Spins, crashes, penalties and plenty of overtaking – it was an “eventful” opening 3 rounds of the Scottish Mini Cooper Cup for David Sleigh Racing. Sunday’s event, in honour of paddock legend Alex Bruce who recently passed away, saw David Meiklejohn competing for DSR alongside David Sleigh and Des Wheatley who are signed up for the duration of the championship.
The day started positively enough with all three drivers putting in solid performances, given their varying degrees of experience. Des “The Beast from the North East” Wheatley’s confidence in the new car was growing and growing, following some successful pre-season practice sessions, and 14th was a respectable position.
The first race saw all three DSR drivers come through cleanly. David thought he had secured 3rd position but was later dropped down to 7th for an infringement of the new track line rules, a controversial decision given the lack of time the drivers have had to adjust. However, rules are rules and the focus was quickly shifted to the next race.
Des was visibly gaining in speed throughout the race and was mixing it well in middle field, bringing home a respectable 15th position in his third race in the Scottish Mini Cooper Cup.
David Meiklejohn, meanwhile, was also enjoying his new ride in the Mini Cooper having previously been involved in the Legends series.
With the morning’s racing completed, the team was able to spend some time in the new David Sleigh Racing truck and adorning garage and hospitality tent. A special mention has to go the catering ladies who were kept busy all day making sure the drivers, mechanics and guests were well looked after. The burgers went down well and the cupcakes weren’t too bad either!
The second race proved to be a massive turning point in both David Sleigh’s and Des Wheatley’s days – but unfortunately not in the right direction.
David Sleigh got off to a flying start on lap 1 and had fought his way to 4th when he was tagged from behind by an over eager competitor. Finding himself in the gravel facing towards the oncoming medley, he re-joined the action way down in 15th place. However, DSR’s main man is not known for throwing in the towel and began to address the situation immediately. Taking back 5 places in the next 2 laps, David was driving like a man possessed with Scotsman corner proving to be a fertile hunting ground. In the end the collision on lap 1 had divided the pack as they slowed to avoid the incident, leaving the top 8 cars room to break away.
Des Wheatley’s racing was progressing well, and he was holding his own in the midfield. However, a lap later, the Geordie man went through Scotman’s corner and took a heavy hit into the tyres. Unfortunately that was the end of his race.
David “The Boffin” Meiklejohn was the only DSR driver to avoid any major incident, improving his Race 1 position by 2 places and his fastest lap by 1.5 seconds.
With less than 2 hours until race 3 it was all hands on deck in the DSR camp to get Des’s number 5 car back in shape. After a new radiator and bumper were fitted along with a thorough check of the ABS, the car was ready for the final race of the day.
David continued in the vein of Race 2, progressing well in the early half of the race.
Meanwhile, though, Des’s race was over in lap 2 after a collision with Stephanie McMurdo with both drivers vying for position going into Carlube.
Back to the front of the pack and David Sleigh was “shakin and bakin” his way through the field. As he gained positions however, each potential victim to the DSR onslaught was proving more resilient. A frustrating 2 safety car laps at least partially contributed to the DSR commander-in-chief ‘s failure to get on the podium, narrowly missing out to former teammate Joe Tanner.
Mr Consistent, David Meiklejohn, gained another 2 places in the final race – a trend that will hopefully continue throughout the season.
All in all it was a tough weekend of racing for the team, but an absolute belter in terms of entertainment.
The team will be back in action at Knockhill for rounds 4,5 and 6 on Sunday 4th May.