I found myself reflecting on Sunday morning before the start of racing at Oulton Park in more than one way. The first was a literal reflection. Photographer Phil Rainford, a local to Oulton, saw the chance of an artistic shot of the team I was with at Cascades corner through the reflection of my sunglasses (picture included). The second reflection was a mental reflection that I was almost half way through the racing season. It didn’t seem over three months ago that I was bracing myself for the freezing cold at the Goodwood Member’s Meeting especially as the temperature in Cheshire was climbing to 24 degrees.
After looking back on the half season that had passed I decided it was best to look at the action on the track that was about to start. As the day progressed it became apparent to me that Cascades wasn’t going to get an incident. It was strange that one of the busiest corners at Oulton Park was without any action for two days at the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC).
The BTCC normally sits as one of the high-profile events on my calendar and this year was no different. Although I had a slightly larger role as an Incident Officer, I still had the main objective in my mind that I would enjoy the weekend. However, the role of organising the team and being the person who could potentially call the shots if an incident did occur sat heavy on my shoulders? Was I ready? Who knows! Whilst I jumped in at the deep end to try and find out the fact that we had no incidents meant I am going to have to wait for another day to see how I cope with the pressure.
In hindsight there is nothing more I could have done differently as I gave my team the best briefing I could, I put people in the best places they could have been so their abilities would have shone through as we dealt with any incident. Therefore, it must have been the uncontrollable things that I was thinking of, the ‘what ifs’ of racing were surging through my brain but there would have been nothing I could have done about them.
Going back to the lack of incidents, was it a good thing there were none? My head was saying yes! The thought of thousands of eyes looking down on the team at what we were doing, Whether it was right or wrong, scrutinising everything that we did was pressure that I hadn’t encountered before. It wasn’t just the people in the crowd that could judge us but, millions of people around the country and maybe the world could look at our efforts of dealing with an incident. Those watching on TV would have the luxury of rewinds and being able to pause the racing to soak up every detail. We had real time to deal with it.
Looking back on the weekend I have managed to learn from the experience of pressure. This has put me in good stead for the rest of the season. Not only will I have even more eyes beaming down on me at the British Grand Prix in July and the Belgian Grand Prix in August but, I will be able to focus myself on doing the best possible job whilst I am there, which I can control. Of course blogs will follow.