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Spa Race Report

2nd November 2006

There simply isn't anywhere else like Spa. Locked in the heart of the Ardennes Forest it tests character and commitment like no other circuit. It's a racers track like no other, requiring massive reserves of nerve and an almost arrogant level of self-belief. Padmore’s skills suit this place perfectly, and with their intoxicating mix of raw power and incredible high-speed cornering, the 360bhp Radical SR8s do too.

Take Blanchimont corner for instance, on the approach the cars have been flat-out in top gear at maximum speed for what seems like an age, and yet they can still take it flat. Just. The cars can do it, but the courage required from the driver is huge. And then there's Eau Rouge, perhaps the world's most challenging and spectacular corner, rising and twisting impossibly skywards to a gap in the dense pines. It's another 6th gear rush that has the drivers’ hearts beating faster every lap as they push that little bit harder.

The weather too can play its part, rain is common as is heavy mist that can hang in the trees and reduce visibility to almost zero. The adrenaline level is always up to the max. Spa is addictive, enthralling and magical, and our man Padmore took pole position for both races, running two laps that were identical, stopping the clocks at 2:20.1 each time. Speed is nothing without consistency.

Fifty-five cars took the start with the yellow and green car heading the field off for the rolling start for race one. The car’s owner, Austin Reynolds took the start, completeing his stint in tenth place. With Padmore on board he was soon banging in the lap times and moving rapidly back up through the field. Once on the tail of Austin Kinsella in the blue BMS car the pair battled wheel-to-wheel for three laps, almost touching on several occasions. I was a monumental scrap, however technical gremlins were to intervene, as Padmore first slowed with a mis-fire and then retired altogether. A bitter blow.

Race two and the tactics would again remain the same, Reynolds took the start, this time brilliantly holding onto second place for five laps, fending off Richard Ince and the rest of the massive Radical field. However during Padmore’s stint the dreaded mis-fire returned and the austinreynolds.com car again slipped down the field and the pair finished 6th in class.

Report by Elliot Weir

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