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David Bartrum's Blog

Croft, 15 June 2009

We didn't have too bad an Oulton Park. The cars weren't too badly damaged but there was a bit of bodywork damage on Michael Caine's Porsche.

We were out the weekend after Oulton, working towards the future with Steve Parish – not the truck racing one. This is our Steve Parish from TAG Worldwide. Steve started his racing career that weekend. He's done quite a lot of testing and he's been coached by Steven Kane and Michael Caine, so goodness knows how he's got as far as he has.

We went off to Lydden on Saturday with the '48 club', me, Grump and Richard Townsend, as we're all 48 now. Then on Sunday we all went to Silverstone as well as Rob and Shane. We had a good day at Lydden for Steve's first race. He got two poles, two wins and two fastest laps, and two signatures on his licence.

We went up to Silverstone the next day and had an interesting day. He got pole in the wet, but that was a lot to do with new Michelin wets. In the first race he slipped down to sixth, as he'd never done a rolling start before. But he clawed his way back to third and got on the podium, with a class win as well. He then started third in the second race and got pushed and shoved a bit at the first corner. He ended up 22nd, but then drove from there back to sixth and even Mr Titchmarsh in the commentary box was quite excited.

He got fastest lap and driver of the race, so that was a really good day and most important of all he got four signatures from the weekend. Steve's ultimate goal is Carrera Cup, but he'd like to get a bit more race experience. He might look at a couple of GT Cup races in July. I hope he'll do the last two Carrera Cup weekends this year and then do some other stuff in October to build his experience. I think Steve is very good for the future.

The week running up to Croft was a strange week, with a few little niggles. We had a very good day on Thursday at Leyland Paints. We took the two touring cars and Michael Caine's Porsche as well as all four drivers, to meet the good people of Leyland Paints at Batley in Yorkshire.

They got us parked up in the factory car park and laid on a good spread of food. The enthusiasm from the people that we met and their knowledge of what we've been up to was outstanding. We were there from 2pm to 7pm and the drivers and the team were out talking to everyone. The drivers went off and mixed paint and so on. At five o'clock, the mums and dads returned with all the kids and they had a good look round as well. It was a real pleasure to do. It was all about their staff and our involvement with the company. There was an awful lot of enthusiasm for what we are doing. They were really in to what we're doing.

On the way up there Timmy had a windscreen go in one of the Scanias, so we had to have a windscreen fitted in their car park before he could continue to Croft. The Sprinter van lost all power and the other Scania broke a throttle cable. But we all finally got to Croft and parked up, but on Friday the Porsche transporter was robbed by the local scallies. Then, we didn't have the best of qualifying on Saturday with the touring cars.

In Carrera Cup, it was quite the opposite. Our testing on Friday was not particularly good; in fact it was crap. Michael went off into the gravel with a brake problem and Ollie wasn't particularly dialled in. That left Patrick, the engineer, with quite a lot of work to do and obviously the theft of the wallets didn't help. But I was very pleased with their qualifying even though we didn't get the touring car qualifying right and there was work to be done.

For the races, I was a little bit disappointed with the touring cars. Rob did very well to get two fourth places. Jonny had an engine go in the second race, which is a real shame. The boys did an engine change before the third race, which was really good. They worked flat out and did it with about 20 minutes to spare and I was really pleased with the team. It's a shame we didn't get more from it.

We just didn't nail it in qualifying and that left West Surrey to do what they wanted. For us, West Surrey is always the benchmark and they did a really good job at Croft. Vauxhall surprised me with their no-show. In the end they got a win, but only because it rained.

This time last year, Croft was our turning point. This time round it's made me think we've got to work harder. We're now going into the break, we've got some testing and we will work harder.

Carrera Cup-wise, considering we had an awful Friday, both on and off-circuit, to come out on Saturday and have Michael just miss pole and get Ollie up there as well, was great. Ollie got his head down and worked and I'm very pleased how he is progressing. He's ahead of where I thought he would be. He's third in pro-am1, he's joint seventh overall and he's got Geddie and Gilham all around him. At Oulton Park and Croft, Ollie has come a long way.

The wet race was magic, it was a really good effort. The guys managed to change the cars in a very short space of time, and they were running around like blue-arsed flies changing the settings. They got it spot on. If Michael hadn't made that little mistake and spun, James Sutton would have been very hard pressed if there had been another two laps. Michael came back from the spin and easily got back ahead of Tim Harvey. Tim is a very good driver and he's extremely good in the wet, but Michael made him look like an amateur and that showed how good our car was.

I'm very pleased with the Carrera Cup boys this weekend. The drivers did a very good job; Patrick the engineer did a really good job and the whole crew worked very hard. Getting the 'team of the weekend' award was great and it was earned. I love it when we get something like that, it means quite a lot to me personally. I flit between the two teams and I'm very lucky that I've got Lance and Patrick down there with a good crew and Ollie with the touring cars with a good crew. I can play the big team principal and float around on my buggy. When Porsche say you've got team of the weekend, they've got that, not me. That was our first 'team of the weekend' for a long time, so I was very pleased with it.

Now I go away on holiday on Friday to Antigua, which I'm really looking forward to. Her in doors has said I've got no choice; I'm going. All the guys have worked long and hard 'til now, so we all need a break. Tim Hull, Grump and Charlie are staying back to take Steve Parish to Lydden again on June 27. So, hopefully, when I come back from holiday, Steve will be sitting on a National A licence.