All not well as Sadler of Berwickshire is shunted off the track

Berwickshire racing driver Steve Sadler narrowly missed a couple of top 10 finishes in the latest stage of a national championship – having recovered well after being caught up in a crash.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 12:50 pm
Steve gets a bump on the Knockhill track (picture by Peter Lawrie)

The occasion was last weekend’s second round of the Scottish Motor Racing Club Scottish Fiesta Championship Challenge Cup, featuring races three and four in the competition.

The weather was perfect and spectators were present. Steve’s vehicle had a new clutch, after tribulations he suffered in round one, and some tuning on the suspension which, he said, remained part of the steep learning curve in the jump from Citroen 1 racing to Fiesta ST.“Qualifying was OK and I felt I drove as hard as I could, qualifying in 13th from 16 with the car performing well,” said Steve. “The qualifying times were very close across the grid, with many of the cars within a second of each other. I hoped to qualify better but I was happy to be only a little off the pace.”Steve, 54, made a good start in the first race, which came as a relief after his clutch problems in round one. He was quick off the line and an incident on the right of the track, at the start, led to some space to pass a number of cars. He was in ninth place before the race started to run behind the safety car.

"A mistake on my part led to me passing another car at the start of the yellow flag section. However, this place was quickly taken back after the safety car pulled off, and a four-way battle began for ninth with myself and three other cars,” said Steve. “I managed to stay in touch with the cars in front while staying defensive for a number of laps.

"By lap 10, I was hopeful of finishing in the top 10 when, unfortunately, the car behind me ‘T boned’ me as I turned into the hairpin, spinning me backwards into the gravel.

"While it was completely unavoidable, it was frustrating to watch the close group of cars behind me pass and I pulled out of the gravel to continue racing in 12th.

"Quickly, the car that hit me had to retire, moving me up to 11th position, which I held to the finish.After inspection of the damage and a safety check on his rear wheel, Steve was able to participate in race two, which was considerably less eventful.“After a good start, grabbing one place to put me in 10th, it was apparent that I was struggling to maintain the pace of the other cars, despite pushing hard to stay on the back of the pack,” said Steve.

"I was consistently running just over a second a lap slower than race one which, I hope, was down to the wheel damage.

"One of the leading cars that started at the back of the grid soon made a move and passed me, dropping me back to 11th. Realising I was off the pace, I continued to push hard but also raced quite defensively to try and keep my position, which I managed to do, finishing in 11th place.“So again, while I know there is plenty of room for improvement, for my second run out in the Fiesta championship I wasn't too unhappy, with two 11th placings from 16.“Fiesta racing is such a different animal, particularly when not running as part of a team. The finer points of the car set-up, handling etc., are a really steep learning curve but one I am working hard to get decent knowledge and understanding of.”Following car repairs, Steve hopes to continue his maiden season in Fiesta ST with round three of the championship at Knockhill on August 8 and expressed thanks to all his mechanical team, sponsors and supporters.