A Trip Up The Mountain
Saturday 8th September saw the Mini Challenge Cooper classes convening at Cadwell Park for another day of intensely close racing. Following changeable conditions for testing on the Friday, Saturday was set fair with glorious sunshine and the odd scattering of cloud.
Qualifying went smoothly, however Andy and The Flying Panda could only manage 8th place in qualifying. Having only had around 40 minutes of testing to increase pace through the formidable Goose Neck and off camber Barn corners - there was plenty of speed left in the bag. Unfortunately, due to the Championship Regulations 8th place quickly became a back of the grid start as a hangover from Croft just three weeks previous.
Race 1 got off to a rather embarrassing start the Flying Panda baring its rear end to world after the boot lid opened while exiting the assembly area - thank you George ;-). The Scrutineers quickly rectified my race engineer’s mistake and the start procedure commenced on a tightly packed grid - it felt like we were two by two rather than the more familiar staggered grid.
Race 1 finished as it started for Andy with a closely packed rear of the grid, all faster than each other at different parts of the circuit, however, not enough of a difference to commit to a move. This was coupled by slight apprehension due to the previous trip into the gravel (Croft). Andy left with a souvenir after some debris flicked up from the track and left a circular shatter on The Flying Panda’s windscreen - it made quite a noise!
Race 2 started with a tightly packed grid side by side through turn 1 followed by Andy passing Adrian Norman efficiently through Charlies. Two spinners took Andy up to 6th and then the ABS failed resulting in a near miss on the back Michael Paul and going too deep in to Mansfield. Adrian managed to get his position back, the championship leader, Paul Manning came through after his spin and Andy held on for dear life with the now lame Panda to finish in P8.
Another challenging, exciting, emotional roller-coaster of a weekend!
Watch the highlights in the below video, like, subscribe and comment and hold on tight for the next instalment after Donington on 28th and 29th September.