Leading both Class A and the overall Title Hugh Marshall lets us have his thoughts from Rockingham and the Championship Decider at Oulton Park
I am not a big fan of Rockingham although I love the speedway section. The infield however is a bit Mickey Mouse and doesn’t really flow and fancy calling a section Pif Paf!!
On reflection I was pleased to come away with a win and second as my sector times showed that despite setting fastest lap in both races, I had not strung a good lap together all day and combining the best sectors would have put me in the 1:26’s not the early 1:28’s. Food for thought?
I am having to work very hard to get results against Martin Crass and Perry Wadhams and at Rockingham Jamie was a real threat as well. I again left the circuit with a damaged gearbox entirely due to me forcing the synchromesh and baulk rings trying to keep up with the quick changing sequential cars of Martin and Jamie. In overall terms, my lead to Andy Race was cut from 6 to four points so I really needed the points for fastest lap.
So, what thoughts for Oulton Park and the last two races of 2011? I find myself in an unusual position having done all the races this year and having not done too badly for an old boy in his 60th year. My points in the A class of the Championship mean that even with two DNF’s Martin Crass can’t catch me so there is a pot to take home which is a nice reward for a hard season. The real goal now has to be the overall title.
The overall title eluded me in Thundersaloons in 1990 on the last lap of the last race when the Diff on the Stars & Stripes broke having led the Championship from the very first race. This does not fill me with huge confidence! This year Jamie Golby beat me at the first race at Snetterton so I have not led throughout. Could that be an omen? The fact is that Oulton is going to be really tough. I should be able to scrape enough points together to keep in front of the Archbishop who is in third place. The real threat comes from Andy Race. Since Keith Vaughn-Williams withdrew, Andy lost his main opposition in the class. If Andy does his normal class B double as I suspect, the only way I can assure myself of winning the title is to win both races and set fastest lap in each which is a pretty tall order.
Oulton is a hurried event. Last year there was so much moisture on the ground that practice was like driving on an Ice Rink. Because it was cold and the sun was low and could only get to certain sections of the track it was all I could do to keep the car on the circuit. Then there is circuit specialist Darren Smith to add to the equation. Darren knows every inch of Oulton. Add to it oil and debris from the Fun Cup VW clones and things start to get difficult. The first race is mid morning and the second at lunch time which doesn’t leave much room for repairs etc. Last year the gearbox went in Race 1 and Pete and Dave set about changing to the spare which they did in half an hour.
First things first though. A trip to Bernie at CTS to get a decent gearbox together to match the differentials he has rebuilt for me. Luckily I now know how to adjust the car to the added pre-load Bernie uses having witnessed the transition from push understeer to neutral/oversteer by playing with the dampers at Rockingham. I then need to think about Tyres. The new set at Rockingham took a bit of a hammering which is another point against Rockingham. Then there is the change to the new (to me) transporter.
Looking forward to the Dinner and see you all at Oulton