Brands Hatch October 9th 2000Phew! What a relief. I've known for a while that the 250GP Class Championship was almost mine, but by the end of race two it was finally in the bag, with no chance of me losing it, regardless of what happens at the final round at Silverstone.
At the start of the day, I was up 41 points on Andy Mecham, with 60
points still available (30 at Brands, and another 30 at Silverstone
in two weeks). His only chance was to take at least 12 points
off me through the day.
Race OneIt had been raining overnight, and the track was gradually drying as it approached our first race. Tyres were a difficult choice - as they have been for much of this year - but eventually we plumped for an intermediate front and a slick rear. In fact I think slicks all round would have been fine, but the inter would give me more confidence if I got off line onto the damp stuff.
Andy Denyer got the hole-shot, with me close behind. Andy was riding well, and I didn't push too hard to catch him. I didn't want to crash trying to catch him up, nor did I particularly want to get into a fairing-bashing scrap with him! I certainly wouldn't say I let him take the win, but with Andy Mecham still behind, my emphasis was on safe and smooth riding. Denyer was ecstatic when he took the chequered flag - his first ever GP250 win in the dry!
42 points up, 50 points still available....
Race TwoRight, to win the championship, I just had to remain within two points of Andy Mecham. If he took the win, I'd have to get third, and the championship would be mine.
But what kind of win would that be?
I was fourth into the first corner - not too clever - with the two Andys (Mecham and Denyer) and Rob Cooke ahead of me. I got past Mecham on the way up to Druids, and Cookie on the back straight. That left Denyer ahead, going for his second win. "Nah mate, it's mine" I thought and did him into the hairpin. We then proceeded to pass the lead backwards and forwards for the next few laps - much to the consternation of my pit crew! "You've got it in the bag - don't throw it away scrapping - especially with Denyer!" went Duncan's thoughts as he chewed his fingernails down to the quicks.
I just made it over the line ahead of Denyer - to take the win, and put a very satisfactory end to the championship.
Race ThreeSomething went a bit wrong here. Might be that we'd made some fairly radical changes to the suspension, or that I just wasn't trying hard enough having clinched the championship. I led for most of the race, which made me somewhat complacent. "This is a bit easy" I thought, just as Denyer chopped across in front of me into Graham Hill. It was a close overtake, and threw me for a few seconds as I recovered, giving him quite a lead. I somewhat half-heartedly chased him, but wasn't pulling him in much, when Andy Mecham went past as well. Ah well, doesn't matter now really, does it? Third place still got a trophy, though a bloody small one compared to the win!
But hey, I'm now the
Final Bemsee rounds:
Setup Notes ----------- Gearing 14/39 Jetting 390/400 Best lap 50.72 Miles: total 60