Inland Championship – Red Star Raceway 16 October 2021
Qualifying 1.18.5 – 3rd
Redstar Raceway rotate the direction of the circuit every 6 months, which makes it extremely interesting to navigate if the last time you raced the circuit in anti-clockwise direction was almost two years ago. Qualify on the Saturday with Friday practise not being possible due to work commitments, meant I had my work cut out getting to grips with circuit and hopefully the car setup was reasonable enough for a respectable qualifying time. Using the first 3 laps of a possible 5-6 as a siting lap to familiarise myself with track layout and to get a feel if the car setup enabled to push it. Best I could do was a low 1.18.0 which I knew was not a great time, however qualifying did help me figure out the under-steer problem. Under -steer at Redstar kills the font tyres and therefore the quick fix was to pump up the pressures on the rear tyres to get the back to turn a little easier as this was costing me both time and money by overheating and chewing up the front tyres.
Starting in P 4 on the grid meant that the first turn and the two leading into the hair pin before the back straight was going to be hectic. Wayne Perreia in his 20 v Golf and Tyan Visser in Honda which is super quick were ready to get tucked in behind me down the straight to hopefully get a tow and pass me into turn 5 which I was not keen on. When The flag dropped, I managed to get a decent start and hit the long back straight ahead of my class B competitors and fend them off down into turn 5. Around lap 3 or 4 Wayne Pereira in his 20v managed to get past me down the straight and just had a little too much horsepower to fend me off until the chequered flag with a Shield Golf virtually connected to his bumper.
Back at base camp (pits) and doing some more setup adjustments I knew the only way I could win the second heat was to make sure I could get my car front end setup 110%. Ensuring the front tyres could be managed to the end of the race was the trick to success. Strategizing with my crew I knew if I put enough pressure on Parreira in the early stages of the race his tyres would cook and could be in with a chance in last two laps to try pass him in the tight twisty sections of the circuit. With a reverse grid for Heat 2 I and starting alongside Pereira I had the benefit of drafting Wayne down the back straight and pressurising him from the start which worked to plan. Racing is like playing Golf and teaches you lessons all the time, just when you think you have it all figured out, the weather changes or someone else enter the mix in the form of a red Honda suddenly leading both Pereira and I down the back straight. Fortunately, we managed to get passed the Honda of Visser by Lap 3 and then the race was on with all three of us jockeying for position with strategy now a thing of the past moving straight into survival mode. Pereira’s car I could see was starting to battle more and more as the laps counted down and by laps 6 managed to pass him gaining a marginal lead separating me from him and the Honda, which surprisingly also managed to get past the Pereira Golf who I had picked up fuelling or spark issue.
Once the points had been tallied up on the day, I had managed a first overall in class B and a 2nd on Index for the day.
Heading into the final race of the year at Zwartkops in two weeks’ time the Shield Golf still leads the overall championship by 11 points from Dirk Laurens and Class B.
Hold thumbs everyone that this is hopefully the year we bring home the championship
BIG THANKS TO THE SHIELD TEAM FOR ALL THE SUPPORT.