The full thumbnail gallery of images can be seen by clicking here.
Despite the steady snow fall and sub-zero temperatures that had gripped the Midlands over the course of the day, fans came out in force and were rewarded with a tremendous show of driving talent and bravery.
The event itself was an exciting cluster of on-track action. Short four lap sprint races one after another full of overtakes, jumps and bumps meant the action never really stopped.
On top of the excitement on track, a number of high-profile contenders were part of the paddock and line-ups, including winner-on-the-day and nine-time WRC World Rally Champion, Sebastien Loeb, keen to get to grips with the circuit before it plays host to the FIA World Rallycross Championshiplater in the year.
Full results from the day can be found by clicking here.
The next round of MSA British Rallycross is at Lydden Hill on 2nd April 2018.
Welcome back! After a few months of traveling, and a few more sorting and organising the thousands of pictures we returned with, we’ve finally got around to making our new website!
Before you read on, please remember you can click any of the links within the text to go to the thumbnail galleries for each place.
2017 took us to a lot of new places. In total, we got on six flights out of the UK, rented two cars, took three boat trips and ended up no further than 1200 miles from home. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Italy, Spain, Slovenia, Scotland and, of course, England all provided us with a heap of memories and photographs. From the intense heat of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina to the very cold Lake Bled in Slovenia. Croatia’s National Parks of Krka in the Summer and Plitvice in the Winter being the perfect example!
Whilst we never actively sought out animals and wildlife, we did end up coming across a number of them. From the robins and swans around Lake Bled, small lizards roaming the cafes in Croatia and some in zoos we visited along the way like Barcelona and back home in the UK.
Motorsport took a back seat in 2017. Whilst the race track was the first place I went when I first got my camera, the draw of Europe has been too strong this past year. That’s not to say we stayed away completely as we saw touring cars at Snetterton, Norfolk and a variety of events at Cadwell Park, Lincolnshire, but perhaps 2018 will offer up more.
Blogs are still to come for Rome, Pula and our Christmas market adventures in Slovenia and Zagreb. However, the tale of our Croatia and Bosnia road trip can be read here.
Of course, if you have any questions about the places we’ve been, drop me a message on Twitter or in the comments at the bottom of any of the website pages.
All the pictures are available to view in the thumbnail galleries, and also high definition ones available on Shutterstock.
The pressures of making it into the big time of motorsport are well documented. With the up-and-coming stars at each level seeming to get younger with each passing season, what effect does it have and how much dedication does it take to become fully immersed in the sport that you love.
I had the opportunity to speak with Bryony King, a young race driver in the making who has made the step up to the Formula Jedi Championship for 2016.
So who is Bryony King?
Bryony is a 17-year old looking to make big waves in the motorsport world. Born and bred in Cambridgeshire, Bryony has been racing karts since 2010 despite only having just become old enough to have passed her driving test this February.
“I began racing at the end of 2010, racing a cadet kart at PFi (kart circuit in Grantham, Lincolnshire). I was born in Cambridge, and have lived in Cambridgeshire all my life, in the same house actually.
“For 2016, I am going to be racing in the Formula Jedi Championship, which is going to be my debut season racing in cars. I’m most looking forward to racing at amazing circuits, such as Silverstone and Rockingham. It’s a big change of scene for me, but I’m very much looking forward to it.”
The Formula Jedi series is a British championship that uses open-wheel vehicles, not dissimilar in design to a Formula Ford car but with less power. The championship takes place at seven events up and down the country, from the flatlands of Snetterton in Norfolk, to the undulating Branch Hatch layouts in Kent.
The side of motorsport we usually see at the top is a fickle, result-driven industry where only the very best, richest and most fortunate succeed. So how does someone so young prepare for the leap into the world of competitive motorsport?
With much less media attention, sponsorship and prize money at the semi-professional and clubman level, it may be true that there’s less pressure, but in her first season, Bryony’s not taking any chances, and not underestimating the learning curve.
“I’ve done several test days at the circuits the championship will be attending this year, as well as keeping up my fitness in the gym. I’ve been learning new techniques of preparation with the MSA Academy, which is who I study with at Loughborough College.”
So what’s it like being a young woman in what is traditionally a male dominated sport?
“In some ways being a female has helped, but only in terms of being able to stand out more as people are interested because it’s rare for a girl to be involved. Though of course my gender does not impact my ability at all.”
Formula One and DTM (German Touring Cars) driver Susie Wolff is perhaps the most famous woman in the sport in recent years after testing for Williams, but further down the motorsport ladder there are plenty of women gunning for success and
Other names making waves include Alice Powell, who became the first woman to win a Formula Renault World Championship in 2010, and Louise Richardson, who competed in the Ginetta GT series supporting the British Touring Car Championship last year.
However, Bryony stands adamant she wants to be judged on her driving,
“I hate the term female racing driver. I am just another competitor.”
Even at such a young age and stepping up to her first season in Formula Jedi, Bryony knows first-hand the highs and lows of circuit racing…
“My first race was in my cadet kart at PFi, it was chucking it down with rain, and I had never been in the wet before and my Dad has no background with circuit racing and so couldn’t offer me any tips. I didn’t know about braking off line and spun many times during the 3 lap practice. On the grid for the first heat I was so nervous which led to me being sick! So I actually didn’t get to do my first race, though I made it out for the rest of the day and even managed to come in 1st novice in the final!
“My best and worst racing moments came in the same weekend actually. It was the British Kartmasters GP and I had some excellent heats throughout the Friday and Saturday and put it on pole for the pre-final which I went on to win. I had never felt so confident in winning for the Grand Final, but following scrutineering post-race, I was excluded when my mechanic had cleaned my chain with some chain lube, it got onto my clutch and this is classed as non-compliance. It was horrible to be excluded after the best weekend racing I had in karts.”
But then you could say that you’re not a true racer until you’ve lost a result to a technicality. Just ask the likes of Fernando Alonso and Sebastien Loeb!
Meanwhile, away from the track…
Keen not to lose touch with the real world, Bryony assures us that when she’s away from the circuit,
“I am at work for my Dad’s company and I enjoy going to the gym and also shopping!!”
Perhaps not so down to earth is her love of cars. She tells about her favourite car is, “probably a Ferrari F12, my dad’s friend had one and I loved going in it! I have an Audi A1.”
Not bad for a first car!
So what kind of person does it take to break through the lower end of the motorsport ladder?
“I am a strong believer in always looking to improve myself as a person but I don’t aspire to any one person. On track, I’d have to say Alice Powell (the first woman to win a Formula Renault World Championship) is my idol. She’s gained herself great respect and achieved a lot. I’d love to have a reputation like that.
“My ultimate aim, like most aspiring drivers, is to get to a level in which I am paid to race. I’m taking everything one step at a time though at the moment, as this year is a massive learning curve for me.
“I want to be successful in whatever I do in life.”
Bryony will be racing in the Formula Jedi series, which requires a driver to hold a National B license is due to be held over the following seven rounds:
For most 15 year olds, summer 2016 will have included the pressure of exams and results. Ayrton Simmons, however, has decided to add a racetrack full of fellow racers to his already busy schedule having signed up to race in the British F4 championship, a feeder series to the British Touring Car Championship.
“I’ve been racing for nearly nine years. Wow! I had to think about that! It seems like such a long time!
“I started racing when I was six and then it didn’t affect my life much as it was only at weekends. When I was 10 I started competing internationally and that’s when I had to start missing some days from school. Both my schools have been very supportive and I’m really grateful for it, especially to Epping St. John’s, they have granted all my leave in the last couple of years and it has been really busy!
“Sometimes it’s a bit difficult to fit it all in but somehow I manage for the moment and have a “normal” life.”
So how has someone at such a young age managed to make his racing debut at tracks like Thruxton and Knockhill before he’s allowed to take a road car out on the public highways. His name would suggest a racing family, but Ayrton tells us…
“Actually, [the name] is a coincidence! My dad likes motor racing and did a bit of karting as a hobby on his 20’s, but my uncle is the one to credit for the name. My parents visited the family in Spain while pregnant, not knowing the sex of the baby, my uncle asked who little Ayrton was doing in there, and that’s when they thought it was a nice name for a boy.
“I guess I just happen to have right name for it.”
Having just turned 15 years old, Ayrton missed the first two rounds of the British F4 season due to being too young to compete. But he finally got to don the number 12 car for his debut at Thruxton where he took the Rookie Class victory in his first outing. But what does he remember of his very first competitive race?
“I don’t remember much of the raced itself, but I do remember being a bit nervous, and my target was not to finish last (which I didn’t!)”
… and of his career so far …
“ I won the Iberica Rotax Cup (Spain & Portugal) at Motorland. It was great! Also, at the 2012 Rotax World Finals in Portimao, qualified 29 (with 2 punctures) for the Micromax festival and went on to win.
“One low point, during one of the rounds of the Spanish Rotax Championship also at Motorland, did the pole and won the pre-final, but the engine stopped running on the warm up of the final and there was nothing I could do but watch the race from the track and wait for the recovery vehicle. So frustrating!”
His idols perhaps come as no surprise…
“I admire Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, the reason is again the speed and their courage driving. I think they are a great inspiration for me and if they have made it so could I.
“Off the tracks I admire Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo. Great professionals. They are the best footballers. I love their game and they play for the best club in the world.
“The greatest is Ayrton Senna. Although he went before I was born, I’ve seen most of his races, documentaries, the film, and there is something different about him. I cannot put it in words.
“My dream is to win a Formula 1 World Championship. That is the most ultimate goal and what drives me to better myself, although I also know that there is a very small chance of it. I realise that nowadays there are many options for a driver to earn a good living, and that is great, but I personally I would feel I have succeeded in the sport if I get to drive in F1.”
And why rule that out as a possibility with determination that has got him so far, so young. But what does he expect of 2016?
“It’s a learning year, working hard but without much pressure. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into the thick of racing single seaters.
“I’m working hard on my physical training, I do some simulator work and some testing at some of the tracks where we’ll race during the championship.”
What does he do to take his mind off the pressures of being a young racer?
“I love playing football and I play with my mates whenever I have the chance. It’s a shame that due to my racing schedules I cannot commit to playing or even regular training with a team, but I really like it.
“Another dream of mine would be playing football at Santiago Bernabeu [Real Madrid’s home stadium] but I don’t see many chances of that in the near future.”
The podium at the British Grand Prix might just have to do one day then! Fingers crossed.
Teams roll in to Barcelona for Round 4 as drivers build up to more European races in the future.
The provisional F1 calendar for 2018 has been released showing a return to both Germany, at Hockenheim, and France’s Paul Ricard circuit for the first race in the country since 2008.
The Malaysian Grand Prix will no longer take place having been on the calendar every year since 1999.
Ayrton Simmons, driving in a lower-tier, Formula 4, said of the return to Europe,
“I think that Both France & Germany have had a great F1 history both on and off the circuits.
“Mercedes, Renault, Prost and Schumacher to name a few.
“These circuits have history and character and are vitally important to f1’s future.
Circuits are better when they have history, just look at Brands Hatch (in the UK), my favourite circuit where winners include Mansell, Herbert, Senna, Hill, Surtees, Villeneuve, Lauda, Hunt and Clarke. Enough said!”
French Formula 1 driver, Romain Grojean, took to Twitter to say,
“Really super-happy for French fans, who will have their Grand Prix and can come to support us.”
Bryony King, who races in Formula Jedi in the UK, said of the sport’s return to France,
“Formula One returning to France after 10 years with no Grand Prix in the country is great for the sport.
“Firstly it gives French fans the chance to watch F1 on their homeland, and will most likely increase the popularity of the sport within France.
“It also adds as a new challenge for the drivers to race at a new circuit, and hopefully provide more thrilling racing.”
9 of the 21 races on the 2018 calendar are due to take place in Europe, still a lower proportion than the 11 of the 16 races back in 1998.
Meanwhile, opinions on the changes to the regulations that have made for a more competitive 2017 season remain tentative but positive.
“For the part time or occasional follows F1 has improved a little but needs to be more entertaining and the cars must be more equal.
“As my dad says ‘if there isn’t equality, there is no race’.”
“2017 has already proved that Mercedes aren’t as dominant as they have been the last few years.
“It’s great to see Vettel back on the top step and leading the championship, and it looks like the fans will be given a great battle between him and Hamilton throughout the year.
“The 2017 season is certainly set to be a cracker based on the opening rounds, an almighty fight for the title continues!”
However, not everyone agreed following the Russian Grand Prix where viewers took to Twitter to express their feelings,
“That was the most boring race I have ever seen despite the last 4 laps #RussianGP” – @Danhunt1986
“Struggling with these modern circuits. No soul unlike Spa, Silverstone, Monza, Nurburgring etc” – @D4vid_w
“Boring. Interesting first and last laps, the rest was dross. Negative track and hard tyres. Fourth Russian GP and worst of a bad bunch” – @Doctorbadvibes
Sebastian Vettel leads Lewis Hamilton by 13 points going into the first European race of the season at Circuit-de-Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain on the 14 May.
Codemasters have unveiled the latest clips and images of their upcoming title, F1 2016.
The game, due to be released on the 19th August on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC promises to “take you deeper into the sport than ever before with 22 player online racing, and the introduction of features such as the Formation Lap and manual starts.”