Two years ago, Dan Cammish had already wrapped up the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain title, having scored a frankly astounding twenty four victories. From twenty four races.
Yet success, sadly, doesn’t always breed the respect it deserves. “It wasn’t appreciated very much at all, especially by the end,” Cammish confirms. In fact, the occasionally bitter and harsh side of the motor sport world started to show, “a million and one different things” were mentioned as to why Cammish was just so much faster. I mean he couldn’t just be that good. So exit one very talented young man, from the series and the TOCA support package, with two rounds remaining.
Cut to 2015 and here we are again. Marginally less dominant this time around. Only ten race victories (so far). Yet Cammish has been on the podium in every race of the season. On Sunday morning at Silverstone he became the 2015 Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion with Redline Racing and the way this success was achieved, was against a backdrop where dominance simply shouldn’t have been possible.
Still such success brings issues. “I would probably get more credit if I started losing a couple of races,” offers Dan and you sense the truth in that. The grid this year has been brimming with talent, Dino Zamparelli from GP3 took until Silverstone to win, Michael Meadows and Josh Webster have only achieved a solitary win each.
His entry into the championship this year, requires a return to 2014. Team Parker Racing gave Cammish an opportunity in British GT4, running an old and recalcitrant 997 generation 911. Whilst it was a season in which the Yorkshireman remained out of the limelight, he would return to it in spectacular fashion at the end of the year.
It was back to the TOCA package, in the Porsche GB guest car, for the final two Carrera Cup GB races on finals day at Brands Hatch. Guess what? He won the first race in tremendous fashion against a backdrop of a Webster/Meadows title tussle. He lost the second race by choosing to pit for tyres as rain intensified, only to be scuppered by the title battlers belligerence in staying out on effectively the wrong tyres in a bid to out do the other. Yet whist Webster was busy celebrating title success, there was a suspicion that if Cammish could return to the series in 2015, an even more intense fight would play out.
It’s very easy to describe drivers as “underrated”, it is a line that is used far too much in modern motor sport. For Cammish, the title fitted at the start of this year and it remains to be seen whether that changes with his new championship success.
As ever in motor racing, his chances have been limited by funding. “I was funded by my family, who always did a great job but we were always kind of stuck at our level which was Formula Ford. I could never get beyond that,” says Cammish without a hint of the bitterness that sometimes marks the speech of drivers denied the chance to show their true talent due to funding.
“It was only the British GT campaign, that came around late and the assistance of Team Parker, that allowed us to build to that moment at Brands. Then Nationwide gave me the opportunity this year to show what I can do, this is the first time that anyone has really given me that,” he recounts.
Once given the opportunity, he proved his worth. Really he has more than proved it. Brands Hatch: 2 Wins. Spa-Francorchamps: 1 Win. Oulton Park: 1 Win. Croft: 2 Wins. Snetterton: 2 Wins. Knockhill: 2 Wins. Silverstone: 1 Title.
However, Dan admits that despite such statistics, “There have been certain times this year when I have not been the fastest. That Michael has been fastest on the Friday and I’m third. Come Saturday morning I seem to be able to go a step. There have been times when I have thought other people would get pole and they haven’t.”
“My ability on the first lap has been a real cornerstone of what I can do. At Snetterton and Croft the race was over after a lap practically.”
Most drivers are reticent to talk of title ambitions, especially until they have actually achieved their goal. So, with the deed done as it were, when did Dan start to think that maybe the title was on? “Probably Croft, I went there thinking it would be quite a difficult weekend. I thought I would struggle but I got both poles and kind of dominated the races. I think that was a turning point. If I won there there was no place really I could not win.”
We return this idea of being “underrated” and the fact that to many, myself included, Dan’s domination was somewhat unexpected if not his ability. “What people forget about me is that I have been around a while. I was on pole in my second ever Formula Ford race (the first time around). Straight out of karting I was at the front.” Without the aforementioned lack of funding, how much higher could this young man have climbed?
So we must conclude with a look to the future, a look towards 2016.”My dream is to get to Le Mans. I know how hard it is, I’m quite far down Porsche’s list with not being on a Junior programme and hopefully I can do a good enough job to get recognised. I know I need to go and race in Supercup to make that an option. Win there or get in the top four and you have a real chance of becoming a professional.”
That last line seems to summarise Dan’s whole career. He has been so successful in the series he has been given a chance in. Yet all the time he is constantly having to look for the next chance, to keep fighting to become a professional. To achieve that dream. The written word doesn’t do his talent justice but then neither apparently does all his success. It seems desperately unfair that once again next year he has to scrap to put it all together and then race to the limit, with no comfort net of support.
He deserves a manufacturer deal in GTs, he deserves a World Endurance Championship drive. Or to be picked up by one of the many professional teams in the Blancpain Endurance Series. Most of all he deserves the recognition of his peers in the paddock and the respect of motor sport fans and journalists. Because without a doubt he is one of Britain’s brightest shining motor sport stars.