CLUBMANS STAR DOU­BLES SEA­SON

Motor Sport News - - Racing News -

Teenager James Clarke will do dou­ble duty this year with cam­paigns in the Clubmans Cup and His­toric Tour­ing Cars, in what is just his sec­ond sea­son of rac­ing.

Clarke, 16, has al­ready es­tab­lished him­self as a fron­trun­ner in the Clubmans Cup with five wins in the Sports 1600 class from his first eight races. The Ju­nior Saloon Car grad­u­ate was made to wait un­til he turned 16 to make his de­but at the third round of the sea­son at Rock­ing­ham, and while he was de­nied a vic­tory there by a brake fail­ure, he has since claimed five class vic­to­ries in a row, in­clud­ing a dou­ble at Don­ing­ton Park ear­lier this month.

Run by Orex Com­pe­ti­tion, Clarke has been driv­ing a re­built Mal­lock MK18BF 1600, which was mod­i­fied and raced by the late Au­tosport cartoonist Barry Fo­ley and his son Justin.

“We aimed to do two sea­sons in Ju­niors and spend the first learn­ing,” he said. “But half­way through the sea­son I led the cham­pi­onship and nearly won it over­all, so we thought it wouldn’t be worth­while to con­tinue for a sec­ond year.

“We wanted to do some­thing with slicks, that was rear-wheel drive and ide­ally had some aero­dy­nam­ics to repli­cate a sportscar.

“The team al­ready ran in Clubmans and it ticked the boxes. As soon as I saw one I’d pretty much made my mind up.”

Clarke has also raced in the HSCC’S His­toric Tour­ing Car Chal­lenge in a Lotus Cortina this year at the Brands Hatch Su­per­prix event, and will con­test fur­ther races at Croft from Au­gust 6/7 and the Gold Cup meet­ing at Oul­ton Park at the end of next month be­fore the fi­nal round of the Clubmans sea­son.

“I’m re­ally into his­toric cars and I’ve found it easy to jump be­tween the two be­cause I love driv­ing them,” he said.

“They’re both great fun but for very dif­fer­ent rea­sons: The Mal­lock is great be­cause it does ex­actly what you want – you can carry so much speed through the corners with­out feel­ing un­com­fort­able – while the Cortina is the op­po­site and not great through the fast stuff, es­pe­cially com­pared to the Mal­lock. You have to re­ally fight it.”

Pho­tos: Gary Hawkins, Steve Jones, Michael Chester

Clarke has ex­tended his deal in Lotus Cortina (67)

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