Best race of the season at Rockingham
If you follow motorsport you may know that after 17 years of racing, Rockingham Speedway is about to close. It’s a huge shame for the track but also for Matt who had his best race of the season there last month. Racing at Rockingham culminates with a two day celebration on 24th and 25th November with a race quite fittingly called the Super Send-off!
Objectives – less pressure, more results.
Following some silly mistakes at Silverstone and Anglesey, Matt approached the Rockingham race weekend with a plan to go back to basics. He wanted to stop trying too hard, and in doing so lessen the pressure he put onto himself. With this approach, he hoped for better results and no slip ups. He was in high spirits as he entered the Friday testing. He had driven before at Rockingham and found he actually enjoyed the technical layout of the track, which puts other drivers off. Here’s a great shot of Matt concentrating on the twists and turns, closely followed by a Mazda MX-5, that looks hungry for an overtake!
Knowing that he likes and performs well on technical circuits, Matt was focused on improving times in the first few sessions of testing. However, it didn’t go to plan at first with Matt struggling to gain time before a tyre change. His support team at AB Motorsport suggested changing to newer tyres and he went back out immediately improving on his times. He was five tenths quicker on these tyres, so he switched back to save them for qualifying and the upcoming races. Following an extra test session on the slow tyres, Matt took his learnings into the qualifying sessions on the Saturday.
Qualifying in fourth position Matt had his best session yet. He had followed some of the faster drivers such as Clive Powells, who gave him a focus, and by the third lap he was in the best position he had ever been in the qualifying stages. He was now really excited for the first race and had high hopes of making it into all three A races.
Race one at Rockingham.
Starting in eighth in the A race, Matt was on the fourth row of the grid. This meant that he would be on the outside of the oval for the race start. He knew that coming into the hairpin on the outside wasn’t ideal, but he had to stay there. Martin Tolley and Brian Trott had a great start and got themselves to the inside of the track really quickly. Matt braved it around the outside of the banking and managed to negotiate the hairpin without incident.
He found himself in a door to door sandwich, which carried on through Yentwood and he was soon battling with Clive Powells and Scott Leach. Matt was having a great time in his first true A race within the top ten drivers. There was lots of position swapping and by the penultimate lap he was ready to make a move, but it didn’t work out. He missed the gear shift coming out of the chicane and then missed the braking point at the hairpin. No damage thankfully for Car Magic as he took a detour across the grass to get back in the race. A few positions lost as he finished in 17th, but he was in the A race on Sunday. Good work Matt!
The goal for race two and race three on the Sunday was to move forward. Still excited from the battle in the top ten, Matt knew he had to focus. He felt good as the final day started.
Race two and a better start.
Race two started really well. Matt got into the inside of the oval and therefore the first hairpin. He ended up in another sandwich, but made it away just behind Callum Greatrex. He saw an opportunity to pass after he watched how slow Callum was through the Gracelands section of the race. Matt stayed to the outside and when Callum committed to the corner, he made his move behind him. This rewarded him with a better exit and he was now in front coming out of the Tarzan hairpin. He was feeling good after executing a pass on Callum and he went on to close the gap between him and the next race driver, Adam Craig. Adam defended well and Matt didn’t want to make a risky pass so he was happy to end the race there, in 14th position.
Final race at Rockingham, and best so far!
The plan for race three, starting in 14th was to go out and repeat the success of race two. That included getting a good start for the first hairpin, the Deene. Matt tried to get round the driver in front, but he lost a few places being on the outside of the hairpin. He then made slight contact with Rafal, who was also on the outside, but our BRSCC Championship hopeful was determined to make up ground. We were very happy to see that Matt managed to end the final race in 12th position!
Matt has just one more weekend left in the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship where we’ll see him compete at Donington Park before the season ends for 2018. At Car Magic we’ve followed Matt’s progress with excitement as he races for the first time in a professional setting. You can catch up on all the stories via our Motorsport page.
We’ve not needed to carry out too many repairs to the Mazda MX-5 since the first few races, though we can see the car is looking a little less shiny than when we first kitted it out in Car Magic and Non Fault Car Accident Repair livery. We hope the last racing weekend is successful for Matt and uneventful when it comes to contact with other drivers!
Driving to work or taking the kids to school isn’t perhaps as exciting as a racing track, but we know that bumps can happen anytime. Please call us on 01442 864 022 or complete an enquiry form if you are in need of car body repairs in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire or Buckinghamshire.