Easter Monday saw James Cater in his Primrose Hospice sponsored RTV Sheane heading to Castle Combe for his first visit in the Heritage Parts Centre UK Formula Vee Championship.
Several changes had been made to the 1300cc VW Beetle engined car since last season, but a few modifications and upgrades were unable to be completed in time for the opening round.
The morning qualifying session was in heavy rain and cold temperatures as 30 cars took to the picturesque Cotswolds circuit behind a safety car.
After a sighting lap to identify the parts of the track covered in standing water, James upped his pace, passing several other cars as he looked to set a good lap time.
James has made a concentrated effort to enjoy racing in the rain, and was feeling comfortable and confident, going around the outside of a competitor through the final turn, still building up his speed.
Unfortunately, his engine then seized solid in top gear when a valve head embedded itself in the top of a piston.
Without the time or parts to repair the major damage to the engine, those were the only two laps James would be able to complete.
It was a major blow to the Class B championship points, but the positive to take away was that James’ first ever laps would have qualified him in 16th place on the grid before he’d had a chance to push.
Glenn Hay will now investigate the engine damage and RTV will hope to have the car ready to take the grid at Brands Hatch on the 21st and 22nd April.
James will be completing a tandem parachute jump to raise funds for Primrose Hospice on 5th May. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far, and if you are able to give even a small amount you can do so online at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jamescater18 or catch James in person.