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News 2006: Croft Costs Pinkney Dear!

An unnecessary nerf off the track at the end of lap two in Round 14 - the second of the Sunday's races at the Croft Circuit - by Team Halfords' Gordon Shedden, damaged Dave Pinkney's ex-Team Halfords Honda Integra so badly it ruined his chances of a another strong finish and eventually forced him out of Round 15.

"It was ridiculous," said an annoyed Pinkney. "He gave me such a hard whack at the hairpin he must have pushed me about 25ft off the circuit and even went off with all four wheels himself doing it!"

"There was no need either, we enjoy a good working relationship with the lads at Dynamics, and I would have got out of his way going down the start-finish straight as his car obviously had more pace."

Pinkney started that race seventh on the grid, after taking a respectable seventh in Round 13, and was looking on for at least a top five finish – his best showing of the weekend after fighting to find the right balance in the car for the qualifying session which left him 11 th on the grid for the first race.

"I hadn't driven the car for six weeks, due to the summer break, and I have done very little testing this year so far, so I'm still learning how the car works. I couldn't get quite the right set-up on Saturday although we were very close. We had a good constructive team meeting late Saturday afternoon and from that we knew what we had to do to make the car better," he said.

That showed in Round 13 when he drove strongly from 11 th to seventh to give him a fighting chance of a podium finish in the two remaining races. A chance that ended very abruptly at the hands Mr Shedden early in race two!

The impact damaged the Motorbase Integra's gearbox – it would change gear by itself -, leaving Pinkney no option but to nurse the car over the line in a wounded ninth place, while Shedden went on to take fourth!

Motorbase's mechanics then faced a race against time to get the car ready for Round 15. One swift gearbox change later, Pinkney was on the grid hoping for better – but noticed on the warm-up lap that the car wasn't handling as it had at the start of the previous round..

Despite this, Pinkney soldiered on and managed to keep the likes of Fabrizio Giovanardi, Robert Collard and Mike Jordan at bay for much of the race, but on the tenth lap – thankfully in one of the slower corners of the circuit – his front left hand side tyre blew and he was forced to pit.

"Basically, the shunt in the second race probably caused damage to the left front suspension as well as the gearbox, but because the lads were flat out changing the gearbox, and there was such a quick turn around between races, there wasn't time for any further setup checks". It was that that caused the handling problems with the car and eventually led to the tyre failure.

"It was an unnecessary incident that has cost me points, as both my main rivals in the Independents Championship James Kaye and Mike Jordan profited from my misfortune." The cost will not only be measured in points, "We are probably going to have to replace the engine as it was buzzed when the gearbox developed a mind of its own, and then there is also the cost of the gearbox and bodywork".

"Basically it was a weekend that promised much but delivered little." he said.