Testing was dogged by a sequence of issues best known by the FF1600 class. Among other issues a reoccurring distributor issue was to emerge, together with some brake problems. Throughout the session, Bernard Dolan worked tirelessly to give Roe a car for the last session to put the Kildare native second fastest. “This was a good result and what we hoped would be the end of our frustrations”.
Qualifying went to plan. Standing in P2, 3 tenths under the lap record before the last flying lap. Unfortunately, there was oil down on the track, so that was the best Roe could do, as nobody was improving. “There was definitely more in me, however it wasn’t to be this time”, explained Roe.
Roe got a great start and was harrying Luke Williams on the opening lap. On the 2nd lap Roe moved left into Knickerbrook and Williams went to cover him off. There was contact between the two which saw Roe leave the track down the escape road. Re-joining in 5th place, Roe struggled to resume his previous pace due to suspension issues following the impact. On the final lap, he fell into the perusing pack. Scott Murphy took a lunge at Roe into Druids and collided sending Roe into the barrier. With suspension failure, that was ‘race over’.
Starting in 24th due to the DNF in race 1, Roe had a great start off the line, and took 6 places on the opening lap. Putting his head down, Roe picked off the field to be up to 8th by lap 7. With enough time on the clock to progress even further, Roe’s progress was halted by the distributor failing again. The engine died and that was game over
A disappointed Roe explained, “This weekend was very frustrating. With the collision in the opening lap in race 1, this had a dramatic effect on the outcome. When you fall back into the midfield due to lack of speed, anything can happen, and it did”. “Race 2 was looking like a good recovery drive until the distributor failed again. It’s something we’re going have to look into as that’s the third one to fail this year.” “To take a positive away from Oulton, we had great pace, both in qualifying and in the race. I’m just going have to forget these results”.
Race 1 – Knockhill:
Roe, not content with the weekend to date, made a late decision to head to Knockhill in Scotland for a race the following day. The team travelled overnight to make the six-hour journey in time for the entry.
This was the first time Roe was in Scotland, never mind visiting the racetrack, there would be no time for testing. It was straight into qualifying, manging to put the car on 6th. Using qualifying as a practice ground, Roe got to understand the track. Leveraging from the experience of his team, it was time for the race.
Getting a great start, Roe had a seamless race picking his way through the field, finding more pace as the race progressed. Finishing in 2nd, with only 1/10th off the fastest lap, Roe was happy with the result. Speaking after, Roe said “It has been an exhausting weekend both for me and the team. The journey was worth it in the end. Many thanks to Bernard and all the lads. They know how much I appreciate it”.
The next race meeting will be in Kirkistown on May 27th. You can follow James Roe Jr on Facebook and Twitter @jamesroe10