|Posted by Jonny McMullan on January 19, 2012 at 5:40 PM|
I have just completed in the prestigious Walter Hayes trophy at the legendary circuit of Silverstone in Northampton. Instead of the usual 89s Mondiale that we used all year in the Northern Ireland Championship, championship of Brands and the Formula Ford Festival we changed machinery for this weekend to the Ray GR09 with Athgoe Racing.
I arrived at Silverstone on the Wednesday evening ready for the first day of testing on the Thursday. I woke up to a miserable wet day at Silverstone and it stayed like this most of the day as the track takes ages to dry. The day went pretty well and in three out of the four sessions I was quickest. Thursday stayed wet and greasy all day until the overall session at the end with an open pit lane which was party dry with wet patches but we ended up 3rd or 4th quickest.
Friday morning came and we only had two sessions. Again it was a wet and greasy track and we went out and bedded in pads and tyres for the race weekend. We ended up quickest in one session and 2nd quickest in the other. The past two days put me into a confident mood going into qualifying on Saturday morning.
Saturday morning arrived and again we woke up to a wet silverstone. In total there was 100 cars + entered to battle it out for the Walter Hayes Trophy so there was a total of six heats. I was in heat three along with Chris Middlehurst and Ben Norton who were the main guys in my group. We went out for qualifying on a damp but drying track, we were p1 in quali right up into the last two laps were we were pipped by Middlehurst by one tenth of a second. Pole would have been nice but a front row start was ok starting p2. The race came on Saturday afternoon and I got off to a good start and Chris got the lead into the first corner but I went for the lead going into the complex at the end of the first lap. I got the lead from him and led the whole race right through to the flag. This was a good start to the week for us as for the Sunday for the semifinal we would have been starting on either the front two rows.
Sunday morning came and we woke up to a lovely dry day for a surprise. There was a total of six heats so six winners was split into the two semifinals. This meant I was starting 3rd on the grid for the start. We got off the line well and I was lying third going into the complex on the first lap. I made a move on the American Trent Hindman into the complex and got into second. Josh Fisher was in the lead and I sat behind him for a few laps so we could get a break from the guys behind. With about five laps to go I made a move round the outside of Fisher into the complex and held the lead for two laps. Fisher then got me back with three laps to go and I passed him again. Us battling caused Adrian Campfield to catch and there was then three for the lead. On the last two laps Adrian got past me for second and this was the result to the flag with Josh Fisher winning, from Campfield from myself.
Finishing third in my semifinal made me start p6 in the main final. I got off to a good start off the line and into 5th. Was a very good race with six of us for the lead the entire race. Unfortunately we had a few problems with straight line speed which meant we couldn’t capitalize. We got into 4th for split second but couldn’t keep it. We kept with the leaders until a fellow competitors nose cone got stuck under my car and I went off the track. This made me fall back to sixth. On the last lap I was able to get back past Trent Hindman and back into 5th position where I would finish.
From this weekend I was reasonably happy with a win and two podiums but was disappointed with how the final planned out. From this weekend we will move on trying to find a budget for next season either in a UK championship or elsewhere.
I would just like to take this time to thank Newtownabbey Borough Council and Athgoe Racing for their help and support this weekend.