Updated: Jun 20, 2020
After an unlucky first two rounds, Truswell needed some points - and with Laguna next on the calendar, things looked on the up.
With both Bailes and Cleland both on the entry list, it was going to be an exiting race. Bennett, a privateer would line up on pole, followed by Widdup and Cleland. Last season's champ Bailes and Verweij rounded out the top five.
From 24th on the grid (second best qualifying of the season after Watkins), Truswell was optimistic about his chances - especially in a race of this length...but these hopes and dreams would come to an end not half way into the first lap... Those Outside The 107% Time
Nikita Poneris - No Time Set
Joshua Navarro - No Time Set Adam Christodoulou - No Time Set
As he passed under the Mothers' Bridge (which had now been re-branded to "VP Racing") Truswell was in 18th - only three more positions and he'd be in the points...the closest he had been since the starting line at Watkins Glen...
Up ahead bad things were brewing - despite the top 10 safely getting through "Mothers' Corner", behind chaos ensued...
Zuurveld would have a poor run through turn four, allowing Riddles to pull alongside...as he was on the inside, Riddles would have to slow down more due to the larger turn-in radius...Constanduros behind would give Riddles the tiniest tap...but this would turn out to be catastrophic....
Expecting them to both make it through, Zuuveld turned in to hit the apex, instead would hit Constanduros....
Zurrveld's left rear suspension would brake as Riddles span into the dirt - luckily avoiding anything - as Tomaz Pereira narrowely missed the stranded Zuurveld, Op Het Veld approached the re-joined Constanduros at high speed. he would drift to the right...as he did so, Truswell was shooting through the wreck...avoiding stranded cars on both sides of the track. Truswell tries to nip around the outside...but catches his left rear on Veld's car..
Truswell is sent airbourne, before landing with an incredibly uncomfortable thud which spews him left across the track, first collecting Constanduros, before Gaffney would be involved to colliding into the front of Truswell. Christodolou, who started on the last row of the grid, would be collected too...
Whilst Truswell didn't start the original accident, he considerably worsened the affect of it - and was responsible for Gaffney's, Christodoulou's and Met Op Veld's involvement.
There was no excuse for the move, and Truswell should have lifted off - or used more of the gravel bed to his right...a truly gutting and painful day for Truswell as the positions gained through the accident would have certainly put him in the points.
After 29 Laps, Cleland would become the first repeat winner of the second season of the MOFO Skippy League. But it was Positively Racing that would be the ones celebrating - a 2,3,4 with drivers Widdup, Wilkinson and Shawe made an incredibly positive day finish on a high.
Christodoulou would keep up his top-10 streak as Pereira would finish 6th from 34th - behind him was: 7th: Derek Roodenberg
8th: Richard Zuurveld 9th: Luke Bennett (pole-man)
10th: Matthew Riddles
11th: Joe Bradley
12th: Mike Op Het Veld
13th: Damiaen Van Mourik
14th: Will Money
15th: Simon Herring
16th: Darren Taylor
17th: Jake Conway 18th: Ewen Honeyman 19th: Darren Wood
20th: Robin Bailes 21st: Robin Truswell 22nd: Jacob Money 23rd: Ronald Verweij
24th: Ben Constanduros 25th: Anthony Jones 26th: Nicholas Daman DNF: Sean Gaffney DNF: Adje Koster
DNF: Pierre Leprevost
DNF: Pierre Dionne
DNF: Glen Irwin
DNF: Vladimir Canvate Munoz
DNF: Teammie Van Weert DNF: Nikita Poneris During this race, two things were evidently clear, there were connection issues with much of the grid, and the driving standards were a little lower than expected, but a fan favourite - Road Atlanta was up next and drivers and fans were thrilled alike.
Next on the calendar was Road Atlanta - a new circuit for MOFO - Would it be a a fresh breath of luck for Truswell or would it be another messy race? Positively Racing would absolutely dominate qualifying, by not only putting Shawe on pole, but by also filling up the top 5 with Positively Racing cars! These drivers were: Widdup (2nd), Bailes (3rd), Sibbald (4th) and Roodenberg (5th). Truswell would qualify a respectable 20th place - but would take Bradley out whilst both were on a flying lap
But for the first time this season, would be out-qualified by rival Daman. All Truswell had to do was gain 5 places from the line and he'd be in the points - and with a 45 minute race ahead of him, Truswell was optimistic.
After Christodoulou spun Pulling (same driver from Brand Hatch), and Riddles also getting caught up in it, Truswell was making up early ground - and with a run around the outside of Daman coming down the hill, another place had been made by the black and gold #19 car.
but this was only the start of the good news for Truswell - further on in the lap, at turn 6, chaos had just broken out. Bradley lost it under braking at turn 6, sliding through the corner, he would spin to the inside of the track, Roodenberg collecting into him before Roodenberg then clattered into J. Money. Just behind, Honeyman lost the back of his Skippy, and just tapped into Van Weert's left rear - spinning Honeyman and leaving Van Weert with major damage.
Upon re-joining, J. Money's steering would be broken and would hit into Roodenberg again, spinning J. Money and damaging Roodenberg.
Through all of this, Truswell managed to climb to 14th - and with Op Het Veld spinning out in front of him at the first corner of the next lap, some good points were on offer.
This would only improve as Van Mourik would spin at the final chicane (same lap), promoting Truswell to 12th.
Up ahead, there was a massive battle underway involving much of the top 10.
Despite being a lonely one - with the leaders (the top 4 being all Positively Racing cars) being in a large cluster up ahead, battling INCREDIBLY hard - and those behind a little way back, it was most importantly a clean one....right until the very last lap....
There was so much action occuring in the top 10 that within the blink of an eye, the whole picture had changed - but the true pinnacle of the race was the pit-stops - who would be able to get an advantage over their fellow competitor?
In the picture above, Sibbald would lead away his three other Positively Racing Team-mates, Christodoulou battling Zuurveld for 5th. Constanduros would carefully observe behind, followed by the lime green lapped car of Jacob, and his brother Will behind. In the orange at the rear of the image is Riddles in 8th, with Verweij and Koster descending the mound.
Truswel would be out of shot behind this. But then, disaster for Positively Racing.
As they headed onto the 10th lap, Widdup and Bailes went three wide trying to pass Widdup into turn one...and as the old saying goes...three into one doesn't go... Widdup and Bailes would touch tyres - Bailes would brake very early whilst Widdup would go wide at turn one, and after missing his braking point so too would Shawe...in shock and amazement. In reaction to Bailes Braking early, Christodoulou would brake early too, allowing Zuurveld from 6th to nip into the podium positions. the two Positively Racing cars would re-join in 6th (Widdup) and 8th (Shawe) before Widdup and Constanduros would touch, causing Widdup to fall down the order. In a lap, Widdup had fallen from 2nd to 8th, Shawe from 4th to 5th.
TL: Widdup And Bailes Touch TM: Widdup And Shawe Go Rallycrossing TR: Contact between Constanduros (Blue) and Widdup BL: Constanduros getting "Positively" overtaken on both sides.
Now on the tail of the lead pair, Zuurveld and Christodoulou fought as hard as they could to get past - but the mandatory pit-stop was coming up - this was all about strategy.
On lap 12 however, after getting the slipstream and a crafty move, Christodouolou had managed to get up into 2nd. From 22nd on the grid, this was a might achievement.
The top 5 would battle hard until the first (and only) round of pit-stops - Truswell would still be in 12th - two lapped cars seperating him and 11th.
On lap 14, Zuurveld (5th), Widdup (6th) would be the first to dive into the pits - a two laps earlier than their competiton.
Following an accident after contact with Widdup, Constanduros - who dropped from 8th to 11th - also entered the pits.
Widdup would emerge from the pits in 9th - just ahead of Truswell, who had just entered the top 10 for the first time all season. Behind Truswell, his rival, Daman would pit on lap 15. Truswell would wait until the latest moment to pit.
Lap 16 would be the lap that the first of the leaders pitted - new leader Christodoulou would stay out for an extra lap whilst Sibbald (2nd) and his team mates, Bailes and Shawe (3rd & 4th) stuck with the safer option and pitted.
5th place man W. Money would also stay out an extra lap before half-spinning as he entered the pits. Those behind him including Verweij (6th), Riddles (7th), Koster (8th - who entered the outer pit-lane to find it abandoned) and lastly Truswell in 10th would also pit on this lap.
All of whom would pit the next lap, including Koster who would find the active pit-lane - Bradley would last the longest and pit on lap 19.
With the pit-stop cycle complete, Bailes would cross the line first to start the 21st lap with Christodoulou on his gearbox.
Sibbald would watch them from a distance with team-mate Shawe and Widdup behind.
Verweij would be 6th before Riddles, Zuurveld, W. Money and finally Koster would round up the top 10.
Truswell would be an impressive 11th.
The action would resume on lap 25 when Bradley would pass Truswell for 11th under the braking zone for the final chicane.
But then it happend.
Constanduros and Honeyman would both pass Truswell, putting Truswell down in 14th.
As the battle ahead intensified, Truswell would be bought onto the back of the fighting duo - he'd look up the inside (3 wide) on the run into the final chicane, but would back out early, thinking better of it....of the three, Truswell would get the best run out of the last corner, the trio exited the final corner to cross the line to start the final lap, Truswell managed to get past Honeyman, and was side by side with Constanduros going into turn one.
Truswell would be better on the brakes into the first turn, but Constanduros would take the faster outer line before pulling alongside. And now is where the opinion splits.
Constanduros would almost get a car length ahead, before Truswell would gain a fraction of a second or two as the track curved to the left.
As the kerb dropped away and the track sharply turned right, Constanduros would take the optimal line, aiming for the apex...but Truswell was still up the inside...The pair would collide.
Truswell's front left would slam into Constanduros' right rear, spinning both. Constanduros would have his right rear suspension Broken, Truswell would be collected by Honeyman....
Truswell would limp the car back home, spinning twice with the damage and landing himself a drive through penalty. Since this was on the final lap, the penalty was added to his total race time.
Had he not gone for the move - the least he would have scored was 14th - the equivilant of two points.
In a post-race interview, Truswell was asked if he was aware of his "careless" overtakes and the impact that it had on his fellow competitors - and here was his answer
"I think I'm like a young Max Verstappen - I'm excited by battles and I want to make the bold moves at rare corners - and I am ecstatic when I get into a wheel to wheel battle with someone. Problems start to occur when I get too much "in the zone" - as I am one of the slower ones on the grid, If any opportunity arises where I get to attack or defend a position I will take it and be up for the challenge - and when racing a Skippy (or any car for that matter) - I am in the "zone" it's just me, the car, and my opponent at the edge of traction - and sometimes I go into the thought of "if not now - then when?" If I put myself into a position of advantage over my competitor - even if it's by centimetres, I want to take it - and a move that may look ludicrous or clumsy on a replay, (once the exhilaration and excitement of the race has died down) - could have been an opportunistic attempt at a move at the very moment it happened. I have only been racing a year and still have a hell lot lot to learn, so I try for moves - not only to overtake to gain an advantage - it may not be for an overtake, but to either get side by side, or to put myself into a position in which I can make a move.
I do think about what the outcome of an overtake will be - but I believe that I misjudge - or fail to judge - the passiveness or aggressiveness of those around me.
When I stick my nose into a gap - be it on or not, I don't prepare for them to "block off" my attempt, I always think that they will give me the room I need, nothing less or nothing more. Where my judgement ends is when the other driver is more aggressive than I expected - like today, I didn't expect Consty to come across - yes it was 100% his line, but going at 70mph or so and side by side, I thought we could make it two wide, and sort ourselves out going down the hill.
To end, I'd like to say that the guys I'm racing with have been in the business a while and know what's what, however, since this is still my second whole year on iRacing - and second season racing the Skippies, I am one of the least experienced drivers on the grid, and I greatly apologise to those I have taken out, and race by race, I am learning from my mistakes, and what does and doesn't work."
Onto the rest of the results, Shawe would win for Positively Racing after Christodoulou and Bailes came together at the final Chicane - before this point, Christodoulou miraculously held of the duo's relentless attacks for just over five laps.
Christodoulou would let Bailes back past before the line, but there would be looks exchanged on the podium. Widdup would finish 4th after an incredibly dramatic race, with Verweij rounding out the top five. Behind him was:
6th: Edward Sibbald
7th: Matthew Riddles
8th: Richard Zuurveld
9th: Will Money
10th: Adje Koster
11th: Joe Bradley
12th: Ewen Honeyman
13th: Ben Constanduros
14th: Abbie Pulling (Finished 14th But Had Penalty)
15th: Robin Truswell
16th: Simon Herring (-1 Lap)
17th: Fabrice Fourgeaud
18th: Mike Op Het Veld
19th: Derek Roodenberg
20th: Nicholas Daman
21st: Jacob Money
DNF: Teammie Van Weert
DNF: Lorenzo Van Mourik DNF: Damiaen Van Mourik DNF: Darren Wood The Championship