It was kind of weird driving over to Snetterton without the Elise. Both Adam and I in the same car, me dozing in the passenger seat. I knew our car would be there, as it was being dropped off by ES Motorsport, having been recovered to their garage after a rather vigorous outing the other weekend, but it was still strange, and I wasn’t as awake as I would have been normally.
We signed on, got scrutineered, and then went into Tyrells for the talky bit, which, Adam had to remind me, is called the ‘drivers briefing’. Here we got prep’d for the day and the complimentary bacon sarnies were circulated, leading to a bacon induced frenzy. In all the pork product excitement I shouted ‘Mexican wave!’ but it fell on deaf ears – or bun filled hands.
The weather was cold and damp. Drizzle made it hard for people with glasses on to see. We were very lucky to be at Snetterton as part of the Lotus Raceday, with Lotus Cup UK and Elise Trophy races also happening throughout the day.
Within no time at all, it seemed, we went out to practice. Being the second driver has it’s benefits – a warmed up engine, but for me it also has it’s downsides – I am easily confused. I didn’t know where I was supposed to wait, Adam was in the car on the grid, I was in the pit lane, and there was a wall in between. Luckily, before I did anything embarrassing, Danny from the Lotus Driving Academy appeared, like an expert organisation ninja, and he helped me get to the right place in time to swap over with Adam.
There was a bit of a rush to get me up to the start line, no sooner had I got there they’d dropped the flag. I didn’t even realise at first. I think I said something like, ‘Oh, is it my go?’ before realising that, yes it was, and putting my foot down.
The track was wet, and incredibly slimy. I took it really slowly, but still, at every corner, I wondered if I would make it round or just glide off in slow-mo.
I came back in, and swapped with Adam again. Whilst he was out on track it was discovered that his first run hadn’t been timed for some reason (maybe because he was so fast? Yes, that’s it, I am sure). When he came back in they sent him straight out again, much to his confusion. Another practice for me, and then time to wait.
Back in the paddock, to everyone’s delight, Tony and Fiona had brought a mini mountain (I think that’s a hill, or a hummock) of Creme Eggs, and Tony played the part of the Easter bunny, delivering them to happy drivers.
While I wasn’t looking, a new team had formed, Team Smurf. Bearded Smurf with a winky. Intriguing. The blue skies gradually moved in and the track dried out ready for our first timed run.
As the cars were going out of the paddock, and off to the assembly area, a family walked round looking at them all. Emma got into her car and the Mum shouted, ‘You go girl!’ rushing over to take her photo. She was very impressed to see a woman driving a car, and she told her kids this. As the other drivers drove passed, one of the little boys, feeling some gender rivalry, I assume, started shouting, ‘Beat the woman! Beat the woman!’ Once I’d finished laughing I offered him a brief explanation as to why that might not be an appropriate chant to remember.
I took my first timed run slowly, I needed assurance that the track had dried out. It had, so on my second run I tried harder, so much harder that I thought I’d had 4 wheels off, but it turned out to be just 2… twice!
Because the first and second runs were run back to back, nobody had any idea how they’d done. I was really pleased with my results, I’d done okay.
My cake of the day was a Victoria Sandwich. I brought a proper knife along so I could cut it without difficulty. At North Weald I knelt in the back of Duncan’s trailer, snapping plastic knifes off in the dense chocolate cake, but at Snetterton I could do my cake duties in the luxury of the LoTRDC hospitality vehicle. Basically, it’s a mega truck with a huge awning, cool decals and pictures of race cars on it, and the lovely Paul Golding hanging around the back doors keeping everything organised / running riot and causing havoc!
I did really good for me, my third timed run was 1 44.9, the fastest time I’ve ever achieved at Snetterton. I came in 10th out of 14 in our class, just 0.08 seconds behind Gary Thwaites (who I was almost 6 seconds behind this time last year where I did 1 51.2) He’s good. That’s good.
Adam, on the other hand, did doubley-good. 1 42.3, putting him in 6th place, which, when you compare the cars and the drivers, was bloody incredible.
Last season I was determined to beat Duncan, and today was the day, by just over 4 seconds. After all that, it didn’t feel good, I felt bad for Duncan. I don’t think I am cut out for competitive events. (I’m reminded again of the time I went go-karting in France and kept stopping to check on everyone).
The Production class was won by Graeme Foley. Second place went to Philip Stratton-Lake, and third to good ol’ Rob Clark. Hooray for Rob! Hooray.
In the SuperSport class it was a close call between Xavier Brooke, Dave Mann and Tony Pearman, with Xav pulling out his fastest time (and most of the interior of his car) on the final run.
And Dave Saunders won a special trophy for doing really well. Look how happy he was, bless him!
I’m really happy with my time, for me, but I can’t help thinking, if Adam can do it in our car, then why can’t I?! Well, maybe I should stop paying so much attention to cakes for a start!
If you want to see some more photos, there are some in this here Facebook album.