So with the summer break over, it was time to go racing again at Snetterton. Finally!
I honestly hadn’t wanted to have a break in the first place, as I had been eager to continue straightaway with the momentum we had from Croft back in June.
Friday practice went ok, finishing the first session in third place about 0.3 seconds off the top, but with very old tyres on the car, we knew we weren’t going to be challenging for the fastest time. Still, to wind up only a few tenths adrift around a circuit where new tyres are pivotal was a pretty encouraging start.
Then, about ten minutes before the afternoon running was due to begin, the heavens opened and covered Snetterton in an amazing lightning show – not to mention the heaviest rain I have seen for a long time!
That delayed proceedings by about an hour, and after we eventually did get out on-track, with the conditions being as bad as they were, I was reluctant to push too hard knowing we had qualifying the next morning – and whilst I had been pleased with our pace on Friday, I was very much looking forward to a new tyre run.
Saturday came and it was an early start for the JHR Developments crew. With dark clouds looming large in the distance, there were a few cogs in people’s brains starting to wonder what the weather would do. Fortunately, it stayed dry and when we went out for qualifying, I could immediately feel that the car was mint with its new boots on.
I set a couple of initial ‘banker’ laps – just to be on the safe side should the rain fall – before returning to the pits and waiting five minutes, again remaining mindful of not taking too much life out of the tyres. I then needed just one more lap to regain pole position after Jamie Orton had grabbed it from me, and happily, I was able to do enough to snatch it back by almost two tenths of a second.
The first race arrived late that afternoon, and I got a great start to retain the lead into Turn One before focusing on holding the gap and not doing anything too daft to risk falling off. I brought the #80 car home in P1 to the delight of my JHR boys, claiming my first-ever victory at Snetterton in the process!
Race two came bright and early on Sunday morning. Unfortunately, I couldn’t replicate the fast getaway I had made in race one and dropped behind Carl Breeze, staying there for the duration. I kept him under constant pressure by showing him my nose and darting around behind him, but in typical Carl Breeze style, he never left me a big enough gap to slot my SKYCIG KX car down the inside!
Race three was, as ever, the reverse grid outing, and Carl drew number five meaning I was to start fourth – on the outside for Turn One. Fantastic… I knew it would be crucial to get a good launch, but Carl got away even better and managed to jump me going into the first corner. There was then an accident right in front of me, leaving me with nowhere else to go in avoidance but the grass.
Thankfully, all the drivers involved were fine and luckily for me, the red flags flew and a full re-start was called. I got a much better start second time around and was able to keep Carl behind me. I was then stuck behind Pepe Massot for the remainder of the race and, just like in the morning encounter, a gap never opened wide enough for me to send it down the inside. Crucially, however, Carl was behind me when we crossed the finish line, which enabled me to extend my championship lead to 107 points.
Overall, it was a very solid weekend of podium places with a win, a second and a third to increase my advantage in the standings, which had been my goal going into Snetterton. SKYCIG’s home circuit of Knockhill is up next at the end of the month, and hopefully I won’t be leaving in an ambulance this year!
A massive ‘thank you’ as ever to all the guys at JHR and my sponsors KX, SKYCIG and Hansford Sensors – and to all of you for checking out my blog and for your continued support. Make sure, as well, to take a look at this very cool on-board footage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RUip3RbpoE
Don’t forget, if you’re not already doing so, you can follow everything that’s happening with me on Twitter @TomIngram80 and at my website www.tom-ingram.com.