RD 7 Review
The final race weekend was Silverstone International. The task pretty straight forward on paper…win both races, take fastest lap in one of them and so long as Jamie Orton didn’t take the other fastest lap he could take 2 second places the championship would be mine on wins scored. Simple.
Testing had gone okay but had been a mixed bag. The times were there but come race day we were still finding time in the setup. Certainly with more time available there was more to come from the car but it was the same for everyone.
At face value the new Silverstone International layout is pretty easy. New pit straight followed by a sweeping right/left followed by a sharp right, sweeping left then very tricky right back onto hangar straight and then stowe corner and club complex. In reality there are corners that can have several different lines in due to the width of the track and that means a lot to learn to decide the best line and the quickest way around.
The international layout is the shortest race lap of the season with a monster straight meaning only one thing…a tow fest. If you want to win you either fight hard or break free and get away. Neither is an easy task.
Qualifying was okay, although it was my second worst performance of the year with a third. Apart from Rockingham (6th) all the other results have been pole or second and I formed up on the grid behind pole sitter Mark Shaw and Jamie Orton. Unfortunately formed up directly behind Mark, literally 5 meters or so. The start went well but having a better start than Shaw meant I needed to get straight out of the throttle, in doing so allowing Jamie Ellwood from behind me to spring into the lead. Still I had jumped Orton and that was the important thing. Onto hangar first lap and with a good tow off Shaw and then Ellwood I was able to take the lead going into stowe. Race one was a continual battle, Orton joined the fun a few laps in having dropped down a few places at the start and by mid race Jamie Orton and myself had broken the others by an important couple of seconds as the other drivers fought amongst themselves and we set about duelling to the end. As it happened on the last lap I was still leading having exchanged places several times. Jamie got the usual tow down hangar and just about got ahead as we reached the end of the straight. However after Snetterton’s last lap where Jamie overtook me at the final corner I wasn’t prepared to give it up that easily and hit the braking zone at the end of hangar straight mostly on the tarmac but being squeezed on the grass as well. We banged wheels but I managed to emerge in front. It meant I came out of club corner in the lead to take the chequered flag for my third win in a row, 6th of the season and the first win from a non F1 driver at the new Silverstone Wing complex. Mark Shaw took third place and fastest lap. That meant I needed a win and fastest lap to take the championship come race 2.
Race 2 I got the hole shot and rounded the corner in the lead. Jamie Orton had again had a tardy start and was nowhere to be seen and the plan was to get away while I could. Unfortunately that plan didn’t quite work out, Jamie Ellwood was right with me and 4 laps in he had used the slipstream to get past and Orton who had dropped to as low as 8th was now back behind me along with a large pack behind him including my team mate Simon Young, who had one of his strongest weekends of the season.
On lap 4 coming into the club complex Ellwood was on his usual, but very late entry into club and I was caught having to defend against Simon Young and Jamie Orton. As we turned in I clipped the back of Jamie Ellwood spinning him out of the lead. As it happened he dropped down to 14th but because of the tow within 15 minutes was back with us at the front as the other Jamie and I squabbled for the all important win. Simon Young was again right there in the mix and at one point I had been pushed back to 5th with JJ O’Malley making his last R300 appearance getting in front. The one downside of tapping Ellwood was it jarred my wrist again. Its still not right now, probably a trip to the quacks coming up soon.
As the final laps approached I was in third, behind Ellwood and Orton and that is how the race finished. I planned on getting one final chance down hangar straight but didn’t get the drive out of the corner and with yellow flags being waved at Club Ellwood had got his nose past Orton and took his first win of the year, Orton doing enough to hold me off for 2nd and I took the final podium slot.
So I didn’t quite do enough to take the title off Jamie, but managed to match him on number of wins for the year (6). In total 11 podiums from 14 races, 2 pole positions, 2 fastest laps and a lap record. Not a bad year. The major set back happened in race 2 at Oulton Park whilst leading on the last lap I was taken off by Gordon Sawyer which dropped me down to 9th. That was the difference between 1st and 2nd in the championship but thats racing as they say! Congratulations must go to Jamie Orton and Fauldsport who drove with incredible consistency. Jamie and I took 12 wins between us, Mark Shaw inheriting race 2 at Oulton and Jamie Ellwood winning the second race at Silverstone.
Its been a great year, SPY Motorsport has been fantastic and any other year 6 wins and 11 podiums would easily of been enough, but this wasn’t any year!
Posted on October 31, 2011, in Caterham, Motorsport, Photography, Racing and tagged Caterham, Jamie Ellwood, Jamie Orton, JJ O'Malley, New Silverstone Pits, Paul Wilson, R300, Silverstone International, Simon Young, Wing. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.