After departing Knockhill last year in the air ambulance following a driveshaft failure on the start-line, I returned 12 months on in high spirits and looking forward to a great weekend. I have always loved Knockhill as it’s a true rollercoaster racetrack – if only a little far away!
My girlfriend and I arrived in Scotland on Monday ahead of a football match with the SKYCIG office. My first time playing football since leaving school, I soon called shotgun on being in goal…for no other reason than meaning I’d be at least 30 yards from a broken leg!
It was my birthday on the Tuesday, so we enjoyed a chilled day taking in the sights of Edinburgh and the many different performances at the Fringe Festival.
We had a test lined up for Wednesday morning, which went very well and we were able to learn a lot from the laps completed. That same evening, we had a cheeky night out in Edinburgh with the whole JHR Developments team joining as well as a few friends. I can honestly say I haven’t experienced a hangover as bad for a long time – followed by a groan of ‘I’m never drinking again!’
Anyway, the racing was what we were all there for and Friday testing went ok. We had really old tyres on my Ginetta G55, so we knew it was going to be difficult to be competitive – particularly when there were a few cars rolling out with numerous sets of new rubber. Nevertheless, we ended the day in good spirits.
Qualifying came and we decided to sit in the pit-lane to try and save tyres, which worked wonders until I messed up and lost my best lap! That left me third on the grid for race one, and after a good start that was not quite good enough, I maintained position into Duffus Dip for the first time. I remained third over the first few laps, until Andrew Watson was given a black flag for a jump-start which promoted me to second where I stayed to the finish, following a race-long effort to overtake Matt Nicoll-Jones
Starting second, race two was to all intents and purposes a repeat of race one, as I took the chequered flag in the same position after trying my damndest throughout to get past Nicoll-Jones.
The final race of the weekend was the reverse grid outing, and as usual, it threw up a high number, placing me fifth. An average getaway dropped me to sixth, but when Mark Davies became the latest jump-start black flag victim, I was back up into fifth.
I set about catching the guys in front, and whilst at first I didn’t feel as though I had the pace, that was actually a positive, because it meant all the others were pushing their tyres hard. I kept it steady to preserve mine for the last few laps, and that approach worked perfectly. With about eight to go, I was all over Nicoll-Jones and managed to pass him into the final hairpin. A few laps later, I was up behind Carl Breeze and pulled off the same move.
That put me P2, but with just two laps left, I knew it was going to be a tall order to catch Andrew Watson in the lead. I didn’t give up, though, and coming down into the hairpin on the penultimate lap, I aimed my car at him hoping it would scare him a little. He locked the rears on a downshift, leaving the door wide open for me to snatch the lead. After that, it was a case of driving the last lap calmly and not making any mistakes. I came across the line to take the flag 2.5 seconds clear, and by outscoring Carl in all three races, I extended my championship lead to 129 points.
Going next to one of my favourite circuits, I’m absolutely buzzing and cannot wait to get back out on-track – especially after taking a clean sweep at Rockingham last year by being quickest throughout practice, qualifying on pole position and winning both races on my comeback from injury.
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.
Don’t forget, if you’re not already doing so, you can follow everything that’s happening with me on Twitter @TomIngram80, by using the hashtag #TeamTingram and at my website www.tom-ingram.com.
See you soon,