Knockhill was one of the rounds I couldn’t wait to get to, mainly due to the fact that I love the track, but also because I know I go well there and I wanted to start to close down the gap to the championship lead after my Snetterton nightmare.
I flew up on the Tuesday evening from Luton; it was my first time on a ‘plane, and I can’t say I enjoyed the experience – too many evenings spent watching ‘Air Crash Investigation’ meant I was a nervous passenger! Fortunately, we landed safe-and-sound in Edinburgh, where I waited for my lift and then got an early night ahead of testing on Wednesday morning, when – surprise, surprise – it was raining! We only did the morning session as I wanted to save the car given Knockhill’s merciless reputation. All went well, however, and we managed to get a few decent changes made. Then on Wednesday night, we all went out for an evening in Edinburgh and, well…I’ll finish that story there!
Friday was the next time in the car for me, and I wanted to get some more good running in and make a few changes. Again, we had a good day and found several ideas, and even though we didn’t put new tyres on, our pace was still strong.
On Saturday, we had qualifying and one race in the afternoon. We always knew it was going to be very close in qualifying around Knockhill with it being such a short lap. That said, I was three tenths up on pole position on my quickest effort until I suffered a momentary lapse of talent and managed to lock a wheel on the kerb entering the final hairpin, sending me straight on into the gravel! With some sterling strength, the marshals pushed me out and I made my way back to the pits. I was able to get back out after some gravel removal courtesy of JHR Developments and completed a few laps to improve to third – although unfortunately, that wasn’t quite the pace I’d had at the start of the session.
For race one later that afternoon, the heavens opened, drenching the circuit! I was happy because I love driving in the wet and knew I could take advantage of it and make hay while the sun…wasn’t shining! I got off to a good start, sitting in P3 behind Nathan Freke and I spent a few laps trying to find a way past. Three laps from the end, I finally managed to overtake him going into the hairpin. With Carl Breeze in the lead, I knew it was going to be hard to win, but I closed down a four-second gap and crossed the finish line almost pushing him! I was really pleased with that, and hoped the conditions would be similar for the next two races.
Unfortunately, it dried out instead. Still, starting off P2, I hoped to convert my qualifying pace in the dry into strong race pace too, but I couldn’t quite replicate it and finished in P2 behind Carl again. I guess with both of us lapping at such a similar speed, it was always going to be tough to overturn the starting positions.
For race three, I drew third on the reverse grid. Everything felt good, and I was confident and hoping to get a good start and put pressure on the two guys in front. Sadly, that wasn’t to be. I lined up in my grid slot, the lights came on and I picked the revs up, but then when the lights went out I dropped the clutch and there was an almighty bang and I just stayed there, engine still running but no drive. I couldn’t do anything but look in the mirror and wait to be hit… That hit came from an unsighted Mark Davies, and after that it was just a blur. I tried to get out of the car, but my legs couldn’t support my body weight and I rather inelegantly fell out! Doctors, paramedics, marshals and all sorts of people were around looking after me and I have to say a huge ‘thank you’ for everyone’s support. I was airlifted off to Dundee Hospital for scans and X-rays just to make sure everything was ok.
All the JHR guys are working hard to get the car sorted and ready for Rockingham later this month, so I now have to do everything I can to make sure I’m fit and ready, too.
I just have to say a massive ‘thank you’ again to everyone who helped out – all the officials, marshals, paramedics, Dr Traff’ and his team, the air ambulance pilot, the staff at Dundee Hospital, Heidi, Hannah, Jason and everyone at KX, Adam from MG, all the guys at JHR, Matthew and Leigh-Anne, my parents and of course all you guys for your tweets and well wishes.
Don’t forget to keep up with everything that’s going on by following me on Twitter @TomIngram80 and at my website www.tom-ingram.com
Thanks very much guys!