BROMSGROVE racer James Cater got the new Heritage Parts Centre Ravenol Formula Vee Championship season off to the worst possible start after engine damage in qualifying ruined his chances of first round action at Castle Combe.
Several changes had been made to the 1300cc Volkswagen Beetle-engined car since last season but a few modifications and upgrades were unable to be completed in time for the opening round.
The morning qualifying session was in heavy rain and cold temperatures as 30 cars took to the picturesque Cotswolds circuit behind a safety car.
After a sighting lap to identify the parts of the track covered in standing water, Cater upped his pace, passing several other cars as he looked to set a good lap time.
He had made a concentrated effort to enjoy racing in the rain and was feeling comfortable and confident, going around the outside of a competitor through the final turn, still building up his speed.
Unfortunately, his engine then seized solid in top gear when a valve head embedded itself in the top of a piston.
Without the time or parts to repair the major damage to the engine, those were the only two laps Cater would be able to complete.
“It was a major blow to the Class B championship points,” he said.
“But the positive to take away was that my first ever laps would have qualified me in 16th place on the grid before I’d had a chance to push.”
Mechanic Glenn Hay will now investigate the engine damage in the hope of having the car ready to take to the grid at Brands Hatch on April 21 and 22.
This is Cater’s least favourite track and he would like to conquer it.
Meanwhile, Cater will be completing a tandem parachute jump to raise funds for Primrose Hospice on Saturday, May 5.
To donate visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jamescater18.
So far £360 has been pledged.