September 21st / 2nd 2002
This was the first race for the Swift since
its repair, although I tested the car at Silverstone the week before.
was fairly ill, with a pounding headache so did not make much use of the test
session on Friday. At this race, a large support crowd from Spain, Isle of Man
and Lancashire made it down to watch the race. Thank you to all!
The car felt OK at first, but then my laptimes dropped off
as the handling became erratic and very difficult to control. I qualified 16th
from 23 (1:18.1 - 5.8 secs off pole), which I was relatively pleased about given
the car characteristics.
find any problem, so I went to race as the car was. I had a very good start and
gained 5 places, but coming into the Russell Bend chicane at the end of the
first lap, the car span and I fell back to 17th. I regained a place, then the
race was red-flagged due to Dean Maitland crashing heavily and rolling the car
at Bomb Hole. Luckily he wasn't injured badly. On the restart, I got away well,
but suffered handling problems causing intermittent skids and spins. I finished
in 16th place from 23 (my best to date), but almost 8 secs off the fastest lap.
inspection after the race, Dermot noticed that the suspension collets at the
front of the car had come out, causing the front dampers to collapse. We could
not obtain replacements, so we ended up trying to manufacture some from washers
with an angle grinder overnight!
It was very wet, so laptimes were down by 15 secs or more. Pole was
set by Peter LeBas on 1:25.7, I was in 17th place of 21 on 1:34.1. The
replacement collets held up for half of qualifying, then the suspension fell
apart again. We re-assembled them for the race, also replacing the brake pads
I got another
good start and gained 2 places into Riches Corner, but lost them down Revett
Straight as faster cars passed me. I then span on the opening lap into Russell
chicane, putting me into last place. I fought a few places back, but this was a
recurrent theme, as the handling of the car had deteriorated badly. I ended the
race in 11th place of 17 finishers, 7 secs off the pace. The suspension had come
apart again, so they were sent to be rebuilt after this race.