Donington Park – 16th 17th July 2011 – Patrick Sherrington

Qualifying  16th, 17th July.  We were really keen to get the championship bid back on track at Donington and very hopeful of good results having had good pace at Spa. Qualifying was dry and we soon were down to some good times and at the front. As the session wore on we dropped to 4th so I pitted for some adjustments and claimed 3rd from Rick Johnson in the dying moments of the session.

Race 1  Race 1 was a wet track but drying so we were all hoping the choice of wet tyres would be right. Got a good start and was able to challenge Mike Jenvey on the run down to Redgate who sensibly defended the inside so I got into his wheel tracks to fend off Oldershaw who was on the outside. Mike seemed to be struggling as we exited Redgate Oldershaw powered into the lead and I squeezed up past Mike going down the hill toward Craner Curves, however Rick Johnson was also starting well and got past down into the Old Hairpin so across the line on the first lap a strong 3rd.
For the first 3 laps I didn’t have the pace of the leaders and dropped some 5 seconds off the lead. As we moved into lap 5 the tables turned and I was a second quicker than anyone and dived up the inside of Rick at theMelbournehairpin much to the delight of the supporters from ADI who were positioned right at the hairpin. Once into second I set about catching Rob Oldershaw and by lap 10 was right behind him.

Some backmarkers presented an ideal opportunity as we approached the corner onto the back straight Rob was held up and I launched the car down his inside, got on the power as early as I dared and let the car slide right to the outside of the track but into the lead. Once ahead I was at least a second quicker at that stage of the race than anyone and powered into a 9 second lead with 5mins to go. Surely this would be the first championship round race win for the car?

It was then the bush in the steering mount under the dash decided it was going to pop out which meant the wheel was flopping about all over the place! Could I hold on? I decided to keep going but the wheel issue was costing me 2 seconds a lap and Mike Jenvey was now setting his fastest times and reeling me in. Thankfully I held on for the remaining 3 laps and crossed the line 3 seconds ahead for the win.

FANTASTIC!!!!! Congratulations to Clive and Cindy at MCR, the team Dad, Ken and Scott and thanks to all the supporters from ADI who braved the weather and got to watch a great race.

Race 2  We started on pole thanks to the previous days race win and were hopeful of picking up more big points in race 2. The weather again proved tricky and having been dry for most of the day the rain started to come down but only just enough for wets.

It was very slippery off the line and I tried a 1500rpm start which worked well and held the lead into the first corner. Rob Oldershaw started very well and was right behind me going down the Craner Curves. As he challenged down the inside for the old hairpin I decided to let him go as I was struggling for grip and an off at the Old Hairpin would be disaster. Oldershaw went through into the lead and I concentrated on widening the gap to Mike Jenvey in 3rd. This worked well until lap 5 when Mike seemed to just find more grip and he caught me the next lap. It stayed this way for 3 laps and I had noticed that the officials had the black and orange flag out of a number of cars. I checked to see if my number was there but it wasn’t so safe to carry on.

Mike got past on lap 10 so down into third but then I noticed the black flag with his number on. It turned out that unfortunately for him he hadn’t switched his rain light on and he was disqualified for ignoring the black and orange flag.

This promoted me into second which I maintained until the finish so another fine haul of points!

View from the garage by mechanic David Oldridge<< >>Castle Combe Endurance - 14th August 2011 - Sherrington/Jenvey