Competing in Australia's fastest racing series - Formula Holden

Mallala - August 10-12th 2001 - Round 7 HADC

Some weekends have it all. This was one of those weekends. Good luck, bad luck, fair weather and foul, highs, lows, friends and competitors. Now a few days later we can look back on the points outcome and be happy but it was hard hard work.

Session by session

Practice 1.

Today is going to be our day. My last lap here ended with a trip to hospital and a broken back but I've done a million laps here before that and I know every bump and turn. We have a perfect set up and even on old tyres the car is superb. We finish the session in sixth only 1/10th behind our main opposition.

Practice 2.

All still going to plan, we tried to change the low speed balance without affecting the aero balance in the faster corners. We did almost exactly the same time as earlier. We then tried some different roll bar settings without much affect. We still finish the session in sixth. In our post session check-up we find some suspension problems and fixed them but this means we don't really understand what set up we are going to do qualifying with. This is a little set back. We work out a set of changes to try and compensate for the problem.


It all goes wrong here. All the balance we had chased between the low and medium speed corners is gone and even with the new tyres on the car is slower. I am very disappointed especially after the cost of new tyres. I'm going to have to start race 1 in 9th place and my championship rival is quite a few places ahead. It's going to be tough from here.

Race 1.

It's nice. a plan works. I got a great start, up to seventh and the car was great. I was able to close on Terry and on lap 2 I got underneath him on the first corner of the esses and we did the rest of the series side by side and I got ahead. A lap or two later Terry's car gave up the ghost and though he got out on the track again later he had lost so many laps that he wasn't classified as a finisher. One of the front-runners also dropped out so I finished a career best equalling 5th place and first in Silver star. This has moved us to the lead of the Silver Star by 16 points. A great result and even batter after the disappointment of last years disastrous race here.

Race 2.

Someone lost the plan. On the warm up lap the brake pedal has gone soft and we are in big big trouble. I decide that we have to take the start and suddenly our 5th place on the grid is going to give us some real grief. I get a great start again and we are fourth on the way into the first corner when I touch the brakes the rear end locks and the car is ways sideways across the kerb. I manage to stop it going all the way round and rejoin in about 8th place although couple more cars are going to go by. The brake pedal was going all the way to the floor and sometimes there was some rear brake only and sometimes none at all. I talked to the team manager on the radio and we decided to press on and get whatever points were possible. I needed to go quite quickly to make sure we got enough laps to qualify and the car was a serious handful without brakes, we were still doing 220 kph on the straights. A late safety car period let me regain some time on the leaders so we were safe to do enough laps. I had a couple of spins but got home to 9th place and 5th in Silver Star so we only dropped four points on Terry.

Overall we went from four points behind to 12 points ahead with only two races to go in Winton Victoria in September to go. A good result in spite of the difficulties thanks largely to the efforts of the crew, Matthew, Paul, Kevin, Bruce and Rebecca.

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