Pembrey preview

Richard Williamson on the 2018 title opener

It is eight long years since the Mini Seven Racing Club last graced the Pembrey tarmac, so the trip to South Wales on 21-22 April is one of excited anticipation for a thrilling season ahead. Expect thrills aplenty from the original low cost saloon racing series.

In the Mini Se7en category, the field appears wide open for the 2018 season. There’s a whole host of potential new race winners, with Spencer Wanstall perhaps top of that list having come close on several occasions on his way to fifth overall last season and second overall in 2016.

Likewise, 2017 Novice champion Joe Thompson came eighth overall in his debut season and will hope to emulate his dad Paul’s double title-winning record (2005 & 2008), as well as a Miglia title (2010). Leon Window will top the entry lists thanks to his 0-Plate success last November at Brands Hatch, meaning he gets to carry the #0.

Along with Tom Sanderson and Dom Burger, all three have impressed in their first couple of seasons in the category. These ‘young guns’ will though have to figure out how to beat the ‘old hands’ on a regular basis, such as triple champion Andrew Deviny (2006, 2013 & 2014), Tina Cooper (1993) Darren Thomas and Gareth Hunt.

Along with the likes of Graeme Davis, Lee Roberts and Steven Hopper, they were racing in the category well before many of the newcomers could ride a bike, and in some cases, before they were even born!

The 1275cc scholarship class has come on leaps and bounds, thanks in part to an image makeover, but also a steadfast effort from drivers and members alike to retain the M7RC’s original ethos of low-cost motorsport.

The budget-tuning class not only provides a genuine stepping stone for beginners into Se7ens but now almost a third of the grid, leading to the possibility of stand-alone races in the near future.

Last season, Shaun Tarlton regained the title that he first won in 2014, but this year will face stiff opposition from the likes of Nick Croydon-Fowler and Andy Dickinson, while dark horses are former Mighty Mini champ Scott Kendall, and ex-FFord racer Rick Shortle. Look out too for 16-year old Morgan Lewis, daughter of Jonathan Lewis.

Registrations for 2018 already look to be surpassing those of 2017, with a noticeable increase in Miglia numbers, including the top three Mini Se7en finishers from last year - Charlie Budd, Lewis Selby and Ashley Davies - who have all moved up in power, although Selby did briefly try the bigger class back in 2002.

Reigning champion Rupert Deeth carries #1 as he attempts to defend his second Miglia title (2014/2017), with proven race winners Kane Astin (2015 champion) and Aaron Smith once again likely to be title challengers, while the likes of Dave Drew, Rob Howard, Colin Peacock, Sam Summerhayes and 2017 novice standout Alfie Brown will be looking to upset the odds, the latter especially one to watch out for after his tremendous debut victory at a wet Oulton Park.

Others worth keeping an eye on include Kieren McDonald who also moves up from Se7ens, and Steve Maxted who brings a wealth of racing experience from various other classes, including F3.

Racing • 11th Apr, 18 •

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