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David Bartrum's Blog

25th June 2010, Croft Race Day

Sunday at Croft was one of those days you don't want to go through too often. It was very reminiscent of 2007 with the SEATs. We started on the back foot after a bad qualifying, with the BMWs in 12th and 15th for the first race.

In the first race we pretty much got battered, with doors and bumpers pushed in. It was just like the old days of the SEATs again. For race two they went out again, not in great grid positions, but better than the first race. Mat had something happen that broke the rear subframe, which is quite amazing.

They were both going well and were up into something like sixth and seventh places. Steven got caught out on the brakes by Tom Boardman a couple of times and damaged the front of the car and lost the front grill that protects the radiator. Then a rock went through the rad and that was both cars out of the race.

In Porsches, we didn't have the greatest of first races. Michael had come third, Ollie was second in pro-am1 and George had pulled off a water problem when he was leading his class. He'd done a really good job and Liam had a fairly good race and Charlie had a good run. So that was that.

Then came the third race in touring cars and they both started at the very back and made their way through. Mat was going well and Steven was following. Mat got up to fifth but then made a mistake and went wide and dropped back. But Steven kept on moving up and picked them off and then on the very last lap he got Tom Boardman at the very last corner to get a podium. So that was touring cars dragged out of the mire.

I love Croft; it's a lovely place to come to, but it has never been kind to us. There is always a good crowd and a good atmosphere, and it's different in the way it is laid out. We came here in 2007 with the SEATs and had nothing but bad things all day. In 2008 we came back with the BMWs; not good. Steven lost what would have been our first podium and Rob got tangled up with Mike Jordan. Last year we didn't really have the pace of West Surrey, which made it even worse. This year we've had the same thing again, with a dismal qualifying. It was a very hard race day, but we managed to drag something out of the hat in the last race and I suppose that's about the best I've ever had out of Croft.

In the second Porsche race, Ollie won his class, Michael made up and got to second and George got a podium as well. It was a shame he didn't get the win he deserved in the first race, because he drove really well. George is moving on every weekend and Liam is making big progress. He's turned a corner over the last few weeks, just like Sam Hancock did in 2007.

Tim Harvey and Michael are doing what they do and Charlie shows flashes of brilliance. He was a bit unfortunate with the incident with Michael Meadows in the second race. And of course we were missing Mr Parish, who wasn't with us.

It was a busy old day and quite a draining day for me and the team. But we pulled our socks up in the last touring car race. That was very good for Steven because in all five touring car weekends he's been on the podium.

Mat is suffering a little bit at the moment, but he will be very strong in the second half of the season. He came into the team late and has been a bit on the back foot. He didn't have the experience of the team that Steven has and he's been playing catch up a bit. He had to get the Chevrolet out of his head, re-learn the BMW and settle in with a new team. It's quite different to any team he's been in before by quite a long way. But he's now settled in and will be mega strong in the second half and Steven will give it his all as usual.

Porsche wise, we've got to aim at the team championship and we're back in front of it after the Croft races. We're still leading the independents in touring cars, but we've dropped to second in the overall teams, but we were never going to hold Honda for too long. We held them for four weekends, but today we lost to them.

I'm looking forward to the summer break and sorting the cars out. Hopefully we'll have a couple of long weekends, but we've got the Goodwood Festival of Speed and an open day at Porsche 911 Box on 17 July. A friend of mine is a used Porsche dealer, Geoff and Pat up at Keston near Bromley, and we're having an open day. There will be a barbecue, Motorbase cars and Carrera Cup drivers along with their customers and Porsche Club members. Mr Caine will be there to talk to the crowds along with his invisible friend 'Goose'. Ollie Jackson will be there and I hope Steve Parish will be there.

So we've got things to do and we've got some cars to repair. We'll kick up a gear!

David Bartrum