The Harpers of Mini Sport have been involved in the challenging Motorsport scene since 1960; seven years before Mini Sport was officially established. Today we sponsor a team of drivers and cars facing championships across the UK and Europe. On the 9th of May, Adam Smith, Leon Wightman and Dave Drew – our sponsored Racing Drivers all took part in the 3rd & 4th rounds of the Mini Miglia and Mini Se7en Championship at Snetterton Circuit.
As anyone involved in the Motorsport scene knows, nothing is ever straight forward and the last rounds were very much that – action packed with dramatic results.
We were proud to see that despite a bump and collision on the Saturday, Dave Drew, a sponsored driver and 2011 Miglia Vice Champion & 2009 Miglia Novice Champion came in 7th in #29 with climbing times for each round. Unfortunately Leon Wightman in #4 suffered some significant impact which threw him off the circuit. Despite a tough, challenging and somewhat unlucky round at Snetterton; our team is hopeful and determined to bring it throughout the rest of the Championship.
We spoke with Adam Smith, a Mini Sport sponsored driver, about the day and his positive outlook on the rest of the season….
”It’s been 18 months since both car #44 and I were on track, with new subframe, steering rack and other suspension parts fitted, Snetterton was to be the first outing. With its fast corners, hard braking zones and slow chicanes, it would not be an easy first outing to knock the rust off £44 and I!
With qually taking place on a grey, windy saturday I slowly got back in to the groove, but with nearly 30 cars on track it was hard to find a piece of Norfolk tarmac with out a Mini on it! With getting used to the car again and getting stuck in traffic, I only managed 22 and 24 on the grid for Race 1 and 2 respectively. The heavens opened between qually and the race and tyre choice would be key to a good result. I made the decision to go for dry tyres and with most cars around on wets, it was going to be interesting.
The cars left the assembly area for the 2 green flag laps and I was met with a very damp start line…as we were led around by the course car, the rest of the track appeared dry… A great decision by the team! So with revs climbing the clutch was dropped with a great start overtaking 3 cars till disaster struck and the power died. Missed by all other cars, Adam parked the stricken car at pit exit. The culprit? A snapped throttle cable! Frustrated but pleased it was nothing serious… I had to watch what could have been.
Sunday brought race two and the sunshine and a dry track. After race one I was keen to push as hard as he could to make up for yesterday’s disappointment. A great start saw #44 jump 3 cars on the first lap dicing with Charlie and Dan Budd, and latter with Nathan Burge and Steve baker. Going 3 wide going flat out around coram, it was never going to end well, and the unfortunate Steve baker spun out. Nathan avoided, Charlie went grass bound and Adam dived behind the stricken Steve and got the run on Charlie down the main straight. 4 more laps battling with Nathan and Charlie saw Dan and Ian drive off in to the distance. A lap later I pulled a gap to Nathan and Charlie, but the gap was too big to hunt down Dan and Ian, and that’s the way the race finished, just missing out on a top 10 finish from 24th in my first race back was a great finish. However, Adam was awarded a trophy for most improved position and we have confidence in Adam for the rest of the season.
Adam said he’d like to give ‘A huge thank you to Minisport for their support and the rest of AL Motorsport for all their efforts in the lead up to the race…. 3 weeks time is at Rockingham super speedway, Northampton.’
Photo Credits: Matthew Barrington & www.mini7.co.uk