We're excited to have another blog post from ex-karter Max Bladon. He's competing for maximum points at Silverstone...
Arriving at the halfway mark of the season, it was the turn of Silverstone to host the MINI Challenge on the full Grand Prix circuit. To be racing on the same track as the Formula 1 teams, which is watched by millions of people are the world, is a special honour for me. After a disappointing round at Snetterton, I was keen to get my championship hunt back on track at one of my favourite circuits in the country. This is a circuit I have had a lot of practice on as I had the privilege of racing here earlier in the year in the Silverstone 24 hour race.
Back to the MINI Challenge: In qualifying, it was key to get a clean lap in and make sure I was at the sharp end of the field to ensure I can fight for some good results in the two races on Sunday and get some much needed championship points. Thankfully, I managed to achieve my goal and qualified in 3rd for the first of the two races. Ahead of race one I was confident in making a strong start and really push for the win. I did indeed get a good start to the race, and lying in a strong third position I started to battle with people in 4th and 5th. This did unfortunately allow the two leaders to pull away, so it was now a fight for the final podium position for 3rd. Unfortunately, while battling to keep 3rd position, I was taken off the circuit by a very optimistic overtaking manoeuvre, putting me down into 6th position and damaging my car. This made the car seriously unpredictable to drive as one of the wheels was misaligned! As a result, the race had now become a damage recovery drive to try and salvage some decent championship points. I eventually brought the car home in a solid 5th position which I had to accept as damage limitation following some totally unnecessary contact by a driver who should have known better.
For race two, I was luckily gifted 2nd position on the grid from a reverse grid pick from the first race. This was a great chance to really push for the win and I knew it wasn't something I could afford to throw away. As we start to head into the business end of the championship, the real title contenders are now working hard towards the title at the end of the year. Amazingly after the first lap I made it into the lead and started to build a nice gap and getting into a nice rhythm with the car. With my current luck however, winning a race was never going to be easy and sure enough after I thought I had the race wrapped up the safety car came out to make life and the race bit more interesting! As the Safety Car pulled off, I caught the guys behind me napping on the re-start and managed to pull a small gap again. The race unfortunately didn't last that much longer though as the race was red flagged shortly after. This meant I achieved my second race victory of the year! It wasn't the best race but I am definitely happy to add another race victory to my 2017 stats!
As we move towards the MINI Festival meeting at Brands Hatch in early July, I am sitting second in the Championship and will be pushing hard for maximum points. Please try and come along and support me in my BIZ Mini!
Good luck to Max and the rest of the racing team!