My 2018 racing season in the Heritage Parts Centre UK Formula Vee championship certainly had some ups and downs.
From blowing the engine on my out lap at Castle Combe in qualifying, being involved in someone elses crash at Brands Hatch, overcoming engine problems to prove I can still drive at Croft, flying to Ireland with broken ribs and concussion (after a motorcycle accident) to challenge for a class win at Mondello Park, and then random problems which ultimately led to me not racing in the last round of the season and being left with two scrap engines.
It was a definite uphill struggle all year long, but sometimes I managed to see over that crest. Sometimes I got to taste that joy of both victory and the unbelievable exhilaration that only comes with motor racing.
I could focus on my engine problems and pure bad luck and frustration – or I can remember going for the class win at Mondello Park, wheel to wheel with Bill ‘Wom’ Garner in a titanic scrap on the final lap! Or the way I overcame serious power loss at Croft to lead B Class Championship winner Andrew Cooper in the opening laps and still hang onto him despite it being a very fast power circuit.
However frustrating things were, I’m still doing the thing I only ever daydreamed about as a kid, and to me, dropping back through the field at Silverstone with the engine dying but still fighting hard to stay ahead of the pack – that’s the sort of victory many will never be able to understand.
Despite missing 6 races and not finishing 1 – so half of the scheduled 14 – I somehow ended up 6th in class and 22nd overall. And more important than any stat is that I know that I have clearly improved and I’m a much faster and consistent driver and loving every second on and off the track!
If you were wondering where I was for Snetterton, basically the oil leak that stopped me doing the last race at Donington turned out to be an insert for an engine stud that had come out. As this meant we couldn’t use that engine case, we swapped all the internals into a spare case, only to find that case needs to be line bored as the main bearing was warped, and the barrels couldn’t be shimmed up evenly as that surface has warped, too. So whilst we have two scrap engines at present, we should be able to recover at least one.
For 2019 I’ll be hitting the season at full blast after a few improvements to the car, and fully intend to win my class, as well as stick it in the overall top 10 on a regular basis as I push myself even harder.
It’s a roller-coaster of a ride, but what’s better than throwing both hands high in the air and yelling “faster!”?
Thanks for all of your support this year, and for reading my (sometimes very long) ramblings!
Primrose Hospice for their amazing service, and allowing me to proudly carry their logo on my car and help their promotion.
Glenn Hay for heading up Racing Team Vee and for the use of the car.
My beautiful fiancé Julie for putting up with my sacrifices to go racing and my total obsession with it.
The Bromsgrove Standard and Craig Gibbons for publishing my race reports.