With two meetings now behind us, Team B&Q Jet York City Racing is looking in good shape for the remainder of the season. After a slow start at Brands Hatch whilst the team got used to a new car and driver, we developed both cars well at Oulton...
With two meetings now behind us, Team B&Q Jet York City Racing is looking in good shape for the remainder of the season. After a slow start at Brands Hatch whilst the team got used to a new car and driver, we developed both cars well at Oulton Park, culminating in a Feature Race podium position for Jim Edwards Jnr. This result leaves him lying in fourth position in the race for the Drivers Championship title, just eight points behind the current leader Norman Simon in his Edenbridge Racing BMW.
Rounds five and six this weekend, at Thruxton in Hampshire, will see a complete change from the tight circuits that we have raced on so far this season. The airfield circuit at Thruxton is the fastest circuit in the country and has gained a reputation for being somewhat of a car breaker. This reputation is not just because of its super fast nature, which can cook engines or break suspension, but its hardwearing and bumpy surface. Past seasons have seen many punctures causing high-speed exits into the Hampshire countryside and, with the Production class cars not being required to make pit-stops in the Feature race this is sure to give the drivers something to think about in the latter stages of the race. Thankfully for us though, the Honda Accords have suffered little with these problems in recent years and so we are hopeful of a repeat performance of last season when Nick Beaumont scored a superb second-place finish for us.
After his podium finish two weeks ago, Maidenhead's Jim Edwards Jnr will again be chasing good points and, with the history of the long wheelbase Honda Accords at Thruxton, it has to be a circuit where the top step of the podium could finally become a reality for the team. However with a weighty car in qualifying and the sprint race, due to Jim's success ballast, it's hard to see how we will be able to match James Kaye in his Honda Civic who will be carrying no weight ballast. But the Synchro car has a big question mark over it - reliability.
Due to his high-speed accident on the first lap of the Oulton Park Sprint Race, John B&Q will not be racing for us this weekend - whilst the car's injuries proved easy to fix, John's did not and doctors have declared that he is not fit to race. "It's a real shame not to be racing at Thruxton but it is not the place to be worrying about whether your physical state can take the fast corners or not, however we have a more than suitable stand in driver and I will be sitting on the sidelines giving my input and support." Peter Cate, our Test and Development driver, will step in for the Thruxton weekend, "I am happy to be in the car, although I don't like the circumstances much, but that's the deal with racing and I will make sure I do a good job for the team. I'll be looking to make the most of the free practice session to get the car close to its optimum and then see where that leaves us in Qualifying. If I can hang on to the back of Jim's car, I'll have done ok!!"
Peter Cate raced here at Thruxton last year and scored a superb podium behind his teamate in a Honda Accord in only his second race in the top flight BTCC series, "I sold my house and took out many loans to pay for my racing career back at the beginning and to make into the BTCC eventually last year was a dream come true but I was gutted when the deal fell apart after my sponsors pulled out, and so will be looking forward to starting in Monday's races where I left off with Barwell Motorsport, at the front."
Jim Edwards Jnr is very upbeat and speaks on behalf of the team when expressing the morale boost within the team, "We can hold our heads high in the knowledge that we have made a very promising start to the 2002 British Touring Car Championship. With the superb podium at Oulton Park the team will be in confident mood at Thruxton. I am disappointed for John that his season has started in the way that it has, but I am also delighted to see Peter Cate make his race debut for the team. Thruxton will be an exciting meeting, in more ways than one!"
The team have had a lot of work to do since Oulton Park, trying to get John's car rebuilt after his big accident and make sure that Jim's car is at the peak of condition too. Team Manager, Stuart Isherwood, and his Blackburn based team have been working flat out, and have done an excellent job in getting both cars to the track. "Thruxton is the home circuit of one of our major sponsors and they will be bringing a number of guests to the meeting, so we will be trying doubly hard to get a result", he said.
So what exactly is so special about this Thruxton circuit that so many love and so many fear, our two drivers give us an insight into what happens in the cockpit. Peter Cate tells us, " The track is so abrasive meaning tyre wear is a big factor, the smart drivers will focus on not overworking the front left tyre else you may have to make a time consuming pit stop or suffer with understeer which is not advised at high speeds. The other big thing is whether you can take the fastest corner in the country flat out. Church is a 125mph corner and yes you can take it flat out but that means you were slow coming out of Goodwood the preceding corner."
Jim Edwards meanwhile loves his local circuit and likewise puts a chilling drivers eye view on things, "Church dominates the lap, it's a hang your balls on the mirrors corner, while the Chicanes and in particular the Complex requires a more refined approach. The Club Chicane is also a time to cross your fingers as you launch the car over very high curbs to complete a lap quickly, but realise that landing with wheels, is never guaranteed."
As ever the team will be attracting media attention, so no doubt Yorkie the Lion and others will be joining in with the fun. As you would expect there will be a certain amount of interest in John B&Q as he continues to expand his business ambitions; this week announcing plans to raise a team of backers to buy ITV Digital.
Morale is high within Team B&Q Jet York City Racing, we will get to that top step of the podium, so look out for and join our army of passionate supporters the BandQsi as we strive to win. And as ever come and say hello to the team, we will be happy to ask your questions and John, Jim and Peter will be more than happy to sign your programme or pose for a picture with you
<pre> Event Timetable
Sunday 5th May 09:00 Michelin Porsche Cup Free Practice 25 mins 09:30 Church Break 1 hour 10 mins 10:45 British Touring Car Championship Free Practice 40 mins 11:40 National Formula Ford Championship Qualifying 30 mins 12:30 British Touring Car Championship Free Practice 40 mins 13:10 Interval 1 hour 14:10 Michelin Porsche Cup Qualifying 20 mins 14:45 Elf Clio RenaultSport UK Cup Qualifying 30 mins 15:30 British Touring Car Championship Qualifying 43 mins 16:25 Formula Renault UK Championship Qualifying 30 mins 17:15 Michelin Porsche Cup Race 14 laps 18:05 National Formula Ford Championship Race 14 laps
Monday 6th May 10:00 - 10:30 Caterham Superlight Challenge Qualifying 11:45 Elf Clio RenaultSport UK Cup Race 14 laps 12:40 British Touring Car Championship Sprint Race 15 laps 13:40 National Formula Ford Championship Race 18 laps 14:25 Michelin Porsche Cup Race 20 laps 15:10 Formula Renault UK Championship Race 20 laps 16:15 British Touring Car Championship Feature Race 25 laps 17:25 Caterham Superlight Challenge Race 15 laps