Hughes was returning to the championship after a season away in the 750MC Hot Hatch championship so she hoped to be on the pace straight away. Things were a bit more uncertain for Moore. Her first time ever in the car would be qualifying and the last time she had been on track had been a test in an LMP car, something which could hardly be more different to a racing Mini!
Qualifying was on Saturday morning and both headed out on track together. Mini’s benefit hugely from drafting with each other; when two cars run closely they can travel faster than one car alone. At the Silverstone National circuit, which is three fast sections joined by corners, the draft is especially important. Hughes and Moore both knew this and stuck closely together throughout the session.
The result of this team work was exactly what they’d hoped with Hughes on pole just in front of Sarah Moore on the front row. The gap between their two times being just 0.049 seconds apart.
Not only were they close but it’s believed this is the first time there has ever been an all female front row in a mixed sex race.
The races on the weekend were split between the two days, the first on Saturday afternoon. The sun was still shining as they headed out for the start.
Now mighty mini races are quite strategic as with the effect of drafting, the front pack often runs together with positions changing constantly. You can be first one minute and then sixth but then just as quickly back to the lead.
As the lights went out, both drivers got a great start and were initially leading, before as expected the rest of the pack drafted past Hughes leaving her in sixth. Moore was just ahead and used the draft herself to jump into the lead. Then on the next straight, it was Hughes back at the front! The lead positions were changing multiple times on the same lap but Hughes and Moore stayed together as they had in qualifying, planning to help each other to the front.
All was going well as they headed into the closing stages when disaster struck for Moore. A rival made a move at Brooklands and the two then ran side by side into Luffield when they made contact spinning both cars off, putting Moore out of the race and leaving Hughes to continue on her own.
Despite losing her drafting partner, Hughes continued to battle at the front and took the chequered flag in a strong second place, fractions of a second behind the winner. Without Moore’s incident they may have had a succesful attempt at a one -two but it was still a great result for Hughes.
Moore was left with the consolation that she now knew she was as fast as anyone in a car she had never even sat in before the day started!
Sunday’s race wasn’t until lunchtime and so the team had plenty of time to ensure both cars were in great condition to start the second and final race of the weekend. The second race has a reverse grid and seventh place was drawn as the point from where the grid would be reversed. This put Hughes sixth on the grid. Moore would have it all to do as she would start toward the back after her non finish. Despite this she was confident of fighting her way back up to her drafting partner within a few laps.
Hughes got a great start from sixth and was immediately running with the front back once more as she waited for her drafting partner to appear. It wouldn’t be long, as Moore made up an incredible 12 places on the first lap. Within a couple more, she was right with the leading pack which contained Hughes. The two could now work together to try and get to the front. Just a lap later Hughes hit the front, before Moore took her turn for a couple of laps. A rival then sling shotted past both of them. They remained stuck to his tail with a second rival alongside them both. The fierce battling continued for the remaining laps until they closed on the finish, Moore in second tucked behind the lead car with Hughes behind her, almost literally pushing her along.
As they slipstreamed up to the line, they’d hoped to pull past at the last second but they couldn’t quite get enough speed and they crossed the line together, Moore in second just ahead of Hughes in third.
“Well that’s us for this weekend! What an awesome start to the championship. Going home with a second, a third, two fastest laps and a pole position! Silverstone, you’ve been awesome! Thanks to Agouti Motorsport and all our sponsors who we couldn’t race without.” Said Hughes after the race.
Moore was equally positive;
“I may have had one DNF, but in my eyes it was still a great start to the season. Both Alice and myself have shown good pace which we are hoping to carry throughout the season to achieve some top results and keeps ourselves at the top of the Championship. We’ll show the boys what we are capable of!”
“A Big thanks to all involved in the Agouti Motorsport team, Children’s Air Ambulance, Steve and Colin for spannering and as always my Mum, Dad and Jemma for their support all weekend.
Now to get to the gym and prepare myself (and the car) for the next race!”
That next race weekend is on April 22nd and 23rd at Anglesey in Wales. Both drivers will be fighting harder than ever to get their first win and hope to fill the top two steps in both races!
Visit https://www.facebook.com/alicehughesracing/ to learn more about Alice
Visit https://www.facebook.com/sarahmooreracing/ to learn more about Sarah
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