Race report from Cadwell Park
Last weekend I was competing in Rounds 3 & 4 of the Ford Fiesta Junior Championship at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire.
Cadwell is known as the mini Nurburgring said Bearman as it’s fast, twisty, narrow and if you come off you are going to have a big accident. It’s exhilarating to drive and through the section called the ‘Mountain’ the car gets airborne.
Having been disappointed with my results of 9th and 5th at Brands I was looking for a good result to get my Championship bid back on target. Practise went very well and I was constantly in the top 4. I felt confident going into qualifying when I’d have have new tyres.
In qualifying my plan was to get some space and put in 3 fast laps. Unfortunately as I started my first hot lap there was an accident which brought out the red flag stopping the session. When it was restarted I then encountered traffic which cost me time and ultimately the chance to go quicker on the new tyres. The end result was 5th on the grid 3 tenths off pole.
In Race 1 I made good start going around the outside of the long sweeping uphill Coppice corner and onto the back straight. I held this position and began to slowly pull up to second place man when the Code 60 flag was deployed. This means there has been an incident and all drivers must slow to 60 KPH. At the restart the field had closed up and I worked to close the gap to second place but came under pressure from 4th. Now having to defend I finally crossed the line in 3rd just 3/1000 ahead of 4th. I thought I’d catch second place but had to start taking more defensive lines which slowed me up and that’s as close a finish as I’ve ever been in.
In Race 2 I started from 3rd on the grid. The 4th placed man made an incredible start and was leading by the time the cars turned into the left hand Coppice corner demoting me to 4th. I then gradually caught 3rd place but on the thin Cadwell Park track found 3rd position was being firmly defended. Eventually I got through having planned my move and setting it up 3 corners in advance. I had to be close through the first 2 turns and onto the straight. I knew he would defend but as he moved back across to take the racing line I out braked him down the inside. I thought I was safe in 3rd but as the race continued I suffered understeer in the car. The tyres had passed their best and I knew those around me were on good rubber. The 4th placed man caught me on the last lap and I had to use all my karting experience to keep him behind. At the very last corner the 4th placed driver dived up the inside but I was ready. I knew he’d be coming fast so as he passed I undercut him and retook 3rd before the line – another close finish!
After Brands it was good to come away with a solid performance and 2 podiums. We’ve a few areas of the car to improve on and if I can find some money hopefully we can have those on the car for Silverstone at the end of May.
Great to be back on the podium!