Team PH - Race Diary Rounds 15 and 16

What did that say again?
What did that say again?
There was a lot of controversy when Lewis Hamilton didn’t want to do a triathlon against Jenson Button before the Silverstone Grand Prix, uproar in Ferrari when Kimi Raikenen decided to race on skidoos under a pseudonym before the start of last season, and a ban on Michael Schumacher doing certain sports. I now know at first hand why.

If you play other sports you can get hurt and this can ruin a championship challenge. My mistake while playing soft ball the other week was to think the whole of my thumb can stop a fast moving ball all by itself. It can’t. As the thumb bent back to let the ball pass the tendon held onto the bone and pulled it apart to allow for the extra bend. The result – one fractured thumb and possible ligament damage.

Not how it should look
Not how it should look
As my thumb was referred up through the ranks of doctors at Kingston Hospital I sat pondering what this meant to the race in two week's time at Silverstone. Motorbike racers ride with worse injuries and I am sure there was a rally driver who used to race with one arm, so it should be fine. As the doctor announced my hand would need plaster to keep it all together I let him know my racing predicament. No problem responded the doctor and as the cast went on they found a steering wheel like object and moulded the cast so it fitted perfectly. Job done - let's race.

I was still slightly worried that someone might stop me racing when they saw the blue cast on my hand, but scruitineers and race control alike just chatted about any broken bones they had suffered and into the car I jumped for the rest of the meeting. Now the only challenge to the thumb would be the taking on and off of a glove to cover it.

Flat out through bridge
Flat out through bridge
I have driven in the past with many injuries, colds (read 'life threatening flu') and other aches and pains, but as soon as your foot hits the floor any pain or annoyances seem to disappear – it is a magical cure.

As I set out for qualifying I knew this was going to be a tight one and I tried hard to nail two perfect laps to put the car high up the grid for both races. As the electronic boards flickered with the results at the end of the race it showed the top 15 being separated by only 1.5 seconds. It was close and unfortunately Team PH showed up in 13th place.

Team PH in style
Team PH in style
Analysing the split times it showed I was losing a second through the complex of Priory, Brooklands and Luffield. Camped on the outside of the complex for the early races I was determined to get this section correct and watched the leaders styles through the section. A little tweak to my lines was needed and I was ready for race one.

The bright red lights extinguished for the first race and the car accelerated towards Copse. Through the psck I could see a red car spinning in the centre of the track and I swerved inside to avoid. Unfortunately two other cars weren’t so lucky and the resultant debris released the safety car to escort the pack for the clean-up operation.

Ginetta close racing
Ginetta close racing
The restart from the safety laps saw less carnage on the first corner but an enthusiastic lunge up the inside at Abbey Hairpin from one of the top runners nudged two of the front runners wide and I nipped up to 7th place. The next lap saw another dive with locked up brakes into Abbey – but this time due to brake failure – and two more challengers fell by the wayside. I passed the pit board and it announced my 5th place with three minutes to go – only two more laps.

Coming into the complex for the penultimate time I braked into Brooklands and shifted down into second. But second didn’t want to play and as I concentrated on trying to find the gear the backend stepped out and with a little nudge from 6th place I slid off the side of the track. My thumb may have survived while broken but the gearbox wasn’t so good while bust.

Is this the missing bit?
Is this the missing bit?
The rally boys can probably change a gearbox in fifteen minutes but Team PH, with a massive help from fellow competitor Paul Morgan, managed a respectable three hours. We were all ready with plenty of time for race 2. The first corner carnage from race one had left three cars unavailable for the race and the grid position became 10th.

With fewer cars the first corner was negotiated without incident and the pack streamed through the outfield. Coming into priory and a slight tap on Gary Simms sent him spinning in the middle of the track but this time no one collected the stranded car and the field flanked either side.

Last of the late brakers
Last of the late brakers
Unfortunately I chose the outside and dropped a position taking the longer route. The incident had left a little gap to the leaders and so I tried to battle back up the field to a respectable finish. Helped by the massive slipstreaming effect of the Ginetta cars I moved up to 7th by the finish and after a technical infringement to one of the front runners I was declared as 6th place.

I wouldn’t recommend breaking a thumb to improve your racing, but for me it seemed to work for this race meeting. I am now working out what I need to injure to make the top three.

Race 1

1 52 Spencer McCarthy McCarthy Motorsport 20:25.632
2 51 Russel McCarthy McCarthy Motorsport + 1.493
3 28 Kieran Vernon Driver + 1.790
4 9 Gary Simms Optimum Motorsport + 4.046
5 3 Julian Barratt Reflex Racing GB + 5.522
6 99 Phil Sykes Speedworks Motorsport + 13.902
7 14 Paul Morgan Driver + 14.178
8 56 Henry Fletcher Rob Austin Racing + 19.479
9 6 Matthew Flowers Optimum Motorsport + 22.022
10 5 Steve Rigby Reflex Racing GB + 24.011
DNF 74 Peter Dignan PistonHeads DNF

Race 2

1 52 Spencer McCarthy McCarthy Motorsport 20:07.962
2 28 Kieran Vernon Driver + 0.030
3 3 Julian Barratt Reflex Racing GB + 0.686
4 46 Andrew Smith Driver + 1.547
5 51 Russel McCarthy McCarthy Motorsport + 16.671
6 74 Peter Dignan Pistonheads + 22.391
7 5 Steve Rigby Reflex Racing GB + 29.190
8 58 Martin Jones Hepworth International + 42.551
9 9 Gary Simms Optimum Motorsport + 42.979
10 56 Henry Fletcher Rob Austin Racing + 43.290

Comments (9) Join the discussion on the forum

  • J16GY 19 Aug 2008

    WHAT CHEEKY SOD TOOK OUT TEAM PISTONHEADS COMING OUT OF PRIORY!? Saw the nudge and he clearly saw you were in trouble and rear ended you out of the race... am assuming the car would only select reverse after judging by the way you drove off the track - backwards!?

  • bread1981 19 Aug 2008

    When Lewis Hamilton was going for the European Kart Championship in 2000. He actually clinched the championship whilst having his hand in plaster (at least this is how I remember the story). They tried to stop him racing on the grounds it wasn't safe but then Bernie and Ron got involved. I think he came first and second that weekend and was crowned European Champion Formula A Champion. This is how I remember the story from reading it in Karting Magazine, the rest they say is history.

  • Northern-Loop 19 Aug 2008

    Awww Pete! Have to laugh at the pictures though tongue out

    I should try to get to another race meeting before the end of the season!

  • Insight 19 Aug 2008

    Break a leg!

  • skeggysteve 19 Aug 2008

    I was watching the live timing and thought 5th place very good, then.............

    Great result in the second race - well done!

    How much damage was done to the rear end? Do you need a group of 'expert rear end fixers' again? biggrin
    For those that don't understand the 'joke' have a look at the Cadwell race report - tank tape is wonderful stuff!

    I like the 'Team PH in style' picture, are you bringing that kit to Mallory or Donny wink

    You remembered the pit board yikes What drugs were you on for the broken thumb pain wink

    What part did take in the gearbox change, well apart from breaking it hehe

    On a more serious note, was the car still handling as well as you reported from Brands? Or did the off at Brands effect anything?

    Looking forward to Mallory!.

    As I've said before anyone who is the slightest bit interested in motor sport needs to get themselves along to one of the Ginetta races and help RP. Even if your help is just 'being there' you will not regret being there.

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