Race Report – Oulton Park – Fun Cup – April 2014

That Wasn’t on the Plan!

Despite a heavy impact on Friday, we qualified on time and raced competitively on Saturday.  In simple terms, that is the nature of racing.  What is missing if my blog was to end here is the rollercoaster of emotion, hard work and dedication displayed by a group of people who share a common goal – the love of motorsport and the commitment to win.

Martin is Safe

Fun Cup cars are very strong and probably as safe as it gets if you want to participate in front line motorsport, as proved by Martin last Friday (10th April).  The whole team quietly rejoiced when Martin walked back into the garage.  Big accidents are rare and as we all witnessed, don’t get much bigger than what he experienced.  Martin is to be applauded for getting back behind the wheel on Saturday and posting competitive lap times – that proved commitment and bravery.  In light of what he had experienced the day before, Martin gave His all and it did not go unnoticed by the whole team.

Speaking of giving your all, our engineers not only surpassed what we ever expected of them, they also surpassed what JPR and the pit lane expected of them!  We even managed to have the scrutineers on our side, such was the level of respect we had mustered throughout the preceding 22 hours.  I took part in the battle, but it was Graham and Matt who led the charge – well done guys.  Josh, Matt’s young apprentice, also deserves a big mention, a sterling performance.  You have earned our respect, welcome to the team.  Guys thank you for all of your hard work – a collective 60 hours to get 169 back in the race.

The enormity of the task resulted in the weekends Team Award.  Paul Rose when thanked for the recognition said “it was a no brainer”.  This award belongs to our engineers and simply confirms what we already knew “Graham, Matt and Josh you are brilliant”.

Despite our challenges all drivers experienced some Friday running and posted lap times of 1:15 out of the box.  We could not have been more excited at the teams pace so early on in proceedings – before the incident.  We have since learned that our set up, although improved, was not the optimum for the new Nankangs.

We finished the race in 16th position out of 25 entered on the race card.  A great result in light of the hand we were dealt on Friday.  Despite a creditable finish, the mood in the team was down and with good reason, major damage, limited sleep and a potential trip to Belgium to straighten a bent chassis on the  horizon.  However, there was one beacon of light that appeared at the end of the race, fizzing and buzzing out of the door of car 169.  Peter had the face of a champion when he joined us in the pits, and speaking personally, made my weekend.  His lap time and race performance eclipsed any previous drive, and all that in as many changes of condition as you can squeeze into 40 minutes of driving.  Great drive, great performance!! 

Summary

We are becoming a respected and established member of the Fun Cup fraternity, and that has come about simply by a lot of hard work and dedication.  Peter summed the weekend up for me succinctly when he said “we have come of age” and I think we have.  Racing is generally about engineering and driving, the emotional investment and commitment is often not discussed or is ignored.  The weekend for me was all about emotion and commitment and has further bonded us together.  Each member of the team knows a little bit more about our individual role in the team and how far we are all prepared to push to win. 

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