Coggsport (as we christened Matt’s new racing team) fielded three cars for this meeting and what a cracking time we all had. Matt’s good friend and GT Race Series Champion Jody Firth was going to drive “The Black Car” Matt in his Rothmans liveried one and me in my Rosso Corsa Ferrari liveried beasty (with genuine Ferrari gel badges and wing shield)
Qualifying didn’t go to plan. Jody did better than expected and put it on Pole but Matt and I were not quite as good as we thought we’d be. I was in 18th and Matt was 16th from the 28 car grid.
Race 1 and my position on the grid meant I had the advantage of being able to watch how everyone else got on off the line (you don’t hear that on F1 do you!!!) and it worked to our advantage as Sarah Wherry got it a bit sideways in the first corner and got collected by another few cars. After a few laps of he safety car, we were back under way and I’d now had my first experience of a re-start. I held 14th place for most of the race despite a huge battle with Phil Lockey in the Gulf liveried car but was gifted 13th when Matt spun in front of me on lap 7. Lockey finally managed to over power me on the final lap and between us we both managed to overcome car 70, Neal Hurren leaving myself 13th and Matt 15th.
Race 2 saw us racing in pretty much grid order for the first three laps or so. The strange thing was that this time, the leaders hadn’t scampered off and left me. I could still see them circulating in front of me. Jason Jesse in the New York Police car had occupied the lead for a while but suffered mechanical problems so was coasting to the pits but held me up slightly on the chicane. A gap then opened between Lockey and myself and then just seemed to grow and grow. Annoyed by this, I drove harder and harder and with circuit racing, this is not necessarily the best way. The gap in front increased to 5 seconds and the gap to the car behind which was previously five seconds was now down to a couple of seconds and it was Matt who was knocking on the door to come by. By lap 7 the gap was down to a second and on lap 8, Matt carried more speed through turn 2 and sailed by on the straight to an accompaniment of mutual “V Signs”. The look on his face was a picture as I crossed over and took him on the way into the chicane and he hovered a couple of inches off my rear bumper through the Bomb Hole and into the Esses, pulling out to attempt an overtaking move on the start / finish straight. Matt had the legs on me and managed to do me under braking into turn 2 and I was too far behind for my late lunge at the chicane to do any good but I pushed him all the way through the Bomb Hole and in to the Esses. Matt frustratingly pulled away up the start straight and through turns 1 and 2 but I carried good speed through the latter and was again swapping bumper paint through the chicane and the bomb hole. Late braking by Matt into the Esses left him wide open but he slammed the door as I attempted a dive up the inside and the avoiding manoeuvre I took sapped my speed for what turned out to be the last drive up the finish straight where we finished nose to tail in 10th and eleventh spots.