WOOD JUST MISSES OUT IN ROCKINGHAM FAREWELL
The Pickup Racers had the honour of being the final race on the Rockingham oval circuit, before it’s closure and Hereford ace Lea Wood was right in the thick of the action.
With a wet track for qualifying it was more a case of caution. “It was just for the Rockingham Championship and I was out of the running after my engine issues there a few months ago, so I used it for practice and concentrated staying off those concrete walls. I used some old wet tyres too,” he explained.
For the Rockingham races there is always a significant change in the trucks, “we change from a 2.5 Duratec to a 2.3, as the oval is such a high revving circuit,” he added.
For the start of the first race he was on row five, but made a lightnting start to hold sixth by the end of the opening lap.
But within a few laps the top seven were running line astern, with Wood trying to make progress through the order. “So long as you stayed with the lead group for the first 25 laps, the race really then began to start, but you can’t really afford to drop off the back and expect to get back,” he said.
By lap 19 only Michael Smith lay between Wood and the lead, but it was still seven cars in contention. The exchanges continued right down to the last lap, with Wood settling into fourth. “I did have a go at the 3rd place man on the last corner, going down the inside but didn’t quite get the exit we needed as we powered to the line, but was happy with fourth. It was one of my best races at Rockingham, pushing at the front straightaway, and I saved the tyres. It handled well and I just missed the podium,” he said.
For race two it was another fifth row start, but strategies came into play too. “There was a compulsory pitstop between laps 15 and 22 so we had planned to make our stop early due to our position in the pitlane,” Wood explained.
From the start of the race everyone had become a little detached from the leader, “it took some time for it to unfold, but I think we made the right decision to stop early as the eventual winner Paul Tompkins did too,” he said.
After all the stops had been taken he became embroiled in a duel with fellow title contender David O’Regan for sixth. He got by on lap 29 and hunted down Scott Bourne a couple of laps later.
Time was running out when he managed to oust Bourne for 4th place, “the top three were too far ahead still, so it was the distance and time I had left that proved too much,” he said after taking the flag fourth again.
“Being the last ever race on the oval I was really happy with fourth in each race. I have always been wary of the concrete walls here, but today it was good, spot on and now it’s time to focus on the main championship and Pembrey on October 13th/14th as it’s all to play for,” he concluded.
Published by Peter Scherer for Lea Wood Racing, September 28th 2018.