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Pembrey Rounds 6 & 7

After going quickest in morning practice, I drew Pole Position for race 1. Having slipped behind initially, I retook the lead at the end of lap 1, and controlled the race until it was red flagged for an incident on lap 6. This meant a 5 lap sprint, and despite heavy pressure from Matt Pape I managed to claim our 3rd victory of the season.

Race 2 saw me line up in 15th position, and I made a positive start reaching 9th by the end of the opening lap. I kept making smooth progress getting through to 3rd by lap 8, but by then, the two lead cars were a little too far ahead, and despite halving the gap in two laps I had to settle for that 3rd place. I also set fastest lap of the race in 1:07.568 at an average of 77.57 mph.

As the qualifier with the highest number of points I would start the final all the way down in 16th. After making quick progress up to 7th by lap 3, oil from a car in the leading pack had impaired my vision, and rather than risk the chance of an accident, I patiently picked up a couple more positions and finished in 5th position with my closest rivals in the days points all finishing behind me to ensure that we also won the day outright too! A great day all round for the WBMC Racing team!

Another great practice before the first race saw another P1, and the first time I'd ever broken the 1:07 barrier. This left me full of confidence lining up 16th for race 1. The conditions were tricky with mist and drizzle in the air. Progress was tricky in the opening laps, but as the race progressed I was the quickest car on the circuit and made great progress up to 4th position by the flag, just on the tail of the top 3, I needed another lap or two!

For the reverse grid 2nd race I lined up 3rd, and moved into 2nd behind Steve Whitelegg immediately. I took the lead the lap after and to try and describe what happened afterwards is nearly impossible! A four way scrap between cars #6 (me!) #4 Mickel, #78 King and #66 Whitelegg resulted in numerous overtakes, wheel to wheel action in a race that will be remembered for years. I got pipped by King on the last lap and ended up P2. The top 12 cars were covered by 2 seconds, a race that will be great viewing on Motors TV!

Once again I was highest points scorer, and lined up 18th on the grid for the final. After making a good initial start, an incident occurred in front of me, forcing me to take evasive action onto the grass. Despite that I still managed to come round 12th on the opening tour, and then the hard work began, picking cars off one by one. By lap 8 I made it in to the top 6, and needing a top 3 finish to clinch P1 on the day, I put everything on the line, getting up to 4th on lap 10. The gap to the top 3 was significant, but in a lap and half I reeled the leaders in, but with time running out I just missed out on 3rd by 0.05 of a sec. 

The results meant I ended up 5 points short of P1, but nonetheless a great weekend moving up to 2nd in the championship 240 behind Mickel. Thanks to the team for a great car over the weekend and we now move on to Anglesey, one of my favourite circuits on the calendar, so I can't wait!

Pembrey will be televised on Motors TV on July 22 so get your recorders at the ready! 
Race 2 victory in Round 4

Croft Rounds 4 & 5

Race 1 was the only dry race of the day, and I drew 17th on the grid. The first corner at Croft is always tricky, and i managed to avoid the carnage and got upto 8th. The Safety Car was then deployed, and under the restart, another driver lost control, taking me off the circuit. I rejoined in 16th position, and by the flag recovered to 9th place.

There was a lot of rain falling in the lunch break, and I lined up on the front row. I got a good start slotting into 2nd behind John Paterson, and on lap 3 I made my move to take the lead. Despite a brief Safety Car period, I was able to comfortably maintain a nice advantage despite the slippery conditions and took our 2nd victory of the season ahead of Paterson.

The Final saw similar conditions, although the rain had now stopped. From 16th on the grid I managed to miss the carnage in the opening corner, but the red flag came out, forcing a complete re-start. I got a great start, scything my way through the field into 4th. It took me a couple of laps to pick my way through to 2nd, and with leader Henry King 7 seconds up the road, my focus was on keeping championship leader John Mickel behind. The last few laps we set a furious pace, pushing really hard on a drying circuit, and managed to halve the gap to the leader by the flag, and in the process stayed in 2nd place.

The result of the final meant I took overall victory by 5 points to Daniel McKay. After the disappointment of the opener, the team and myself were overjoyed to get back to P1!

For race 1 of Round 5, I drew 10th place in the ball draw. I made steady progress up to 4th place by lap 5, and despite closing in on the lead trio, that is the position I ultimately had to settle for.

In the reverse grid race 2, I lined up a place higher in 9th and made a fantastic start, missing the first corner mayhem to emerge in 3rd position, that then quickly became P2, just before the Safety Car was deployed. On the restart I had an attempt on leader John Paterson which just failed, and on the next lap John Mickel slipped past. The 3 of us were setting a frantic pace out front and despite my best efforts, I had to settle for 3rd at the flag.

For the final I lined up 15th, and made steady progress over the first 4 laps getting up into 5th. On lap 6 I set the fastest lap of 1:37.295, only 1/10th off the lap record. By the last lap I got into 3rd, and despite trying my hardest to find a way through, that is where I would stay.

The overall results meant I finished 3rd on the day, concluding a successful weekend for myself and the team. A double podium and closing in on the championship lead getting up to P3 in the standings was just what the doctor ordered! Thanks to my Mum and Dad, my fiancée Sam and Rob and David for their support and hard work over the weekend. Roll on Pembrey at the end of May!

On my way to victory in Saturday's final

 Brands Hatch Rounds 2 & 3

Round 2 on Saturday started in wet conditions, and after a strong result in the wet in the last round of 2014, we were confident of a repeat. Starting 16th, I got delayed at the start by a spinning car in front, and fell back a bit, and by the end recovered to 10th. Not a great start, but solid points nonetheless. 

The 2nd heat I was in the 4 spot on the grid, and quickly made up ground running in 3rd. However another driver made contact with me whilst going for 2nd and spun me around and inflicting heavy damage on my steering. 17th was all I could manage by the line.

The team worked very hard in repairing the car for the final, and starting from 9th I made a positive start, quickly getting into the top 5. I then picked off the drivers one at a time very quickly and took the lead over from Steve Whitelegg going into Surtees on lap 4. Under heavy pressure I fended off Steve for the next 7 and a half laps to win by 0.144 secs to take our first victory of the season. The team and I were ecstatic to end a difficult day with the best possible result!

Round 3 on the Sunday saw a huge crowd make their way in and after a couple of small setup changes, I went quickest in morning practice leaving me confident ahead of the races. Starting 11th, I had a good start, and on lap 3 whilst in 5th, I had a bad misfire for half a lap dropping me to 9th, then it mysteriously cleared up and recovered to finish in 5th setting fastest lap in the process only 0.04 off the lap record. A slight missed chance of a victory here.

Race 2 I started 12th and made another good start getting upto 6th on the opening lap. I took one position per lap over the next 4 laps working my way into 2nd, with only Ben Power left in front. Ben had been very fast all weekend, and it was a difficult task closing Ben down, I managed to close the gap from 0.7 to 0.3, then Ben made a small mistake on the last lap which gave me an opportunity to close in, but ultimately I just ran out of laps finishing 0.125 behind in 2nd place.

The good results meant I started the reverse grid final in 20th, but my race was almost over before it began, the return of the misfire from race 1 was very unwelcome, and I finished 21st two laps down despite the team's best efforts to fix it. We analysed the problem to a coil problem and we will be ready to go at Croft in two weeks time! 

Thanks to my Mum and Dad, my fiancée Sam, Rob, Dave and Jeff for their work and support over the weekend, as well as my sponsors West Berks Motor Company, Window Wize, RCM Services and Calor Gas.

Oulton Park 2015

Oulton Park was a tricky weekend for us, in first practice we had a differential failure, which cut our running severely. Wet weather greeted us for the opening official session of the year, and the car felt reasonably good as I set the 4th quickest time out of the 30 cars.

For the first heat I drew pole position, and whilst running in 2nd and closing in on the leader, I was hit by a competitor behind me pushing me into a spin. I recovered in 7th position and made it back up to 4th by the flag.

In the reverse grid 2nd heat, starting 20th, I got boxed in somewhat in opening crucial laps, and had to settle down and pick drivers off one by one. I set some good lap times towards to end, getting upto 8th on the tail for the battle for 5th, with the flag coming one lap too early for my liking!

The team found some suspension damage in between races 2 and the final, and did a great job in getting me out on track, however we weren't able to get the required setup on the car in time. Starting 16th, I climbed through to 6th on the back of the lead group and set 2nd fastest race lap of 2.00.1. 

The three results combined meant I finished 4th overall which is a solid start, and I look forward to building upon this at Brands Hatch on April 11/12 for the Truck Festival meeting. Thanks to my team for their hard work over the weekend!

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