Team PH - The Dawn Of A New Season

Ginetta in morning sun - courtesy PHer Matt Sayle
Ginetta in morning sun - courtesy PHer Matt Sayle
Superstition is a strange thing. It varies across the world through unlucky numbers, to various animals being sighted in ones and twos and crossing your path. My favourite ridiculous superstition – though probably not an advisable chat up line on the ferry crossing to Le Mans - is that while onboard a ship in a storm, the weatherwill ease if a woman bares her body to it.

I am aware of most of these superstitions and will usually avoid going under ladders just to escape the chance of a wet sponge landing on me, yet I don’t really feel any impending doom if I spill some salt. However, this all suddenly changes when it comes to racing as I transform into the deacon of the superstition church.

The ritual will start in the morning where socks are sought based on their previous experience on a race track, and I will become agitated if anyone tries to help with my race belts when strapping into the car. The right foot has to be put in first and the HANS device fitted when seated in the car… all to aid victory and avoid a major crash.

RacingPete attempts to look like the PH smiley
RacingPete attempts to look like the PH smiley
For TeamPH a late sponsorship deal thanks to Oracle Finance saw us get the entry form in the week of qualification and another chance to perfect the pre-race mumbo jumbo. This was the first time I had been able to drive the car since the winter series last November and qualification showed the dust was not fully wiped off yet, placing us 9th for both races – not the ground breaking start to the new season I had wished for.

The series this year sees a smaller grid than usual but the guys and girls out on track this year are more dedicated and determined than before. The Ginetta G20 series is still a very good stepping stone to British GT - and further racing challenges - so still attracts the rising talent across the UK. Rumours around the grid suggested that plenty of the top runners have been testing multiple times this year in an effort to conquer the championship, a luxury TeamPH cannot afford.

TeamPH have more of a fighting chance to compete with the young whippersnappers of racing – along with some experienced old hands – by running in the professional team of Academy Motorsport. Having knowledge and assistance throughout the day is a massive help, though I have to adjust my pre-race voodoo to cope with helping hands strapping me in and adjusting straps. For race one I shoo the mechanics away to prevent the bad luck and go back to my usual routine ready for lights out and the start of the Ginetta race season.

Where has everyone else gone?
Where has everyone else gone?
A missed gear from the car in front sees me have to get off the accelerator and I slowly drop down the order as I am swamped by accelerating Ginettas all around. Into the second chicane, and as I turn in I spot tyre smoke in my mirror but all too late to avoid being shunted from behind and spun around. Recovering on to the track, I have dropped down to last place. Time for a fight back through the field.

A first race demolition derby has started up front and with the help of some damaged Ginettas and a bit of fighting spirit I manage to climb back to 8th place by the end of the race and treat most of the event as pre-season testing. I am still missing pace in the middle sectors and the lap time is down on my fellow competitors so I decide a change in philosophy is needed for the second race.

This time I let the mechanics help with strapping in, I don’t think about which shoe to put on first and hard Gabba is deselected from the iPod as failed motivational music. This time I will change my driving and not my luck! Lights out and one lap in I have gained one place - this new method most be working. Second revolution into the Knickerbrook chicane and I turn left and suddenly another whack on the rear and off into a spin again.

TeamPH chasing down the pack
TeamPH chasing down the pack
This time I get the red racing mist and with déjà vu I embark on another – all too common - TeamPH  charge through the field. With sector times tumbling as the dust falls off my winterised racing brain, the sector times tumble and 16th place turns into 14th, 10th then by the second to last lap, 7th. I finally feel that I have got the hang of this Ginetta after one years racing, and as I cross the line I want to do the whole meeting again with my new knowledge.

Hopefully, now that the socks from this weekend’s racing have been binned and the PH calendar showing no Friday 13ths till November, my luck will change for the rest of the racing season… roll on Donington Park in two weeks – I will be avoiding peacocks, magpies, mirrors and salt until then… well hopefully, touch wood!

Race 1 Results

1 Dominic Petit Dominant Motorsport
2 Mark Davies Optimum Motorsport
3 Andrew Smith Optimum Motorsport
4 George Murrells Techlightenment
5 David Jackson Optimum Motorsport
6 Matthew Flowers Privateer
7 Alex Dziurzynski Privateer
8 Peter Dignan Academy Motorsport

Race 2 Results

1 Mark Davies Optimum Motorsport
2 Andrew Smith Optimum Motorsport
3 Dominic Petit Dominant Motorsport
4 Russel McCarthy McCarthy Motorpsort
5 Julian Barratt Reflex Racing GB
6 Sean Huyton Academy Motorsport
7 Peter Dignan Academy Motorsport
8 Alex Dziurzynski Privateer

Comments (17) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Brink 15 Apr 2009

    The number 13 is only unlucky for the superstitious.

  • Andy_sx 15 Apr 2009

    Glad to hear your back in the hot seat again this year Peter.

    sounds like it was an eventful, yet fun weekend for you. If the rest of the season shows similar progress then it can only be a good thing.

    What am i going to now though on race day with no work to do?!?!?!

    When is Brands this year?

    All the best for the up coming season mate

  • hollypop 15 Apr 2009

    Pete, F3 & GT's aren't happening at Donington until later in the year now.

    Forgot to say had my luckiest t-shirt ever on Sunday!!! See you're not the only one..

    Edited by hollypop on Wednesday 15th April 16:06

  • RacingPete 15 Apr 2009

    Andy_sx said:
    What am i going to now though on race day with no work to do?!?!?!
    When is Brands this year?
    All the best for the up coming season mate
    Well the race team are the same as the one we used at Brands and they did ask if you were coming down again as you were very useful so if you do visit for a race they have plenty of stuff for you to do smile

    Brands Hatch is late in the year on 19/20 September

  • RacingPete 15 Apr 2009

    hollypop said:
    Pete, F3 & GT's aren't happening at Donington until later in the year now.
    Just seen the email, so roll on Rockingham in 6 weeks then smile

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