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No Bank Holiday Blues for Padmore!

27th May 2008

This dreary Bank holiday weekend has bought nothing but success and a good driver profile for Nick, his drive in the TVR (competing in The Masters Series) has shown just adaptable his skills are as a professional racing driver.

Nick competed in the Masters Series this weekend on the Brands Hatch GP Circuit, in a very challenging 1 hr 25 minute drive with car owner and team mate Ian Bankhurst. Nick also competes with Ian in the Beetle Funcup Championship; Ian’s boys from Team Matrix were there ready to go despite the horrible weather conditions.

Sunday was practice and qualifying, and the race would be due on Monday morning. The qualifying had a dry session and Ian was first to go and post a few laps, and doing so, he managed to put the TVR on pole. Nick was eagerly watching from the pits, he commented before going out “I don’t how well I’m going to do on this session, it’s the first time and I’ve really got no idea where I’ll be in terms of race pace, it’s such a different car to what I usually race”.

Nick exited the pits, by this time Bankhurst’s time had been beaten, so Nick had some work to do, and those few laps seemed to have paid off because Nick put the car on pole by a massive 1.5 seconds, a great confidence boost for Nick, Ian and the team for what could be a very long and wet race on Monday.

The rain came down Monday morning with the race due to start at 10:15am, but because of such bad weather conditions, the organisers of the Masters Series and race directors at Motor Sport Vision Racing (Brands Hatch) postponed the race until 16:00, so the team suddenly had a lot of time on their hands. This was a good thing for Nick, it gave him time to relax and try and work out the best way to drive the TVR with such tricky conditions, he didn’t think so though, he said “I just want to get out there now and go do it! Waiting around only gets me restless, but the only upside to waiting is to see if the weather gets any better, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed”.

After a team briefing, Ian and Nick both sat down and decided on the best strategy for the race, and it was agreed that Nick would start, however due to the weather conditions Nick and Ian would be racing with the over 2.0 litre cars, which now meant the grid would double the size, and they would be starting from 14th.

The race start was approaching and a nervous Nick was sat in the car, ready to go. Their race, like all that day would start under safety car. This was a plus for Nick, it meant at least 2 laps where he could move the car around and get used to it before putting the hammer down.

The green flag was dropped and the race was go, Nick flew down the inside to Paddock Hill Bend and went out of sight, however by the time he exited Druids and got to Graham Hill Bend, he had managed to grab 9th from 14th. This was an excellent start by Nick because now he was racing cars in the class above and sticking with them. The next 5 laps were the same, Nick then managed to secure 7th but by this time the gap for 6th had stretched by a good 15 seconds, however these were cars in the class above so Nick was still leading his class and a fair way up overall. The rules stipulate that the owner of the car must do 50% or more of the race, so Nick would do 40 minutes and Ian would finish the remainder (45 minutes) of the race.

When 40 minutes was approaching the team were getting ready for Nick to come in and swap with Ian, but just at this time a car had gone off the circuit after Surtees throwing a safety car period, a brilliant time to do a driver change for Nick and Ian.

Nick’s stint was over and Ian was out to bring it home and having caught the safety car up, it looked like Ian was comfortable with the car. Ian bought it home 8th overall and 1st in class as well as Nicks fastest lap of the race, a great result which they all worked hard for.

Nick commented after the race, “I’m really pleased, the car was good, I think I could of driven better but you always think that, this is a good result for my first outing in this car and Ian drove really well, kept it calm, bang! We gotta win! The boys done a really good job with the car so a big thank you to them and also really pleased to have my girlfriend Claire with me today, she gives me lots of support, the weekend has finished off mega!”

Race report by Elliot Weir

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