It’s safe to say that my lucky egg and Nessie played an absolute stormer this weekend. My main man Alex has a lot to put up with. Not only does he have to fix my little car every time I bounce it off something and deal with my intolerable odour but he also has to keep my lucky egg safe and makes sure Nessie sits on my car every time it’s in the garage but at Brands everything seemed to align.
To be honest I could’ve went home after race one and been more than happy, to come from 11th to 4th was a great result but it has to be said that the car practically drove itself! As early as when I was on the green flag lap I knew it was going to be a good race.. The team provided me with an unbelievably good car. Nothing is ever easy when it comes to touring cars but they certainly made it as easy as possible.
Now onto THE race!! Race 2 is something I’ll never forget.. Every time I re-watch the race I still can’t get over the fact that it was me in the car. It’s like I’ve some kind of alter ego that takes over when it comes to racing, I’m just silly old me who loves a good cup of tea but for some reason I seem to be able drive a racing car rather fast! I have two favourite parts of race two, the first being when I even had to hold my breath as I went around the outside of Tom Onslow-Cole for the lead and the second screaming “Hollllllly sh*ttttttt!” down the radio as I crossed the line to win!
It feels weird to me to say that a 5th in race three was the worst result of my weekend because at the start of the season I would’ve given my right arm for a 5th and to do it with 45kg success ballast in the car is even better! The only issue with race three was the organic bit that sits behind the wheel.. it took me a couple of laps to get used to the extra weight in the car which allowed the front group to get away but once I settled in I started to slowly make back the ground to the leaders but they were too far up the road at that stage.
Since I started racing karts my dream has always been to win a touring car race but to be honest I didn’t know if it would be possible to do it in my first year so to actually achieve it is something I’m insanely proud of. Even the fact that it has been over 25 years since the last time the Irish national anthem was played for a touring car podium means a lot to me and I’d love to think it will be heard again next year. I still find it weird when the likes of Matt Neal come over to congratulate me, I feel like turning around to him and saying something like ‘the reason I started racing was the likes of you- you’re pretty much my fricking idol!!’ Brands also gave me something else I’ll never forget which was the moment I got out of the car after race three.. I opened the door to hear everyone screaming, jumping up and down and of course the odd tear! Moments like that stick with you and make it all worthwhile, everyone at Redstone was over the moon and that’s what makes the difference. As the saying goes we certainly win and lose together but this year it felt like we did more losing than anything so to win a race for them was very special. Sorry I forgot the most important part of winning, I’m pretty sure one of the first thing’s I said to Alex was that “we’ll get some stickers now!!” I even managed to take a photo, definitely the highlight of my weekend.
People have already started asking me what I’m doing next season and my plan is to simply stay with Redstone Racing and get a new toy to play with in terms of the NGTC focus which I think everyone will agree will be one of the cars to beat next year. Sure who else would have me?! Don’t think I could ever go anywhere else.. it would literally be like leaving my family! Now it’s down to that awful time of year when we’re ringing around every potential sponsor as I’m promising to sell my soul if they’re willing to help me out in any way!
Thanks a million to everyone who reads these blogs over the year, the support from everyone has meant so much to me! After my win I literally lost count of all the congratulatory messages which honestly mean the world to me so I’m already looking forward to coming back next year and hopefully putting on an even better show for everyone!
Thanks again for everything,