A Mixed Bag

Written by Team USA. Posted in Driver Blogs, Feature, Joey Bickers

Published on November 06, 2013 with No Comments

Moorpark, Calif. (November 5, 2013) – The Walter Hayes Trophy weekend at Silverstone has come to an end. It is a bittersweet time for me, as I will miss driving almost every day; but I do get to come home to my family and friends. This past weekend at Silverstone included some highs and lows, but it was a huge learning experience through each situation, starting on the Thursday when we began on-track testing.

Thursday brought a mix of damp and dry conditions. In the morning, it was damp, which is almost inevitable in the UK as the morning air is very moist. I seemed to be doing OK in the full wet conditions, but a drying track is a different story. When the track is dry in some parts and damp in others, it really takes a good amount of experience to know how to find the grip.  On this day, I learned a lot from Jake as well as Peter Dempsey who was there testing with us. They have got a lot of experience on a drying track and I’m happy I could learn from them.

Friday testing conditions were very similar to the previous day, and Jake and I just kept working with our setups to get ready for the all-important weekend of racing. I believe you can never have too much track time, and you will always improve your times and consistency. I got to be pretty comfortable on Friday, posting lap times that were going to be competitive for the weekend.

Saturday was there before I knew it, but I felt ready to compete. It was a damp morning when we got to the Silverstone Circuit. Not to my surprise, it began raining as my qualifying session started. The track was fully wet and I was feeling comfortable during the session. I was on pole position until the last minute when I was dropped to second – by a hundredth of a second! Next was the heat race, which took place on a drying track. I got a bad start, dropping to about fifth or sixth place on Lap 1, struggling with the drying conditions. A few laps in, I was fighting my way to the front when I pulled out of another driver’s draft and he pushed me off the track and into the wall. The rear corner of the car had a very heavy impact against the wall, which my back and neck did not take very well. This DNF meant that in order to make the final I would have to make my through the following day’s last chance races.

Sunday came along, and my back and neck were in decent enough shape to have a go at making the final.  First up was the Progression Race; I would start in the very back and have to finish in the top six. I believe I started around 25th and finished fourth, which qualified me in the back for the Last Chance Race. To make it to the Semi Final, I would have to finish in the top 18. I started 34th and finished 12th. Both of these “last chance” races were huge learning experiences for me, with tons of different passing situations.

In the Semi final, I started 33rd and finished 10th. All three of these races were in full dry conditions, which made passing easier as I could use the whole track. I was now to start the Grand Final in 20th position.  I was not feeling too bad with my performance thus far, having made my way back to the final after such a rough Saturday.

I got a good start and moved up to 14th before the red flag came out. On the restart, I made a mistake on Lap 1, had contact with another car and dropped to the back of the pack. The contact led to some alignment issues which made the car difficult to drive. I eventually finished 26th – a very disappointing result after a day of working so hard to get to the final.

Overall, I learned a lot on the weekend of the Hayes. I learned how to keep my head up when you think everything has gone wrong. I tried my hardest, and in the end, that’s all you can do. I will be writing about my Team USA Scholarship experience as a whole and posting it within the week. Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading,

Joey

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