Mallory Park, 2nd April 2000

Qualifying

This was my first visit to Mallory Park, and typically qualifying was very wet (apparently it always rains at Mallory Park). This made things especially difficult, not only did I not know the track, but I had never driven the Golf in anger in the rain either. So the qualifying session was a steep learning curve, and I was happy enough with 16th place on the grid, out of 24 cars.

The Race

The race followed some four hours later, by which time the sun had come out and the track had dried completely. So I line up on the grid facing the infamous 'Gerards' corner never having driven round it in the dry. Gulp. The lights go green and I get a great start, only to get stuck behind a Capri and Toyota Corolla who get too much wheel spin. At least four cars pass on the inside (why didn't I move across?), then at the entry to the first corner there's chaos - there's tyre smoke everywhere, a car on the grass, another in the gravel - so I lift off, being especially careful in only my second race... Not the right thing to do, before I know it I'm second to last and the pack is disappearing fast!

Chasing Kerry's XR3 out of Shaw's hairpin

I spend the next few laps fighting off the guy behind me, before I eventually start catching cars as I learn the dry line. Hardest to get by is a yellow XR3, he has far more power on the straights but I can get right up to him through the corners. I eventually make my move on lap 11 and make it stick with a good exit out of Gerards, finishing the race in 14th position - not bad considering the start.