British Sprint Championship: John Loudon's been at Lydden Hill
Saturday 16th July saw us travel to Lydden Hill Race Circuit for the latest round of the British Sprint Championship.
My previous two and only visits to Lydden Hill in deepest Kent hadn’t quite gone to plan. Visit number one in 2019 had me hitting the armco barrier in first practice and subsequently denting my confidence at the circuit. My subsequent second visit in 2021 was only marginally better and I was way off the required pace. The up to 1100cc single seater class record had stood at 68.95 seconds since 2010 and my previous best time was a shoddy 75.16 set in 2021 with my old Force HC car.
However, the new Force TA car has been a huge improvement in performance and going well. A minor panic when the car wouldn’t start as I was called forward to the start line for practice had fears of the curse of Lydden again trying to bite me. A quick push back to the paddock to only have the car start after all was a blessing and optimism was flickering when a I set a time of 71.04 seconds in first practice to set a new personal best time on my first run there in the new car. The next timed run was a respectable 69.60 which qualified me for the top 12 runoff and put me 2nd in class up to that point by the narrowest of margins against some stiff opposition. The following run was the first of the two top 12 runoffs for the day and I managed to improve yet again to a 69.04 which put me in 8th place overall, tantalisingly close to the class record of 68.95 and left me leading the up to 1100cc single seater class.
By lunchtime, the sun had come fully out and was sweltering everything that moved outside of any shade. The gazebo was impossible to position to fully shelter the car due to the overhead angle of the sun so over lunch I removed the wheels and tyres to keep them in the shade which was a smart move as it turned out. Timed run three was another qualifying run for the final top 12 run-off of the day. I managed to improve yet again to 68.23 which was a new class record and qualified me for the subsequent runoff, the commencement of which was quite quickly underway after the completion of the third timed run. Feeling quite happy with what I had already achieved, I doubted that the tyres would be up to another run so soon after the qualification run due to their heat, but the Pirellis thought overwise and rewarded me with yet another personal best and new class record of 67.55.
To say I was delighted was an understatement. The curse of Lydden was laid to rest and I came away with a new personal best by over 7 seconds, a new class record by 1.4 seconds gaining me a valuable additional bonus point and finishing 8th and 6th overall in the respective two British Sprint championship run offs gaining a good points haul towards the championship. This now leaves me joint 6th overall in the championship, the next round of which is at Kirkistown in Northern Ireland over the weekend of 6th and 7th of August.
A big thank you to my sponsors @Laser Tools Racing