Fulbeck racer Shaun Balfe claimed his first Historic Racing championship victory on his long-awaited return to Cadwell Park.
It had been 12 years since Balfe had raced at the Lincolnshire track, but after making his Historic Racing debut last season, a return had always been on his schedule.
“Once I had got out there it seemed more like a year since I had been here, not 12,” he said.
“The track hasn’t changed at all, just some of the surroundings – it’s embedded in my memories from an early age, though.”
He secured pole position for the historic car race by more than a second in his Lotus Cortina, but was careful not to be caught out.
“I was a bit sideways in places, the car was behaving well, but I was particularly careful over the Mountain and was having to take the hairpin in first gear,” he explained.
It wasn’t the best of starts, but from Coppice Corner on the opening lap he was ahead and by the end of the opening lap was already 2.617secs clear of the rest.
“Roger Stanford’s Cortina got off the line better than me, but it was only my second-ever standing start with this car,” he explained.
His lead continued to grow rapidly, aided by a three-way battle for second place.
It had climbed to 12.824secs by the end of lap seven when light rain started to fall.
With a couple of cars off a lap later, the race was red-flagged after nine laps, with the result taken back one lap, still securing Balfe his first outright Historic series victory by a big 14.848secs.
“It was quite hard as I had lost my lap timer and wasn’t sure what I was doing or how long to go,” he added.
“I had to rely on my back-to-basics pit crew to give me times and how long to go. But it had started to get difficult when the rain started to fall, and very greasy at the Gooseneck, in particular.
“I missed a few apexes, but we got the lap record and the win.”
Although he was due to start race two from pole position again, he elected to start from the pit lane as a pre-race downpour had left the track wet.
As the race got under way, everyone was struggling for grip, and after two laps Balfe decided to return to the paddock.
“We wanted to scrub in some tyres and look after the car ready for the Silverstone Classic weekend, but we got a win and can’t do better than that,” he said.