Josh Caygill served up a truly remarkable performance in the Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup at Rockingham.
The 24-year-old Netherton driver came within metres of securing his maiden car racing podium – despite missing practice and qualifying and starting from the back of the grid at the Northamptonshire track.
Going straight into Bank Holiday Monday’s two races after a lengthy overnight journey after competing in the Volkswagen Scirocco R Cup in Hockenheim in Germany, where he raced on Saturday and Sunday, the AWM driver stunned the VW Cup paddock with a stunning showing.
From 29th on the grid, Caygill made a sensational start to move into 21st position on the first lap and by lap six he was into the top 15.
Making outstanding progress, he sliced his way into 12th place by lap nine and headed into the penultimate lap inside the top eight.
Lapping with pace matching the eventual race winner’s, Caygill continued to push but found the gap to the next group of cars was too much to bridge over the last couple of circuits.
Starting race two from eighth on the grid thanks to his finishing position in the first race, the former British Supersport motorcycle racer was elbowed back to 10th place on the first lap but found the pace to recover very strongly.
Caygill emerged from a shuffling of the pack on lap seven in sixth position and by lap nine he moved up into fifth.
He then grabbed fourth having caught Stewart Lines on lap 11, before hunting down the top three.
Into the final lap, Caygill was just a second shy of the podium placings and closed to within only 0.1 seconds of third placed David Sutton at the chequered flag.
Just a few more yards would have made all the difference, but fourth was still an exceptional career-best result and Caygill’s best lap of the race was quicker than those produced by any of the rostrum finishers.
“We were so close to the podium, literally another two or three metres”, said Caygill.
“There were actually another 10 seconds still left on the clock when the race ended, but they put the chequered flag out early as another lad had gone off.
“To be fourth with no practice or qualifying and then coming through from the back in race one, is really fantastic.
“We only got to the hotel from Germany at about 3.30am, and got to bed about quarter to four, so we didn’t get a great deal of sleep – although I did grab half an hour in the back of the van at the track after the first race!
“It was a great weekend, we got on with the job and showed some good pace.”
Before his Rockingham heroics, Caygill raced in the opening two rounds of the Volkswagen Scirocco R Cup at Hockenheim and while race one was a contact-heavy encounter, in race two he posted a best finish of 14th position.
“Qualifying wasn’t great with the position, but the lap time was good”, Caygill explained,
“We knew it would be hard at the first meeting of the season, but we should have been a touch higher up the grid.
“The first race was a nightmare. Two cars had a spin at the first corner, so I had to run off the track to avoid them, then I was boxed in for the hairpin before getting clipped.
“I worked my way back into the middle bunch, but it was a real dogfight with a lot of contact.
“I had a better start to race two and I was catching the lead group quite quickly and overall I was happy how it turned out.
“There are some quick and experienced drivers who have raced in Europe, but I’m confident we can start in the top 10 soon enough.”
Caygill, who is now fourth in the Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup Driver standings and 16th in the Scirocco R Cup, returns to action on May 17-18 at Oschersleben in Germany for rounds three and four of the European competition.
Cleckheaton racing driver Lee Pattison secured his first pole position and his first podium of the Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup season at Thruxton.
Switching to reigning champion squad Team Pyro for the third event of 2014, Pattison produced a great performance in qualifying to secure pole position for round five and a second place slot for round six.
Although elbowed down to fourth through the opening sequence of turns, Pattison battled his way back into second mid-race and also posted the fastest lap, but ultimately lost out to SV Racing with KX driver Josh Cook – the winner was Mike Bushell.
“I got mugged at the start, I got off to a really bad one which is unusual” for me,” said Pattison.
“It was a good result though, and I always really like racing at Thruxton.”
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