Peak District racing outfit adds team title to driver championship success

Seb Morris on the podium at Silverstone. Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography.
Seb Morris on the podium at Silverstone. Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography.

A PEAK District-based racing outfit has secured its second championship crown in as many events.

Ginetta Junior Championship squad Hillspeed claimed the 2011 team’s title during the final race of the season at Silverstone on Sunday.

Added to the driver’s championship the team won with 15-year-old Seb Morris two weeks ago at Brands Hatch, last weekend’s team success is just as important to Hillspeed principal Richard Ollerenshaw in only the squad’s second year in Ginetta racing.

Two more podiums for Morris this weekend, taking his tally for the year to 16 from 20 races, ensured the celebrations started early.

Battling for the lead in both encounters, Morris had to settle for third in round 19 on Saturday afternoon after contact with Niall Murray on the penultimate lap forced both wide and enabled Sennan Fielding to take the win.

Determined to make amends on Sunday, Morris again diced wheel-to-wheel with Murray at the front with the pair taking it in turns to lead a thoroughly action-packed encounter. In the end, the Hillspeed teenager just missed out on the win by 0.096 seconds.

Jersey racer Struan Moore made his competitive return after missing the previous rounds at Brands Hatch and it was like he’d never been away, the 16-year-old starring with seventh position in the opener, from 12th on the grid, before taking fourth place in round 20.

Carving his way through from ninth on the grid, Moore kept a watching brief as the action just ahead got ever more fraught and on the last lap his patience was rewarded when a multi-car incident at Becketts enabled him to slice into the top four – finishing just one second shy of the podium.

Running three cars this weekend gave 14-year-old William Palmer the opportunity to gain some very important experience during the final event of the year. Unfortunately, he failed to finish round 20 due to a lap-nine excursion. However, in Saturday’s race, he took a tremendous tenth place result as he kept his head while vastly more experienced rivals seemingly lost theirs.

“What a year it’s been,” said Ollerenshaw. “From 20 starts Seb has had 20 finishes, 16 podiums and 11 wins – you really can’t say any more than that. It’s been an outstanding year and that’s why he’s ended the season as the champion. He’s done a wonderful job all season long.

“Struan’s come back in outstanding form, he bided his time in the second race and his opportunity came. It would have been nice to get him back on the podium but fourth was great, he has an awful lot of potential and a lot to offer. It’s been great working with him this season and we’d love to see him back out with us again.”

Ollerenshaw added: “It’s always exceptionally tough to come into a championship with three quarters of the year already gone, with that in mind William has developed very well indeed. It would have been nice to get six finishes from the six starts he’s made, it wasn’t quite possible but he’s showing a lot of promise and has done another great job this weekend.”