Dan Cammish Blog: One Week Until Brands Hatch!

Hello TCF readers, my name is Daniel Cammish and I will be writing a blog for the website this year which I hope will give you some insight in to my 2013 season.  This being my first of the year and for you I suppose I should start with a little about me and my past.

I started racing karts at the age of 13 thanks to my father’s lifelong interest in the sport. I had my own kart and raced originally at the age of 8 but I retired after what I believe was only my second meeting. Looking back now it’s hard to remember exactly why, but I think at that age I just didn’t enjoy the racing side of it so I went off and played football instead, not very well I might add. A few years later I went indoor karting for my 13th birthday and I must have remembered something as I won by miles. I showed some interest in having another go at it and my dad had got me a kart before the week was out. Fair to say he couldn’t wait to get back involved.

I raced at local club races in my first season at the age of 14 before doing the British Championships in 2005. I raced in Junior Rotax that season and at my first race I won the C final and finished somewhere in the middle of the B. I say middle, closer to the back maybe. It was an incredibly tough grid and this was my first time racing at a track I hadn’t previously seen. I believe we called it a ‘character building’ weekend; we’ve had many since! The season did improve from there and I learned a lot from the experience. At that same circuit I have since won 2 British championship races in 2006 and 2008.

In 2006 I finished 2nd in the 100 National championship winning 2 races before moving up to Formula A in 2007. This was an incredibly tough year for me and I had very little experience compared to my competitors. This was the highest class of karting in the UK and I was in only my 4th season. Despite my best efforts I just did not have the equipment to do a good job often enough.

2008 was a good year for me and was to be my final season of karting. I went back to Rotax in the senior class and finished 4th in the British and 6th in the European championships. I was the highest placed driver not to have competed the prior season and there were loads of good times both on track and off it. It was a big decision to go car racing in 2009 and it stemmed from many different reasons. Mainly down to my height. At 6ft 2 I’m tall for a racing driver. Had I been shorter I may have stayed karting and tried to make it into a works team in Europe. It wasn’t to be however, I needed a way to get out of the air flow. I needed a car.

2009 was a fantastic debut year for me in British Formula Ford. From my very first test with Kevin Mills Racing it was clear we were going to be quick; Quick enough in fact to qualify on the front row in my first ever car race at Oulton Park, followed by pole position at Rockingham a week or so later. Don’t quote me on this but Autosport believed my front row start at Oulton was the first time it had been done by a driver in their debut race since Ayrton Senna. Not bad then!

I went on to have 13 consecutive top 6 finishes from the first 13 races. I was doing exceptionally well for someone with a novice cross on the back. This led me to a drive in Germany with the Neuhauser Racing team in Formel ADAC. I’d only done 4 or so car races and I was heading abroad to race at their request. Fair to say I was enjoying it. I had a good experience but it was difficult to learn a new car and tracks mid-season. Still I was up near the front most races.  Back in Formula Ford I had to miss 1 meeting due to my ADAC commitments but I finished 6th overall, 5th was probably my rightful position.  The Australian Spectrum car I was driving wasn’t quite a match for a Mygale and my inexperienced showed at times.

In 2010 I rejoined Formula Ford with Kevin before switching to Joe Tandy Racing after the 2nd race. I won my first race for JTR on my debut at the Zandvoort Masters event. I was up the front in every race that season against tough opposition. I was unlucky at times and ultimately I made mistakes. I rode a wave at the beginning of 2009 where I couldn’t do anything wrong. At times in 2010 it couldn’t have been more opposite. I finished 3rd that season with 2 victories to my name. Arguably two of the best events I won though, Zandvoort and the race at Donington Live on ITV4. Looking back though I should have done better, I knew it at the time as well.

2011 started out difficult but finished very strong indeed. It’s a tough sport this, with money dominating most of what is achievable. Unfortunately I have never had enough to get myself to a higher level but I did manage to secure 7 rounds in Formula Renault UK. This was my best season as far as I’m concerned. To come into a category of this calibre against drivers who had done many miles of testing and compete like I did was a real achievement. I had never driven an aero car at most of the tracks we visited and I only did 1 test day before my season began. It took time to learn the car but I finished with 4 podiums, 3 of those from the last 4 races. It was difficult in a 1 car team up against the crack Fortec squad. At Silverstone I finished 3rd with the top 2 from Fortec. We could still be driving around now and I wouldn’t have got close. I know how fast I drove my car that season yet I wasn’t in the same league as those boys. Then again I was up against drivers with budgets 8 times the size of mine, at the end of the day my results were a big achievement. I finished 6th in the championship despite missing 3 rounds and I didn’t have a single DNF, which is always nice,

Not so lucky in 2012 unfortunately. 1 race, 1 crash, 1 fractured pelvis. I say not so lucky. I was actually incredibly lucky. The car did an amazing job and I stumbled away to sit in the Spanish rain. Formula Renault Eurocup 2012 round 1 at Mororland Aragon – DNF. I think that’s all I need to say on that one. Needless to say that was my year done.

So here we are in 2013. This has been a long blog I do apologise; it’s the first one so I had a fair amount to get through. I did say a little bit of my past in the beginning but when I started writing about it I had to get it all out. I have a fair amount to say I guess, this being my 5th season. This year I am returning to Formula Ford in its new Ecoboost era. It also has wings. We are 1 week from the first race and I’m confident I will be racing to win it. I’ve re-joined my old team JTR and my old rival Scott Malvern has re-joined Jamun. I’m expecting it to be far more exciting than Plato vs Neal, but you will be the judge of that.

So I think that’s about it for blog number 1. I hope you enjoy reading what I have to say. You can follow me on twitter at @dancammish if you wish to know more about each race this season. I’m sure I’ve left a fair amount out of this. Oh I did go to Malaysia at end of 2011 to do a one off race at Sepang. It was hot, I was fast, I saw Julio Iglesias in concert. Long story.

Until next time

Dan Cammish