Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire was the destination for rounds 3 and 4 of the MR2 Challenge. Sunday 30th April was to play host to Qualifying and Race 1.
At 8.15am Karen signed-on and attended a briefing for drivers who had not driven competitively at the circuit before. Then at just gone 10am it was time for scrutineering. After the easy time everyone seemed too have at Snetterton, this one was a little more tricky! Particular attention was given to the lack of door cards (interior trim on the doors) and some drivers were asked to apply tape to cover sharp edges. Karen’s car missed this but surprisingly two bolts were found to be loose on the rollcage. Once tightened, the required pass ticket was granted and Karen was ready for Qualifying.
The Qualifying session seemed to go well, until near the end of the allotted time, when Sarah Wherry had a bit of a moment and took a late dive past Karen to improve her times. Unfortunately, this was halfway through the Hall Bends and Sarah ended up spinning off the track. Luckily the only real damage was to Sarah’s qualifying times. Karen had qualified 19th out of 20 for Race 1 and 18th out of 20 for Race 2. Karen’s slight familiarity with the circuit and the modifications made by Darren and myself seemed to be working…
Race 1 began at about 3pm and Karen had a reasonable start, managing to get ahead of Car 17 (Paul Barber) into the first corner. A car in front span off the track with another forced off to avoid it. Thus Karen gained those places immediately. The field seemed to break up into three main groups, with Karen, Paula Barber, Rob Alman and Daniel Gatt making up the third one. As the laps ticked down, Paul was harrying Karen harder and harder. She was having to get used to driving her car as fast as possible and defending her position, which was a new and taxing experience for her!
With only a few laps left, Darren and I suddenly realised Sarah Wherry had appeared behind Karen’s group of cars and we figured she must have spun off the circuit somewhere and was now effectively last! Sarah drove very well over the next couple of laps until she was behind Paul and then Karen. Sarah got past Karen before the chequered flag, and the final standings saw Karen in 13th place which was her best result yet.
Video footage of Race 1 was captured by Raz and Emma who had come along to meet us and spectate. It was great to meet them and many thanks for the great footage.
(Click Here to View Race 1
Race 2 was held on the following day and the weather was awful in the morning with a great deal of rain and some blustery winds. Conditions on the track were abysmal with lots of standing water. There were many incidents in the earlier races due to the conditions. All of the drivers in the MR2C were nervous, especially Karen I think!
The race began at about 12.40pm and luckily it had just stopped raining and patches of sunlight were breaking out. The track was still very wet though. At the start, Karen was behind Sarah, and they were both held up by Rob Alman who made a particularly slow start due to engine problems. So much so, that Chris Dunnett who it was later discovered only had 3rd gear, managed to get a good run up and passed them all into the first corner!
Everyone seemed to be driving really carefully and a group soon formed headed by Chris Dunnett, followed closely by Karen, Paul Barber and Daniel Gatt. Chris only having 3rd gear wasn’t too much of a handicap on most of the circuit, except for the Mountain where the incline caused him to slow considerably.
Karen soon figured this out and lined him up and tried to overtake but Chris fended her off at her first attempt. Next time around though it was a different matter and she made sure of her manoeuvre. She got ahead in time for the Hall Bends, but unknown to us was still carrying more speed than usual and had a bit of a moment and some fishtailing on the way out towards the Hairpin. Paul and Daniel quickly followed suit with similar overtaking moves. Leaving poor Chris to finish last in 18th place, but rightly proud of his achievement driving the circuit handicapped by his lack of gears. Karen finished in 15th place.
(Click Here to View Race 2
Thus Karen scored championship points in both races and we were really proud of her careful measured driving throughout the weekend in some very tricky conditions. So once again she got two signatures on her racing license.
A special mention for Paul Barber, who received his sixth signature on his racing license and is now no longer a novice. Well done Paul!