Oli Basey-Fisher - ThruxtonGinetta Junior Championship rookie Oli Basey-Fisher secured a pair of valuable points finishes on his first visit to the fastest circuit on the series calendar, Thruxton in Hampshire, over the weekend, 28th/29th April, with persistent rain and blustery conditions providing the sternest of tests.

Having never driven his Ginetta G40 in the wet before, the 16-year-old from Great Finborough in Suffolk faced a mountainous challenge throughout the third event of his maiden car racing season but took a sensible approach to rounds five and six to secure 11th place finishes in each race.

While Saturday’s free practice, qualifying session and race were all affected by poor weather, the rain and gusty winds worsened dramatically on Sunday to give the Ginetta Junior Scholarship Winner his steepest learning curve yet.

“Obviously, Thruxton is the fastest circuit in the UK so to race there for the first time under the conditions we had was a really tough challenge”, said the Century Logistics-backed driver, “It’s been the most difficult weekend so far but we scored points in both races so I’m happy enough with that.

“It was absolutely tipping down all weekend, Saturday was more changeable – wet in the morning, followed by a greasy session and then a dry session – while on Sunday it was nothing but rain all day long. Every session was a different challenge for me, a hell of a learning experience that’s for sure!”

Round five on Saturday took place on a drying track after earlier rain but, on the grounds of safety, officials decided the teenage racers in Ginetta Junior should run with wet-weather tyres. Lining up 11th on the grid, Oli had a good opening lap and climbed into the top 10 before eventually having to settle for 11th, and sixth in the Rookie classification, following a battle with Tom Jackson.

With heavy rain saturating the 2.36-mile circuit overnight, and no let up throughout Sunday, round six was unquestionably run with all cars having full wet set-up and treaded tyres. Officials chose to begin the action under Safety Car conditions so racing proper didn’t get underway until lap three.

Providing an even tougher challenge than Saturday’s slippery encounter, Oli again moved into the top 10 early on and held the spot until the start of the fifth tour when erstwhile championship leader Sennan Fielding made his way by. Holding 11th place to the flag, the Tollbar Racing with WIRED driver lapped well clear of round five challenger Jackson to claim an improved top five Rookie finish.

“I was lower down the order than I expected to be, or wanted to be, but I’ve certainly learnt a lot from it and it’s definitely been a worthwhile weekend”, said Oli, “I learnt so many things, I took a lot of advice from my driver coach Malcolm Smith – he’s helped me so much – and it was just a case of trying to remain as relaxed as possible, whatever the weather threw at us.”

Oli now has a six-week break from racing with the fourth event of the Ginetta Junior Championship season, rounds seven and eight, taking place over the weekend 9th/10th June at the picturesque Oulton Park Island Circuit in Cheshire.

2012 Ginetta Junior Championship Driver Standings (after Rd6):
1st Charlie Robertson, 144pts; 9th Oli Basey-Fisher, 71pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.