The first event of the 2003 season proved a mixed bag for the team. A beautiful sunny day saw a packed paddock and a full programme for the HSCC event. We has both cars out with the Lotus Formula Junior finally ready for action and the MK7S Elva back together again after its engine rebuild.

First up was the qualifying for the Elva. A very packed field saw traffic a big problem. The engine is very nice and noticeably better than before. The brakes however leave something to be desired and it looks like a new set of pads will be required before next time out. Probably suffering from a bit of ring rust I was disappointed to finish 11th in practice although I was sure there was more to come in the race.

The Lotus in bright orange was next out and essentially went well. With the seat removed I managed to fit in and used the session mainly to learn the car and what it can do. Compared to last years car the handling is a revelation. Carrying momentum and speed through the corners is what FJ racing is all about and this car is very predictable and has great brakes! Once again 11th on the grid was the result in another very big field.

The Elva race was a frantic affair. With three cars aiming for a gap in the middle of the track as the lights went green it looked like some form of melee was on the cards. However, having swerved to the left I managed to go around the outside and picked up two places. At full pace the next 10 laps were hard work. I managed a few more places and was pretty pleased to get past the rapid Lotus Elan of current series Champion Chris Reese without a bump – remember it was he who ran into me last year at Cadwell Park! At the flag we were 5th overall, first in class and fastest lap (2 seconds quicker than qualifying).

The Junior race was however a disappointment. Almost from the lights I was in trouble with an ever worsening misfire. Having easily pulled 9000rpm in practice I was now having trouble reaching 7000rpm. At a track like Donington with a couple of fast bits this was not good news and required taking corners in higher gears and hoping for the best. Finishing 10th we were left with work to be done for the next outing.

All in all though – like the egg, good in parts.


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