• willfairclough

#13 Donington Race Weekend. I won! ...I won?

What just happened? I was sat in the assembly area in the car, strapped down, waiting for the start of the race and my body filled with adrenaline pumping every which way. In the flash of a moment I was on the podium celebrating winning my first ever motor race. This is fantasy. This isn't real life. Is it? We'd better do a recap of the race.

Started P3 on the grid. Lights went out and I had an incredible start. I slipped past the pole sitter before the first corner and nestled behind Stu Lane in car Number 33 who had taken the lead. P2. I look in my rear view mirrors and I see a barrage of cars. Fast cars wanting to get past me. This is bloody brilliant! Down into the Craner Curves and I'm really nervous on the brakes into the Old Hairpin after spinning on the parade lap of qualifying earlier that day. Rob Austin in car Number 24 dives past me on the inside, his back end twitching away like mad dog off a leash, but i get a better exit and manage to keep second place. For now. It doesn't last long.

As I frantically look to see who's behind me I forget about the fast right hander of MacLeans. I go wide on the exit. So wide in fact I'm into the gravel trap and onto the grass. No, no, no! I'm not having this. I'm not going off on the very first lap of my racing career. I've got dreams, big dreams. I can't have this on my first ever lap. No sir! I keep the car steady, the power evenly presented, the steering respected, delicate and deliberate, my head is calm, focused. I rejoin the track in P7. That's okay. I'm going to hunt these cars down.

A single lap later I'd got myself to 4th. I was then catching the two cars ahead of me at quite a pace. They were slowing each other down with their own battle for 2nd. Once I had caught them up I got past both within two laps. Now I was hunting down the leader who had developed a 5 second lead. My pace was good. Fastest lap after fastest lap. I gaining a second with every completed, but there wasn't enough time left on the clock. I think i had the gap down to 3.0s. I was very happy with second place. But that didn't last long. Jono's Number 21 supercharged R53 went bang and careering off track just before the Craner Curves. Engine oil everywhere. I was now leading the race with two laps to go. Is this really happening?

I was very careful through the spillage. Perhaps too careful. I didn't want to spin off track and lose the lead. I had a big enough gap between myself and 2nd place so I could afford to be cautious this time. Two laps later the chequered flag was waved and I'd won. I can tell you it was quite a thing. It didn't seem real and it didn't take long for emotion to take over. Good job I'm wearing this helmet and balaclava, I was a blubbering mess. I managed to contain myself and pulled into the pit lane to arrive the car at park ferme. Now to share this with my family.

Watch the full race and all the action


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