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Donington Park 25th March 2007
Drivers' reports

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Gwyn Pollard
I Wasn't too disheartened by my 6th from last qualifying spot, as I hadn't been able to get a rhythm going in the (red flagged) practice and was expecting to be even lower.

At the start a big Kougar was blocking my view of the lights so I had to go when everyone else did, but I found Andy Todd's advice on how to get away in a Crossle worked a treat. I made up some places into and around the first corner, and kept most of them by the end of the lap. Even during that busy first lap, I found myself thinking "This is great!".

Andy and Mike Walker got past later, but not for long as Andy out braked himself just in front of me at the chicane (he recovered that time, but not when it happened again a few laps later) and then Mike's wishbone came adrift which left them both out of the race.

I then had a very enjoyable few laps chasing Nick Ledger and was entertaining hopes of passing him for 7th when the leading Cobra appeared in my mirror and I lost so much time politely waving him past and generally losing concentration that I completely lost touch with Nick. Annoyingly, exactly the same thing happened when I was trying to get on terms with Graham in the Kougar a little later in the race, when the second-placed Cobra shot past. So that's a lesson learnt.

The second half of the race was pretty dull; I couldn't see anyone else ahead or behind, and with a choice of trying to learn something by trying to lap as fast as possible and risk coming off, or settling for just 8 or 9/10s and finishing a very enjoyable day with a respectable first result, I went for the latter (proving myself not to be a real racer, I suppose).

Cooling down in the paddock, Mike approached brandishing a really acceptable-looking beer, so all in all I ended the day thinking that this SRGT racing business seemed a pretty good thing.

Tim Falce
Practice
The long winter layoff was finally over and we were at last let loose on the Donington Track which, due to the non-event of a wet Mallory, was the last circuit I had raced on last year.

I found the track quite slippery for the first lap and as I exited the chicane for the first time my engine faltered and then picked up again. This occurred on the next lap and I started wondering if my engine changes during the winter had been worthwhile or something hadn't gone back together correctly.

On the third lap it died completely then picked up only to give up the ghost as I passed the starters post. I was able to cut into the pit exit where a marshal came and assisted me in pushing the car to the scrutineering bay where I quickly (and luckily) traced the fault to a loose wire on the fuse block.

Luckily for me there had been a red flag incident on the circuit, so ably assisted by my main supporter/mechanic and mentor, uncle Eric I was able to get back on track and complete one more lap.

As I hadn't managed to get a full lap in I ended up third from last on the grid (and you thought you had it bad Gywn) with a time of 1:31.25 which is six seconds over my best for the circuit.

Race
When we lined up on the grid I was near the back with Tim Burnett directly in front of me. He had been a perfect gentleman and left a very large gap on his nearside and with David Stafford in front of Tim I had a perfect opportunity to make up three rows by the time we would get to the first corner.

So it was the five second board, red lights, lights out and away, and yes my plan came together and I was in front of Tim and David before the end of the pit wall. This is where things went a tad off plan as Richard Abels, who had been along side me on the grid, did the same thing on the right side and we met as we went for the first corner at Redgate, Richard had the line so I had to yield to him. This allowed David Stafford to slot round the outside and in front of me.

I was keeping good pace with the pack which seemed to be headed by one of the quick Crossles but I could see Graham Paddick, who seemed to be on a mission, ahead of us slowly opening a considerable gap by the end of the first lap. On lap two, as we headed for Redgate I was very close behind David's Ginetta and went to make a move to the right, but he was having none of it and he moved over to close the gap and leave me behind him.

As we went down Craners and up and around McLeans to Coppice I held station yet again, watching his driving style and deciding on the best course of action to get past him. This is where things went a tad south as when we went under the Dunlop Bridge I discovered the new amount of torque my engine was producing.

I was in fifth gear, normally fifth in my car would just allow a drop in revs so I don't have the engine screaming in fourth. Today I found that it picked up speed, quite a lot of speed. This took me by surprise and as we came to the chicane I missed my braking point and ended up taking a very wide line onto the GP loop. By the time I had recovered and negotiated the chicane, David and the rest of the pack ahead were way off into the distance.

This is where things started to go a bit down hill for me as with no one around me to play with I sometimes get bored and slow down a bit, this is what happened today. The only things I noticed was how nice the weather had turned out, how large the planes landing at East Midlands Airport appeared to be, I couldn't hear the New Seekers on my MP3 player and Andy Todd and his Crossle, who had made the same mistake as me of out braking himself into the chicane. He had not been so fortunate to get away with it and was stuck on the GP loop.

Soon I noticed Tim Burnett closing up behind me and before I knew it he was in front of me and then disappearing into the distance. This is when I woke up and decided to do something about it so I put in a couple of quick laps caught him, overtook and then left him behind.

I then noticed the temperature gauge start to rise so I eased off just enough to keep my position until the end of the race. I later traced the temp problem to a wire coming loose from the fan so I need to give my wiring a good check before the next race.

All in all it was a good day and nice to get back out there but I think I need to drink more of the Red Bull to aid my concentration in the race.

Postscript
Unfortunately new member Matt Digby didn't get to practice or race as he was sharing a car with his brother who sadly crashed after encountering someone else's oil slick in the previous practice session. We all look forward to seeing you out again as soon as possible Matt.

Jerry Knight in his superbly turned out D-type had a quiet first race in the series and despite finishing last said he had thoroughly enjoyed it and couldn't wait for the next round.

Mark Jordan retired on lap nineteen with brake problems, Andy Todd went out after an impact with the tyre wall on lap seven, Mike walker with a broken suspension on lap six and John Suckling had problems and retired on lap five.

Finally: Gentleman driver of the race goes to Graham Paddick who waved Nick Ledger past on the last lap, no Graham he wasn't lapping you.


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