Mini Miglia crown in grasp for ris­ing tin-top star Shayne Dee­gan. By Stephen Lick­o­r­ish

Motor Sport News - - Feature: Shayne Deegan -

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.

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Shayne’s Saxo leads brother Lee

Hood led Metro Cup field at the start

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