James Faulkner 2020-2021

Round 1 Wrap-Up

My goals for the weekend were simple; make some new friends, don’t hit anybody and make it back in one piece. I have since decided that a wheel isn’t a “piece” of a car, therefore I achieved all my goals!

The weekend started on Friday morning, which isn’t technically the weekend but it sure felt like it. Dad and I picked up the scholarship car from P&S Autocentre clean and ready to be thrashed, cheers to Peter and Graham Ball. We made our way to the track for the practice day. There we met Graham Wilson who had kindly volunteered to be my coach and advisor until I’m all sorted out. We then proceeded to do test runs, slowly adjusting the suspension and tire pressures. We did have one tire come loose on a test run (foreshadowing) but other than that we were having a great time, I was managing to drop my lap times with every attempt. We made our way through scrutineering easy peasy, and with that we headed off to get a good night sleep.

Saturday morning, we head out for qualifying. For the majority of the time I followed Shane Diaz in 57, trying to copy his lines. Until he decided to put his foot down and disappear, I tried to do the same but it wasn’t quite as impressive. Near the end I let Tom Newton (3) pass so that he could get some good laps without my big bum in the way. My qualifying time was my best lap yet putting me in position 17 next to Tom.

In the Afternoon we had our first race, and to answer everyone’s question; I wasn’t nervous until I was lined up in the grid. I took off with an average start but eventually found my way into last with the help of some missed shifts and impressive drifts. At this point I figured that I was going to end up last and since it was our first race of the season I figured it might as well be the new guy that ends in the back. But then, to my rescue came Shane Geddes’ (747) lower ball joint, who had volunteered to let me past. I ended the race in 18th.

“Jesus, is it 7 already?!” Daylight savings means most of us had an earlier morning than usual. We get to the track, still half asleep but the smell of fuel soon wakes us up. Just as the day gets going and so does the rain, LOTS of rain. Things get going again and soon it’s time for the second race. This time I got an amazing launch, using my rally driver skills, and manage to get ahead of the row in front. I ended up having a great race with Grant Metson (320) and just as I got past, my left front wheel has other ideas. Ending the race with a DNF after all-but-losing the wheel. Oh well, we’ll get em next time.

Last race of the weekend and I’m in position 2 on the grid?! They must think I’m really good or something, oh wait, it’s a handicapped start. This time I messed up the launch, a little confused that the lights weren’t going and then there’s the flag! I fight with my new nemesis, Grant, again over 4th. Just as I’m about to make my move I’ve been boxed in by the following group. The rest of the race was basically being pushed off line and watching the pro’s go past. Grant Metson and Logan Spaans clearly forgot they were racing and decided to do some dancing on ice around the sweeper. I ended the race in 16th, I seem to slowly be getting better and better results. You’ll see me at the front soon.

Of course many thanks to; P&S for sorting the car and helping out, John and Raewyn for helping me with all my scholarship needs, Graham Wilson for all his assistance and guidance, and lastly Dad for waking me up way too early.

Photo Credits: Matt Smith