Fresh from his first-team debut for York City on Friday, the enigmatic John B&Q leads his 'other' team to the Norfolk circuit of Snetterton this weekend. Whilst the soccer club may have narrowly lost that match, Team B&Q Jet York City Racing are...
Fresh from his first-team debut for York City on Friday, the enigmatic John B&Q leads his 'other' team to the Norfolk circuit of Snetterton this weekend. Whilst the soccer club may have narrowly lost that match, Team B&Q Jet York City Racing are determined that they will not fail in their bid to haul themselves back up the championship table.
After a bruising weekend last time out, the team have been extremely busy back at their Rishton base to get both cars prepared in time but, once again, they have done a superb job and free practice will see two gleaming Honda Accords being wheeled out of our pit garages. Those cars will, as at Croft, be driven by Jim Edwards Jnr and Australian Hyla Breese.
Whilst Edwards has slipped back to fourth place in the Drivers Championship, Breese has yet to complete a lap for the team after a disastrous debut in the last meeting. Drafted in at short notice to replace the outgoing Peter Cate, he got little track time during free practice to get used to front wheel drive and the handling characteristics of the Honda Accord. However qualifying was a disaster as his engine failed on his out lap, stranding him out on the circuit and leaving him a non-qualifier for the two races that followed.
"I was very disappointed after the engine broke. There had been so much build up to the weekend and all of a sudden someone pulled the plug out and what an anticlimax. The guys in the team were also very disappointed as it meant only one car out on race day. On a positive note though it meant I was able to see how the team operated over the weekend without the stress of racing too. They are all top people and work hard to get great results and, although we will be essentially starting from scratch again, I believe I am now better prepared for the challenge that lies ahead and both Jim and I will have fresh engines", said Breese.
Snetterton is Hyla's adopted home track and he is sure to be well supported, but it also brings the added pressure of local media interest. Featuring heavily in the local press on the run-up to the event, he is already booked for a TV interview with the BBC and a TOCA radio interview with Carl Breeze over the course of the weekend. "I'm looking forward to making my second debut, seen as though my first one didn't go to plan!" he said. "The media attention is great for myself and the team, the busiest of the season for me due to it being my local race, however I will be also be concentrating on getting more time in the car to adjust to the front wheel drive over the whole weekend."
Whilst Breese takes the limelight, his teammate, Maidenhead's Jim Edwards Jnr, is content to sit in the background playing Mr Consistent and rack up the points, "I think one of my major strengths is that I can read a race better than a lot of my rivals. I am more than happy to push when there is a need to push, but sometimes it is best to preserve the tyres, let those ahead of you crash into each other, and pick up the result at the end of the race. Some of the moves I have seen people pull this season have been stunningly stupid and I tend to keep away from these over-the-top do-or-die manoeuvres. I am here to bring the car across the line at the end of the race in the highest position I can and this is exactly what I have been doing this year."
Both cars will have fresh engines at Snetterton and this should enable us to move up the grid. "My car was down on compression at the last round at Croft and this was holding us back. There are also one or two little problems that have bugged us for the last couple of meetings and it will be nice to have a fresh engine with a little more power to play with at Snetterton", said Edwards.
With Snetterton being the way it is, this power increase will be needed - the former wartime airfield featuring the longest straight in the UK - 'Fast and furious' is how many describe the circuit, and they couldn't be more accurate. Fast, sweeping corners and two very long straights ensure that there is plenty of close racing and incidents. The meeting is reverting to it's traditional two-day format this year after three consecutive night races, and the local fans will welcome the opportunity to soak up the atmosphere of the new-look BTCC and see the cars in their full glory for the first time. We might be missing the fireworks before the race this year, but there are sure to be fireworks on track once the lights go green.
Last year Edwards picked up a fifth and an eighth place finish in his privately entered Honda Accord and he will be hoping to score a better result this time out to leapfrog him back into second place in the drivers championship. He will find strong resistance from Norman Simon and Spencer Marsh who lie just ahead of him in the championship however. Simon won both sprint and feature race at Croft and will be sure to on the pace again at Snetterton. The other main rivals are expected to be the heavily ballasted James Kaye, Gavin Pyper and Mark Fullalove.
Breese overcame a bad start last year in the Lotus Elise Championships, when he was hit by one of his rivals and suffered bent steering after being forced into the barriers. After a long and tricky wet race he fought back from last place to finish fifth, his perseverance finally paying off. All in all there is a lot going on at Snetterton and we'd like you to be part of that. Whoever you are supporting this weekend, be sure to come by and say hello to the team - we're in garages 15/16 - and have a good look at the cars. If you see Hyla's mascots - Skippy and Dano the Kangaroos - around the circuit, be sure to say hello to them too! And, most importantly of all, be sure to wave at, and cheer for, the York City Racing cars as they pass you on track. See you there!