As the final, Autumn, rounds at Silverstone and Brands Hatch approach, the late summer races at Knockhill and Rockingham now seem quite a while ago.
Knockhill in Scotland is the furthest we travel to any race meeting from my home in the south west, but it’s actually one of my favourite circuits – a technically challenging ‘rollercoaster’ circuit, set in a stunning landscape, with big crowds of friendly spectators.
Being so far away, we don’t do any testing at Knockhill, other than one day during the week prior to racing. However, all went well and I was confident in Friday’s practice, topping the overall combined times. In qualifying being the first driver to cross the line on a drying circuit hurt me, and I ended up a slightly disappointing fifth and fourth, but it was still all to play for.
Race one on Saturday evening was damp, with marginal grip in places, but this often suits my driving style. A disappointing start meant I had to settle for fifth on lap one, slotting in just behind James (Kellett) who was, by now, chasing down Senna (Proctor), who had started on the front row but running third behind Lando [Norris] and Jack [Mitchell].
These cars run very close and we’re often racing on the limit inches away from each other. Going into the Chicane, Senna had a moment, which caused James to make an error, which meant I had to either lift or hit him. I instinctively lifted, and unfortunately, on the damp surface, the rear let go and into the gravel I went– race over!
The Sunday televised race was less eventful for me, a good start got me up to third and I had to fend off a few threats during the early laps before James, Lando and I pulled away. A temporary battle with my teammate, Senna Proctor, allowed the two HHC boys to pull a gap, but I was able to bring the car home in a comfortably on the podium.
Rockingham is an interesting circuit, with the ‘oval’ speedway section, but less technical than Knockhill. Spectators enjoy viewing from the tall grandstands – the only circuit where you can see the full race circuit and all the action.
I qualified fifth and third, though start positions are less crucial at Rockingham as there is a long sweeping left hand section all the way to the ‘bottle neck’ hairpin, often resulting in carnage.
I made sure I kept my nose clean and made it up into third by the end of the first lap in the opener. As the two leaders pulled away it soon became difficult to keep the others behind, with the tow being so strong. My race was dictated by the need to defend at times but we stayed close to the leaders, so, when the front two collided at the final corner of the final lap I was able to take advantage for fourth – being promoted to third after James was penalised for jumping the start.
Sunday’s race, was a bit disappointing. I probably should have been a bit more assertive, but again when racing in a tight single-make series, you need to be as conscious of those behind as those in front. So, it requires fast responses to be able to attack and defend at the same time. But, sixth was OK, and helps consolidate my top five championship target.
Now I’m back at school, Sixth Form and A-Levels are the priority between the race meetings, and that plus all my other sporting commitments are keeping me very busy and leaving me with little time for any testing.
Silverstone is next, not the most technical circuit, but it still allows for very close racing, especially with us juniors! Then it is Brands GP, which is one of my favourite circuits on the calendar so I am aiming high there!
I now feel that I have the right ingredients to be winning races and I have every bit of confidence in the people around me to help me do that!
Thanks for reading,