Myles Collins enjoyed his best weekend to date in the 2011 Ginetta Junior Championship during the latest rounds at Rockingham, the 16 year old taking fifth and sixth place finishes as he challenged for podium finishes with his new team HHC Motorsport.
After qualifying a solid seventh and eighth in qualifying, Collins produced a superb run in race one to battle his way through to a fifth place, a seasons best result. This wasn't enough for Collins though and he set his sights on a podium finish in the weekend's televised race. He almost pulled it off too, running in third for the majority of the race, before being shuffled back to sixth on the final lap.
Myles explains: “I made a great start from eighth on the grid to go round the outside and I was in 4th by the first corner. I then challenged George Gamble for third place and I have huge respect for George because he is one of very few drivers who races cleanly and accepts an overtake.
“Once I got up to third spot I could almost sniff Niall Murray in second place. I challenged him but he defended well into the first corner. With me failing to pass, this dropped me back and allowed the two TJ Motorsport cars to catch up.
“With two laps to go, I could see Sennan Fielding chasing me down in my mirrors and I was starting to struggle to keep up the pace as my tires were gone. Last lap board was out and Sennan got a great run on me up the straight, he tucked in behind me and lunged into the first corner.
“I could tell he wanted it bad and wasn’t going to back out, I tried to make it difficult for him but the speed difference between us was too difficult to judge in my mirrors! As soon as Sennan was on my inside, he did an ex-karting lean and pushed me wide onto the grass. We both lost momentum and George Gamble stole the third spot! From then on it was a tuck in with the traffic jam and accept sixth for the next couple of corners up to the finish
“As much as I am disappointed that I couldn’t hang onto a podium finish for one extra lap, all in all it was a fantastic weekend for myself and the team. It was a great feeling running in 3rd for the whole race.”
The upturn in fortunes for Myles has come after the Swissvax-backed driver made the tough decision to switch teams mid-season, leaving Westbourne Motorsport to hook up with HHC Motorsport, who run double race-winner Charlie Robertson. Myles admits he feels more settled in the team and his form has clearly improved during his two meetings with them so far.
Myles said: “HHC are fantastic. I am really impressed with the way they perform and it is instantly obvious they know the car. Jody Hemmings and Charlie Kemp work brilliantly together and I reckon if you cut them in half it would say ‘Ginetta’ !
“My previous team Westbourne Motorsport were great also, they were really good at keeping positivity in the awning. We struggled at the start and it was a massive contrast with James Colburn in the Clio Cup searching for podiums and myself searching for a top ten finish. I learnt a lot with them.
“Now I almost feel like I am in my second season. The pace is there and I was never out of the top ten all weekend. I was really annoyed if I wasn’t in the top five and then I kept thinking ‘wait a minute, two weeks ago I would be chuffed with P10!’
“I feel like I am more competitive with HHC because so many factors are correct. I live ten minutes away from the workshop so if we need anything sorting like a seat fitting for example, it would take ten minutes which is perfect. The main advantage is having team mates. Charlie Robertson is my team mate along with Paddy McClughan and I have worked really well with them over the past two rounds. We give each other real accurate feedback of the car, track and we work great running through data and analysing it in depth to find out more time. It just feels nice to be competitive in the series now and it’s just a bit of a shame we didn’t start this way.”
Next up for Myles are the penultimate rounds of the 2011 season around the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit. The Yorkshireman heads into the final four races with knowledge that he can challenge for podiums now and will be hoping to take a maiden rostrum finish, and possibly a maiden Ginetta win, before the seasons out. Collins will be on the backfoot at the Kent circuit compared to his rivals though, with a lack of budget restricting his chances to test prior to the weekend.
Collins explains: “Due to myself and my dad struggling to find the budget, we are unable to do any testing before attending the Friday test. Times are difficult and I am really fortunate to be able to do the Brands Hatch round at all. We will work on finding the pace straight away on the Friday at Brands and I am really looking forward to it.”
Anyone that can help out Myles and ensure he can complete the season can contact him at www.mylescollinsracing.co.uk