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Guest Blog: Aaron Morgan – Round 7 at the Marangoni Production BMW Championship, Cadwell Park Circuit

This weekend saw Round 7 of the Marangoni Tyres Production BMW championship take place at the Cadwell Park circuit in Lincolnshire, a four-hour drive from where I live. I arrived at the circuit on Saturday, which I spent watching the racing and preparing for my races the following day. I was pleased to have a new radiator and that my overheating ‘gremlins’ from Brands Hatch would be gone!

It was an early start for us on the Sunday as our qualifying session was the first on the circuit. No sooner had I arrived that I was in my car and on the track using the first few laps to familiarise myself with the circuit. When I felt happy I started to increase my speed. There were small mistakes in each of the next four laps which I was fortunately able to eliminate by lap seven. However, the red flag came out calling an early end to the session after someone span in a dangerous position at the bottom of the ‘infamous mountain’. I was a bit gutted that the session wasn’t full-length but confident I’d be able to improve my lap times in the races.

While waiting in the assembly area for race one I aimed to reduce the number of mistakes I had made in qualifying and get a better start than at Brands Hatch. When heading towards the grid, I did a practice start to remind myself of the procedure. When lining up on the grid it became apparent how narrow the track was, which would make overtaking difficult. Excessive wheel spin affected my getaway from the line and on the way to the first turn I narrowly escaped being involved in an accident by sneaking through the middle of it. I was left a bit shocked and unsure of whether the race would be red flagged as everyone’s brake lights were on. I continued going up the hill and the race then resumed as normal. In the initial laps I put pressure on the car in front and when it ran wide through the gooseneck, I was able to move up the inside. Immediately after making the pass I had to aggressively defend my position into the next turn.

My strategy was then to build a gap from the car behind and close in on the next competitor, which was much faster than the group in front of him but on the narrow track was unable to overtake. As the race finished I was unable to make any further progress, despite catching up to the group, but I arrived back at the pits very pleased with how my race had gone. I finished in 16th place and had improved on my qualifying time by 1.5 seconds! I focused on getting a better start for race two.

I was putting my helmet on sitting in the assembly area for the race when the preceding one was red flagged, signifying a 15 minute wait before we could start. After the barriers on the track had been repaired we made our way out. The lights went out and I got a very good launch which, due to the narrow nature of the track, I was unfortunately unable to use to make up any positions (but I didn’t lose any either). About half way around the first lap I ran wide at a fast right hander, which allowed the three cars that were involved in the first race crash to pass me. I then tried to latch on to the back of them, allowing me to catch up to the next group ahead. I was able to maintain the same gap until the final lap of the race when one of the cars in front went on the grass when trying to overtake and span off, gifting me its position. I was able to hang on for the rest of the lap and finished 18th in the race. It hadn’t felt as fast as the first race and I’d been unable to improve on my fastest lap time.

However, I was delighted with the weekend as a whole. Coming 16th and 18th had moved me up the overall point standings and I was able to improve my fastest lap time by 1.5 seconds. I managed to achieve this on a highly technical track, making it hard for me to drive with just two hands! I am now really looking forward to the final round of the championship in a month’s time at the Donington Park Racing Circuit, which is much more suited to my car and has high speed corners that I enjoy!

Aaron Morgan is a disabled racing driver sponsored by Adapted Vehicle Hire. He is also a sales executive at AVH, advising customers on their specialist adapted and wheelchair accessible vehicle requirements. Read more about him here.

6 September 2012