FeaturesGinetta JuniorMaurice Henry Column

Maurice Henry Column: The challenges make me stronger and more determined

4 Mins read
Credit: Mat Acton

After great results at Oulton Park and then Knockhill, getting into the top 10, the next rounds were more difficult at Thruxton and Silverstone National. Circuits with fewer corners and braking zones I still need to adapt my technique. I returned to Thruxton which was also the first round of the championship.

I had done a couple of test days at Thruxton before the start of the championship and therefore before I was more experienced in the car. Therefore returning to Thruxton at this stage of the season, I had not done any testing since I had developed more speed in the car, to push the car more around sixth gear corners.

Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Thruxton is a great circuit and very fast, with only 2 braking zones for the Ginetta Junior spec car and corners in sixth gear taking you to over 180kph leading up to the chicane. It’s really exhilarating! However, with limited horsepower, any small amount of tyre scrub will lose you a few kph which you won’t get back as most of the lap is already on full throttle and, that scrub of even just 1 or 2 kph is also enough for the person behind, who is already getting a slipstream from you, to mount an attack.

Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

After doing so well hustling the car around Knockhill, I really needed time to perfect the finesse needed to help the 100bhp keep the maximum speed up around Thruxton as any speed scrubbed off has a compound effect around the whole lap. I qualified twenty-first for race 1 and twenty-second for race 2. Race 1 I made up some places and lost some places to finish in my starting position of twenty-first. In race 2 I made up 4 places to cross the line eighteenth.

However, I had lined up just outside of my grid box and so a 10 second penalty added to my finishing time dropped me down to twenty-first place. Starting race 3 therefore from twenty-first, I was knocked into a spin in the opening lap crowding which dropped me to back of the grid and almost a full lap down. There was also a safety car. I restarted the car and managed to catch up the back of the pack just as the safety car was coming in and also after picking up my gear display pod which had been dislodged by the force of the collision and was rolling around at my feet. I managed to salvage some points by making it back up to seventeenth with some battles that I really enjoyed. I learnt a lot and I know where I can improve for a return to Thruxton next season.

Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

I was looking forward to Silverstone as I was closer to my experienced team mate in testing there. Plus, I was really looking forward to meeting my sponsors there; Tom White from Trustic Motors and Jamie Cosher from Mammoth Insulation Services. It was great to welcome my new sponsor onboard; Mammoth Insulation Services specialise in delivering industrial thermal insulation services. Having implemented projects across a wide range of industry sectors, their client base has included multiple Formula 1 teams and Roll Royce’s jet fuel test plant .

It was great to see Tom again and we managed to get some photos together this time. Despite such long gaps between races on the day, it is easyk for the time for photo opportunities to get consumed either by being in different places around the circuit or being with the team preparing for the next race. Trustic Motors specialise in cherished vehicle restoration and also assisting clients to find their desired vehicle through sales and sourcing.

Credit: Cecil Henry

However, just as I was about to take some photos with Jamie, it was time to get in the car. Next time Jamie! Thanks also to my Great Uncle, Derrick Atkinson and his friend Simon Lonnergan who also came to support me.

With only 3 corners on the Silverstone National layout, some of the Thruxton shortcomings were still apparent. We made some changes to the car and it felt better by the end of Friday testing. I qualified a bit higher than Thruxton; seventeenth for race 1 and sixteenth for race 2, including being sixth fastest in sector 1 in a 28 car grid. The racing mostly went well, getting up to thirteenth in race 1.

I worked hard to defend from the tow each lap. However, on the last corner of the last lap someone collided into me on the inside, taking me way into the gravel. I recovered the car to finish twentieth. In race 2 it was a similar story; the racing can get desperate towards the end and again a car trying to make a move at the last corner of the last lap collided into my right rear corner. I managed to catch the spin but again ended up in the gravel and recovering the car to eighteenth place.

Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Race 3 was better, starting eighteenth as a result of race 2. I was determined to be on the offensive as the threat from behind in the tow was ever apparent. I worked my way up to fifteenth and finished the weekend on an upward trajectory which was good.

The key is to qualify higher and for that, more testing is required at circuits where I need to adapt my technique. Every driver has a driving style that suits particular circuits and then has to spend more time at circuits that require more adaptation from his or her natural driving style, until you perform just as well anywhere.

I am desperately looking for more sponsorship for next season so that I can take my driving to the next level and show what I am capable of with more time in the car. Please share this video to any potential sponsors and encourage them to get in touch for a very enjoyable and motivating experience, plus promotion via this media and others.

The next rounds are at Donington where I look forward to meeting my sponsor Graham Marginson and his team from Integrated Air Systems Ltd. Integrated Air is a market leading project engineering company specialising in surveying, design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of air conveyance systems and has some exciting news soon.

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About author
16-year-old British racing driver taking part in his second season of the Ginetta Junior Championship with Fox Motorsport.
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