Brands Hatch

Heritage Meeting 21st to 22nd October 2006 The last meeting of the year.   Saturday dawned wet and that is how the weekend stayed. Qualifying was just 20 minutes, John Bussell went out first and for a while was fastest, but slipped to third.    I went out for the second half of qualifying and managed to go a snippet faster than John (on a drying track) for the first time this season with a time of 57.8 which put us in 4th on the grid.    Saturday afternoon saw the 20 minutes sprint race in damp conditions.   Starting on the outside of row 2 the big American Malibu came by and stuck on the outside I was 6th by the time we got to Graham Hill Bend for the first time. Enough of that I thought and chased after the cars in front.   After a few laps I was closing on the Mustang of David Yates and around Paddock he nearly lost it and I managed to cut inside and move into 4th place.   A couple of laps later I managed to pass Tom Alexander’s DB4 on the pit straight and so pleased was I, I didn’t se David Yates sneak inside me into Paddock. 2 laps later he overcooked it coming out of Graham Hill and I passed him again for 4th place but half a lap later with just a minute or so to go the race was red flagged and on count back we went back to 5th, very frustrating but it was a great race. And so to Sunday’s 45 minute 2 driver endurance race. We decided John would start and he went from 5th to 4th in the first lap and then chased after none other than David Yates, my nemesis from Saturday.   After a few laps David went off into the gravel at Druids and so we moved up to 3rd.   After 12 minutes John pitted for our driver change and off I went – it was very wet and very misted up in the car.   As I went out for my first lap Bob Searles and Mike Youles still on their first stints went by – I was finding out how much grip I had – after 3 lapsI had caught right up behind them going up to Druids and then the desire to race overcame common sense and I tried to overtake them both on the outside of Druids.   Before I knew it I was heading for the gravel trap   – too much braking too late.   The next and final challenge of the season was to avoid– who else this weekend – but David Yates car neatly parked in the gravel trap right in my line of entry – David, a gentleman indeed, thanked me for avoiding his car – indeed I was impressed I had too!!   A very sorry end to a race that should have resulted in a podium.   After the race John Bussell, my mentor driver, said “You never go wide at Druids”!!!! So my second season ends. It has been great, a new car but with less grunt than we expected has been good.   I am extremely grateful to all those who have helped me this season.   Firstly all of our sponsors, many of whom we have seen at a number of races, my car owning partner Tom Butler, Roger Bennington and all his team at Stratton Motor Company and Heritage Racing Support, in particular my two engineers Kevin Fiddy and Paul Bellinger, Rigsby and his team of caterers, all the other friendly competitors in AMOC and Heritage races.   Finally and especially John Bussell who has taught me a thing or two about driving, which on occasions meant I was nearly as quick as him, and without whom I would not have achieved my first win.   It has been a great season.   It has also been a delight to see my son Ant getting into racing (I wish I had done so aged 19) and for him and Ciaran to achieve a number of class wins in both the MGB and the DBS.