Mini Miglia crown in grasp for rising tin-top star Shayne Deegan. By Stephen Lickorish
Before this season, Shayne Deegan’s only experience of racing a Mini was in autograss four years ago as a teenager. Now he’s on the verge of wrapping up the Mini Miglia title when up against a field that includes three former champions.
The 21-year-old has had an impressive 2016 – and it’s not over yet. Deegan’s won 10 of the 12 Miglia races to date, taking 11 poles, and has also twice won as a guest driver in a Ford Fiesta in the 750 Motor Club’s Hot Hatch series.
But Deegan never expected to be so successful, despite driving the same car Mini star Peter Baldwin has taken to multiple titles in the category. “I expected a fight on my hands with drivers like Bill Sollis, Rupert Deeth and Kane Astin but we’ve won 10 of the races and I ended up in the gravel at Brands Hatch in the other two,” he says.
He admits the car took a bit of getting used to compared with the Citroen Saxo he had campaigned to two Stock Hatch titles the previous two seasons.
“It’s very different,” he says. “I’ve never raced on slick tyres before so corner speed is a lot different. But I picked it up very quick.”
Baldwin also played a part in the swift transition. “Pete is a seven-time champion so I knew the car had always gone well,” adds Deegan. “Pete’s been great – we get on really well. He understands the way I drive and that makes a big difference.”
The man himself is full of praise for his protege. “He’s a really good lad and a really good driver,” says Baldwin. “I couldn’t believe the time he got out of the car at Oulton Park. He was half a second faster than the lap record in damp conditions. He has the right temperament and to come out like that and win 10 of 12 races is a big achievement.”
The signs of a successful racing career were present right from when Deegan first competed. Both of his parents were champions in autograss and Shayne became the youngest Junior champion in 2008. More titles followed before he decided to make the switch to circuit racing at the end of 2012.
“I won a couple of championships in autograss but couldn’t see myself going any further and wanted to push myself further up the motorsport ladder,” he explains.
The switch in disciplines didn’t come easy at first though. “My first couple of races I wasn’t up at the front and then it just clicked,” says Deegan.
Quickly Deegan became a Stock Hatch title contender, finishing second in 2013 before winning the championship the next two years. “For a couple of years it was just me and my brother Lee racing all the time for the wins, it was a bit of sibling rivalry,” he says. “We didn’t want to have any incidents on track and we pushed each other forward. It was very competitive – when we were out there we both wanted to win. He didn’t like it too much when I beat him especially as I’m younger!”
These impressive performances caught the attention of touring car racer Josh Cook, who Deegan bought his title-winning Citroen Saxo from. This led to Deegan making his Renault UK Clio Cup with Team Cooksport at Snetterton ( see below).
The ultimate aim is British Touring Cars and Baldwin reckons Deegan has what it takes to reach the top.
“It’s water off a duck’s back to him, it seems so natural and he gets on with the job,” says Baldwin. “I think he’s definitely destined for touring cars.” ■
setting fastest lap after the pitstops to climb beyond Malcolm Johnson’s Lotus Europa and take second. The Morgan +8 of William and Richard Plant was a long way clear, however.
The Group 1 contest, held in the worst of Saturday’s conditions, went the way of a Mini. Vaughan Winter brought the car started by Clive Tonge home, but in doing so had to catch and pass (at Roberts, five laps from the end) the pole-winning BMW 1502 of Ian Everett and Gary Makein, which emerged from the driver changes ahead. Sam Polley’s MG B was a steady third, but the most remarkable drive came in the first half as Mark Thomas, in the streaming wet lapped 6s faster than anyone to propel his Ford Anglia into the lead from row 13, only for the car to be retired after the stops.
A drying, yet treacherous, circuit played its part in the Future Classics contest. “It was very slippery to begin with and didn’t improve a huge amount,” said Pantelis Christoforou after taking his Ford Escort RS1600 to the win. This was an example of the pitstops spoiling a perfectly good race because Christoforou had stormed up to second from 18th and was just starting to hassle the TVR Tuscan of Bill Lancashire when he had to come in. The Escort came out ahead while the Lancashire car, now driven by Howard, never recovered from a slow stop and slid back to sixth. With eight minutes to go Tony Blake (having taken the Porsche 911 over from son Aston) was within 6s of the leader and closing, but Christoforou responded with a string of fastest laps.
Wet qualifying played havoc with the grid for the Open race, with the Caterham CSR of Gary Bate back on row 20. He came within one lap of taking the win, finishing only 1s behind Piers Reid’s BMW M3. The Procomp LA Gold started by Richard Fores had a stunning first half, but a slow pitstop to hand over to Stephen Lansley came before retirement.
Bate went one better in the Magnificent Sevens contest, always having a small margin over Jonathan Mitchell’s similar car. After his win at Thruxton Peter Ratcliff had to start from the pitlane, but did the hard work in the first 10 minutes as he climbed to third. In the Group 1 race, Stephen Storey spun the lead away, handing Robert Springate/david Rowe the honours.
Kevin Doyle came from row five to win the opening Jaguar race in his XJ12, overcoming a couple of moments to catch James Ramm (XJS) and then dived down the inside at Redgate on the last lap. Rodney Frost (XJS) got the better of David Howard (XJ12) in an entertaining scrap for third, but championship leader Colin Philpott stopped. Philpott was narrowly denied a podium by Patrick Doyle after fighting through the field on Sunday, with father Kevin again defeating Ramm. Howard ran second before his demise.
A missed gear at the start was the only setback for Clive Bailye in his BMW M3 in the New Millennium contest, and after a smooth changeover Paul Black eased to the victory from Peter Challis (Porsche 997). A disappointing Modern Classics encounter went the way of Karl Cattliff ’s M3, although Nic Olson’s Esprit would have won were it not for his success penalty. Carl Chambers might have been the one to beat the Tin Top race were it not for a first corner indiscretion in his Peugeot 306, meaning that Russell Hird (Honda Integra) was able to overhaul him in spite of his success penalty.
The top four, headed by Ian Hall’s Darrian, were excluded from the Special Saloons/modsports opener for overtaking during a caution period. Tom Carey’s Honda CRX inherited the victory, while Chris Southcott (MG Midget) passed Wayne Crabtree’s Escort at Mcleans to win race two.
defend heavily from Richard Ellis for the majority of the race, hanging on to fourth by just 0.7s.
Morris recovered from a botched overtaking attempt on the entry to Old Hall and by mid-race, was right back on the tail of Johnson. However, Johnson was astute in defence and took the win by under half a second. Series leader Toon, meanwhile, increased his points advantage over Mcaleer as he took his Boxster to second in Class 2 behind Steve Cheetham.
With a near dry track and everyone on slicks for race two, Morris briefly sped away from pole but Johnson quickly asserted his dominance. Morris was forced wide on the exit of the first turn and eventually came home third behind Mcaleer.
Cheetham again made an early pass on Toon for Class 2 spoils, though the overall result bothered the new champion little by the end.
Colin Robertson withstood race-long pressure from Graham Ross to lead a Scottish one-two in a closely-contested first MG Trophy Championship race, while Chris Bray completed a remarkable fightback to take third after starting way back in 25th.
Robertson got the better of poleman Paul Luti with a bold late-braking move on his compatriot into Old Hall at the beginning of the second lap. Luti eventually dropped to sixth by the flag after falling off an epic lead battle. Once past Luti, Ross quickly latched onto the back of Robertson and had the speed in the twisty sections from Hilltop to Lodge to challenge for the lead. But Robertson’s defence was solid and he staved off countless attacks to take a deserved win in the MG ZR 190.
Championship contenders Will Payne and Lee Sullivan endured vastly contrasting races with Sullivan securing valuable points in seventh but Payne languishing in the lower regions in 20th. Ross prevailed in a similarly hard fought tussle with Robertson in the red-flagged second race.
James Dunkley took a lights-to-flag victory in the penultimate weekend of the MG Midget and Sprite Challenge. Dunkley beat Class B winner Andy Southcott for the overall win while long-standing championship leader Stephen Collier rounded out the top three. The title will be decided in next month’s double-header at Snetterton.
James Wheeler destroyed the field to take his sixth BCV8 Championship victory of the season in treacherous conditions. Getting a lightning start from the outside of the front-row, Wheeler opened up a staggering 20s lead after just four laps. The winning margin over fellow MGB GT V8 driver Neil Fowler increased to 32s as Ian Prior completed the podium.
A mid-race spin from Elliot Paterson gifted father Russell his first win of the season in a slippery Morgan Challenge race. Having led for much of the 30-minute race, Elliot lost the car at Cascades before splashing back onto the circuit to finish second. Phil Goddard fended off Tim Parsons to stand on the podium in third.
Andrew Ashton cruised to MG Metro Cup victory, despite losing the lead to Ollie Hood on the first lap. With the circuit showing signs of drying out, Ashton was in a league of his own, triumphing in his Rover Metro GTI by over five seconds from Hood.
Ross Makar put one hand on the Cockshoot Cup title after beating Gary Wetton by 3.5s to take victory. Phil Standish had been set for third but an overtaking attempt on Ashley Woodward dropped him to sixth.
Fowler made up for his BCV8 disappointment by taking a tight maiden Thoroughbred Sportscars Championship victory from Prior and Mccarthy.
1 Mike Johnson (966); 2 Peter Morris (966) +0.476s; 3 Chris Dyer (Cayman S); 4 Mark Mcaleer (966); 5 Richard Ellis (966); 6 Michael Price (966). Class winner Steve Cheetham (Boxster S). Fastest lap Johnson 2m01.508s (79.75mph). Pole Morris. Starters 15. 1 Johnson; 2 Mcaleer +5.999s; 3 Morris: 4 Dyer; 5 Ellis; 6 Price. CW Cheetham. FL Johnson 2m02.017s (79.41mph). P Morris. S 15.
1 Colin Robertson (ZR 190); 2 Graham Ross (ZR 190) +0.559s; 3 Chris Bray (ZR 190); 4 Jason Burgess (ZR 190); 5 Doug Cole (ZR 190); 6 Paul Luti (ZR 170). CW Luti. FL Robertson 2m07.847s (75.79mph). P Luti. S 26.
1 Ross; 2 Robertson +0.866s; 3 Luti; 4 Bray; 5 D Cole; 6 James Cole (ZR 170). CW Luti. FL Ross 2m03.914s (78.20mph). P Luti. S 26.
1 James Dunkley (MG Midget); 2 Andy Southcott (Midget) +4.193s; 3 Stephen Collier (Midget); 4 Peter Kennerley (Midget); 5 Stephen Pegram (Midget); 6 Richard Wildman (Midget). CW Southcott; Jon Simpson (Midget); John Collinson (Austin Healey Sprite). FL Dunkley 2m18.474s (69.97mph). P Dunkley. S 17. Howard Grundon (MGB GT V8); Bob Luff (MGB Roadster). FL James Wheeler 2m15.375s (71.58mph). P Fowler. S 19.
1 Russell Paterson (+8); 2 Elliot Paterson (Roadster) +27.722s; 3 Philip Goddard (+8); 4 Tim Parsons (4/4 Supersport); 5 Tony Hirst (ARV6); 6 Kelvin Laidlaw (+8). CW E Paterson; Parsons; Laidlaw; Tim Ayres (+8); James Sumner (4/4); Ian Sumner (+4). FL E Paterson 2m18.311s (70.06mph). P E Paterson. S 22.
1 Andrew Ashton (Rover Metro Gti); 2 Oliver Hood (Rover 100) +5.277s; 3 Lee Connell (Rover Metro); 4 Richard Garrard (MG Metro Turbo); 5 Dan Willars (Rover Metro Gti); 6 Mark Eales (Rover Metro). FL Ashton 2m23.397s (67.57mph). P Ashton. S 20.
1 Ross Makar (MG ZR 190); 2 Gary Wetton (MG ZR 190) +3.560s; 3 Ashley Woodward (MG ZS 180); 4 Ray Collier (MG ZR 170); 5 David Coulthard (MG ZR 190); 6 Philip Standish (MG TF LE500). CW Collier; Ian Wright (MG Midget). FL Makar 2m08.657s (75.31mph). P Makar. S 21.