Ellough’s Oli Basey-Fisher continues Ginetta Junior Championship progress at Thurxton
PUBLISHED: 15:18 03 May 2012
Ellough’s Ginetta Junior Championship rookie Oli Basey-Fisher secured a pair of valuable points finishes on his first visit to the fastest circuit on the series calendar – Thruxton in Hampshire – as persistent rain and blustery conditions providing the sternest of tests at the weekend.
Having never before driven his Ginetta G40 in the wet, the 16-year-old faced a mountainous challenge throughout the third event of his maiden car-racing season, but took a sensible approach to rounds five and six to secure two 11th places.
While early free practice, qualifying and race sessions were affected by poor weather, the rain and gusty winds worsened dramatically on Sunday to give the Ginetta Junior Scholarship winner the steepest of learning curves.
“Obviously, Thruxton is the fastest circuit in the UK so to race there for the first time under the conditions we had was a really tough challenge,” said the Century Logistics-backed driver.
“It’s been the most difficult weekend so far but we scored points in both races so I’m happy enough with that.
“It was absolutely tipping down all weekend. Saturday was more changeable, while Sunday was nothing but rain all day long. Every session was a different challenge for me – one hell of a learning experience, that’s for sure.”
Round five on Saturday took place on a drying track but officials decided the teenage racers in Ginetta Junior should run with wet tyres.
Lining up 11th on the grid, Oli had a good opening lap and climbed into the top 10 before having to settle for 11th, and sixth in the rookie classification, following a battle with Tom Jackson.
With heavy rain saturating the 2.36-mile circuit overnight, round six was run with all cars on full wet set-ups. Officials chose to begin under safety car conditions, meaning racing did not get under way until lap three.
Providing an even tougher challenge than Saturday, Oli again moved into the top 10 early on and held the spot until lap five, when title challenger Sennan Fielding made a pass. Holding 11th place to the flag, the Tollbar Racing with WIRED driver lapped well clear of round-five challenger Jackson to claim a top five rookie finish.
“I was lower down the order than I expected or wanted to be, but I’ve certainly learnt a lot from it and it’s definitely been a worthwhile weekend,” said Oli. “I learnt so many things, I took a lot of advice from my driver coach Malcolm Smith and it was just a case of trying to remain as relaxed as possible, whatever the weather threw at us.”
Oli has a six-week break before the fourth event of the season in June, at Oulton Park. He is ninth in the championship on 71 points, with Charlie Roberston leading the pack on 144.