L93 Phakisa 2017-07-08
The race weekend wasn't looking good for me - I had picked up a tummy bug, and things were dire. On Thursday the car just needed wheels back on, and it took all my strength (and quite a lot of medication) to finish that job. Friday morning I was worse. With more medication I was able to keep both ends plugged, and set off around 9am. 

I arrived at the track feeling almost human, only to find that my brake pedal went to the floor. A long process of bleeding all the wrong calipers, until finally - fourth time lucky - I got the right one. I managed two sessions on track before the day ended, with a 1:58 in the bag. Ignoring Wesley's 1:56, I was quite happy (and not feeling too ill). Many thanks to Andre and the Viviers' lads for helping with the brakes and wheels.

Quali was ok, but the draw was excellent. I got number 1, putting me next to Mackie on the grid. The race started with a good battle for 2nd with Wesley, who eventually locked up at turn 2 (quite spectacularly). Thereafter it was a fairly quiet race with Mackie always tantalisingly out of reach. I took 2nd place with quite a lead.

Race 2 was quite a lot more action-filled. I had stiffened up the suspension a bit, and it's quite evident from the video that I'm working hard for the first lap or so to keep the back of the car at the back (until the tyres warm up properly). I was thrilled to pass Mackie on the back straight, and keep him behind me for a the rest of the lap. But he got passed me on Turn 3, and on the back straight Johan got passed too. I managed be get back past Johan by taking a deep dive into Turn 2, and was then able to open a bit of a gap.

However, the pack behind me gradually eroded the gap - I think my line into the back straight needs improvement - and after a few laps Rudi caught up to me. Although there wasn't quite enough space, he tapped the gap a little wider and passed me in Turn 3. At turn 4 I had quite a big moment, giving Johan and Wesley the chance they needed. The race got really interesting after that.

Just before the last turn Johan didn't see me, and made a big cross-track move. Avoiding him put me half on the grass, and the car got VERY floaty. The was much relief as I felt the car straighten and grip returned, and I could pull her back onto the black. Juan and I were side-by-side through turn 1, always an entertaining way to do it, but I managed to pull ahead to turn 2. With another deep dive into turn 2 I got ahead of Johan. It was then a very close battle with Rudi and Wesley - both acting like taxi drivers on strike down the back straight (no way past). Past the line it was Rudi in second, Wesley in third, and me next by a mere 0.06s. Great race, and a great weekend.

On the drive back home I overtook someone on the N1, crossing the middle-line rumble holes. Next moment there's a lot of vibration, which doesn't seem to be going away. I looked in my side mirror, just in time to see most of my right trailer tyre exit stage right (fortunately no oncoming traffic). The sidewalls stayed on the rim, which protected it. Changing to the spare was a fairly quick job, with Andre again stopping and helping. Certainly a lesson for me about those rumble strips, and I share it so that others maybe learn from my experience without the concomitant school fees.

Race 1:

Race 2:

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