BROMSGROVE racer James Cater topped off his birthday weekend with a podium finish in the second race of the opening round of the Ravenol Formula Vee Championships at Oulton Park.
After finishing fourth in class in the opening race in Cheshire which saw monsoon conditions, the now 40-year-old made the most of the drier conditions in the second race to finish just half a second from first in class.
And with a rare outing at the full Brands Hatch layout in Kent on May 1, Cater told the Standard he’s aiming for a top ten finish overall and top three finish in class.
“I know I have the speed and ability to push on and hopefully I can hit my targets every race this season,” he said.
“There’s a lot of long straights on the full Brands Hatch circuit so hopefully that should suit the car.
“However, Brands Hatch is not my favourite track of the season so it could go either way but I’m hoping to push really hard.”
With Alvechurch mechanic Glenn Hay only completing the final preparations for the 1600cc Sheane the night before, Cater only had a few hours to spare before qualifying on Saturday.
As he left the pits one of the spark plugs tore itself out, leaving Cater to limp around the track with no power and securing a place at the very back of the grid.
After some hasty repairs Cater just about made it to the start of the first race but with monsoon conditions, he was expecting to use the day as a shake-down to test the car and keep out of trouble.
Following a first corner crash which saw a red flag stoppage, he flew off the the line on restart, finding the experimental set-up working well with the repaired car.
And despite a few off-track excursions, he made up 15 places to finish fourth in class and 12th overall.
Race two saw opposite conditions as Cater would take his first ever laps on a warm and dry track, starting from 25th place.
Expecting to flounder at the back, another demon start saw him on the fringes of the top ten and following a mixture of bravery and guesswork, he finished half a second away from the class win and 13th place overall.
The performance also ensured he claimed the fastest lap time in Class B.
“It was an absolutely fantastic weekend and the best the car has ever been,” Cater added.