Tom Barley and his Belgian Blog
'Get to the team for 2:30am if you want to go testing!' were not the words I was expecting to hear at 10pm the day before dad and I were due to travel to Spa Francorchamps in Belgium for rounds 9+10 of the VW Cup, but these were the words of team principal Tony Gilham! 'I'd better get packing then' I replied. Thankfully as the weekend went on I heard some words from him that I did want to hear. 'I'm proud of you' was his reply after I qualified p2 on the grid for race 1.
Tony and all the guys and girls at team HARD. have been incredibly supportive of me this year, and I feel extremely lucky to be in such good company. To get a fantastic result was great for the team as a whole and I could feel the spirit rise and enjoyment come out in us all as we celebrated. My mentor and coach Jack Goff was also there, and a man hug cemented the fact that I'd done ok!
Saturday morning soon arrived and it was race day. The sun was shining and the track was fast. It's time to go. Starting on the front row always brings a lot of pressure but I remained focused and with the advice from Tony of 'strong minds, strong results' I had my targets well and truly set on the podium. The race started fantastically and I was off in to the lead, taking the pack though eau rogue, trying to be as committed as I dared. Within a couple of laps three Siroccos had made their way past so I was unfortunately down to fourth, but with the pack squabbling in front I could still end up on the podium. In the end it wasn't meant to be. I came home in fourth, and subsequently the 1st golf. My best finish of the season and something for us all to celebrate. Moments like these are what make Motorsport such a beautiful sport. You get people from all walks and paths of life enjoying a great moment, a culmination of everyone's individual effort. It's very special.
Race two saw me start in third place, where I remained for the first lap until an issue saw me lose control and unfortunately end up out of the race. This was a great shame but with so many positives already in the bank, along with my joker doubling my 4th place points haul from race 1 I was a happy man. More importantly the team and guests were happy, and we could all get home in time for the Gilham wedding, where a beer or two would be enjoyed for the ambitious and determined man that pulls the team HARD. train married his beautiful bride Sam.
Lets hope we're drinking champagne at Brands Hatch after I secure my first podium of the year. I hope to see you there, at the teams home meeting.
Tom Barley #47