Armistice at Anglesey
With Mission Motorsport’s revered annual Race of Remembrance right around the corner, we thought it an ideal time to reflect on our eventful 2021 attempt at the 12-hour endurance event in partnership with Lovecars. As always, the race was hosted at the picturesque coastal circuit of Trac Môn Anglesey Circuit in North West Wales, with the Irish Sea and the Snowdonia mountain range lending a perfect backdrop to pay tribute to those lost in conflict through the unifying pursuit of motor racing.
With the decision being made to enter just two weeks from the green light, the PaddlUp and Lovecars outfit rushed to prepare, with Caterham’s expertise being enlisted to produce a race-worthy car in a seemingly insurmountable time frame. Everyone pulled up their sleeves, did their utmost and by the skin of their teeth, a suitable entry and driver line-up were ready with just days to spare.
The team itself comprised Lovercars presenter Paul Woodman, Caterham Academy driver, Freddy Chiddicks, Mission Motorsport team member Danny Holland and Paddlup Co-Founder, Joe Priday, none of whom had completed a stint longer than 20 minutes in their single season of motor racing experience. With that in mind, being competitive in a 12-hour endurance was a tall order, but the unlikely band of misfits were up for the challenge.
As is the case with many endurance events, qualifying differed from the traditional sprint format many motorsport fans are accustomed to. Each team was permitted two-and-a-half hours of tack time during the day and a further two hours of eventide running, with the evocative combination of moonlight and headlamps providing mottled illumination of the circuit. Across the two sessions, each driver had to complete a compulsory six laps and the fastest time was taken from the day session.
Despite some inclement weather, Chiddicks lined up on the grid in sixth place overall and as the second fastest Caterham, hopes were high as the gruelling trial lay ahead. On the run down to the first braking zone, a wayward Honda Civic almost ended the #777 car’s effort before it had even started. Mercifully, Chiddicks emerged unscathed with only a loose rear wing to show for the encounter. With the pitstop window looming, the car was running in fifth position but an issue with refuelling meant what should’ve been a four-minute stop turned into 15 agonizing minutes, dropping the team to a lowly 28th place.
With the sun beginning to dip below the horizon, Woodman got behind the wheel and began clawing back positions hand over first. A well-timed safety car and improved pit stop technique at the circuit’s refuelling station meant that Priday rejoined the race in a much-improved 17th place. An extended second stint for Chiddicks and a pacey first outing for Holland followed, and as the checkered flag fell at the end of day one, the PaddlUp / Lovercars squad lay fourth in the overall standings.
The light of a new day brought with it the realisation that overnight rainfall and the resulting damp conditions were going to hinder lap times considerably. In spite of this, Holland once again put in some superb times before an intermission at 10:45 am on Sunday to remember those who paid the ultimate price, as well as those who have returned home after their service.
The closing stints saw glimpses of podium potential but the team eventually settled for a well-earned fourth position overall, fighting back from a disastrous first stop to compete convincingly against modified cars in a completely standard Caterham 270R.
Ultimately, the Race of Rememberance’s over-arching message is one of respect and admiration for the sacrifices made by our armed forces. If you would like to donate to Mission Motorsport which provides incredible on-track experiences for ex-servicemen and women, you can do so HERE.
You can also watch the PaddlUp / Lovecars vlog of last year’s race HERE. We’d like to wish everyone competing in the 2022 race the best of luck, we’re sure it will be just as much of a resounding success as last year.