I restart the car and start racing again. While I gain some speed I listen for any untoward noises and look for anything abnormal. Apart from a flapping bonnet, the car looks good and I think I can continue. But as soon as I break, the bonnet opens and impairs my vision. This is going to be a small problem in order to see (or more to the point, figure out) my apex and my track out point. I need to rely on my reference points and a very limited testing experience on this circuit of 1.5 days.
In other words, I don’t have a bloody clue where I’m going!
I must be living in Cloud cuckoo land! (Cloud cuckoo land refers to a state of absurdly over-optimistic fantasy or an unrealistically idealistic state where everything is perfect. It refers to someone who thinks that things that are completely impossible might happen, rather than understanding how things really are. And I hate to say, it also hints that the person referred to is naive, unaware of realities or deranged in holding such an optimistic belief.)
I always said I would be honest so here it is, vanilla without varnish … but be warned as we are clearly moving from Cloud cuckoo land to One flew over the cuckoo’s nest!
So here I go around the track once to see whether I should go in the pits or continue racing. At the end of the day, if I cannot catch anybody there will be little point in going around driving Miss Daisy.
Surprisingly I quite enjoy this new challenge and I am able to negotiate the corners quite well. I am no danger to myself or others. My decision is made, no one is going to stop me today.
As I get back on the straight, after less then one lap I see some cars. I am on the hunt…the tiger in me roars again.
Appentlently Race Control issued the directive to show me the Black and Orange flag. Regulation clearly states this is a notification of apparent mechanical failure or of a fire which might not be obvious to the driver. The car concerned must call at its pit for repairs on the next lap. So it’s kinda important some would say!
I saw the black flag once for sure but then as the other marshals were not showing me any flag, I thought it must’ve been for somebody else or a warning of some sort not a call for action. My mind focuses on the racing again and chooses to forget anything else.
Remember I was dealing with an open bonnet, a large piece of my lights on track at the race finish line while driving at about 100 mph and trying to overtake at the same time; my mechanic who usually shows me my position from the pits, was also absent so I made the call not to look at all at the mechanics on the pit lane. Stupid decision number 3.
Saying that, I accept that all of the above are no excuse and it is clearly my responsibility to have complete control and awareness at all times.
For now this is a technicality as I continue racing and picking up places. And here I go again from the back of the field making my way up.
But this time I’m a gentleman, I don’t overtake unless it’s 100% sure, with room to take avoiding action or get off the line.
I overtake Surtees and give the place back by braking heavily because of lack of vision…and make my move later on. All in all I pick up 8 places to end up 14th.
The chequered flag is waved and I am quite proud of myself…you fool!
As I drive home and the adrenaline recesses in my system, reality makes a steady comeback and I say to myself: the Clerk is going to have you for breakfast in the morning…
Video link below: