Tourist Trophy champion Michael Eastwell admits he spent most of the Walter Hayes Trophy weekend fighting mechanical issues, costing him any higher than a ninth place finish
Kevin Mills Racing driver Eastwell, who’s also been Champion of Brands four times this year and finished second in the BRSCC Avon Tyres National and Triple Crown standings, looked to be a victory contender on pace but had a variety of mechanical and driver errors.
The troubles began during testing with a malfunctioning dashboard, meaning that Eastwell had to race without pressure gauges and rev counters before the final. He encountered gear selection issues in his heat and then the plug leads came loose in his semi-final. Wet conditions on the Sunday lessened the effect of his loss of straight line speed.
“How I finished 12th, I do not know,” said Eastwell told FF1600website after the semi-final. “I’ve just looked at the sectors and we’re at least 15mph down on the straights
“What is gutting is in my opinion we should’ve been starting on the front or second row [for the final]. To be honest, I think I was quicker than Mike [Moyers] and I was just sitting there.”
He started the final from 22nd on the grid, but rose up to finish ninth. He and his team had opted to set up the car for a dry race, despite the changeable weather.
“It’s been a very up and down weekend, but to come from 22nd and finish ninth is alright for today. I did everything in the race possible, we went with quite a dry set-up which ultimately probably wasn’t quite right, but that was my own fault, I just wanted to gamble and wanted to do something a little bit different.
“Everyone was in the same boat. You either got the set-up right or you didn’t. And ultimately we weren’t too far off but it wasn’t quite there.”
Eastwell puts the blame for his disappointing final performance squarely with his grid position.
“I think we could have won. I really do. We would have been in the right position, first or second row, I’m certain about it. Even if we’d been in the top six, it was doable. It was easily doable. It’s such an up and down race, you’ve just got to be up there. Even top 10 really you can be there. But it’s tough when you’re coming from outside the top 20.”
Last weekend he won both Champion of Brands races, doing so despite landing in Britain just hours before after a trip to America.