What a birthday present?! We made our way to Thruxton during the early hours of my birthday ahead of a day of testing in mid August. Thruxton was yet another circuit I had never driven before, so would be reliant on the time I had spent on the simulator to learn the circuit as on test days you do not even get sighting laps. I headed onto the circuit with high expectations as Thruxton is known as the ‘fastest circuit in the UK’ and oh my word, it did not disappoint. It couldn’t have been more different from the narrow, technical tarmac of Cadwell Park. Thruxton is wide, really wide, wide enough for four cars easily to race side by side in places and with only two significant brakes, one before the complex of corners, ‘Campbell, Cobb, Segrave’ and the other before the final chicane ‘Club’ at the end of the lap, for the remainder of the lap you are on the throttle. Even in the 125bhp Academy car you reach speeds of 115mph and the average speed of the lap is around 90mph! After just a few laps I was up to a good pace, the time in the simulator had paid off and the other two sessions continued to show improvements in my lap times.
Unusually, the revised calendar due to COVID scheduled our race on the Sunday rather than the Saturday. Therefore we had a free day following Friday’s test session. We decided to head down to Beaulieu National Motor Museum, what a great idea this proved to be! The last time I visited Beaulieu was in the 90s, somethings remained the same, but also so much had been improved. I particularly enjoyed ‘The World Of Top Gear’ where many of the cars used for the challenges over the years are on display.
Soon it was race day. My local club ‘Kent Sev7ens’ had organised a blat over to the circuit in Hampshire to watch the racing and provide support. It was time for qualifying. The sky started to get darker and rain was looking imminent. While I was in the assembly area waiting for our quail session to start, the rain started to fall and a wet session was declared, headlights and rain light were duly switched on. My usual approach to qualifying would be to get the three lap required to race complete before pushing on for faster laps. However, I decided to go for it from the off as the likelihood was that the track conditions would deteriorate as the session progressed. To some degree this was successful, as after the first few laps I was running in second place. However, the rain ceased and the track soon developed a dry line. Eventually I qualified 12th which was my best qualification to date.
Studying the starting positions and working out who was around me I decided to take caution to get through the first few corners. At Thruxton, being in front can be a disadvantage due to the enormous ‘tow’ available down the straights, the effect of the tow makes DRS look silly! Other than a safety car due to a stranded car on the outside of Church the race went with without too much incident and was able to make a couple of places. Well, apart from the final lap. My timer had ticked to zero when the safety car indicated it was coming in, passing the signal post on the start finish straight confirmed we had a single lap sprint to the chequered flag. Coming through Church and on to the straight I had a massive double tow and moved out to make the overtake when I saw a car lift into the air and another car on the grass. This incident allowed me to make two more places and eventually crossed the line in eighth, my best result to date.
Please take a look at my vlog where you can follow the action from the weekend and join us for a tour of Beaulieu National Motor Museum. I’m aiming to reach 1,000 YouTube subscribers, so please do subscribe if you have not done so already as this really helps me out!
Next stop is my home circuit, Brands Hatch for a double header weekend of racing!