A happy new race season to you all! We`ve had a few rays of sunshine so far, following a very mild Winter, so I hope you have been tending to your classic cars with a view to heading out on the open roads. I have already seen some hardy annuals complete with flying helmets and Mk IX goggles.
With that in mind I had my first outing on Saturday the 31st March racing at Silverstone on the National circuit. The previous Thursday I, together with a few old-XK race drivers were invited by the Jaguar Car company to attend the launch and testing of the new XKR GT3 race car. As part of the invitation we were allowed to use the circuit to test our motors ready for Saturday`s meeting. But during the day I was asked to take some video footage for the Auto Car magazine web site (with my new in-car camcorder) of the GT3 being tested by David Leslie the ex. British Touring Car Champion.
David then took me round Silverstone in the GT3 XKR at truly breakneck speeds and in the rain. It was a really awesome experience I can tell you. White knuckles don`t enter into it.
So, Thursday didn`t really set me up for the DRY race on Saturday. It really is surprising how the Winter takes its toll on fitness and reaction times.
Qualifying went reasonably well I thought until, I saw the results and I was about 1.5 seconds off last year`s pace. But this happens to me, and I speed up as the season progresses. (I must do a Winter Series, maybe in South Africa, yeah!)
Saturday was a truly wonderful day for the weather and racing. My start was fine, but I was trapped between David Hall in his XK120 FHC and Graeme Bull in his XK150 lightweight FHC. When I arrived at Becketts corner my brain was obviously still mushy from the Winter break and I left the door open and Mark Gibbon shot through on the inside and I didn`t recover from that.
Dick Skipworth in his Class D XK120 Roadster caught me after a poor start from him and he got past me at Luffield. I didn`t want to give up my place and fought back only for us to rub wheels going round the corner. Afterwards, I asked him if he felt anything, and he agreed that "where there`s no sense there`s no feeling". What can I say?
So it was an eventful "Re-entry" to racing in 2007 with mixed fortunes. It reminded me of a school report I once had from my Chemistry Master:
"If John applied himself all the time instead of just some of the time, he would be an exceptional pupil and go far".
Well that`s how I felt. A further conclusion was that this year will be the year to have some advanced Race Driving lessons to push me and not just the car.
Coming up is the Goodwood XK Track Day on Tuesday the 10th April. It starts at 09:00hrs and finishes at 17:00 hrs. If any of you fancy a ride round Goodwood, come along and see us. IT`S FREE!!