Qualifying

 

Despite the spring weather forecasts Snetterton was dry as a bone as we started the session. I got into a stride fairly quickly and starting following a small pack of cars around including the Scott Andrew’s SD1 Rover, Langeveld Capri and a few others. I was getting dragged down the straights but held up in the bends, everything was going fairly smoothly and the lap times were coming down. I passed Don Hughes as he was warming up for a quick lap, as he came past me on the main straight he missed a gear and lost his fan belt. Chris Bray also eased off then came passed at Russell chicane, the difference in performance as he pulled away up the start finish straight was quite alarming. My own car was behaving well, the suspension seemed glued to the road and I was still trying to find the limits. However the car definitely feels down on power on what it was. I eventually forced my way past the SD1 but just as I started my first lap with nothing ahead of me, the chequered flag came out. I was happy enough with my 1.31, the quickest of the four Mk1 Golfs.

 

Race

 

Richard Langeveld in the Capri ahead of me could get his car started so there was a gap in front of me on the grid.

 

Got away great at the lights but on the approach to Riches Don Hughes (Mk1 Golf) came flying by (so much for trying to hold him up) and I drove around the outside behind the BMW 323i, hoping for a good entry to Sear (turn 2). Thought I'd done that and was fairly happy heading down the straight, only to find cars passing me left, right and centre and I was completely swamped by the Esses. Followed Andre Severs Renault through there and the Bombhole, was just starting to relax around Coram when Karl Whitworth in the other Golf dived down the inside and took the place through Russell. Aaargh, this wasn't going well.

 

Tried to catch Karl up through Riches and Sear again but he was going really well and I wasn't, got a bit closer through Coram and a better exit from Russell on lap 2. I wasn't close enough to have a go at Riches but Karl went in too quick and spun across the inside, mounting the kerbs and bouncing across the track, almost collecting me. One place back.

 

Starting chasing the Renault 5 and tried to get the lap times down, it was spitting with rain but the track was still pretty much dry. Got down into the 1.30s but was still braking way too earlier for the Esses, I was definitely catching the Renault though. By lap 5 I was up with him, we were almost identically matched for power down the straights, he was quicker through Bomb Hole but I was quicker around Coram. Lap 9 and I was closer than ever approaching Russell, he threw the car into the chicane and spun across the kerbs, again almost collecting me. I grabbed a gear trying to avoid him and as I started the next straight I couldn't get out of third. Took Riches and tried again - no luck. Had to do the last 3 laps on the rev limiter, hoping and praying that the engine didn't go pop but finished 13th overall and 2nd in class. Chris Bray had stopped with a driveshaft problem, Karl Whitworth had lost his fan belt during the spin. My lap time was about 1.5 seconds slower than Don Hughes, the closest I've been to him for a while. Roll on Mallory (and especially Thruxton).

 

Next race – Mallory, 23rd April.