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spawny whippet motorsport


Donington Park


22nd - 23rd October 2004


This was my last race in the UK before I emigrated to Australia. I was driving a Formula Vauxhall Lotus, being run by Nemesis Racing.

This weekend was quite challenging. Its my first race at Donington Park, so I needed to learn the circuit and acclimatise myself to the new car. It was extremely damp and greasy on the track, so I spent most of my time in the corners on opposite lock at near walking speeds. I never even attempted a flying lap, so was surprised when I qualified halfway up the grid.

In race 1 the heavens opened and there were 2 green flag laps. It was raining so heavily that I almost span off twice during these laps and I couldn't see anything other than my steering wheel and a cloud of mist. In the race, I got a good start, passing 3 cars into the first corner, but after this my visor steamed up and was covered in so much spray that I couldn't see the road or other cars, so I retired on lap 5 to save damaging the car.

Qualifying 2 on Sunday was very greasy and slightly damp, I chose to go out on slicks, whereas most of the field were on wets. I could hardly control the car on the straights, let alone the corners. I qualified a dismal 21st from 28 cars, my lowest in years.

Race 2 was dry with a much grippier surface on the track. I got a great start of the race, passing at least 6 cars straightaway. Unfortunately, I missed a gear when I changed to 2nd, and 3 cars passed me again. I overtook a few more by the end of the lap, ending up running in 11th place by lap 4. The race was then red flagged when Jim Blockley and Jonathon Lewis had a coming together right in front of me at the chicane before the start finish straight. 

At the restart, I got another good start to 5th place by the first corner, when a Comtec car span in front of me and collected someone else, allowing Lee Bennett to sneak through the inside. I then missed a gear when lapping backmarkers, and Russ Giles got past me, with Doug McLay also having a look. I pulled off a scary overtaking manoeuvre back on Russ Giles into Redgate, which saw my car passing inside Russ Giles's car fully sideways and drifting across the track to the far kerb before regaining grip. Luckily this very ambitious move came off without incident and we more or less held position till the chequered flag, despite my having a few more gearbox selector problems. I finished 7th overall, an improvement of 14 places and 22.5 secs from my qualifying position, so I was very happy with the result.

The season is now over, and it was great to finish my last race of the season and my last Monoposto race on a high note. Thanks to everyone for clean, close racing, especially Russ Giles & Phil Moore who never seemed to be more than 20cm from (the back of) my car throughout the last 2 years. ;-)

Another big thanks to everyone who assisted Spawny Whippet Motorsport since 2002, but especially:

Dermot Healy, Annukka Sairanen, Phil Dickens and the bunch of reprobates at Nemesis Racing

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