The final two rounds of Monoposto 1000 took place Saturday and Sunday in Brands Hatch on the mighty Grand Prix Circuit. We tested on Friday, but it was only the Indy track for testing so it wasn’t a huge amount of help, so I just got myself into the right mindset for the weekend ahead and a reminder of my first ever race in both the car and the track!
Qualifying was going to be a massive learning curve, it is a very technical track, with some very brave and impressive turns. I qualified P5, getting out early to get some clear track, thinking it would help but I met so much traffic. For the first few laps I was keen on getting a good time while also learning the track, that didn’t work out so well as the safety car appeared and I was last behind a huge trail of cars I had hoped to put behind me. With two laps left, I knew I would need a clear run, so I did a slow lap to build a big enough Gap between me and the cars in front meaning I could use the final lap to record a fast time. While P5 wasn’t great, I knew there was plenty more time to come.
For Race 1, I got loads of wheel spin off the line but still managed to grab P3 on the run to into Paddock and kept some of the Jedi’s behind. I was focused ahead and looked to be gaining on the top two but then my engine didn’t quite feel right coming up to Clearways. I went straight to the pits hoping it was a quick fix, but it was more severe than I thought. End of race one...
After a busy night in the Leastone Garage, we tried to put thoughts of Saturday behind and psyched up for the final race of the season. This was going to have to be a monumental effort, as I was starting from the back of the grid with 20 cars ahead of me. No pressure huh?!
The five second board appeared apparently but I was so far back I couldn’t see it so relied solely on the lights!
Revved and ready for off, when the lights went out I shot for the front of the grid where I should have been to start with and had a few ‘moments’ in getting there (see below for said brown trouser moments). By the end of lap one this ‘mad Irishman’ (as dubbed by Brands Hatch radio!) was in P5. I drove for my life knowing I had a great start and the emotions from Saturday were egging me on. Each and every lap I was improving, picking through to P4 around the outside of Paddock, and then over taking for 3rd under braking just before Clearways to sit comfortably in third.
Coming out on to Clearways with 2 minutes to go, something again didn’t feel right, and I didn’t get a chance to react to the problem. The engine had eventually cried enough and let go in dramatic fashion, warming my bum in the process! It was a very disappointing finish to the season, but I had thoroughly enjoyed a great last race until that misfortune.
Although I had 6 DNF’s over 14 rounds, I still managed to finish off the season as runner up in the championship, and I had a win at Silverstone to add to my numerous podiums...not too shabby for my first season.
Up next is the Leinster Trophy at Mondello, which should be fun! We’ll then round out the year with select rounds of Monoposto’s Tiedeman Trophy, which is essentially an Autumn series over 3 double header weekends.
Of course, all of this would not be possible without my fantastic sponsors: Selco Hygiene supplies, Total Lubricants and Red Dragon supplements.