HARBOROUGH’S Cameron Twynham has finished in a creditable sixth spot in the 2012 Formula Renault BARC Championship Winter Series with SWB motorsport.
He achieved 10th and 12th place finishes in the final rounds at Rockingham Motor Speedway – despite a major setback with his car.
Twynham, the youngest driver and in only his second race weekend in the Formula Renault BARC car, struggled to find good set-up during the practice sessions at the Northamptonshire circuit.
It transpired during inspection on the Friday night that the SWB Motorsport charger had a damper failure and that this was why the local youngster was suffering with massive oversteer in every corner.
Driving the car with no adjustments made to a base-line set-up for wet running, on a cold and wet track and against drivers who were familiar with their vehicles and the series, Twynham was unable to produce a best qualifying lap time that would promote him above 13th position on the grid for both of the final race rounds, although at the halfway point he was running well inside the top 10 times.
From a wet and sloping grid position, Twynham experienced wheel spin to make a poor start to race one in the afternoon, losing several positions to enter turn one in 17th.
While still battling with the car’s handling, he was able to make some good progress, however to take the chequered flag at the end of the 14-lap race in 10th place was very impressive.
The back-up team applied some drastic set-up changes for race two when the weather and track conditions marginally improved, however there was some drama before Twynham even left the pits when the throttle stuck open in the garage.
Fortunately the team located the problem and managed to get him out on track just in time for the warm-up lap.
Twynham was starting from the wet side of the track while all the even number starting positions benefited from starting on the drying line. The start was a struggle on his opted wet tyres and after dropping back to 16th place in turn one, he re-took two positions by the end of lap one.
He then stayed with pack in front and made up another position passing Gamble, his championship rival for sixth position, around the outside of the very fast corner, Piff-Paff.
For the final stint Twynham was able to extract reasonable pace and made good use of the brakes into the hairpin to jump up another racing position. Upon studying the data after the race it was discovered that the throttle was also not working correctly after the last- minute issues and not only was he unable to achieve 100 per cent throttle at some points, but it was also slow to open near full throttle, slowing down his acceleration and ability to gain the tow from cars in front, making him very vulnerable to every car following him.
Twynham finished the race in 12th place and with a points haul to secure sixth place (out of 23 drivers) in his first one car team and Formula Renault BARC Winter Series Drivers’ Championship.
Twynham said afterwards: “We didn’t get off to the best of starts for the weekend, but the team worked very hard to get the car ready for qualifying and the races on Saturday.
“It was useful to have the team’s driver coach Ollie [Millroy] showing me sections of the data to focus on too. Overall, the weekend went better than expected and I exceeded the finishing position I had aimed for myself in the series, so I am very happy with our final result.”