SHANE BLAND I

“The re­ac­tion showed the level of in­ter­est”

Motor Sport News - - Sporting Scene -

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.

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