P2 this time.  I got another great start, led for the first few corners, where Dan Halstead and Justin Heap out towed me into tower corner.  We moved around position wise for the first 18 minutes or so in the race which was good fun... then....
Daniel French leading the pack in into Clervaux Corner in the second of the 2019 Caterham 270R races at Croft Circuit
Daniel French leading the pack in into Clervaux Corner in the second of the 2019 Caterham 270R races at Croft Circuit
Race Two Onboard Video:-

At 19:29 in the video above the dreaded gearbox gremlins struck again!  I was leading the race, pulled 4th gear and it was engaged, but a box full of neutrals!!!! arrrggghhh!!!  I dropped back to 7th, and clawed my way back up the pack to finished P2... Which I'm happy with after the issue, but slightly annoyed about another missed opportunity.
(l-r) Daniel French (aka me!) P2, Daniel Halstead P1, Neil Fraser P3
(l-r) Daniel French (aka me!) P2, Daniel Halstead P1, Neil Fraser P3
Championship Points Table
So as it stands now I'm in third place; a fair few points adrift, but once the (two allowable) dropped scores are taken into account, then things look somewhat better - I'll just explain that it is the best 12 scores out of the 14 races that count towards the final championship position.  Having said that, the points shift between places is so minimal in this championship it's hard to claw points back unless other competitors make a mistake / DNF or get penalties, and I won't rely on the misfortune of others.

Team Support
Different to Academy and Roadsport - in 270R, 310R and 420R championships you are allowed to be supported by a race team, to make things 'easier' or maybe the best way to describe it would be 'less hassle' - it's known as 'team support'.  However, I decided to run as a privateer this year, which means all pre-race prep, transportation, setup, spanner checks and so on are self managed which is interesting, but it is getting tougher to compete 'single handed' against much larger teams with many years of knowledge.  I do have an ever growing 'Support Team' though, and Jon at Snappyracers took this great pic of my many supporters (well all family!!!) wearing their 'Daniel caps'! 
The Daniel 'Support Team' at it's finest.
The Daniel 'Support Team' at it's finest.
Round Three - Oulton Park
Round three of the championship is at Oulton Park - I've only tested there back in 2017, but I remember enjoying the track, so am really excited about racing there.  Oulton Park is also a strange race weekend, as it's only on the Saturday, so it will be a busy day with qualifying, Race one and Race two all done in a day!

Feel free to come and say hi if you're coming to spectate.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Round One - Silverstone National - 2019 Caterham 270R Championship

It's been a while since my last blog post... Work and other commitments getting in the way, so I'm a bit 'rusty' at this blogging thing...

...Nevertheless the 2019 Caterham 270R racing season started last weekend at Silverstone National Circuit.  As is often the case at Silverstone there was only one test day on the friday before, but there was a great endurance race a few weekends prior which most competitors (myself included) attended.

Qualifying
I'll keep this short and sweet - I qualified in 3rd place only half a tenth off pole, which I was happy with.

We lined up in the assembly area, and this lovely picture was taken by the Snappy Racers team:-
l-r (me) Daniel French, Tom Allen, Matt Sheppard, James Murphy, Matthew Creak
l-r (me) Daniel French, Tom Allen, Matt Sheppard, James Murphy, Matthew Creak
Onto Race One 
As always I try to make some sort of race plan which usually goes out of the window as soon as the red lights go out!  But... the plan was to get a good start, stay out of trouble, make a break away, and bag some decent points.  

It all started out well... I got into P1 and managed to get a couple of opportunities to break away, but just couldn’t quite break the tow (slipstream), and funnily enough Silverstone is classified as being in 'Towcester' which I think I'll rename to 'TowFester' as I think that's quite a good analogy, as this race weekend was a complete Tow Fest..!  
Daniel French leading the pack into Luffield Corner - 2019 Caterham 270R Motul Championship Race One
Daniel French leading the pack into Luffield Corner - 2019 Caterham 270R Motul Championship Race One

I dropped down to 10th at one point, fought my way back up to finish 4th one tenth behind the photo finish of Matt Sheppard (P1), Justin Heap (P2) and James Murphy (P3).

Race One - Onboard Footage Below:-

Race Two
Having finished race one in 4th, this decided my grid position for race two.  Like the previous day the race plan was to get a good start, stay out of trouble, and bag some decent points.  And once again in the holding area before the race, there was a nice picture taken by the snappy racers team - this time one of the MOTUL guys (the title sponsors of our championship) taking a liking to my 'named mirror'.
The Motul Sponsors (being a FRENCH company) took a liking to my mirror!
The Motul Sponsors (being a FRENCH company) took a liking to my mirror!

The race started reasonably well, I grabbed the lead on lap 2, then somehow it all went downhill from there.  I slipped down the pack to my lowest position in Caterham racing to date – 14th!  I dug deep and fought my way back up to 4th with a great tow on the final lap and an opportunity to grab a decent place on the podium - only to be collected by a crash at Brooklands corner on the very last lap dropping me down to my ‘career worst’ finish of 21st!  You can see this at 30mins and 30seconds (in the video below)  

Race Two - Onboard Footage Below:-

Link to Official Caterham 270R Hayfisher Media Coverage:-


Round One Summary:-
So on a results based summary this was a disappointing weekend.  However, my pace was good, I led both races and on a different circuit I think I would've been able to make a break away, so overall I'm pleased.  I'm not so pleased that my 2nd race of the season will be a 'drop score' which could make things a little more difficult later on in the championship.

On a 'fun factor' based summary, an absolute quality weekend, great close racing and spending time with like minded friends!

Round Two:-
Roll on round two which is at Croft Circuit on 4th and 5th May 2019.
Feel free to come and say hi if you're coming to watch.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Round Seven - Silverstone - 2018 Caterham Roadsport Championship

The Final Round of the 2018 Caterham Roadsport Championship was at Silverstone International Circuit.   I arrived on Thursday evening, got setup and ready for one day testing on the Friday before the race weekend.

Testing went well, I had my setup sorted, an awesome looking set of dry race tyres, a set of brand new tyres (in case it was going to be wet), and I was feeling confident and on top form with a view of clinching the title as it was going to go down to the last race.

As we went to the holding area for qualifying the rain started to drop, so it was a wet qualifying session.  I seem to have a good feel for the car in the wet, so managed to qualify on pole by six tenths from P2 qualifier Daniel Halstead. 

The race was going to be wet, and I went with what I thought was going to be a good setup, red front anti roll bar (medium) and full stiff on the rear (which is pretty much a dry setup). 
Race Video below:-


I started well and got a good lead, but as the track changed towards the end of the race, my setup didn't work as well, with my lead eroding lap by lap.  James Murphy put a late move on me into Vale on the very last lap, which I didn't think would stick but did, so I ended up finishing P2, with James also securing fastest lap (worth one additional point).
2018 Caterham Roadsport Race 13 podium (l-r) Me! P2, James Murphy P1, and Toby Clowes P3.
2018 Caterham Roadsport Race 13 podium (l-r) Me! P2, James Murphy P1, and Toby Clowes P3.
So onto the FINAL Race of the 2018 Caterham Roadsport Championship - race 14...  I needed to win this race, and attain fastest lap (which is worth one point) to be crowned 2018 Caterham Roadsport Champion.
Race Video below:-

I drove the wheels off the car, finishing 26.4 seconds in the lead and held the fastest lap for most of the race (without a tow), so it was great to go out with such a dominant victory.  
2018 Caterham Roadsport Race 14 podium (l-r) Oli Pratt P2, Me! P1! and Neil Frazer P3.
2018 Caterham Roadsport Race 14 podium (l-r) Oli Pratt P2, Me! P1! and Neil Frazer P3.
How did the championship unfold?
Of course there are a number of what if's - as this is motor racing... these are some key points to this championship that I think are relevant:-
  • An un-diagnosed problem with my gearbox at both races at Snetterton (third was engaged, but box was neutral) - gearbox was replaced.
  • Another gearbox problem at Brands Hatch (my fault as trying to shift to 1st rather than 3rd!) - gearbox was rebuilt
  • Penalty points could be reversed by a days marshalling
  • I incorrectly 'best guessed' the car setup for the wet Silverstone race
  • Missing out on fastest lap in the last race by 0.028 of a second (without a tow), which was worth the point I needed.
The season couldn't have been closer and congratulations to James Murphy who has driven brilliantly all year - he is crowned 2018 Caterham Roadsport Champion.  
Daniel French and James Murphy P2 and P1 (respectively) of the 2018 Caterham Roadsport Championship
Daniel French and James Murphy P2 and P1 (respectively) of the 2018 Caterham Roadsport Championship
My take away points from the season:-
  • Overcoming the gearbox "issues" that thwarted me at the start of this season
  • Understanding the car setup and how to get the most out of it
  • Knowing the difference between a good and a great tire
  • Wining the most amount of races this year, some by substantial margins
  • Scoring the most amount of overall points, which at 395 is the same as last years Roadsport Champion, Pete Walters
  • Considerable improvement in my racing throughout the year 
  • What a blast!
Daniel French - 2018 Caterham Roadsport Championship Runner Up - Silverstone
Daniel French - 2018 Caterham Roadsport Championship Runner Up - Silverstone
The car is going to be upgraded to 270R spec over the coming weeks, and I intend to fight for the 270R championship in 2019 which I'm already fired up for, so bring it on.  

Friday, 7 September 2018

Round Six - Thruxton - 2018 Caterham Roadsport Championship

Round Six of the 2018 Caterham Roadsport Championship was held last weekend (1st and 2nd September) at Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire.

When Thruxton was released on the calendar last year, there was only one test day and questions were asked by many - why only one test day?!?  Well that's because there are only two braking zones!

So having not been there before I decided to get some testing in earlier on this year.
Testing earlier on this year at Thruxton in my 2018 Caterham Roadsport
Testing earlier on this year at Thruxton in my 2018 Caterham Roadsport
Testing went well, with two big eye openers - the enormous tow effect and massive tyre degradation.

ONTO THE RACE WEEKEND:-
Race One Video - PART 1
I managed to qualify in P3 (after I got caught short of time and arrived at qualifying later than usual).
Race one was split into two parts due to a big crash, but my first start was good and after a massive sideways into club (which surprisingly I saved!) I had the gap I needed to attempt a breakaway, but the race was red flagged.

Race One Video - PART 2So race one was restarted minus a few drivers!  A race long tow battle ensued, which ended with a final five or six car tow on the last lap, which I thought I'd timed perfectly, but I got boxed into the crowd and had to yield.  I finished P5, but with fastest lap (which is now the Roadsport lap record) equaling a point, this was a net fourth place.

RACE TWO VIDEO
My fifth place from the previous days race decided my starting grid position for this race.  I made an OK start, then there was a fairly big crash by Neil Fraser on the first lap.  I made up a few places, eventually securing third place.  Unfortunately the race video didn't record for any further than five minutes, so uploaded the footage anyway.

So it turns out that a lap record and third place was the best I could achieve at Thruxton, which leaves the championship extremely tight at the top!
(l-r) me (p3) James McCall (p1 twice!) and James Murphy (p3)
(l-r) me (p3) James McCall (p1 twice!) and James Murphy (p3)
2018 Caterham Roadsport Championship Showdown
The final two rounds of this season will be held at Silverstone International Circuit on 22nd and 23rd September, with the title more than likely decided on the Sunday (23rd).  The only real title contenders are myself (on 337 points) and James Murphy (on 336 points after minus six penalty points he received for a crash at Castle Combe are removed by a days marshalling), so it's all to race for and no doubt will be an utterly thrilling weekend of racing!  
2018 Caterham Roadsport Championship Contenders (l-r) Graham Macdonald, Daniel Halstead, James Murphy, Daniel French and Tom Allen).
2018 Caterham Roadsport Championship Contenders (l-r) Graham Macdonald, Daniel Halstead, James Murphy, Daniel French and Tom Allen).
Feel free to come and say hello if you've come down to watch the action.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Round Five - Castle Combe - 2018 Caterham Roadsport Championship

Round five of the 2018 Caterham Roadsport Championship was held at Castle Combe circuit in Wiltshire.  

Having not been to the circuit since the initial Academy Test Day back in April 2017, I knew I had my work cut out in terms of getting up to speed for the upcoming race weekend.  Fortunately, I managed to get a slot on the Thursday and Friday test days, so set about getting up to speed.

The conditions on Thursday were good, warm, dry and un-interrupted which was perfect.  Friday was a different story!  The heavens opened, and the track was soaked - to the point where I had one run in the morning, then decided it wasn't worth risking an accident, and sat out the rest of the morning.  The track dried out a bit later on, but due to stoppages in the sessions I only managed probably twenty minutes dry running all day.
It was so wet at Castle Combe there were rivers appearing in the paddock!
It was so wet at Castle Combe there were rivers appearing in the paddock!
Race 9 - 2nd to Win
Onto the racing!  Qualifying was dry and went 'reasonably' well - I managed p2 which was a good position, but I still think I could've got Pole with a bit of a better positioning / tow, but nevertheless still a front row start.

Throughout Saturday afternoon the heavens opened, and there was a definite moment of uncertainty about which tyres to choose, but in the end it was monsoon conditions, so wet tyres it was.
2018 Caterham Roadsport Racing at Castle Combe in monsoon conditions
2018 Caterham Roadsport Racing at Castle Combe in monsoon conditions
I got a good start, got my head down and made a break away of a few seconds within just a handful of laps, but there was a big accident involving Daniel Halstead and Matt Shepard (both drivers are ok!) which red-flagged the race.

The race got restarted after the cars were removed from the circuit and tyre barriers were fixed.  This start wasn't quite as good, but I lead after the first corner (Quarry) and then went onto create a comfortable gap, managed my pace and won!

Onboard Race Video below:-

The result from race one of the weekend (race nine of the championship), Myself in P1, Graham Macdonald in P2 and James Murphy in P3.
l-r James Murphy P3, Me in P1!, and Graham Macdonald in P3
l-r James Murphy P3, Me in P1!, and Graham Macdonald in P3
Race 10 - Pole and Win
Snetterton aside, I've won every Saturday race, but seem to be making a habit of finishing in P3 on Sundays...  So it was about time to break that habit!

I woke up to a thoroughly soaked Castle Combe, and throughout most of the morning the weather was extreme wet... However, closing into midday (the race start time was 12:20) the rain seemed to stop and the circuit started to dry out.   I don't think anyone really knew which tyres to chose, so I went with my best guess, and hoped for the best!

Sitting on the grid, the tarmac looked totally dry, which left me wondering if I'd made the right tyre choice or not, and I'm sure I wasn't the only one thinking that!  

A little bit behind schedule; the race got underway, and I got a good start... I wanted to make a break away, as I really thought I had the wrong tyres on, so put my head down and tried to break away.  Unfortunately this didn't happen and Graham Macdonald got a great tow, and passed me on lap three.  Graham held the lead for a lap and a half, where I made a move for the lead into tower corner, which I had to defend immediately into Bobbies chicane, but Graham locked up and carried straight on which was enough to give me my chance to break away.
Leading the pack into Quarry corner on lap one of the 2018 Caterham Roadsport Race at Castle Combe circuit
Leading the pack into Quarry corner on lap one of the 2018 Caterham Roadsport Race at Castle Combe circuit
Onboard Race Video below:-

Eventually I managed to win by nearly seven seconds, and was only five one-hundredths of a second off the fastest lap of the race, which, considering I didn't have a tow (slipstream) at all on my fastest lap, I was definitely satisfied with my pace. 

The podium was ME! in P1 yay!  Tom Allen in P2 and Graham Macdonald in P3 - well done guys!
l-r Graham Macdonald P3, Me (again!) P1, Tom Allen P2
l-r Graham Macdonald P3, Me (again!) P1, Tom Allen P2
So I'd done exactly what I'd set out to this weekend - a maximum 60 points (aside from 2 fastest lap points), and I've also taken the championship lead too which is definitely a bonus!
One thumb-up per win this weekend - my first 'double win' sure was a special feeling
One thumb-up per win this weekend - my first 'double win' sure was a special feeling
Naturally, I left Castle Combe feeling thoroughly chuffed with my first double win of the season.

There's still 124 points up for grabs over the next four races, so all to play for!  The championship battle is definitely heating up, and I'm relishing the opportunity to race it out wheel to wheel.