Race: Thrills And Spills

Right, five laps of the Silverstone Bridge Grand Prix circuit. I put my headphones in my ears and slipped on my Nomex head protector and helmet. The opening bass notes of Iron Maiden's The Final Frontier started just as my attention was drawn to the first row of red lights lighting up on the starting signals. Second row. Third. Fourth. None. We're off!

I got a lightening start and shot past Fraser as he spinned his tyres uselessly and I was already up Duncan's chuff by the first corner, Copse. I could see Neil was defending like a madman to prevent Julie getting past him. I also had to fight against the Caterham's natural urge to four-wheel drift out of corners. I screamed past Duncan on the outside and set my sights on Roy's (meaty smelling) F50.

He was all over the back of Jordan's Ford GT going into Maggotts, but locked up and lost ground, nearly smashing into me on the outside. I was neck-and-neck with Jordan coming out of Chapel but the resulting straight became a foregone conclusion. He streamed ahead, and suddenly I could hear that SLR Moss closing fast and whining hard. Luckily, I managed to hold Fraser off up until Stowe, where he understeered and lost ground, leaving me to close on Neil, who had dropped two places to Julie and Jordan on the straight.

I knew I could get him at Vale, but obviously I was already getting to him, because he oversteered into Vale and dropped further back. I flew past, but I was a long way back  from Julie and Jordan. The rest of the lap was spent pushing hard to catch them, and by the pit straight, I was only one second behind Paton and the top three were:

1st: Julie McCreath +0.00
2nd: Jordan Paton +2.75
3rd: Alex Laird +3.75

The second lap was much less eventful than the first, with most of it spent trying to catch Jordan without crashing off, until I finally got close enough to launch a move going into Luffield. I went into full-attack mode and stuck to his backside all the way through Luffield and drive past mine through the inside in Woodcote. Now time to catch Julie. The top three after lap two stood as follows:

1st: Julie McCreath +0.00
2nd: Alex Laird +3.50
3rd: Jordan Paton +3.80

I knew I'd have to drive out of my skin to close Julie down quickly enough, but I gave it my all. I'd heard that Jordan had been well and truly dumped and had dropped behind Duncan and Rob. Now I only had to worry about was driving fast and staying on track. The resultant lap was unbelievable. The standings will have to speak for themself:

1st: Julie McCreath +0.00
2nd: Alex Laird +1.50
3rd: Duncan Bunting +4.00

Two seconds. In one lap. Game on. Lap three and I had recieved word that a person had spun out into the gravel at Bridge. The yellow flags waved as we saw who would be going out of luck. Unbelievably, it was the R8 V10. In the pursuit of Duncan's 458, Rob had gone in too hot, spun and almost stuffed the R8 V10 into the wall. He had rejoined in last place, with a mountain to climb. Unlucky indeed. The safety car was deployed to control the incident site and when it came back in, it was the last lap.The standings for laps three and four were as follows:

1st: Julie McCreath +0.00
2nd: Alex Laird +1.00
3rd: Duncan Bunting +2.00

I had a horrid restart, losing seconds to Julie and almost getting taken by Duncan into Copse. I held on, though, and fought back. I was entering DEFCON 1. I drove like my hair was on fire, and had closed right up to Julie at Brooklands. I tried the inside, but she shut the door, leaving me just one chance left. I followed her around Luffield and tried to go down the inside at Woodcote. But as I came out of Luffield and applied power, my wheels spun madly and I had to put the hammer down all the way. I was closing, but was it enough? The final standings show:

1st: Julie McCreath +0.00
2nd: Alex Laird +0.05
3rd: Duncan Bunting +1.75
4th: Roy Shankland +2.25
5th: Jordan Paton +3.00
6th: Fraser Young +3.75
7th: Neil McGee +4.75
8th: Rob McCormack +5.00

She had pipped me by about the length of a pencil. Oh dear. Still, everyone has got to concede defeat sometime, and for me, that day was today. She thoroughly deserved it, she drove beautifully and, to be honest, I'm happy to settle for second. And to the sound of Airbourne's No Way But The Hard Way, I celebrated a week of true fun and laughter. Sure, there have been problems and mishaps, but mostly it's been proper old honest-to-goodness fun. And I'm sure if you asked them, they would agree.

The End

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