An eventful weekend for Rebecca Racer in the MINI Challenge

Jo races Rebecca (Photo by Marc Waller)

Rebecca on Track (Photo by Marc Waller)It was an eventful weekend for Rebecca at the MINI Festival at Brands Hatch this weekend as she got behind the wheel of the powerful JCW MINI.

In race 1 she got a bad start but managed to overtake Steve King going into Surtees, one of her strongest corners – named after motorsport legend and one of Rebecca’s heroes, John Surtees CBE. From there she just could not get past Jo Polley who defended well for the rest of the race.

Race 2 started better off the line and Rebecca, King and Polley immediately fought for position. She was preparing for an overtake when the car lost drive. Rebecca says: “I tried shifting gears, blipping the throttle, trying everything in the hope it would come back but sadly it didn’t. I just kept getting slower and slower and had to pull off the track somewhere safe as not to ruin anyone’s race.”

As it turned out the drive shaft had snapped so the mechanics got to work to replace it ahead of the third race. It was a true team effort that saw Rebecca line up on the grid ready for race 3.

Rebecca got an excellent start but King’s was even better as he stormed off overtaking a number of cars. Rebecca managed to get past Polley with another car close behind. As she came onto the start-finish straight she saw that King had collided with his team mate and there were bits of car everywhere.

The race was red-flagged while the track was cleared and the cars lined up to restart the race in their original grid positions. Rebecca says: “I was a bit disappointed to start from our original positions rather than where we were when the race was stopped because I’d already overtaken Jo [Polley].”

The race restarted with just 23 of the original 27 cars on the grid. Rebecca started well and went on to battle with Polley. She was right behind her for most of the race, coming side-by-side around Clearways at one point but Polley just didn’t put a foot wrong. Rebecca says: “She’s so cool, calm and collected and doesn’t make mistakes.”

The two were keeping up with the pack and were catching Kevin O’Connor. Chris Fryer came off the track and Rebecca was able to capitalise, overtaking him too. From then on, she managed to defend against him while keeping up with Polley ahead of her.

Rebecca says: “It was a really exciting race, my best in the MINI Challenge so far this season and I cannot wait for the next one!” It would appear that front-wheel-drive has now clicked after just three rounds in the JCW MINI. It’s great that Rebecca is battling alongside experienced front wheel drive racers in this highly competitive championship.

The whole weekend put a spring in Rebecca’s step and the support from the people around her was fantastic. She says: “The MINI Challenge might be professional racing and a feeder series to British Touring Cars but it has the friendliness of club racing. After we’d crossed the finish line at the end of race 3, Chris Fryer drove up alongside me and gave me the thumbs up.”

She went on to say: “The MINI VIP UK team members are fantastic in the way they’re running me too. Not only are they professional but friendly and welcoming too.”

The MINI Festival was a great experience as on top of the racing there was a grid walk, pit walk and autograph session, plenty of stands for visitors to see and a wide range of racing too. Rebecca is pleased to be just 1.5 seconds off the leader now and is really getting to grips with a car that’s so different to anything she’s ever raced before.

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