Soggy Cadwell


“How was it?”
“I feel sick, I can’t see where I’m going and I don’t really want to be in here if I’m honest”

Not the ideal reaction after qualifying for round 2 of this years Quaife Intermarque Championship at Cadwell Park last weekend. Quite unexpected too as Cadwell is the meeting we’ve most been looking forward to all winter due to it’s incredible rises and falls, fast sweepers, jumps and narrow sections (well, not sections, it’s all narrow) Walking the track on Saturday evening only served to excite us even more but come qualifying Ross looked out of sorts from the off as he dropped to the back of the group.

(Photo used courtesy of www.barcsoutheast.co.uk and Rafal Biniszewski, thanks!)

After only 2 laps the session was red flagged as Ray Harris’ SLK suffered a seized diff which left it partially blocking the track. With the session restarted the drivers had just 8 minutes to get to grips with the circuit and post a laptime. Ross gave himself a talking to and got on with it a little better after the restart but didn’t manage to find a clear lap and only posted the 12th fastest time.

Bit low for that corner then (Photo used courtesy of www.barcsoutheast.co.uk and Rafal Biniszewski, thanks!)

Back in the pits we found Simon Smith was also having the same problem as Ross, only managing 4 laps before he felt too sick to drive. He would get back on track for the races though, oh, and thanks for the travel sickness tablet!

Enjoy that sunshine while it lasts Brian!

Race 1 and as the cars were lining up on the grid the weather decided to liven things up further with light rain making the race an interesting adventure for the slick shod cars! In truth the track remained surprisingly grippy despite the rain and Ross got off to a decent start, inheriting a place half way round lap one when Baz Johnson had the first of many ‘adventures’ of the weekend and then another place a few corners later as Lewis Smith got a touch wide on the long fast right hander.

(Photo used courtesy of www.barcsoutheast.co.uk and Rafal Biniszewski, thanks!)

The next few laps saw some really close racing with Ross tucked up behind Richard Smiths Tigra while Mark Fuller was in close attendance behind. Onto lap 3 and with the rain worsening Ross passed Richard on the exit of turn 1 for 8th place and set his sights on Armiger and Blackman in front. It was all to go pear shaped however as Ross just lost the back end a little under braking for the mountain section and had to cut straight across the grass, not a big problem in itself but with the grass being wet and the section of track being called ‘the mountain’ the car half spun as it crossed back onto the tarmac and headed back off onto the grass! Cue many expletives in the cockpit as Ross desperately tried to coax the car back up the wet grass verge onto the track. Always fun, especially when every car on the track has long since flown past by the time you eventually rejoin the black stuff!

(Photo used courtesy of www.barcsoutheast.co.uk and Rafal Biniszewski, thanks!)

Back underway and with more grass blowing around inside the car than you’d find in your average lawnmower Ross was at least catching up with the Philip Young / Simon Smith / Colin Gomm battle, at least he was until the race was red flagged due to the ‘deteriorating conditions’ Bugger. Sometimes it’s just not your day. 13th place overall and 12th in class the end result then and just to rub salt into the wound the 8th place that Ross was occupying before he went off would have been pole for race 2!

Grid positions for race 2 would turn out to be fairly unimportant though as the rain which began falling during race 1 only got worse as the day went on. As the cars took to the track for race 2 it was most definitely with wet tyres on, windscreen wipers on and fingers crossed that your demisters were upto the job! It seems that Mark Fullers weren’t as the pole man dived for the pitlane on one of the two formation laps, Malcolm Blackman also joining him soon after with what we assume was a similar problem. There’s nothing worse than having a perfectly functional car with a misted up windscreen, it must be the most annoying reason for a retirement you can have. Thankfully things were holding up pretty well in the #26 car, the passenger side of the screen steaming up a little but the drivers side remaining all but clear.

That’s wet! (Photo used courtesy of www.barcsoutheast.co.uk and Rafal Biniszewski, thanks!)

Unfortunately a clear screen was completely useless when the race got underway as the sheer amount of spray being kicked up by the 12 cars in front made visibility virtually nill. Ross opted for ‘following the greenish shape of Simon Smiths Z4’ in front for the first few corners before passing him. It was then a case of race 1 all over again as Richard Smith was the next car up although he made matters easier by sliding off on lap 2. In truth there were cars off every way you looked which was completely understandable given the conditions.

(Photo used courtesy of www.barcsoutheast.co.uk and Rafal Biniszewski, thanks!)

Good news was to come however as Ross passed a ‘reddish shape in the spray’ (that’ll be Philip) and was greeted with a lovely clear track and the first good view of the track since the race began! The BARC websites race report best summed up the rest of Ross’ race as ‘steady’ That’s exactly what it was as #26 continued circulating in a clear 7th place for the rest of the race. Nothing spectacular and nowhere near the front pace (fair play to Lewis Smith though, although only finishing 6th he was absolutley flying!) but a finish and the car in one piece seemed like a bit of a result after a disappointing weekend. Championship wise we are now level on points with Malcolm Blackman in 5th place, 2 points behind Russel Humphrey who has jumped in front of us after a very good meeting. And yes, Ross still felt sick 😉

Ross ponders why he’s holding a tea cup while Chris holds a trophy, clearly we’re doing this wrong! (Photo used courtesy of www.barcsoutheast.co.uk and Rafal Biniszewski, thanks!)

One 300 mile journey later and the team are back home. The gazebo is drying out in Pauls garage (as it’s done nothing but rain since we returned) Ross’ soaking race kit is drying out in the airing cupboard and the front end of the 206 is in bits as we adjust the struts for the next meeting. Roll on June, roll on Brands Hatch! 🙂

We can rebuild! Stronger, faster, better!

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