Goodwin learns tough lesson as he teaches rivals another
01.02.2009: Jay Goodwin might have been denied a podium finish in his latest karting outing at Shenington, but despite the disappointment he nonetheless left his Mini Max rivals in absolutely no doubt as to his supreme pace and stunning overtaking prowess as the main
Jay Goodwin might have been denied a podium finish in his latest karting outing at Shenington, but despite the disappointment he nonetheless left his Mini Max rivals in absolutely no doubt as to his supreme pace and stunning overtaking prowess as the main season nears.
The young Sale-based ace – a regular front-runner in BRDC Stars of Tomorrow, the same series that first set none other than a certain Lewis Hamilton on the fast track to future Formula 1 glory – may never have visited the Oxfordshire circuit before, but he wasted little time in getting down to serious business in practice.
“I had been told it was a really fast, flowing, late-braking style track,” he explained, “so I was definitely looking forward to it – that’s the kind of circuit I really enjoy. It was really important to go there too, as we’ll race there in the national Super 1 Championship later this year.
“When I drove it for the first time it felt really good, but for the first three sessions we were about a second off the pace as I got used to the track. We had some gearing issues too, but we changed a lot of things for the last session and suddenly we were flying. That gave me a lot of confidence, and myself and my mechanic Dan were both really looking forward to it and aiming for a top five finish in the final.”
Quickest of all in morning practice on race day, a damp track surface in his opening heat – “It’s a tough circuit to drive in the wet, because it’s just so fast and there’s so much spray” – failed to knock Jay off his stride, as he stormed his way up the order from 20th on the 25-strong grid into sixth, until a collision dropped him back down to 12th again. A strong turn of speed, however, enabled the St Ambrose College pupil to recover to ninth at the chequered flag, and he would be starting heat two from fourth place.
“After a bad start I was back up to fourth behind Daniel Vaughan,” he related. “When I came up behind him he started defending, but on the second-to-last lap I managed to overtake him up the inside onto the main straight. He then lunged back past me, but I don’t think he was expecting me to attack him again straight away as I dived up the inside on the kerb and partly on the grass and pushed him out wide. He came up to me afterwards and told me it had been a really good move.
“I was really happy with my overtaking – it’s something I’ve always been good at, and Ash [Hand – team-mate] has been teaching me how to drive more assertively since I’ve been with P1 Racing. If I hadn’t got stuck behind Daniel I think we were definitely quick enough to have won.”
Nonetheless, a starting position of fourth for the all-important final marked Jay’s best to-date since graduating to the more powerful Mini Max class from the entry cadet level last summer, and caused the youngest driver in the field to re-assess his objectives. He no longer wanted to merely finish inside the top five – he wanted to win.
“I was third into the first corner and went to go up the inside of Ryan Norris for second,” the Ashton-upon-Mersey star recounted, “but he turned in on me and we collided, which dropped me down to tenth. I fought my way back to fifth and was in a pack of three battling over third place, and I got the position on the penultimate lap.
“Unfortunately, though, I thought it was the last lap because the marshal was holding the chequered flag out a bit. I crossed the line and pulled into the pits, but when I looked around and didn’t see anyone else I suddenly realised what I had done.
“It was unbelievable, so frustrating, but it is still all a learning curve for me. I’m not the first person to make that mistake, and I doubt I’ll be the last either. If it had been a national round I would have really kicked myself, but fortunately it was only a club meeting, and I think I proved to a lot of other drivers that when we go back there for Super 1 they’d better be ready.”
Fighting talk indeed, and a fastest lap less than a tenth of a second shy of that of the race-winner backed up Jay’s contention. Not only had he proven his pace, but he had also demonstrated to his competitors that he will not be intimidated by anyone, as a string of spectacular passing moves bore witness. When he returns to Shenington for the penultimate meeting on the Super 1 schedule in August, as he warns, they’d better be ready for him...
To keep up-to-date with Jay’s latest career news and results, please visit: www.p1r.co.uk
- Russell Atkins - photos Chris Walker kartpix.net
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