Alice Hughes doubles up at the Brands hatch Mini festival

She was quick down the back straight - perfect slingshot territory (Photo by Marc Waller)Alice Hughes was recently at Brands Hatch to compete in the latest rounds of the Might Mini championship at the annual Brands Hatch Mini festival.

Only two weeks previously she had gone back to her roots in Autograss where she raced from the age of 14. She took a National title driving a Ford Ka, which was a big confidence boost going into Brands although the two disciplines are very different. Co-incidentally Brands Hatch started life as a Grass track although for Motorbikes rather than cars.

Hughes has had engine issues for the past couple of Mighty Mini rounds and so her engine was sent back to engine builders TBR for a rebuild. She was then fortunate to be able to test the car with it’s newly rebuilt engine over at Tockwith Motorsport (TMS) thanks to Simon Moore, father of her Team mate Sarah Moore. Sadly Sarah Moore was forced to withdraw from the Brands Hatch round (See separate report on Sarah Moore’s weekend) so Hughes would have to go it alone at Brands.

The weather was dry for testing and the circuit had lots of grip, then no overnight rain and hot and sunny conditions meant that the track was even quicker for Qualifying. Hughes car was running the best it had all season. So it was no surprise when she took pole by three tenths of a second! This put her on the clean side of the grid for the start.

When the lights went out for race one, Hughes made a great start and the top four cars started to pull away as one pack. As usual in Mighty Mini’s the racing was really close and at one stage the rest of the pack managed to slingshot past putting Hughes down in fourth. Not one to lose her head though, Hughes then braked late into Druids to pass third and then took extra speed around Graham Hill bend to Slingshot past Craig Pendlebury and Simon Carter back into the lead. She then managed to drive defensively and stopped anyone from repassing to take her first ever circuit racing victory!

Repeating the feat in race two would be tough as it would be a reverse grid, leaving Hughes in seventh place. The key would be making up enough places to get into the leading pack off the start.

Alice Hughes proved to be the star of Brands Hatch  (Photo by Marc Waller) On the top step (Photo by Marc Waller)

 

 

 

When the race got underway, she did indeed make a great start picking off a few cars going round paddock hill bend putting her in fourth place on the run up to Druids, exactly where she needed to be to make another win possible! She made up another place after Druids putting her in third. She then co-operated with Craig Pendlebury, both drivers using the draft to make themselves quicker than the other drivers putting them into the first two places with Hughes just behind Pendlbury with Stuart Coombs falling back in third place. Eventually she also used the draft to slingshot past Pendlebury into the lead and actually pulled away, crossing the line to win with just over a one and a half second lead – a massive margin for the very tight Mighty Mini championship.

Hughes double wins have bought her much closer to the championship lead and she is now in a strong second, with a very good chance at taking the title.

Motorsport News even nominated her as the “Star of the weekend” for her fighting drives to victory.

Hughes was very happy;

“Two wins out of two! I’m absolutely over the moon! This weekend has been incredible
The mechanics and the support has been amazing, you know who you all are!”

You can learn more about Alice Hughes at her website www.alicehughesracing,com She is also on Facebook just search for Alice Hughes Racing.By Marc Waller

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