The weekend started with a brief qualifying session on the Saturday. As I’d never been to Cadwell Park before, this 15 minutes would be critical. In these 9 or so laps, I needed to find the limit, find my braking spots and find potential spots for overtaking. All while going as fast as possible. I managed to set a time of 1:58.038 which was good enough for 4th. My ideal lap time data would have placed me in 3rd by 7 tenths. This meant that an overall podium would be on the table for Sunday. However, there was nothing to do until then, other than chill out with the team, have some lunch and enjoy some racing.
I woke at 7.00 the next morning to see overcast skies and rain coming down in buckets. When we arrived, standing water was all over the circuit. We weren’t sure whether or not the day would go ahead. After 2 hours of delays, the HSCC decided that the track was dry enough to race. The procedure was this; we would get 2 green flag laps and then a rolling start. I lined up on the second row on the side of the track that had been re-laid. Even better than that, someone had dropped out on the front row, meaning I had a clear shot for first. We all got away well. I broke quite early for the first corner not knowing the level of grip, my old friend Cox blocking my way. Round the next corner, I saw a gap and went for it. I was now in the chase for first. I was the fastest touring car on the field. We had some Mod Sports cars scattered in the field. They qualified behind us, however, they rocketed through the field, I could only hold them back for a lap or 2. I decided to let them through in the hope they’d slow the Alfa up front. I was in striking distance. I was flying completely blind, the screen was fogged up and the spray was concealing any car in front. I was pressuring the Alfa into a few mistakes. Then he completely span. I had to go onto the grass to avoid running into him. He managed to get away, but I was stuck in the grass, long enough for the whole field to come back through. When I rejoined I managed to make up 2 positions to finish 8th and 2nd in class. The race was only 20 minutes and 9 laps long.
The club then decided to merge our grid with the 70s road sports grid making up 30 cars. I was lining up 28th. I was utterly focused on my job at hand. It was very simple. Go as fast as possible and make up as many places as I could in 20 minutes. I had a good start making up 2 places in the first couple of corners. The screen wasn’t fogging up this time so I could see more clearly where the grip was. I pressured the cars in front onto the line with less grip, and then quickly switched back onto the line with the most grip, providing a better exit to out drag them. The race went by in a flash. I crossed the line not knowing how far up the grid I was or what position I was in in my race. It took 8 laps. In those 8 laps I went from 28th to 13th. In 8 laps I had overtaken the whole of the historic touring car field and some of the 70s road sports car field. In 8 laps, I went from 3rd to last to 1st overall in my grid with the next touring car being 4 seconds behind me. I had won and I had no idea.
Thanks to the HSCC for a great event and thanks to the team at Retro Engineering for a great weekend.