Dickie Meaden’s St Mary’s Trophy victory didn’t come easily: a slide exiting Fordwater prompted commentators to wonder how he’d managed to save it. Here he explains what happened…
I don’t remember all that much about it. I had just got past Mike Jordan, so it was my first proper run with Mike behind me. I was trying to be neat and tidy, but going through Fordwater flat is never easy because the car is always moving around and you are always correcting.
When I was chasing I was trying to steal little bits of track and the car felt fine; I remember I’d touched the kerb a little bit on a previous lap and it didn’t unsettle the car too much. The difference may have been that previously I’d taken the corner in fourth, but this time I’d shifted to fifth. Perhaps the line was slightly different, too.
As I went through the car was loaded up and at that point on the track the road falls away a little bit. I remember as I came out of the bend the car started to fall over itself and began to snap around. It was so sudden that I thought I might have a puncture or that something had broken. I put full steering lock on instinctively, but it was made more difficult because there is no self-centring on the Alfa’s steering so you have to do it by feel. Looking at the footage, I see that I came off the throttle immediately then back on it as I corrected. You have to continue to drive the car in situations like that, otherwise you’ll be off in the other direction as soon as you correct the first slide – that’s what usually happens.
I knew it was quite a big one and I was angry with myself for making a mistake. I must admit I went into the next bend a little more cautiously – but luckily it didn’t ruin the race for me.