I headed into round three of the championship with great hopes after an excellent start to the season. Unfortunately things did not turn out how I hoped
I took part in a free practice session on the Saturday afternoon. It had been a couple of years since I had driven at Cadwell so I needed to familiarise myself with the track again. All of the journey to the track had been bright sunshine but five minutes before I was due to go onto track the heavens opened. I was in the assembly area and unfortunately my car had a flat battery. I left the engine running whilst in assembly during which time it began to overheat. I quickly turned the engine off to stop the engine temperature rising anymore. However quickly regretted this as I could not start the engine again! I managed to start the session ten minutes late after someone was able to get a battery booster pack, but I was only able to do two laps before the car started overheating again and I had to pull off the track. I was very disappointed to start the weekend like this.
During the Saturday evening my car was a hive of activity as the radiator, battery and thermostat were all looked at and changed in an attempt to fix the problem. Fortunately the weather on Sunday morning was much better for qualifying. I was constantly checking the temperature gauge and there were no issues in the first two laps so I began to push myself to lay down a good time. However my hopes were quickly dashed after this as the gauge rose into the red again and I had to pull off the track. I was able to complete four laps of the session and during this time my best lap put me in 21st position out of the 32 drivers entered. I was happily surprised that I had achieved this position in the small amount of laps that I completed but was also concerned about the overheating.
The last resort that we had before race one was to try some sealing fluid as the issue was possibly a head gasket. With this I took to the grid but unfortunately did not make a good start. I suffered from a lot of wheelspin despite following my normal start procedure. This cost me a couple of positions but due to the narrow nature of the Cadwell track not too many. I knew it would be a long race so got my head down. My race was to be cut short again though but this time I made the mistake of over correcting a slide midway through lap two and ran off into the barriers which ended my race. I was extremely disappointed in myself as I sat in the car wedged in the barriers as the rest of the race went on around me.
A lot of people had done a lot of work on my car over the winter and during the Cadwell weekend which I used as motivation heading into race two. Unfortunately I again suffered with wheelspin at the start of the race but was able to maintain my position. I managed to make it through the first few laps but due to what had happened during the weekend had very little confidence in the car and was therefore lacking pace. This was capped off when at the end of lap 5 the temperature gauge once again rose into the red as I entered the bottom of the famous ‘mountain’ corner. I tried to go with it for a lap to see if the car would fix itself. Half a lap later the temperature had fallen to a safe level again but when I entered ‘the mountain’ again it was back in the red and I had to retire to prevent any further engine damage
Have you ever had one of them days when nothing goes your way? This is what the weekend at Cadwell felt like for me, with the battery being flat when we arrived, to then overheating in the assembly area, then the crash that I had in race one and the continuing overeating in race two. As I have said it was hugely disappointing for me and another major issue surfaced due to the little confidence that I had when driving the car. After leaving the circuit I knew this would just have to be a weekend that I forget and dust myself off for the next round at Castle Combe on 15th of July