Handbrakes on as 2015 season draws to a close

Article and images by Tom McBeth

Winter may have rolled its way across the country, but the tyre blankets are still off in paddocks up and down the UK.

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A BMW M3 sits on fresh tyres before heading out at Rockingham, Northamptonshire

With Lewis Hamilton having secured a second consecutive Formula One title, the culmination of Sebastien Ogier’s World Rally Championship victory and Gordon Shedden taking the British Touring Car Championship crown the majority of international motorsport appears to have concluded for 2015.

Furthermore, with the British Grand Prix and Rally GB taking place later in the year, and the British Touring Cars not starting their engines until April, one could be forgiven for assuming that the marshals had put down their flags and mechanics had packed away their toolboxes for winter, but events are still taking place at circuits up and down the country well into December and fans are still braving the weather to watch the amateur and semi-pro racers take to the track.

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A clubman biker heads around Murray’s, the final corner, at Snetterton, Norfolk.

Cadwell Park in Louth held its final event of the year on the 15th November, with the completion of the North Humberside Rally. The semi-pro event with competitors from across the country entering cars ranging from Ford Escorts to BMW M3’s in a day long time trial event across the modified circuit, was won by David Tinn and his daughter, and co-driver, Alice in their Proton.

David Tinn, who is competing in the MSA National Tarmac Championship has been racing semi-professionally since he was 12, said of the series, “There’s no prize money, we just go out, have boys weekends away and have a good crack but when we’re there to win, we’re there to win”.
When asked how easy it is for fans to get involved, David said, “There’s a great cross section of people involved. Young lads, juniors, girls but anyone who tells you that motorsport is cheap is talking bullshit”.

David said that whilst junior categories may be able to race for as little as £10,000 per season, his own race winning Proton cost in excess of £100,000 and required a team of eight mechanics as well as lorries and chase cars just to take to the tracks.

David added that events like that at Cadwell Park, “they’re spectator friendly. You don’t have the same facilities at the 20km, closed road events across the Brecon Beacons.”

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Jessica Paveley brushes up on the route before heading out at Cadwell Park, Lincolnshire

Simon Hughes, 26 from Grantham in Lincolnshire, followed the British Touring Cars across the ten events from Knockhill, in the highlands of Scotland, to Brands Hatch in Kent. He said of his experience, “There was action from race one all the way through to race thirty and the final one of the season where the championship was decided. Next season I would love to visit all 10 events again, however it is unlikely given the cost of tickets and fuel expenses.”

Stephanie Shaw, 28, from Swaffham in Norfolk, was at the event at Cadwell Park and said of her first experience at Rockingham earlier in the year, “It was such a perfect, exciting day”, she added, “Rockingham was full of a wide range of people from young to old, groups to families. I am now a race day convert!”

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