Well, after attending hundreds of meetings and watching thousands of hotrods lap short ovals across the UK, this weekend was the first time that Ross would find himself in a rather unusual position…..behind the steering wheel of his dads hotrod!
The car sits in the pits wondering why it’s number #26 this week…
Putting all his 30 minutes of experience in a race car to practice it was a slightly apprehensive Ross who lined the #26 car up in 8th position at the back of the grid for race 1 behind former triple world champion Colin Whites spanking new Vauxhall Tigra…..Ross finding this immense miss-match of experience and abilities highly amusing as they left the line for the first time!
Throughout the day Ross managed to find more and more speed as he got more comfortable with the car and after being lapped in the first race he was showing enough speed to finish comfortably on the lead lap in the final and in sight of the 3rd place squabble so it’s fair to say everyone was pretty pleased and delighted with how well things were progressing. Not least Brian who was expecting to have to fix the car after the meeting!
With this being a double header we found ourselves back at Bristol the next day and Ross was instantly looking happier with the car in first practice as he ran at the same pace as some of the other cars. For race 1 #26 would start 2nd but soon slip down to 6th and last in the early stages before re-catching the fight for 3rd place in the latter stages of the race and actually managing to make a pass to take 5th place…although even that didn’t quite prepare for what was going to happen in race 2….
Starting on pole for the first time Ross left the line with a much racier start than the previous attempts and led the pack round for the first lap before something quite surprising happened, (well Ross was surprised anyway) …he pulled away from the chasing cars! And once the #775 car of Phil Parkhouse had to begin defending his 2nd position #26 could quickly open up a massive lead although would it be enough of a gap once Colins rapid Tigra moved into 2nd place?
The laps counted down and the gap inevitably closed but thankfully the 20 lap race came to an end with a still healthy lead in place and Ross took his first win in his first race weekend! Cue hysterical celebrations and a most surreal experience for Ross as he took the trophy and boarded the pace car!
Ross looking fairly chuffed after his first win!
Let’s hope the rather cool but unusual trophy isn’t an omen…
After the perfect conditions for race 2 it was a somewhat different situation for the final as the drivers were greeted with a track covered in oil, water and mud from the recent banger race as well as a sprinkling of hail…still, you’ve got to learn these things! After 2 cars had spun simply trying to get some heat into their tyres on the way to the grid it was time to get the race underway and Ross looked good in the slippery first few laps as he got away from the car starting behind him and swept round the outside of #88 Alan Shelper before catching #205 Mike Norton in third place.
That was as far up as #26 was to get in this one though as Ross couldn’t make it into third and then slipped back to 5th as he was a little slow in realising how fast the track was drying, another lesson learnt. Still, a close 5th place at the line meant another finish that wasn’t last place (that being Ross’ target for the day) and a whole lot learnt about racing in slippery conditions!
Some pretty bad weather over the Mendip Hills
So all in all the team left Mendips after 2 days racing with the car still in one piece, a race win and a whole lot of things learnt for Ross, certainly a very impressive debut! The next meeting is on May 4th, see you there.