Lydia on track - Photo by David YoungLydia Walmsley and her small team headed to Rockingham last weekend for the final round of the Mini challenge Cooper Pro/am class.

It was also the final time that they would race at Rockingham itself with the circuit closing at the end of the year. But it was also Lydia’s first meeting in her new car. Her original Mini was damaged beyond repair at the previous round (See the video on our Facebook page) and it looked like that was the end of her season. But incredibly, Lydia’s tiny family team rebuilt an entire new car for her in just a couple of weeks. A task that some BTCC teams might struggle with was completed in a few days by just a few people. Lydia has some impressive support!

The test day was spent running in the car and learning the circuit from the point of view of a Mini instead of the Saxo she had driven around last year. As usual Joe Tanner was on hand to help Lydia get up to speed quickly.

When Saturday came, Lydia was out for the qualifying session first of all. She was quickly up to fifth place overall but being a single car team, she was unable to get a tow (when two cars run together to increase speed on the faster sections) and so that put her at a slight disadvantage. She then ran into traffic from the slower Am class cars. She was unable to set any further quick times and this dropped her down to sixth and then seventh by the end of the session.

As race one got underway, Lydia made a great start taking fifth place by the third corner with Third to sixth all nose to tail. Lydia then moved up to third taking two cars in one move at the hairpin. Unfortunately one of her rivals then ran into her twice badly knocking the steering out of alignment. The car was now nearly undrivable and Lydia limped home in tenth place. It was a disappointing end to the race but Lydia was happy with the pace she’d shown during the race, being able to race with and even pass Robbie Dalgeish, who is one of the title contenders.

The team worked on Lydia’s car to get it back to normal for race two. Lydia once again made a good start and she went to pass returning 2017 champion Matt Hammond into the first corner hairpin as he ran wide. Unfortunately as Lydia passed the two made accidental contact with Lydia’s car receiving a bit hit on the right. Unfortunately this damaged the steering once again, leaving Lydia to limp home in tenth once more.
With two impacts in the same place, the car needed lots of attention from the team ready for race three.

Lydias small team work on her car - photo supplied by her family Lydia - Photo David Young




Lydia got a good start once more but as soon as she got the first corner, things weren’t right. Her incredible team had done their best to make the car back to 100% but clearly there was more damage than could be fixed at the track. Lydia made up two places finishing in eighth and feeling slightly disappointed.

“Overall, I believe I've had a fantastic weekend. It was an amazing effort by Dad and Dave Barber to finish the car in time! Thank you so much to Whip Street Motors for supplying us with a new shell! It was absolutely amazing to have made it up to 3rd place in race 1 but unfortunately the battle came to a premature end. I'm extremely thankful to my fantastic team for getting me there but also to my sponsors: Morris Lubricants, Whip Street Motors, Derek Hales New Homes In Norfolk and A&D Motors.”

Lydia is planning on returning next season. By Marc Waller

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