Thruxton, 2nd July 2000

Qualifying

There was a full entry for the Group One Touring car race, with 30 cars attempting to qualify for the race. I was quite confident, having driven Thruxton before a couple of times.

As it turned out the first few laps were very difficult - I ended up being passed by a black Capri, who then spun right in front of me at the Chicane. Fair enough, but as I drove past he almost pulled out into the side of me. Next lap he came past again, then lost control at Church big time and had a rather long grassy moment by the edge of the track, again right in front of me. 

I decided to back off and try and get some clear track, but by this time there was little of the session left. Two flying laps at the end resulted in a 1.38.95, considerably quicker than my TVR Chimaera road car can get round the circuit, but still not that impressive. 19th out of 29 starters was the result, ahead of a Dolomite Sprint, a 3 litre Capri and two 3.5 litre V8 Rovers.

The Race

I lined up alongside the Toyota Corolla of David Scriven, with the Mini of Burrows behind me and Rick Kerry's Escort ahead. The lights seemed to take an eternity to go green, but when they do I make another good start and get alongside Kerry's Escort, on the inside line for the first corner. I keep the power down towards the chicane, where there is loads of tyre smoke and a Capri on the grass. I scrape round the inside of the corner, this gets me ahead of Mallett's Capri (he's normally way ahead) and things are going well.

As we reach the faster part of the track at the back of the circuit, Mallett cruises by leaving me with Kerry in his Escort right behind me. He's been getting quicker all season, and now I'm really struggling to keep him behind me. Lap 4 and he gets the run on me down to Church corner, I decide to let him through rather than risk a big moment at the chicane.

So now I follow the Escort round, with the Mini of Burrow's closing fast. Two laps on and the Escort is starting to slow me up, I get a good run up the back straight and slipstream him coming down to the chicane. The speedo is off the gauge at 120 as I pull out from behind him (first time I ever recall getting a 'tow'!) and get alongside. I leave the braking as late as possible but he brakes later still (I have a standard road set up) and we enter the chicane alongside each other, both in lurid four wheel slides. Rick manages to get to the apex first, and I slot in behind him happy my little Golf is still in one piece. 

As I cruise down the back straight, a quicker Capri comes sailing by (I assume he had spun at the first corner), following by one of the RKP Racing Rovers, out for the first time this year. The Rover's position was short lived however, as he slowed on lap 8 with fuel problems.

Now I have the Mini right behind me, I'm going to have to defend my position hard over the last few laps. He's so much quicker through the slow corners and under braking, but I have the edge out on the faster parts of the track. Every corner I take the inside line and brake very late, resulting in lots of missed apexes but the Mini still behind me. 

 I manage to get to the chequered flag ahead of the Mini still, and in 16th place overall out of 24 finishers, with a much better lap time of 1.37.24.

Next race - Snetterton, 23rd July.