Skegness racer Amanda Black wound her season up in style when she took part in motoring action at Belgium’s world-famous Spa circuit.
The Skegness Grammar School PE teacher traveled to Europe for the final round of the Caterham Graduates Championship.
“It was a weekend that no Caterham racer will ever forget,” said Amanda. “Firstly because, it’s an amazing opportunity to be able to race at the world’s best, most famous, iconic racing circuit and secondly, the poor weather conditions.
“I know that Spa is famous for having its own weather climate and that it could be raining at one part of the circuit and dry at the other, but no Caterham Graduate was quite prepared for what challenges were lying ahead of us.”
Amanda qualified third in her class.
An hour before the first race the clouds started to become greyer. Amanda decided to plump for wet tyres, and the decision paid dividends - as the racers lined-up on the grid the clouds opened and ‘monsoon’ conditions struck the track.
“F1 drivers get paid a lot of money NOT to race in these conditions. It was utter madness,” said Amanda. “This was my first wet race and what a place to have it! It was the most frightful experience of my life.
“Sixty-five Caterhams started on the same grid and I was unable to see more than three metres in front of me.
“At this point I had one goal – to finish. I didn’t push the car, I had to bring it home. I could not afford any damage. Somehow I achieved this and I managed to finish 10th out of 11. My worst result in racing but an achievement to finish. Unfortunately many cars did not and there were some very sad and battered Caterhams at the end of it.”
The weather was better for race two, and Amanda was able to set off from third in her class in a dry start. The first lap went ok, however there was a bad accident at the front that brought out the red flags and the race was stopped.
Pulling in to check on her steering during the red flag, Amanda was dead last for the restart.
“The battle was on,” continued Amanda. “I managed to gain one place at La Source, but by this time the next cars were already some way ahead of me.
“I got past the next two and manage to get behind the six-way queue for 4th. I then had an amazing battle on my hands. Some awesome slipstreaming saw me go from the back of the pack to the front. The video really is worth a watch.
“On the last lap I was in fourth and made a mistake going into Pouhon and I ran wide.
“Two cars went past me but by Stavelot I was lucky enough to be in their tow and managed to pass both of them again at Blanchimont. Keeping a tight defensive line into Bus Stop I managed to cross the line and finished fourth – what a great race.”