James on the podium in Sports 2000 endurance race
After a successful test with MCR Race Car manufacturers at Anglesey the previous month, James was invited by the factory team to drive in the hour’s endurance race for the Sports 2000 cars following their Championship race the day before. James was to share the drive with front running driver Mike Jenvey in an attempt to put MCR on the top of the podium.
Qualifying started well with James setting respectable times on the quick Norfolk circuit. The plan was to put in some initial laps to get a time recorded and then for Mike to take over for the remainder of the session and get used to the car having not driven it before. James recorded a time to put the car on the 3rd row and then Mike went out. With only a few laps in the car Mike was going well but unfortunately our luck was not to hold, coming past the pit wall we could see the car was down on power and into the first corner Mike lost drive, the engine had let go. The car was recovered back to the pits and examined by the team but it was concluded that the engine was not repairable and so we would have to pull out from the race. Very disappointing news as it was looking good for a decent result but nothing could be done, that was that. However Clive Hayes, the team Principle, was supposed to be sharing the second MCR car of Peter Williams for the race and very kindly gave up his seat so that James could still race. Now sharing with Peter, the car was to start on the 6th row with Peter doing the first stint and James the second.
The Race was set for the afternoon with good weather promising an exciting battle throughout the field of cars. Peter made a good start holding his own and getting things under way. Tactics were aplenty in the race with pit stop strategy a big talking point. Cars were coming into the pits fairly early giving more time to the second half of the race to make up positions. Responding to the decisions of their competitors MCR brought Peter in while running in 7th position. James jumped into the car and belted up; as soon as the mandatory pit time limit was spent he raced back onto the track. Rejoining the race on lap 23 James was in 18th position and three laps behind the leaders and so had his work cut out. With 22 laps to go James set about catching the cars ahead and with a series of quick laps made a few places up as others were pitting. On lap 29 the safety car was called out, bunching up the field although the cars around James were on a different lap. Three laps later the safety car pulled in and the race re started, taking advantage of the situation James passed the next car as they passed the start/finish line and honed in on the next. With a host of quick laps including his best for the weekend James reeled in the competition and by the time the chequered flag fell the car finished in 4th position and 2nd in class, only 1 lap behind the winning car of Rik Johnson. An excellent result for the team considering the difficult circumstances from earlier in the day, proving that MCR race car manufacturers have a strong package over the longer distance races.