On a chilly Sunday we rolled into Santa Pod for the last round of the 2017 Formula G season. It had been arranged that I was to share the Redtop Racing Nova for a second time in the season. We were pumped to be squaring up to some of the best gymkhana drivers in the world.
This was to be the last event for the current Redtop Racing Nova as the dreaded rust had taken hold of the shell so we were determined to give the old girl a proper send off.
Quick recap on Formula G, two cars run side by side on an autotest style course, winner is the car with the fastest time. If you haven’t seen it you need to. Formula G is THE up and coming, high octane motorsport taking the UK by storm. It’s a timed, Gymkhana style, head to head event, with a series of cones and obstacles for the drivers to get through and around as fast as possible. You’ve heard of Ken Block? Well it’s like that.
Once the track layout was unveiled we headed out to walk the track. This is key in any motorsport but in Formula G it’s especially important as the track is only revealed just before the start! Track walk done and convinced we were going to get lost we headed out for the all important practice. Boss man Carl had made some changes to the Nova since the last round at Rockingham to make the car more predictable on the limit, crucial in the high speed sections.
I headed out first. At my previous round at Rockingham, technical issues had cut short my driving time, so the decision was made to get me out and comfortable in the car. The first few runs were pretty rough, going the wrong way, half spins and misjudged handbrake turns. It’s all part of the learning process I kept telling myself. Boss man Carl headed out after me and showed me how it’s done. I decided I needed more practice and more speed!
I headed into qualifying reasonably happy, feeling comfortable in the car.
The course was fun and I’d managed to find somewhere selling chips.
As is the way with motorsports qualifying, you get a few runs with your fastest time counting towards the final standings. The first few runs were challenging but then came the highlight of my Formula G season. Technically these qualifying runs aren’t races, but you try telling a racing driver that when they line up next to their main rival…..
Lining up next to the Mighty Micra, the lights went green and we were off. I carried as much speed as I dared and headed into the ‘flower pot’ section of four handbrake 90’ turns, being careful to not lock the wheels.
When I exited the ‘flower pot’ section, I saw I was ahead of the Mighty Micra. Had he made a mistake or was I quicker? Frankly I didn’t care, I was winning.
The last obstacle to negotiate was the figure 8 around two monster truck tyres, as I rounded the last corner I could see he had closed in on me dramatically but I could still win if I managed to stop in the finish box. Braking as late as I dare I slammed to a stop in the finish box, I nervously waited for the marshall to point at the winner and eventually he pointed at me. It was a completely meaningless victory but it was a victory nonetheless!
As it turned out, it was a meaningless victory, as I was fifth fastest and too slow for the battles anyway.
But, my story doesn’t end there.
Boss man Carl had been having some ‘issues’ remembering the course, he only completed one successful qualifying run but it had been enough to get him into the top four and in to the battles. He smashed his first battle and headed into the final against Gymkhana top dog Dmitrij Sribnyj, who was in the FWD class as his AWD Subaru was on it’s way to South Africa for Gymkhana Grid. No pressure then.
Run one was neck and neck, until Carl made a small mistake and gave Dmitrij the advantage and the win. He headed into the second run with it all to do but with this being the final event for the Redtop Racing Nova, he was determined to win or blow it up trying. A flawless second run meant he finished ahead of Dmitrij and was the winner of the final round.
In a finale straight out of a Hollywood film, Carl had won, his first ever motorsport win, in the last event for the current Redtop Racing Nova, a fine send off for the old girl.
Carl would like me to thank Toyo Tyres and Opie Oils, I would like to thank him for letting me loose in his Nova.
Until next time….