SILVERSTONE may be Bromsgrove racer James Cater’s favourite circuit but it proved to be a nightmare one for him at the latest round of the Ravenol Formula Vee Championship.
Steadily building pace in qualifying, the Primrose Hospice sponsored RTV Sheane felt well balanced with Cater running in the top 14 for most of the session.
However, at the end of the Hangar Straight near the end of the session, the engine suddenly lost power and Cater switched it off to coast in to the pits.
His final qualifying position was a respectable 18th in the 37-car grid but with no compression at all in one cylinder, mechanic Glenn Hay was unable to replace the piston and barrel in time for the start of the first race.
Although Cater would be able to start the second race, the highly tuned 1300cc VW Beetle engine was still untested so it was a gamble to see if things held.
A fantastic start put him in tenth place into the first corner and right behind Class B championship leader Andrew Cooper.
With the car clearly down on power, Cater was still able to claw the time back in the corners to hang onto the back of Cooper.
However,on the second lap oil smoke started spewing from the car along with a major drop in power.
Cater started short-shifting to try and limp the car home with the sick engine and although he was still catching cars in the corners, he became a sitting duck on every straight, with car after car simply driving past him.
With the smoke from a crumbling piston increasing in the final laps, Cater managed to hang onto 18th place and fourth in class before shutting the engine off on the warm down lap.
With only a few weeks to go until Donington Park on September 2, it will be a race against the clock to strip and rebuild the engine.
However, with Cater driving better than ever, he will give it everything to challenge for the title in the last four races of the season.