Updated: May 11, 2020
On the 24th March, veteran Motorsports Commentator Joe Bradley posted the following on his Social Media Page:
"My IRacing group ‘MOFO’ Are arranging a hosted session tonight 8pm UK Time
skippys at The Glen, Everyone welcome.
Look in the hosted race section for
‘MOFO Covid Cup Practice race’"
As my dad was very good friends with Joe (both commentating at countless endurance races, including all bar one Le Mans 24 Hour races since 2005) and I thought this would be an awesome opportunity to see how I shaped up against the likes of Joe and Nick Daman. Being a proficient GT Driver myself, I had never really driven the Skip Barber, aside from testing the damage model and one-off practice sessions. Before getting into the car, I was kindly handed a COVID-19 hazmat suit, since the virus was spreading a little bit. This was not only a race-suit, but protection as well.
Alas, I got in, got myself into a comfortable seating position and did some laps.
Practice went alright, and I got used to the characteristics of the Skippy In a GT (GT3/GTE) you've got to be very precise, the Skippy allows you to throw the car into the corner like a squash-ball, and it just grips. Practice was also interesting as I had a very good battle with Nick Daman. The important part however was the race, and despite a little "net-code" collision with another driver I finished an incredibly respectable 8th place - just behind Joe Bradley. Date: 24th March
Grid: 18 Cars Pole: Darren Wood Podium: 1. Jesse J. Rowland 2. Gary Dodds 3. Christopher Kane My Results: Q: 11th R: 8th Finishers: 13 Thoroughly enjoying the race I had, I asked Joe to host another race - and so it was agreed that I'd be doing the next race at Philip Island too. I was fortunate enough to be given Philip Island by my prime sponsor "The Bank Of Dad", yet having never raced there before, it didn't go quite as expected. A huge slide into turn one on the second lap would certainly not help my chances - I may have avoided the wall, but I lost a damaging amount of time. Despite finishing exactly where I started, It was a pretty lonely race with the next car ahead of me 44 seconds up the road, and the driver behind 52 seconds behind.
Date: 26th March Grid: 9 Cars Pole: Darren Wood Podium: 1. Joe Bradley 2. Darren Wood 3. Matthew Birkett My Results:
Q: 5th R: 5th Next up in this one-race-turned-league adventure of mine was Charlotte Motor Speedway Charlotte and I have a very weird relationship - usually I start off well, and then things start to go sour (bar last season's week 13 when I couldn't even get off the line) History seemed to repeat itself as I qualified 6th, before climbing to 4th by the end of the first lap due to others spinning - however I was a sitting duck against the skill of the professionals I was up against and returned to 7th. I kept my nose clean and managed to climb up back to 5th place before crashing at the Roval Chicane (the deadly one on the back-straight). I thought I was in the way, so foolishly reversed down the bank, taking out Mark Coffin in the process. A bit ironic, seeing as we would both need one after both flipping a number of times. Date 31st March
Grid: 14 Cars Pole: Naser Teymourian Podium: 1. Joe Bradley 2. Kristian Heim Lien 3. Sen Gaffney My Results:
Q: 6th R: DNF
Here's Darren Wood's highlight reel:
Following Charlotte, it was decided that it was high time thing went official...
Find out how things went in the next COVID Cup Blog...