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Ginetta Championships

Tuesday 7th May 2013

Character-building weekend for Chadwicks at dauntingly fast Thruxton circuit

Ollie Chadwick bounced back from huge disappointment to secure a well-earned second place in Round 6 of the 2013 Ginetta Junior Championship at the ultra-high speed Thruxton circuit (Sunday 5 May).

The highly-competitive series for 14 to 17-year olds ran as part of the illustrious support package for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) and delighted the bumper crowd with some high octane, drama-filled race action.

Ollie struggled in Saturday’s qualifying session, unable to find the ‘tow’ necessary to set a good time around the rapid 2.36-mile circuit, but demonstrated that he had pure pace by setting a best time of 1m34.074s to secure third-place grid slots for the weekend’s two Ginetta Junior encounters.

Race 1 got under way under clear blue skies. The battle for the lead was initially very close, with Ollie embroiled in a five-car tussle at the head of the field, before being compromised by a spinning Will Palmer at the Club chicane.

This enabled Harry Woodhead and Keith Donegan to pull away while Ollie was eighth and, as in previous races, again faced the task of making up places.

The JHR Developments racer eventually locked horns with Tom Jackson for third place on the last lap, but lost engine performance due to an electrical issue and fell back down the field to cross the line in a frustrating 11th place.

Ollie was hugely upset at having had a vital podium finish snatched from his grasp, but focused his attention on recovering points in the day’s second race.

This proved to be another close encounter, with HHC Motorsport’s Woodhead finding himself under a lot more pressure at the front.

A collision between Woodhead and Palmer at Club chicane saw the team-mates lose momentum and allow an opportunistic Ollie to take the initiative.

Woodhead was soon back on Ollie’s tail and managed to retake the lead on the next trip through the final chicane, although the determined 17-year old was unrelenting in his charge and sat on his championship rival's rear bumper right to the chequered flag.

Despite several bold passing attempts, Ollie was unable to find a way past and finally finished in a well-earned second place.

Talking after the races, Ollie said: “I cannot begin to tell you how upset I was when my car died on the last lap of race one. I’ve had some bad luck and made a couple of mistakes this season, but I see myself as a championship contender and it was heart breaking to fall back down the field.”

“This put me under pressure to recover points in race two. It was certainly tight and exciting up front. By chance, I was a few car lengths behind Harry (Woodhead) and Will (Palmer) when they collided and I was able to take advantage without losing time."

He continued: “Harry was soon on my tail and actually tapped me from behind as I went through the flat-out Church corner – that was really scary and I lost a bit of momentum, enabling him to pass me.”

“Again, not a great weekend, but I still feel confident as the season progresses.”

Younger sister Jamie’s weekend was even more disappointing, however. A misjudgement going into Church – the fastest corner in the UK – during qualifying ‘flat-spotted’ all four of her tyres and the car was virtually undriveable for the remainder of the weekend.

The 2013 Ginetta Scholarship winner went on to record times that placed her 11th and 10th on the grid respectively for Sunday’s two races.

The opening clash started well for the only female in this year's Ginetta Junior crop. She fought strongly in the mid-field, getting as high as seventh before contact with Jack Rawles, who was re-joining the circuit after a spin at Club chicane, ended her race with steering, suspension and bodywork damage.

Race two saw another competent mid-field performance from Jamie. However, while fighting for eighth place with Jack Mitchell, the two touched and pirouetted into a spin at the Campbell, Cobb, Segrave complex of corners to fall to the tail of the field, where they both finished.

“The weekend started badly in qualifying and just continued to get worse,” said a dejected Jamie. “Qualifying badly put me in a difficult position, as I had to try to recover places. And while I felt I was driving well under the circumstances, the two incidents ruined my day.”

“What’s really annoying is the poor finishes and ten-point penalty I received for using a new set of tyres has dropped me seven places in the championship standings to 13th, so I’ve got a lot of work to do in the forthcoming rounds to get back to where I need to be.”

Rounds 7 and 8 of the 2013 Ginetta Junior Championship will be held at Cheshire’s picturesque Oulton Park circuit in four weeks’ time (8-9 June).
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