Twenty-year-old Chloe Hewitt made her long-awaited return to racing at last weekend’s Mini festival after sitting out for over nine months due to lack of funds. A relatively late deal saw her family run Mini return to the S class of the Mini Challenge racing on both days of the festival.
While she’s been away from racing she has now qualified as a class 1 HGV driver, something very different to driving her Mini on track!
The car came out of storage the Monday before the event and a limited Friday testing program gave Hewitt a chance to shakedown the car and to get herself back up to speed. Mixed conditions made her task even tougher but by the end of her sessions, Hewitt felt happy with where she was. Unfortunately, her ABS failed during the session. A new part was located and fitted but unfortunately this failed to solve the issue and she would have to race without ABS that the other competitors were running with Qualifying proved to be tough for Hewitt as she adjusted to her braking issues and she found herself tenth but she wasn’t far off several rivals and she knew what to do to go quicker.
Race one saw her immediately make progress with a great start. One of her rivals pitted for a lengthy repair stop and emerged from the pits in front of her. Despite being several laps down, he insisted on trying to race with Hewitt to her immense frustration as it was allowing some of her rivals to pull away. Despite this by the end of the race she had made great progress and crossed the line to be classified in an impressive fifth place on her return.
Sunday’s races proved closer as she battled with several rivals in the first encounter she successfully stayed ahead of rival Steve Webb and narrowly missed out on taking sixth off Alan Lee eventually taking the flag in seventh.
Race two saw her battling Keir Mconomy and Steve Webb, some of the battle being caught on the live internet broadcast. The commentator remarking on how well she was doing after such a long time away from racing. Another seventh place was her reward this time.
Chloe spoke about how happy she was with her car which apart from the ABS issue, had run faultlessly;
“This little car always does me proud! Four years and it’s never failed me yet. Pulled her out of the barn on Monday morning and rocked up at Brands on Thursday night. Not too bad for the old girl after not being on track for 9 months. If I say so myself!”
“Thank you Mini Festival, you've been a pleasure once again.”