A SUCCESSION of incidents and ill fortune not only hampered teenage racing driver Sam Randon, they have potentially brought the youngster's season to a premature end.
Brands Hatch was the host for rounds seven and eight of the Michelin Clio Cup Series on the short Indy configuration but Randon's run of bad luck started before he even reached the circuit on the Friday test day.
"The SVR team transporter broke down on the way to the circuit and they worked through the night just to get the cars there for Friday testing," said Randon. "Then my engine broke during the morning session and my test day was finished."
Randon has suffered all season due to a lack of funding for testing, so to lose the test day due to mechanical gremlins was frustrating.
"My pace was good even in just that first short test session and I go well at Brands Hatch, so I was confident of a good qualifying and race pace but our preparation was already compromised at his early stage in the weekend."
Even that optimism was short-lived, though, as a very tight qualifying session left Randon a disappointing ninth place.
"Brands Indy is a short lap and the times were very close throughout qualifying," said his father, Neil. "Sam was only a couple of tenths of a second behind the front row but it was enough to drop him into the mid pack – a dangerous place to be and so it proved."
A poor start to Saturday's race didn't help and, in a busy mid pack, Randon's steering was damaged in a first corner clash which then impacted his race pace. A P8 finish was only achieved with some heroic defending which resulted in yet more damage to the car.
"My car was looking pretty beaten up," said Sam, "but the team sorted out the steering and mechanicals and we were looking forward to round eight to salvage a result from the weekend."
With a cleaner start to round eight, the Ashbourne youngster was running in the busy pack through the first lap until he was squeezed to the outside of the track at Clearways corner and dropped a wheel into the gravel. By the time he had recovered, he was dead last and chasing hard.
Clocking lap times that matched the leaders, Randon quickly caught the back of the pack. Taking a cautious approach and backing out of a pass through Druids corner, he made a clean and decisive pass at Clearways, or so he thought.
"I guess I surprised him," said Randon. "The pass was done and yet we somehow still came together, the front of his car hitting the rear of mine, destroying the rear of my car and taking us both out of the race. Just sums up my weekend!"
His father added: "Every racing driver has these nightmare weekends. We certainly had one or two in karting. Sam is very resilient and determined to bounce back.
"But unfortunately the damage bill for the car this weekend will likely consume the rest of our 2014 budget, so this could be the end of the road for this year with four more races still to go."
Sam said: "I want to say a big thank you to the SVR race team. They worked so hard for me this weekend, also to all of our sponsors for their fantastic support this year. I'm just sorry we didn't have more success for them."
Sam can be contacted through his website www.SamRandonRacing.com