Race 8 + 9 – Brands Hatch
Its been an interesting couple of days. 72 hours ago I lined up on the grid at Brands Hatch ready to start Saturdays Locost final. I'd had a terrible qualifying session (just drove too slow) and had qualified 31st!! Not to make the top twenty is bad but I've never missed out on the top 30 before! the good news was I'd made some changes and couldn't wait to race...
The lights went off after an age of waiting and my charge began! Several laps later the red flags came out and i retook my position on the grid in the mid twenties, things were looking up...again the lights went out and again I went for it and another few laps in had overtaken my way up to 18th! Kev Lucas was also on a charge and I spent three corners side by side battling with him for position before he got half a cars width ahead and I tucked in behind him.. I had a new plan if he was going up the grid I'd go with him!
I came down the hill out of druids tight on his tail and rocketed in to Graham Hill bend...sadly it was too quick and I ran wide heading higher up the kerb than usual. the back end snapped out i grabbed it back spun (may have been tagged, I don't remember getting it but there's a big dint in the back of my car) and speared off on to the wet grass. At this point my car accelerated and all I could see was tyre wall. braking was futile and I braced myself for the big impact as I went head first in to the barrier...my only thought...this is going to hurt! It did but not as much as I expected. Then everything went in to slow motion and I ducked as car parts, wings and headlights flew over my head.
The car came to rest and i killed the engine and jumped out and over the tyre wall. I then stood and watched as my radiator emptied its contents in to the grass and my locost just steamed!
The leaders came round twice more and i could see Samir was in the lead and heading for his first win (congratulations Samir) so i clapped them all home and then went out to survey the damage.
(One of the nicest parts of this accident if there was one was that almost every driver slowed down and checked to see if i was ok on their way past on the cooling down lap - thanks guys - your great)
I was so convinced that the car would mend and be back out the next day that i got sent to see the doctor before I was allowed in the recovery truck and on closer inspection I could see why. My chassis was wrecked! :-(
Back in the paddock there were lots of offers of help and a group of us (James, Jason, Keith, Richard and me) began stripping the car. The more we removed the worst the chassis looked and when it became really obvious that about 8 bars were buckled and bent I finally admitted it wasn't going to happen and the new goal became getting it in the lorry. An amazing group of drivers and helpers who must have all had their weetabix that morning picked up my car like a giant wheel barrow and soon it was back in the truck.
Thank you soo much to everyone who helped, offered parts and generally came to my rescue - I really really appreciated it.
As i write this I've spent an evening and this morning before work dismantling the car and its now just about ready for its new front end. I've stripped all the brake cables, electrics and ancillaries and the engine is out and sitting beside the car... I'll definitely be back but it might not be in time for Donington.