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16
May

New Milestone for HARD Barley

After a promising start to the season at Oulton Park, I was very much looking forward to rounds 2 and 3 of the VW Cup on the fast banks of Rockingham. 

A pre-race track day here with team mate (BTCC) Jack Goff was vital to what would end up being a very successful weekend. 

I hadn’t achieved as much as I wanted to at Oulton Park, and although it was a respectable start to my VW career, I had set targets that I didn’t meet. Namely, to make the top 10. 

Thankfully this top 10 wasn’t too far away. Rockingham qualifying saw me finish 9th, which I celebrated on the pit wall with Ben (Team HARD. operations director) like a win. I had made progress, I was moving in the right direction, and I was loving every second of it. 

After a good evening with the team, it was bank holiday Monday, and race day. Cue the sunshine. Tony and the rest of the mechanics (plus Sam and Lucie!) had travelled up from the huge success of Thruxton. Apparently there was a race or three there the day before. Spoils were had, and tears were shed. 

Race 1 start, P9. Red, red, red, Go! I made a good start and went tight and defensive into the first corner. Thanks to a couple of nice love taps from a Sirocco behind I was sent sideways, but thankfully I kept it pinned and going forward. I spent the rest of the race battling hard with the top 10, and finished in 8th place. Check out the video below, my fist pumps over the line show my satisfaction at the end of the race! 

Race two was just as entertaining at the start, as the video below shows. How I survived both first corners of this race is beyond me. This would prove to be a hugely entertaining race, battling and keeping behind Oulton Park winner Ross Wylie and last year’s champion James Walker. I spent almost all of the race in 8th place, but a mechanical issue on the last lap saw me finish 10th. 

The two results above put me into 7th place in the championship, but a post-race two weigh in would show that the car was slightly underweight, and as should well be the case, no exceptions can be made. We’d used more fuel than we anticipated, and my points would not count from race 2. Whilst this is frustrating, I am more focused on moving forward, and developing my driving skill, than I am chasing points this year. I left Rockingham happy, content and grateful. Once again Team HARD. and all those who involved behind the scenes gave me the opportunity to progress and achieve on this stage. 

Thanks also go to the sponsors, Barley McNaughton, IG Group, Kraftwerk racing and HQ Films. 

Next up is Silverstone GP. See you there! 

Tom Barley #47 

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