2023 MSV Miata Trophy
Rounds 5 & 6 – Donington Park National circuit
The National circuit at Donington Park is ideally suited for Mazda MX-5 racing. We arrived on a high from our success at Brands and before that my first Miata Trophy win at Anglesey. The weather forecast was heavy rain for Friday and mixed conditions Saturday. Luckily, we had the pit garages for the weekend, so could stay nice and dry for the most part.
I only had the afternoon for testing on Friday and one of those two sessions was curtailed as the wet conditions kept catching out drivers, so it was red flagged.
The track was damp but drying in the qualifying session on Saturday morning. In those types of conditions, the last laps are always going to be the fastest laps and at Donington slipstream is worth a great deal too. For all of the top runners our final laps were our quickest and I ended up second fastest, with the top three covered by just 0.029 seconds.
There was a light shower before the SuperPole session. The first part of my out lap felt dry and grippy so I continued to push and warm up the tyres. However, as I arrived at Coppice, I hit a damp patch and slid straight on into the gravel. How embarrassing. It was of course completely my mistake, but at least it would only mean I start fifth on the grid.
Race one came and it was wet. Very wet. Hammering down. I made an average start, but was boxed in, slipping down to sixth and then to seventh at the end of the first lap. I really didn’t feel that I had any pace, but chipped away as best I could and got into fourth. At that point the safety car came out, which was handy for me as it closed the gap to the podium places. A two lap sprint followed and with the track drier I had more confidence; I took third after the restart at turn one. Alex was running second and while there was a bit of a gap I got right up to him by the line, but it wasn’t enough.
Race two was dry and was a classic Mazda pack race in the early part with seven cars running together. At half distance there was a sort out at the chicane, which left Declan Lee and myself up front and a gap to the rest behind. I sat there fire a few laps in his tow and attacked into the chicane with a few minutes left, but got pinned to the inside which ruined my exit and I lost a lot of time. I had to work hard to close that down and on the last lap had a great run out of the Old Hairpin. I got alongside at McLeans, but when Declan turned in I tried to pull out of the move, but was pinned to the kerb and we touched. Both of us went into the gravel. We both got going, Declan finishing fifth and myself in second. Alex took his first race win (well done to him!).
It was a shame about the contact, as we had raced closely all year without a problem. Maybe it was a late move on my part, but I didn’t think so. Maybe he didn’t see me dive to the inside and turned in early to defend. Either way, it wasn’t what either of us wanted. Afterwards, the Clerk said it was a racing incident.
Overall, third and second places finishes are a good return from a difficult weekend. About a quarter of the way through race one it didn’t look like that was going to be possible!
We move onto Snetterton next with it all to play for.
|Position||Best Lap Time|
|Race 1||3rd||1:30.373 (FL)|