Roberts switches Com­pacts for MX-5

Motor Sport News - - Racing News -

Two-time BMW Com­pact Cup cham­pion Steve Roberts will race in the Mazda MX-5 Su­per­cup in 2017, af­ter tak­ing a year off to de­cide his fu­ture.

Roberts spent the last year eval­u­at­ing his 2017 plans, and de­cided that af­ter achiev­ing two ti­tles in the Com­pact Cup, it was time for a fresh chal­lenge.

“I’d ba­si­cally done the cham­pi­onship since 2012, the year be­fore it be­came a cham­pi­onship, and I then won it in 2013 and 2015,” ex­plained Roberts. “I’d ba­si­cally ticked all the boxes in it and I wasn’t re­ally hun­gry to re­turn to it.”

Roberts’ de­ci­sion came af­ter speak­ing to Brian Chan­dler, who won the 2015 Mazda Su­per­cup Cham­pi­onship, and Com­pact Cup co-or­di­na­tor Paul Mcer­lean.

“Com­pact Cup is one of the best cham­pi­onships in the coun­try, which I con­tinue to be very sup­port­ive of,” he added. “But as I wanted a change, I needed to find a cham­pi­onship with a sim­i­lar ethos, high qual­ity of drivers and tight con­trols. Mazda Su­per­cup fit that bill.

“I’m search­ing for cars. I know a few peo­ple with Mazda con­tacts, and I don’t have the time to build to be hon­est and I want to get out and get to grips with the car as soon as I can.”

It is a fa­mous car “It’s a fac­tory car, chas­sis num­ber nine of 1962. It was sold to Curt Lin­coln as a com­plete car less en­gine but he im­me­di­ately put a Ford en­gine in it and he raced it in 1962 in Fin­land in ex­actly the con­fig­u­ra­tion it is in now. It was painted in pe­riod in the Fin­nish flag colours, and that’s how it still is to­day.”

Lin­coln even raced it on ice “Curt Lin­coln had a daugh­ter, Nina, and later be­came Jochen Rindt’s fa­ther-in-law. In his day Curt was a rac­ing cham­pion and also did power­boat rac­ing, ski­ing and all sorts. He was a fas­ci­nat­ing char­ac­ter re­ally. He had a lot of Coop­ers but only kept each one for a year or two and af­ter this car he bought a Brab­ham BT6. He won some fairly ma­jor races in the car in 1962 and also did some ice rac­ing in it. Later in 1962, Jochen Rindt bought chas­sis num­ber six, which has got con­sec­u­tive num­bers on the gear­box to this car.”

It is very orig­i­nal “It went through var­i­ous hands and had a fairly se­ri­ous ac­ci­dent in Fin­land in 1963. There is still ev­i­dence of that ac­ci­dent on the chas­sis now. Any bits on it that aren’t orig­i­nal, like the dampers and even the wing mir­rors, we’ve got all the orig­i­nal parts all care­fully stored.”

It later came to the UK “Af­ter that it ran as a For­mula 3 car in 1965 mainly in Swe­den. It was then laid up for some time and reap­peared in the late 1990s with Chris Al­ford. Then it went to Dr Hugh Chalmers in Scot­land and then Alan Big­gar, who did a bril­liant job of the restora­tion through Billy Bellinger.”

Mer­rick has raced it ex­ten­sively “I bought the car in 2014 but didn’t do much with it, so this year was re­ally my sec­ond sea­son. We took it on hol­i­day last year and raced it back in Swe­den where peo­ple re­mem­bered it. Over the win­ter we went to South Africa, which was fan­tas­tic.”

Lin­coln to be cel­e­brated “It is a won­der­ful piece of rac­ing his­tory and we’re go­ing al­right and steadily mov­ing for­wards. In 2018 we want to do the Baltic Series of the For­mula Ju­nior World Tour, be­cause that leg is named in me­mory of Curt Lin­coln and it is three or four races.”

Cooper has a rich his­tory

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