Whenever we get rain at Aintree it seems to be of the biblical sort. I’d hoped for a chance at recovering my record and also scoring lots of useful points for my championship challenge. But as I set off I felt doomed – strong rain is never going to be good in the Elise and as my rear tyres are pretty close to the end of their life the problem is exacerbated.
Which I discovered in second practice, at about 80mph as I straightened up on Valentines Way and hit standing water. As the car slewed I couldn’t get enough lock and control to avoid doing a pretty and spectacular pirouette for the benefit of the marshalls. As I realised I was out of control I did the old trick of locking up all four wheels of the car in order to keep it going in the original direction rather than spinning off onto the circuit. It was great getting a whole new perspective of the circuit though when I flicked the car around to point the right way again I was pleased that I’d kept away from Aintree’s fearsome fences.
At this point, with the awful weather, it was decided to take a long and early lunch in the hope of salvaging the meeting.
And so the first runs started and Russell Thorpe threw in a brilliant run at 57.56s in Doris the Renault 5 Turbo, thoroughly trouncing my own slightly nervous run of 59.40… and just a second behind in third was Mark Teale in the beautifully prepared black Lotus Elise Sport belonging to Bobby Fryers.
So with the second run coming, Russell was doing a rain dance to try and keep me from catching his time, while Mark was geeing himself up for another improvement. I knew I had to pull something good out. And sadly I failed… I was still nervous from the spin and with standing water still on the circuit I ended up with a safe but uninspiring 58.13 while Russell knocked another tenth off his time. Mark managed to improve his time, coming in third with a 58.30.
I have to say now, that my own performance wasn’t great but it’ll serve as adequate. At Thoresby Park, should I get a second place or a close runner-up spot I’ll stand a good chance at either winning the Liverpool & Chester Speed Championship. At worst a second place looks likely. A lot depends on who enters and how confident I feel on an unknown track.