It would be fair to say that the 2023 racing season has NOT gone according to plan!
Just over a week before the Britcar season opener at Silverstone in March, James was working on his fitness at the local climbing gym when an awkward fall from the wall resulted in a fractured fibula.
BPC Tuning boss Jack Watts stepped in for James in the Fiesta ST, but unfortunately teammate Josh Poulain had a DNF in race 1 due to snap oversteer in the first few laps, and the car didn’t make it out for race 2.
James had hoped to be back out in April at Brands Hatch for the next Britcar meeting, but it soon became clear that we were being too optimistic about how long it would take to recover. The difficult decision was then made to release the Britcar seat, as it was unlikely James would be fit enough to drive the Fiesta ST for several months.
James struggled along to the Goodwood Members Meeting on Saturday with his crutches, grateful for the accessible viewing platform provided for less mobile attendees; we had intended to go for both days but by late afternoon he was exhausted, and we headed home from West Sussex on Sunday instead.
At this point James should have been preparing for the C1 Racing Club’s headline event of the year, the 24 hours at Silverstone – but instead the focus was on his practical driving test, booked for the end of May in Norwich.
We enlisted the help of Will at Team Buckley in Canterbury, who set him a programme of strength-building exercises. Then a couple of weeks later we found a car that James wanted to buy; a Subaru Legacy Sport Tourer, up for sale by Jared from The Back Roads channel on YouTube.
James spent the 24 hour weekend getting to know his new car, hoping that it would only be a couple more weeks before he could drive it on the roads by himself.
Unfortunately the challenge of taking his test in an unfamiliar location alongside the lack of preparation meant James didn’t get the first time pass he had been hoping for – and it was back to searching for available test dates in Canterbury whilst the Subaru sat waiting patiently for him on the driveway.
The centenary of the LeMans 24hr was a helpful distraction from the disappointment, and James travelled out by train to watch Ferrari take the overall win.
Finally some positive news!
Thanks to family friend Ian Hale – who recommended an app that helped us to secure a new test date for early July in Canterbury – plus some more support from local AA Driving School instructor Paul Kennett, James passed the practical driving test on his second attempt.
James is now back climbing at Chimera in Canterbury, and will be heading off in the Subaru with friends for some outdoor adventure once his first year in sixth form ends in late July.
Once he’s back from his trip James will be preparing to get back racing with BPC and the C1 Racing Club for the BRSCC Summer Race Weekend at Brands Hatch on 19th August.