Good morning and welcome to February! This week has absolutely flown by, so let's rewind the clock and re-visit this past week.
The blog prior to this (and the Q&A) ended on Wednesday 27th, so, naturally the next date after this is Thursday 28th January, 2021...so let's begin
Thursday 28th January, 2021
Last day of normality. First lecture on Television News Production where we looked at the basics of what news is. Unfortunately, there was a technical difficulty and I missed the second part of the lecture (lecturer left the voice/video call, and started another I wasn't aware of)
Friday 29th January, 2021
Friday began early, following a 10am Public Affairs lecture (On Microsoft Teams) a man came over to take photos of the house (first preparations of selling the house - long story short - parents are looking at their final house to live out their days on the Isle Of White).
After taking pictures of the garden/rear, he came to the front and needed the driveway to be clear of cars (or clearer)...
We three (parents and I) all go into the driveway, we agree that I'll go first (to leave the driveway) and mum will follow.
I get in, turn the key - surprisingly she starts.
With a little bit of effort I clunk her into drive, push the handbrake down and push the accelerator...she revvs. I check everything - the handbrake, gear (give it a little play) but nothing. I put her back in park and try again. The engine now won't start. Exactly the same as happened in Wolverhampton - stiff gearbox/gear-stick, orginally engine starts, then nothing.
My mum then tries to start her car. Nothing - judging by her car-key not working - there's a safe assumption the battery is dead.
We all go inside and discuss the next plan, in the mean-time the photographer man disappears.
That evening I'd participate in a weekly league that I'm doing that races every Friday but only announces the tracks/cars that will be used a day before the race - resulting in limited practice. With a reverse grid to finish up the day of racing - everyone gets a fair shot - and I finished 2nd place in GT4 class (the only other class was the 911 Cup)
Saturday 30th January
The result of our discussion the previous day about the two broken KIA's was to phone/ring the AA - with a friend's bad experience of the AA in the back of my mind, I just had to stay positive.
He eventually did arrive and miraculously got both cars working - mum's had to be left on, (to recharge the battery) whilst the fault appeared to be that my Kia didn't recognise park (apparently a gear cable issue) and therefore didn't start - starting it could only be done in neutral.
After finishing the rest of my (now cold) lunch, me and my mum would drive to our local KIA dealer and drop the car off there, before driving home in mum's KIA.
This saved us having to come back/drive it to the garage on Monday (when they were open).
That evening, I'd participate in the 3 hour VRS Endurance Series race at Imola with new driver Angel Villazon in the gorgeous Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
This would be my very first opening stint (qualifying/starting the race) since....a very long time!
After getting paranoid if I'd manage to complete the two qualifying laps, I pulled out of the car on my first flying lap, gave myself enough fuel to give me confidence and went for a "banker" (safe) lap - putting me in 34th on the grid - only 7 teams managing to post a slower lap-time (others getting off-tracks)
The race start off absolutely PHENOMENALLY, by the end of the first lap sitting in 28th.
I'd absolutely LOVE my double-stint - I had an absolute ball. The combination of a great and competitive pack, close racing due to a small track, others making mistakes, overtaking other drivers (shock horror), only getting 7 incidents in 2 hours (6 in the first) or the fact I was un-fucking-believeable on fuel and managed to gain an advantage out of the last drop of fuel... it just was so much fun.
Although it didn't have a huge impact, there was a second Kabort Lamborghini, however they had significantly worse luck than us and managed to finish in 22nd - the drivers were Jonathan Keen and Lorenzo Malave (Malave I get on with particularly well after teaming up for Daytona).
Mistakes were costly - put a wheel outside the track-limits at Imola, not just one but a whole hoard of cars would come streaming past - but I managed to keep these mistakes minimal.
I'd have a single spin at the chicane, losing me quite a few positions, but I'd restart the engine, fire up the "aggressive Robin" and absolutely destroy the time I had lost.
After the first of the pit-stops, I was up into 18th and with an unstoppable Brit behind the wheel - I wasn't stopping - putting another scorcher of a stint in and briefly breaking into the top ten (and for a lap - top 3) as others pitted early.
Due to the three hour race, I was all done - Angel got in for the final stint with P11 right up his exhaust. All was going sublimely well and Angel was somehow holding P11 - which turned into P10 off despite all the pressure, but a half-spin from two wheels on the gravel less than 5 laps from the end was the devastating end we never thought would see come - we crossed the line P12, but with a driver being disqualified for running the race alone we'd finish just outside the Top 10 with P11 - from 34th to 11th was an AMAZING achievement - and of course there's always going to be those "what if..." thoughts but I was over the moon with my double-stint - especially after not starting for an eternity!
This is what I posted post-race:
This race would give me a whopping 48 iRating pushing me up to 971 iRating...I was sure that one more race would be enough...
Sunday 31st January 2021
Sunday marked me and Annie's 7 Month anniversary of dating (I know! where's the time gone!) and my second running of the VRS Endurance race. I'll admit it - I had regrets - you can't out perfect perfect - if we had a perfect run last time, we can't out-perfect it.
It was a messy old race. I used the baseline setup (slower) for qualifying, not realising that the setup I had on previously had been removed, qualified 35th and didn't make nearly as much progress as I did the previous race.
Was my confidence from the first race too ambitious - or was it just an unlucky race? Who knows but after the joys of Saturday the 17th place finish and almost disqualification (both of us were having an off-day) was certainly a sour way to hit 1K iRating. (1001).
Me hitting 1K iRating was the first time since August 2020 that I'd gone into quadruple digits. I was frustrated at myself and partially at Angel - we had run an absolutely sublimely beautiful race previously....what had happened to us?!
The next endurance race is the 6 hour European Endurance Series (EES) at Silverstone this weekend - with a little bit of practice - who knows...I could be beginning to reach for the stars?
There was an additional Kabort car with Keen and Malave once again at the wheel - but they too seemed to have a lot worse luck and didn't make it to the end.