Spinning Around @ Mighty Minis – 31/07

Saturday mornings can only mean one thing; getting up earlier than I actually do on a work day and heading over to Oulton for a few hours of motorsport… this Saturday was no different, apart from the fact that I moved house last week and had to get up 45 minutes earlier than usual (5.45am in fact), this is not something I am a fan of.

Anyway, by the time I’d trekked across Cheshire and got to Oulton, pretty much all of the marshals had signed on and my friend Andy and I were sent off up to the Shell hairpin for a day out in the sticks where adders and creepy crawlies make their home.

I found out later that Shell is the post you’re lumped with if someone is mad at you, and as a handful of the marshals have taken a disliking to my rather frank blog and proceeded to tell everyone to “be careful” around me, I was unsurprised when I was bundled out of the way.

Shell seems to have done absolutely nothing for my hair...

Shockingly though, I LOVED it out there! The 45 degree bank on the hairpin is like nothing I’ve seen before and we had a load of excitement to make the day just fly by! Besides, I was with the nicest bunch of fellow marshals ever, who never failed to keep me smiling – even when it decided to bucket it down with rain halfway through the morning.

Okay, so now I’ve built the blog up with these exciting bits of information, I’m going to have to disappoint you all by admitting that I seem to have lost my race programme at some point between Saturday and today, so I can’t name many drivers, nor can I actually tell you who was racing what. I know, I know, I’m a terrible journalist and should have my reporters notepad ripped into a million pieces in front of my face… I can only apologise and make the most of what I’ve got.

So, my first bit of excitement came during qualifying for the Scottish Mini Cooper Cup, I was stood smack bang in the centre of the hairpin – which was exciting but did make me feel a little bit sick after about half a hour – as a lovely wee Scottish lass – Carol Brown I think it was – pulled off with a decidedly second hand sounding vehicle… it turns out some little rascal had driven into her down at Cascades and done some damage to her left rear wheel. We chatted for a while and I promised to cheer for her in her afternoon race as she gave me lots of exciting gossip – and she was a girl, which always scores bonus points with me!

Matt Sayle Photography

After we’d sent her off on the recovery truck, we had a load of cars that looked like Thunderbird machines (SRCC Sports 2000 Pinto Championship) and a very cheeky number 78 who decided to spin around, venture off the track and come to a halt about one inch from the tyre wall. He was very lucky not to have sent his Pinto smashing in backwards, but he was still rather shaken and I made sure I offered him water and some of my Pringles to make him feel better. It didn’t seem to work, but hey, you can’t help everyone all of the time can you? I told him I’d cheer for him that afternoon, he seemed to be happy enough with that, and as he was towed away and dropped a load of gravel on the way out to say “thanks.” Brilliant, time for me to sweep up.

With all the drama at Shell and various other points we didn’t get a lunch break, so after a five minute sit down and a cup of cold tea we were on with the afternoons racing. I was rather excited to see a load of cute little Minis (the ‘proper’ Minis – not these hairdresser ones that you see about town) taking to the track for a good old battle as part of the BRSCC Super Mighty Minis Championship.

I was cheering for some bloke called Ben van den Bos as another cheeky racing driver had told me he was one to watch… sadly he didn’t see me cheering for him like a lunatic, so I just looked like a bit of a psycho, well, until I sprung into action rescuing Mr Ralph Beckers who seemed have had a momentary brake fail and just drove right into the kitty litter. I mean seriously, he was driving in a straight line, along the grass for about 200 meters, right towards me and not slowing down one little bit.

Matt Sayle Photography

To be completely honest, I was rather worried that the tyre wall was going to be his brakes at that moment (probably not as much as he was though) and did a little sigh of relief when his front wheels ploughed into the gravel and the whole thing came to an abrupt stop. The moment of calm didn’t last long though, as myself and Andy were deployed to sprint over the tyres and try to push him to safety. I cant imagine what was going through the poor guys head as a weedy girl with bright red lipstick sprawled across his bonnet in a bid to free him… little did he know I had guns of steel under that Proban all-in-one. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration.

After realising he wasn’t going to be rejoining his race, the little hunk pulled off his helmet and decided to come chat to us until the end of session, and O.M. actual G, was he delicious? Yes! He actually looked like Vettel (although my contact lenses were getting a bit sore at that point and no one else could see the likeness) AND he was actually German, or Dutch, or something. Either way, he was the closest I am ever going to get to Vettel (realistically) but did I win him over with my charm and knowledge? Nope, I just stood there like an actual wallflower, too scared to talk to him. He was probably married anyway.

Matt Sayle Photography

Later that afternoon it was time for my new BFF Carol to come out and kick all the boys asses in her Mini Cooper, but her day went from bad to worse after the session was red flagged after a big shunt at Old Hall Corner where the poor driver involved had to be airlifted away to hospital. Sadly the marshals don’t get told anything when a driver or rider is taken to hospital, so if I do manage to find out how they are, I will be sure to add a note ASAP.

The final two races of the day were fairly uneventful, a couple of spinners (who, by the way, don’t use any common sense when rejoining the racetrack) and a safety car or two and we were done… just in time for me to make an complete idiot of myself by falling off a gate and into the mud, flat on my face in true comedy style. Classic.

Until next time…


Matt Sayle Photography


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