Sprint-racer John Loudon reports from the final two sessions of his 2023 British Sprint Championship season

Sprint-racer John Loudon reports from the final two sessions of his 2023 British Sprint Championship season

Knockhill Sprint – October 8th

The British Sprint Championship headed to Knockhill Racing Circuit in Scotland for the second-to-last round of the year. It was a one-day event on the clockwise circuit, organised by the Scottish Motor Racing Club. I was in fourth place overall in the championship and needed to finish fourth or higher in the remaining races or break the 1100cc racing car class record to earn extra points.

We began the 720-mile journey in sunny weather but encountered heavy rain, strong winds, and dropping temperatures as we reached the Scottish border. The rain continued intermittently on the following day, making record-breaking unlikely.

Practice at 9:20 am was cancelled due to flooded track sections and poor visibility caused by mist. The first qualifying run commenced around 11:00 am, but my lightweight Force TA car struggled in wet conditions, and I couldn't achieve a top position. Despite pushing harder, I only managed 5th place in the first runoff, failing to improve my championship standing. In the second run-off, the weather remained challenging. We had to push ourselves to the limit, resulting in improved times, but I secured only 6th place.

Qualifying for run-off two of the day came around and there was not much let up in the weather. At various points in the day, it was unclear if the event would be cancelled. This necessitated pushing harder when it mattered which took some bravery in the conditions. The result was yet another improvement in time but only netted me 6th fastest as the rest of the field had also improved further.

As we waited for the final run-off, heavy rain prematurely ended the race that was underway. As a result, the meeting was ended, and we missed our last runoff. Thus the qualifying positions became the result for the run-off. With only a 5th and 6th place from the day, I gained no additional points which was disappointing given the distance travelled.

I still held 4th place overall in the championship, but my closest rival, now in 5th place, had gained points and closed the gap. The final round at Castle Combe circuit on October 14th would determine how the championship standings would unfold.

Castle Combe Sprint – 14th October

The British Sprint Championship concluded at Castle Combe race circuit in Wiltshire last Saturday. The event promised an exciting season finale, with only one point separating the top two competitors, and I aimed to maintain my fourth place overall in my Force TA racing car.

Castle Combe is the championship's fastest circuit, with sections where more powerful cars can hit speeds of 160mph or more. However, my Force TA, equipped with an 1100cc motorcycle engine, could only reach just over 130mph over a sufficient distance.

The day was cold despite the sunny skies, with some lingering damp patches from the previous day's rain. Practice proceeded smoothly, but a series of incidents caused delays. In the first timed run, I achieved a personal best circuit time. A sudden downpour after this run disrupted the track conditions for others, helping me qualify fastest overall in my little 1100cc car.

The rain stopped during the lunch break, and the sun dried the track for the second timed run, which included our first run-off. Another strong performance led to an improved time, securing my fourth-place finish and an additional point in the championship.

As we queued for the second run-off, heavy rain made conditions unsafe for everyone on slick tires. With little to gain position-wise, I opted not to participate. The day was a success, with the fastest qualifying time, a fourth-place finish, and cementing my fourth position in the championship, all achieved in a car less powerful than others. I'm extremely proud of this accomplishment.

Congratulations to Pete Goulding for winning the overall championship. I extend my heartfelt thanks to Laser Tools Racing for their continued support and to my wife Jane for her invaluable assistance at events, contributing to this season's success.