August Mondello Blog- with Adam Mcaulay
September 5, 2013 by Adam Mcaulay
It felt great to have a race weekend coming up again. Seven weeks was too long a break between rounds but it did at least give me the opportunity to recoup some funds.
The festival had sort of finished on a high for me, even though I was second in the final and the championship round had been a disaster. I had the momentum again after seeing Ray obliterate my points advantage on the Saturday.
Heading into this weekend I had my engine rebuilt after the problems of the festival weekend and a new set of Dunlops.
The first session was a nice handy one just running the engine in. Second session was a bit harder but easy enough on the tyres. Third session was the first proper go at it, clocked a 60.6. I was reasonably happy with this as Dan and Ray were on about the same. Next session out I didn’t really go any faster, 60.5. Ray was down to a 60.3 or 4 and Jimmy Furlong had banged in a 60.2! That was a serious time! At this point I was about 4th quickest and starting to get a bit stressed. The problem was there was nothing to pinpoint on the car, it felt good, the balance was more or less spot on. That was the last session before lunch so I knew I needed to go back out.
I decided to change back onto my old tyres to see if that was the cause.
After lunch there was only two dry sessions. I matched my time from the morning, 60.6 and Ray and Jimmy were also on 60.6. Dan had gone home.
I knew it was all gonna be very very tight.
Unfortunately Vees are usually the first session out in the morning and this was no exception! There had been rain overnight and the track was wet. It was wet but it wasn’t raining. It looked like it might rain but it wasn’t raining so the
track would get drier during the session unless it rained again. Nobody likes this scenario. Dry is dry and if its lashing rain you at least know what to expect and what changes to make to the car. I decided to stay dry with the car and hope the track came to me. Initially it was very slippy, and I was way slower than Ray. I could see him coming in my mirrors, he was probably over a second a lap faster than me. He backed off as soon as he caught me, lest I learned something from him. I could see from the pit board that I was narrowing the gap to Ray every lap. It had come from over 1.5s to 0.1. It was all coming down to the last lap. The track had dried up to the tune of about 5 seconds but we were still about 6 seconds off. I got a great last lap, it was one of those laps that you knew was good. Turns out Id found 0.8 on the last lap.
As I was the first car out I had crossed the finish line to start my last lap just before the chequered flag came out. Unfortunately for Ray when he came round the flag was out and his session was over. I guess sometimes it pays to get out early and just drive the pin out of the car until the flag drops!
So that was it I had pole by about 0.7 from Ray, Dave O’ Brien, Jimmy Furlong and Dan.
Qualifying had been shortened from 15 mins (on the clock) to 12 mins and Ray wasn’t at all happy about it. He had protested the result claiming that the session was 13 mins or something. All this meant that as the cars were making their way to the grid, I was up in the tower with Ray, waiting to see if the stewards were going to change anything. Thankfully nothing changed but it was far from ideal 5 minutes before the start of the race.
The race itself wasn’t particularly eventful. I nailed the start and Ray had to tuck in behind me. The car felt good and I got right down to a 61.0 on the second lap and pulled a small gap on Ray over the next two or three laps until about lap six when he pulled a serious lap out of the bag (60.1). I couldn’t believe he’d just closed up to the back of me so quickly I had done my fastest lap of the weekend on the same lap! From then on he had me under serious pressure. I couldn’t afford to make even a tiny mistake or take any chances in not covering the inside line. I had to really concentrate on making every apex and making sure I got out of every corner as well as the car could. Ray was much quicker through turn two and could pull alongside into three. I was able to get out of Dunlop quicker which was crucial. It was like this all the way to the flag. It was a very very fast pace for two cars dicing continuously, we were well down under 61s for nearly every lap.
Although between the two of us we have won 7 of the 8 races it was the first time we have really had a head to head battle for the lead and it really felt great to come out on top. It was probably the most satisfying win of the year.
The championship is still very tight. Its 6 points after dropped scores with three rounds remaining. One thing is for sure, barring a calamity for one of us it’s going to go right down to the wire.