It is often a dream for many drivers to start off their new career with a victory, but that was exactly the case for Motorbase’s new man Jake Hill, the 19-year-old taking a Jack Sears Trophy class win in his maiden BTCC race at Croft last weekend.
The former Ginetta Junior and GT Supercup race winner made what is currently a one-off appearance for the Kent squad in the team’s S2000 Addison Lee-backed Ford Focus last weekend, standing in for the team’s regular driver Liam Griffin who missed the fifth round of the season in North Yorkshire due to business commitments.
Hill adapted to the BTCC machinery very rapidly on Saturday, and in qualifying lined up second in class behind Lea Wood, the current leader of the new-for-2013 Jack Sears Trophy for S2000-specification cars in qualifying. Hill then stunned the opposition in Sunday’s first race by beating the Vauxhall man in a race-long dash to claim victory on his debut, much to the delight of not only himself, but his father Simon Hill beside the podium afterwards.
The rookie then narrowly missed out in race two in a titanic scrap between himself, Wood and eventual class winner David Nye which rumbled all race, the trio separated by just 0.544s at the flag. Hill’s final race was ended by a scuffle at the hairpin, but neverthreless, a delighted Hill said: “Overall it was absolutely brilliant. To get first in class in free practice and then qualifying in second and not that far off the lead was really good; and then to get the Jack Sears Trophy in race one was amazing.
“I was a little disappointed to have been pipped on the line in race 2 but I learnt a lot about race craft in the race; and then race 3 I got my welcome to touring cars! The car was mega in the wet and we managed to get up to 11th at one point but then the pushing and shoving started and we got beaten up. But, hey; that’s touring cars! I’m over the moon with the Jack Sears Trophy win; I’m pleased with the job I’ve done today and this weekend has just driven me on even further to want to race in the BTCC.
“I’d like to dedicate my Jack Sears Trophy win to my Nan and Lesley Hayes who a lot of people knew around the paddock.”
Following podium celebrations that produced a raft of supportive cheers, the youngster told thecheckeredflag.co.uk: “What a result, you couldn’t ask for much more really. I didn’t expect it, not at all; it went so, so well, I managed to keep the tyres up to temperature. It’s perfect. I’ve never had support like this before so it feels pretty amazing.”
Griffin is expected to return to the helm of the S2000 Ford for the remainder of the season however as he bids for the maiden class title in which he lies second with four wins, two behind Wood who is currently on six after a race three triumph at Croft went the way of the latter.