Motorsport: Sheffield and Rotherham racers have mixed luck in the Ginetta Junior Championship
Despite being a double 2019 Michelin Ginetta Junior championship race victor - one of only four winners - lately James Taylor has endured some tough race weekends. Things are not always running smoothly for Josh Rattican either in the championship.
At Thruxton for round 6 from grid 10th, Rotherham racer Taylor was soon up to 2nd-place and challenging for the lead. But as he made a move on the leader they clashed wheels which, “ripped my wheel rim giving me a slow puncture”, consequently with diminishing grip he dropped back down the field – even dicing with Sheffield’s Josh Rattican - to take the flag in 15th.
Round 7 saw the 17 year-old have another car turn into him, again at fast Church corner, the impact knocking Taylor’s suspension tracking out of alignment. This resulted in his front wheels pointing in the wrong direction, so his tyres were scrubbing around all the fast corners… Eventually he finished in 12th.
“One meeting to forget…”, Taylor was now in championship 3rd, 60 points adrift of 2nd-place.
Croft’s Round 8 lasted just 2 laps behind the Safety Car, until it was abandoned due to monsoon conditions and postponed until the next day.
Taylor was “disappointed to have the race cancelled as I’m always faster in the wet, it’s where we excel!”
When it was re-run the next day, from 5th Taylor finished 4th as, “once the tyres got hot, the car couldn’t handle it whatever we did it just dropped back down the order”, but he remained 3rd in the Championship.
The Ginetta Juniors only had one chance to shine at Croft, as more weather delays and the circuit curfew meant round 9 will be run elsewhere.
As the season progresses, while Josh Rattican may be getting quicker and used to racing in Juniors, he is not finding it any easier because, “as I’m moving up the grid I’m now up against the better opposition from more talented, quicker drivers...”
Even though the Sheffield 15 year-old had his best start position coming off grid slot 9, he wanted a higher start position, but Rattican was “happy with Thruxton’s round 6 after a disappointing qualifying”, enjoying some very close racing, “I held position for most of the race, finishing 8th overall and 2nd in the Rookie class”.
Making an excellent start to round 7 from 10th, when Rattican got up to 6th position a car running wide showered his windscreen with gravel, shattering the whole right-hand-side and impairing his visibility for the second half of the race, making it hard for him to judge the vital corner apexes.
Hampered, he slipped down the order a couple of places, although he still took part in mid-field battles, Rattican finished 8th overall and 4th rookie.
Struggling to get a clear lap in Croft’s round 8 qualifying, Rattican was disappointed to only qualifying 14th overall for the monsoon delayed race.
Close contact on lap 2 resulted in Rattican suffering bonnet damage, causing it to drop forward, rub along the track until it became lodged under the front wheels giving him no grip for steering. Losing control under braking, Rattican’s race finishing in the tyre wall. Through gritted teeth, “My first and hopefully last DNF”.
He lies 11th in the overall championship table and 4th-best Rookie.