Ginetta GT4 Supercup 2018 Round 2 – Donington Park National
Super One Round 6: PF International
It could barely have been any closer!
As the final round of the Championship drew closer, I knew I had a lot of work to do as I’d need a near-perfect weekend scoring of more than 186 points. On Friday before qualifying, my pace was competitive but still lacking those few hundredths to be in the box seat. Come the evening’s qualifying, a set of new tyres and a very good lap set me in the place I needed to be - I would start from pole position for the next day’s races.
Saturday arrived and I knew that I must go out on track and drive like I had for the entirety of the season so far; consistent and attacking. I had to settle for second in heat one but the second heat didn’t go well. A good start again saw me at least second for the first half of the race but I took a small bit of contact entering turn one which gave a chain of drivers the chance to pass me and come the end of lap eight, I was languishing down in eleventh. I put in row of super-quick laps to put me back amongst the pack, managing to salvage seventh from the heat. As the day ended Dad and I did the maths and realised that I still had a chance to be the 2016 Super One British Junior X30 Champion. I needed at least a win and a second place in the two finals. I knew what I had to do and I was going to do everything I could to make it happen.
Sunday. My last day of karting as a junior! With a chance of the championship to be won I felt the pressure mount up. It was going to be an exciting day! Starting second for the first final, where I stayed for the first half a race. My setup meant I should be very fast at the end of the race opposed to the very beginning so I expected to fall back a little but going back to seventh wasn’t on the cards. An opponent passed me in a fast chicane, compromising my line for the second part of the chicane. But I got my head down once again and with five laps to go, the kart came alive! I began regaining places and come the last lap I was third again – needing at least second to keep my chance of the title alive, I could see who I needed to pass and I made sure I set up my move right. A simple out-braking manoeuvre into the last sector claimed back the place I needed to be in. Better still, the winner was given a penalty so I was eventually awarded the win for the first final! As a result, second would be enough to be champion in Final Two.
The last race of the season. This was it. I started on pole. The lights went green and come the end of the first sector I had a two second lead over the pursuing pack. As everyone behind battled I kept my gap constant and didn’t lose any time, but I didn’t gain any either. For this final, the team and I had gone for a setup that would be faster at the start of the race and as a result, once the pack behind sorted themselves out, I began to be caught. With only five laps to go of the 14, second place made his move for the lead with two more following him through. In the space of just one sector I had gone from first to fourth and my championship hopes were now hard to reach. I made my move back into third just beginning the last lap and come the last sector I had caught the defending leader and second place. Exiting the chicane at the start of the last sector I saw my last chance to bag the championship. It was a racer’s move. One that I had to make or fall in trying. Unfortunately, I made the move, but just ran wide and just like that I was back in fourth and would finish there. What a disappointing end to an incredible season. Overall I scored 63 points more than anyone else but once the two lowest round scores had been dropped, I was just three points behind my rival. However, I can look back now and say that I’m incredibly proud of all that I’ve achieved this year. To be in a position to win the championship until the last sector of the last race of the season is an achievement that I’ll be proud of forever. I never gave up and came so close.
Finally, I’d like to say a massive thank you to all the guys at Jade Karts. I really cannot thank them enough for their outstanding effort all year but most of all I couldn’t have been in a position to say this if it wasn’t for all the support from my family all season long! It’s been a stellar year and I can’t wait to get out on the track again in 2017.