SHANE BLAND I
“The reaction showed the level of interest”
have been reinstated as the winner of the National Hot Rod Best in Britain at Wimbledon 10 days ago after much controversy.
Initially, a raft of post-race penalties were handed out which dropped me from first on the road to third place but following a review, I have been put back to first place.
National Hot Rods couldn’t be further from other sports like golf or tennis, but the way our championships work is similar.
We have the Majors – like the World Final, the National championship and the European title – the season-long points (rankings). There are also the ‘nice to haves’.
The Best in Britain is the latter, a traditional event that’s been running for 35 years or so, won by the greats and not-so-greats of Hot Rod racing at a track that has become iconic.
The event was at Wimbledon stadium, which is due to be knocked down in the spring to make way for the inevitable apartment blocks and business complex. That made the win even more special.
Typically in National Hot Rods, the fastest drivers start at the back of the grid and have to work their way through to the front. Inevitably there is some rubbing. Sometimes it does get a bit out of hand but we all end up coming back for more.
At the Best In Britain there was simply too much action for the stewards to see, therefore a few controversial decisions were made and subsequently overturned.
The social media forums went into overdrive with fans, drivers and team members all having their say.
At times it felt like the sport was imploding but actually it’s quite the opposite. It’s simply that this sport engages with people.
It’s real. You can participate at any level and have your say. Even just a week after the event, there had been more than 8000 views of the Best in Britain final through the Facebook page ‘Live’ feed. What other motorsport in the UK gets that type of reaction?
As a driver I think we need to curb our chat and perhaps some of our very biased team members need to tone it down a bit.
However it’s refreshing nowadays just to get an honest, free and passionate view point about anything.
National Hot Rods has been going since 1963 and has more potential now than ever as people are reverting to so-called grassroots sports. Anyone can race on an oval, there are formulas for literally everyone’s price range. If you have ever fancied a go at racing why not have a go?
My burning desire has always been to win the World and National Championships.
Even when I raced on circuits in the British GT Championship my ambition was always to return to National Hot Rods. It is, by far, the toughest series I have ever raced in and without doubt the most rewarding, especially when you get a race win.
We are just entering our winter break now but will be back in action come March next year. We have a date of March 26 to make our last ever appearance at Wimbledon before the bulldozers move in.
Why not come along and see what it’s all about? You never know, you might just get addicted.