So, how was it for
you? No 1 - Robbie Watts
Following on from last year we asked the winners
to write about the season and their racing. Robbie Watts
was the first to reply, for which many thanks. Those of
us (me - asst ed) who remember on
Friday that they have to race on Saturday can learn a
lot from Robbie's approach. Here's his story:
Well another season over and another one in the bag. It's been a really competitive season and a lot of hard work for all. Someone asked me the other day what is involved in participating in a racing season, I wish it was simple to explain but it's not. Most of you reading this will understand how much time is involved in preparing a car etc etc, although that's just a very small area of what is involved. Well here is what I think will explain part of what it takes. Having raced in various championships since the early 90s it was always a struggle finding the money to pay for the racing. I must at this point thank my wife Cheryll who never complained about how much was being sacrificed in time, money and the family! I look back and laugh at some of the things I used to do to race and its a learning curve about how to balance it all. A championship is never won in a given year...it has so many things that make it gel....this year was a great example of that! As at one point we thought it was out of reach! The new car wasn't ready because of various companies letting us down with things we needed but that's always the way...it never goes how you want it to. In March we realised that the DALLARA wasn't going to be ready. So we had to pull LOLA off the shelf in the barn and get her ready for Cadwell. Training for me wasn't going too bad either....from the end of the 2014 season to the first round of 2015 I had run 300km and approx 100 hours in the gym and at nearly 50 it was hard going!!! It does get harder and harder every year. With Lola ready we concentrated on the Dallara and Dan worked like a man possessed to get her ready.
Every nut,bolt,joint,seal,washer,pipe,bracket,bearing and wire was renewed and still we waited for some bits to arrive! The season was up and down and I was extremely disappointed at Cadwell Park as I only marginally went quicker in the Lola than I had in the F4! I'm not going to go through race by race as you were all there and it only gets boring as everyone remembers it differently. We managed to get the new car ready for Spa and we went there expecting to sort out all the niggles and issues you get with a new car. I would be lying if I said it was trouble free but the issues were very minor and it's a testament to Dan Fox that the car was so good. During testing I thought the dash was playing up as when I passed the line it was within a tenth of the lap record. Back to the pits and the boys confirmed they had the same on the stopwatch. The car was so easy to drive.....I could turn in and be full throttle before the apex, this was heaven and I could push and push and it never misbehaved. After the weekend I realised this was the first time I had ever been to Spa and never spun! To come away from Spa with my 50th win in my pocket was very, very special. It made the long drive home a lot easier. The next few races brought a few engine issues which the results reflect but this is by far the easiest car I have ever driven. We even went quicker at some circuits than I had in the 06 F3 Cup car which was a little startling at times!!!
After Spa we decided we would treat each race as it came and forget the championship. That paid off as I put to work all the help and guidance that Steve Waudby and Neil Riddiough had instilled into me over the last few years. I was preparing for each circuit like never before and it became almost a twice daily ritual....Going over data, YouTube, visualisation,imagery and my personal training intensified. I was now a stone lighter than I had been a year earlier and I felt as fit as a fiddle. With Dan and Joe working harder than ever at and away from the circuit, races passed by and everything started to fall into place....I do feel for Daryl as he should have gone on to win the championship but fate has a cruel way of dealing its hand sometimes. At the start of the season Daryl was driving beautifully and the results reflect that. Donington was a cruel blow for him and I did offer him my spare engine but he shook my hand and said go and do the triple old boy and he went home. (A gentlemen to the end) It was a shame but that's the way racing goes sometimes.
After Donington Ben took the lead of the championship and Oulton was all to play for. Ben has always gone well at Oulton and I knew I had to be on top of my game. Between Donington and Oulton I trained harder than I ever had before and spent hours going over old footage and data from the F4 and the Lola. I put the championship out of my head and just treated each session as it came. Ben was even quicker than I thought he would have been and was driving like a man possessed. I pushed hard to stay in front and almost lost it in the second race as Ben drew along side. Thankfully I recovered and kept the lead but hats off to Ben for driving on the limit and keeping himself large in my mirrors!
When the chequered flag dropped in the second race the relief was overwhelming and the in lap was very emotional. The first person I saw when I got back to Parc Ferme was my son Joseph. He has sacrificed so much over the last few years just to make sure we had everything we needed to go racing. Girlfriends, mates and even school were put to one side because Dad needs me to do this....what a star and one day I hope I can repay him...(and no you are not having one of the cars Joseph). So as I climbed out of the car and saw his face I was finished...the emotion poured out and I coudn't even remove my helmet. Dan was lost for words which is rare!! And I could tell from his face what this meant to him. Seeing Dan, Joe and Alex's reactions made it even sweeter as their dedication and passion is what keeps me going some days. With podium celebrations over and covered in champagne with thanks to Shane and Tony!!! We loaded up and headed home. We still had one more hurdle to clear as we had our engine sealed at Oulton. The engine was duly removed, transported back to the engine builder and stripped with the MSA scrutineers and was declared legal!!!!!
So my 6th Championship win was in the bag and a big thank you must go to Dan Fox for an extraordinary effort to build a super car and to Joe for giving up so much for me to do something I love.
Disclaimer: The above represents only the unofficial view of the writer and not of the Monoposto Racing Club in any way whatsover. Subheadlines and captions are not originated from the named author. We are unable to reproduce results due to copyright reasons. If any pictures are copyright and the owner wishes them removed please email us.
Champion pic at Oulton
Floating the Lola at Cadwell
The opposition at Cadwell