In my last blog I mentioned that I had hoped to get to the Autosport show to finalise a few things. Unfortunately that didn’t happen as I had to go to Nigeria with work, but in hindsight that proved to be good as it meant I did not rush into things!
I had planned to sign up to the Coupe Cup http://www.coupecup.com which I have to say looks like an excellent championship. Two of the main aspects that attracted me were the ‘Arrive and Drive’ option, which is very competitively priced and the championship manager, Jon Winter, who was extremely helpful. However, when I completed a full budget breakdown the costs were more than a third of what I had budgeted for so I decided to look into other options.
Whilst I was in Nigeria I started contacting a few alternative championships about ‘arrive and drive’. It soon became apparent however that the original model I had envisaged (essentially I was looking to arrive and drive) would not work on my budget or at the entry level of series I was looking to start my racing career at!
With that in mind I contacted David Fairclough from the XR Challenge (http://www.xrchallenge.com) who was extremely helpful and put me in contact with a fellow competitor Justin Roberts (who had finished 5th in the 2015 championship). Justin called me and discussed the championship in detail.
At this point everything became very real. The budget was slightly more than what I had planned, but that included buying a car and a van to get me to the races. I started looking on the web for cars for sale and managed to find one which had competed in the 750 Stock Hatch Championship. I contacted the seller, Ben Ward (from 4ward motorsport), when I was in Nigeria and we agreed a deal.
On returning from Nigeria, I spoke with Justin and we agreed a deal that he and his team would help me get sorted for my first season and prepare my car. In return, I agreed to run his main sponsor (www.cooperpoole.co.uk/) on my car – “Deal, Done!”
All that remained was collecting my car, which Justin offered to help me with. Unfortunately due to work he could not manage it so fellow competitor Mike Heath, last year’s championship winner, very kindly offered to go down, collect the car and transport it back to his house where he would give it a once over to ensure it was ready for the first race.
So on Sunday 6th March I set off from a somewhat frosty Manchester at 4.45am to meet Mike and jump into his van with an empty trailer following. Arriving at Ben’s house at 10am, it was at this time I realised how out of my comfort zone I was. I really did not have a clue what to look out for but thankfully Mike was on hand to ask the technical questions, check the car and give his opinion. Thankfully all was good so I parted with the cash, loaded up the XR2 and we headed back up North.
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