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:-

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.

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