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  • Writer's pictureM FLETCHER 21

2023 MX5 Clubman Champion!

A Sincere Thank You
First and foremost, I want to kick things off with an enormous thank you to my incredible sponsors and the individuals who have been unwavering in their support throughout this season. Without your support, none of this would have been possible, and for that, I am incredibly grateful. A special shout-out to: Russell from Kesterport Simon from Gedore Torque Alex from O’Brien Ductwork Services & Blue Sky Apartments Sam from Chimney Fire Coffee Craig from CC Sim Racing To all the amazing individuals who lent their support through my GoFundMe campaign: Bob, Alex, Tim, Tom, Cath, Bazza, Zach, Alan, Mike, Lawrence, Matt, Rachel, Clare, Kirsten, Mark, Fi, Prawno, and Mary. Every single contribution, no matter the size, has made an enormous difference. I must extend a very personal thank you to my Dad and my wonderful girlfriend Fi for being there for me, especially through all the ups and downs. James Tucker, you're not just a great mentor but also a friend, and I'm very grateful for your guidance and hard work. I can't forget to mention the fantastic team you've put together – Paul, Deano, Anthony, James – and the invaluable support from all the other drivers on the team. A special thank you to Mike Lillywhite for sparing your precious time to ensure our car is race-ready between events. Last but not least, none of this would be possible without team mate Chris Molloy. Thank you for your generosity and overall friendship.
Back To The Racing! As we head into the finals at Silverstone with a 23-point lead in the championship, we recognise the importance of focusing on the task at hand: qualifying at the top and striving to win both races. We believe that if we achieve these goals, the championship will take care of itself. Thank you all for making this journey possible.

Silverstone International Circuit
Qualifying The Silverstone International circuit is known for its speed and width. We anticipated a strong tow effect here, so our strategy was to refrain from taking the lead and instead tuck in behind other cars to benefit from the slipstream. Unfortunately, this plan didn't pan out as none of the cars in front wanted to lead. To avoid wasting time, we decided to overtake and focus on setting fast laps. In the end, we secured 5th position, with only a three-tenths gap separating the top five cars. For those familiar with my preferred driving style, starting from this position was actually quite advantageous, as it allowed me to quickly close the gap on the cars ahead.

Starting grid of racing

Mazda mx5 racing car parked in garage

Mazda mx5 racing car in silverstone pit lane
Race 1 As the lights went out, we launched into action, aiming for a victory. The initial start was clean, and we fell in line with the other racers during the first lap, until we reached Vale corner. There, we made a move on our team mate Beau, who put up a commendable defence but compromised his exit, granting us an opportunity for an undercut and gaining one more position. Now in fourth place, it only took half a lap to catch up with the top three, and as we approached the Hangar straight, we were right on the bumper of the car in third. It was again at Vale that we executed another good move up the inside to secure the position. This marked another lap, another gain. It would take three laps of battling with Pethick however, before managing to take second place. A well-executed dive on the inside into Abbey allowed us to pass with four laps to go before the chequered flag, setting our sights on the first-place car. Our opportunity came on the last lap when we pressured Pimley into a mistake through Stowe. He outbraked himself and ran wide, granting us the inside line and a chance to get alongside. Although winning would have been nice, it wasn't worth any major risks and with Pimley putting up a good fight, we settled for a 2nd place finish.

Matt Fletcher racing

Race 2 The challenging part was behind us. Our 2nd-place finish in the previous race meant we entered the final race of the season with a comfortable 21-point lead. However, we didn't want to merely secure the championship; we aimed to finish the season on a high note by challenging for the win. Starting on the front row, our first challenge was simply seeing the starting lights due to the high gantry positioning. Despite not getting a perfect start, we managed to get away cleanly. But, missing a gear allowed Pimley to jump ahead, pushing us into 2nd place. It took just two laps to regain the lead from Pimley. While we initially managed to create a gap between us and the cars behind, a yellow flag on the next lap closed the gap with second and third place quickly gaining ground as they pushed each other down the Hangar straight. Pethick overtook us, but we held off Pimley. A few laps later, we were engaged in a heated battle, three-wide entering Vale, with Pimley on the inside and Pethick on the outside. Realising the potential danger of this situation and their lower stakes, I decided to back off briefly. The squabble allowed fourth and fifth place to catch up, and I was soon challenged for third. A momentary lapse in concentration cost us as we made a small error through the Club/Vale complex, allowing fourth place to pass. However, the power of the slipstream down Hangar Straight allowed us to reclaim the position. Three laps later, we were back in the mix for the lead. I tried to get involved, which brought the pack behind us back into the fight. Fourth place, Bateman, executed a clean pass on us into Village. We followed closely and eventually forced him into a mistake at the same corner where he overtook us earlier. With half a lap to go, we were back in third place, and as we cleanly navigated through Stowe, Club, Vale, and crossed the finish line, we achieved our goal.... we were National MX-5 Clubman Champions!

Mazda mx5 race winning car with trophy at silverstone race circuit

Celebrating race and championship win in mazda mx5

Celebrating mazda mx5 clubman championhsip win at silverstone race track
This is where our journey sadly concludes. All of our resources and dedication were poured into ensuring we finished on a triumphant note, and I'm delighted to confirm that we've undisputedly achieved that. Our car has found a great new owner who, I'm excited to announce, will be joining the ranks of Team Tucker Motorsport next season. As one chapter concludes, I'm eagerly anticipating the start of the next. Thanks to each and every one of you for investing your time in reading these posts and accompanying us on this adventure. Rest assured, we'll return...

Race footage below courtesy of the BRSCC with live commentary.

Race 1
Race start at 46:30

Race 2
Race start at 4:04:30

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