The Lair.ROCKINGHAM - OCTOBER 8


Still Bloomin big:

The last race of the season and everything to prove...just 6 points between myself and the 3rd place overall holder for class D - Chris Brogden (the same Chris that shared the big accident last year at Cadwell Park). Technically the only way I can claim that particular trophy is to finish in the points and for Chris to not finish (not inconceivable given his drive shaft problems).

Qualifying was a relative walk in the park. The surface conditions were much better than the previous weekend and despite using a slightly different layout the memory of driving the weekend before was still fresh. On the outlap I just pushed ahead and passed everyone up until I came across Trevor who obviously took offence and put his foot down, disappearing off into the distance. The qualifying session was depressingly short - just 15 minutes so I wanted to make the most of it. In the end it still proved too short but it did take Chris the entire 15 minutes to catch me again after I flew past in the first minute. Lap times were good but without anything to compare with it is hard to say how good. I had qualified ahead of both Tim and Alan and was just 1.5s behind Chris' best time.

Back in the paddock Richard still hadn't appeared - it was another couple of hours in fact before he clattered into the paddock. Having been rather bored on the journey he'd decided to navigate a few roundabouts sideways (a few laps each time) but the oil surge had run one of the main bearings and it now sounded rather nasty. Getting home again was going to be interesting but that was a problem for later. We had barely investigated the situation before it was time to go out and race.

There are times when you know you've done something stupid but pride and ego dictate that you ignore the matter. I had calculated (based on refilling the fuel tank after the previous 25 minute race) that I could easily do both 15 minute sessions on just half a tank. With the tank full this meant that it would not drop below half and there would be no issue with fuel surge. Richard's last words to me before heading off to the assembly area was "do you want to check the fuel level?". His thoughts on the matter were rather prescient it seems.

The rolling start was a disaster - at least two cars were out of position as we came to the line so it was aborted (the first time I have seen it happen in 4 years). The second attempt was better but I already had a problem - the car didn't want to pull out of the last hairpin. Initially I just thought it was the induction choking up with the slow approach while in the parade but half a lap of the race itself proved me wrong. The engine was only just running on the exit to each corner and that could only be fuel surge but the tank was supposed to be 3/4 full!

Each lap the situation worsened until on the last lap I had the pleasure of watching Tim blitz the punto with just 100 yards to the chequered flag

Back in the paddock a quick check on the fuel tank proved it was completely empty - which presents another mystery. If the car only used 9 litres to do a 25 minute race how did it use about 19 litres in 30 minutes? My silly fault for not checking the fuel level and a lesson learned (again) the hard way.

Chris finished the race in his usual position which means I have to settle for fourth overall. A slight disappointment but with only half a season to play with it was going to be tough to grab any silverware.