An inspired decision that didn’t quite pay off…..still, 3rd in class and bag of points!

Posted by | Posted in Latest News | Posted on 23-04-2012

Craner Curves

Topcats racers, Clive Bailye and Paul Sweet in their SEAT Supercopa were hard pushed to beat the trio of class 2 cars, Ainge/Jordan in the Honda Integra, the Ginetta of Tom Howard/Carl Breeze and the BMW of Ian Lawson and Anthony Wilds. They settled for 4th in class in a dry morning qualifying session.

The weather decided to play a leading role in the prelude to the race that would affect the outcome for the teams when choices had to be made as the heavens opened on the opening lap.

Typical of  April showers, it was short lived but there was some time before a dry line would appear.

Some speedy calculations from the Topcats team to work out the time that could be gained by running on wet tyres for the duration of the wet track showed that provided that others didn’t follow suit, Bailye/Sweet could theoretically pass the entire field before making a second pit stop for a driver change and refuel at the midway point of the 90 minute race. Few were willing to take the gamble. Bailye pitted and swapped his slicks for wet tyres and commented later “I was able pass other cars like they were standing still, I had huge amounts of grip while the slick shod drivers squirmed around on track”.


Bailye got a taster of  easy pickings but he never got the opportunity to exploit his disadvantaged rivals. The safety car was deployed to recover a car that had spewed its oil on to the track and the protracted stint behind the safety car meant that by the time the race was restarted, a dry line had appeared and Bailye’s advantage was lost. Bailye’s run to the end before handover was surely agonising for him as he fought with a car that could no longer respond on worn wets. Bailye simply had to hold out until he could pit and hand over to Sweet and swap to the urgently needed slick tyres.

Bailey had done well to lose just a handful of places before relinquishing his duty. Sweet, knowing that he was on the back foot was busting to get out there and take his revenge on mother nature.

3 way

Finally the Supercopa could be pushed hard and superb fight back from Sweet saw them move from 19th to 12th overall to take the chequered flag and 3rd in class.

The next round is at Snetterton on 12th May.

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