Rockingham Speedway is a new track to most of the current drivers in the Ravenol UK Formula Vee Championship, having not been used since 2013.
With budget a factor, James Cater in the RTV Sheane was unable to join the two test sessions that all but four drivers took advantage of, opting to learn the track during the qualifying session.
Despite several red flags stopping the sessions, James took advantage of his track knowledge from previous motorcycle track days, qualifying in 14th and 15th place out of the 30 car grid overall, and 5th in Class B for both races.
The heavens opened with a torrential downpour just before the start of the race, leaving the track extremely slippery with lots of oil also down. Using the banked oval circuit for the flat-out first turn meant the cars would be inches away from the solid wall, and any mistake on that part of the track could be horrific.
Scrabbling for traction on the warm up lap, James made a decent start before locking up on oil at Turn 10 with two other cars and getting airborne over the gravel trap before rejoining. Luckily, another incident forced a restarted race, and James retook his original grid position.
After another good start, James lost a handful of places as he was trapped on the outside of the track going into Deene hairpin, and then avoided three cars spinning directly in front of him as he fought his way back up to 12th place by the end of the first lap.
He maintained the pace on a drying track, staying ahead of several race-winning drivers until making a mistake and out braking himself at Deene, having to turn around to rejoin. Unfortunately this turned out to be the final lap, and James had dropped to 16th place and fifth in Class B as he crossed the finish line.
The race was won by Ben Miloudi, with Adam Macaulay still chasing him for championship honours, with Graham Gant taking third.
Eagerly awaiting the second race after the rain came back with a vengeance, the organisers took the (correct) decision to cancel racing for the day on the waterlogged track.
Whilst James was still kicking himself for his mistake, he was glad to have brought the car home safely, as they were displaying it the following day for the Sue Pike Equine & Animal Rescue charity.
His results also left James third in the B Class Championship, a single point behind Colin Gregory in second place. Rival Jamie Harrison finally escaped his reach and wrapped up the championship win.
With the final round at Donington Park on the last weekend of September being one of James’ favourite tracks, the 40 year old hopes to take that second place spot in only his second year of racing for his sponsors JooVoo and Primrose Hospice.