Brad Bounces Back at Rockingham
The Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge returned to action after for the first time since the opening race weekend of the year at Oulton Park in April, this time taking in the UK’s newest circuit, Rockingham in Northamptonshire.
Essex racer Brad Bailey was determined to put a challenging weekend at Oulton Park behind him, a weekend which had promised much after running in the top six in practice, but brought frustration in qualifying and the races.
“It was one of those tough weekends but I know we’ll go better” said Brad.
So the team headed up to Rockingham feeling ready for action and Bailey’s Paul Bailey Cars sponsored machine looked instantly settled, setting times in the rain that gave him confidence for the balance of the weekend.
Come qualifying 24 cars headed out onto the part-oval and part-road course American-inspired circuit and in a busy session Brad immediately ran amongst the top ten, eventually qualifying an excellent 6th overall.
“My Engineer Glen Gower made some changes and it worked really well. I only needed another tenth or two and would have been ahead of Championship leader Sean Huyton so I was really pleased with that” Brad smiled.
In race one in dry conditions on Saturday Brad made an excellent start and worked his way amongst the pack as the cars swept out into the infield.
A solid race saw Bailey mixing it with the front-runners and getting ahead of former race winner Clive Richards, eventually finishing an excellent 5th, his best finish of 2012 so far.
“That was good, I really enjoyed that one – the car felt good and it was great to bring it back in one piece and lap competitively after the troubles at Oulton. I’m really pleased with that and we start 5th for race two now”.
Race two on Sunday saw a good start but Brad was edged wide early on and out of position. Early in the lap he turned into the tricky Tarzan Hairpin and was clattered into by Rick Parfitt Junior, instantly damaging the steering and putting Brad out of the race on the spot. Parfitt was later fined for the incident but the damage was done.
“After such a good race one I know I could have at least repeated that or even made some places up. Once I was edged wide I got into the mid-pack and then people do silly things and that’s what happened with Rick. Very frustrating!”
With the starting position in race three determined by your finishing position it meant that Brad would start 22nd out of 24 cars and knew he had a battle on his hands.
However in just 12 laps Brad demonstrated the fighting spirit that had Won him the British Junior Rallycross Championship, passing car after car in several decisive moves, eventually finishing an incredible 8th overall!
The series now heads to Brad’s home circuit, Brands Hatch, in two weeks where last year in Ginetta Juniors he came close to winning on the full Grand Prix Circuit.
“It’s a mega track and it will be nice to race at ‘home’ and I’m confident we can qualify near the front and hopefully challenge for a Podium”.