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MINI Plant Oxford women named ‘Rising Stars’ in UK industry top-100 list

Three women at MINI Plant Oxford have been named among the top-100 female ‘Rising Stars’ of the UK automotive industry.

Helen Evans, Amy Druce and Annie Sekulla (pictured) secured national recognition as part of Autocar magazine’s ‘Great British Women in the Car Industry’ initiative.

MINI at the Goodwood Festival of Speed


MINI will be showcasing its youngest model line-up at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, including the brand’s first ever plug in hybrid model, the new MINI Countryman PHEV.

Launching on 24th June, MINI Cooper S E ALL4 Countryman PHEV will be seen driving on the festival’s infamous Hill Climb throughout the weekend by MINI Challenge racing driver, Charlie Butler-Henderson. Offering pure electric mobility with the combination of a 3-cylinder petrol engine and electric motor, the MINI Cooper S E ALL4 Countryman PHEV produces CO2 emissions of just 49 g/km has an average fuel consumption of 134.5 mpg, while also enabling a 0-62mph time of just 6.8 seconds.

Latest Mini 7 Newsletter out now: Donington preview & Snetterton report

Issue 3 of the Mini Se7en Racing Club's Official Newsletter - Pit & Paddock is out now.

In this edition you can catch up with how the standings lie after two double-header rounds, and what lies in-store for drivers and enthusiasts at Donington this weekend.

Read the latest race reports and delve into the Mini Se7en Racing Club's history with a trip through the years of this well-established series.

Download it or read it online for free.



Downton-tuned 1966 Austin Cooper 998 on the block at Classic Car Auctions


  • Well-documented 1967 ‘Touring’ conversion complete with detailed Downton invoices and records.
  • Only 70 miles covered since a recent full mechanical restoration to strictly original specifications.
  • Offered for sale with an estimate of £35,000 to £40,000 at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre on Saturday 10th June.

An original and exceedingly rare 1966 Austin Cooper 998, once breathed on by the legendary Daniel Richmond at Downton Engineering, is attracting huge attention from classic Mini fans in the run-up to the Classic Car Auctions June Sale at  the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre, near Leamington Spa, on 10th June, 2017.

The Mini has come highly rated in a list of the 250 Things That Make Britain Great


The list, which is published in the May issue of Best of British, was commissioned to mark the magazine’s 250th issue.

Compiled from suggestions by the magazine’s readers, contributors and staff, the list also recognised Aston Martin, Jaguar and Rolls-Royce along with Black Cabs and the Routemaster Bus.

Famous Mini drivers Paddy Hopkirk and Mr Bean also made the list, alongside Sir Stirling Moss and the late John Surtees.

Asked why the Mini was rated so highly, Hopkirk, who won the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally in a Mini Cooper S, said: “The original Mini was a classless car, a cheap family saloon that was also bought by Bentley owners and the likes of Twiggy, Princess Margaret and Peter Sellers. Although there’s a difference under the bonnet between the original car and BMW’s MINI, it still has bags of personality and a romantic image.”

Other people, places and things on the list that make Britain great include the Queen, Sir David Attenborough, the NHS, driving on the left, caravanning, and fish and chips.

Best of British is the UK’s top nostalgia monthly. It is available from WH Smith and other newsagents. Further information can be found at

      The 250 Things That Make Britain Great are:

1. Volunteers

2. The Queen

3. Sir David Attenborough

4. Houses of Parliament

5. Sir Winston Churchill

6. The NHS

7. The English Language

8. Marmite

9. Village Fetes

10. Our sense of humour

11. Fish and Chips

12. The Great British Breakfast

13. Macmillan Cancer Support

14. The Royal National Lifeboat Institute

15. Pubs

16. The BBC

17. Red phone boxes

18. Real ale

19. The Beatles

20. Giving up your seat

21. National Museums

22. Brilliant architecture

23. Stunning scenery

24. Cornwall

25. The Mini

26. London Underground

27. Town and city parks

28. Springtime

29. Dad’s Army

30. William Shakespeare

31. Tornado

32. The Brompton

33. Isambard Kingdom Brunel

34. Blackpool trams

35. Our rich musical heritage

36. Ealing Studios

37. Pickles the Dog

38. Tunnock’s wafers and tea cakes

39. The Great Little Trains of Wales

40. The Routemaster Bus

41. Sunday roasts

42. Our friendliness, generosity and kindness to others

43. The Lord Mayor’s Show

44. Bulldogs

45. Cricket

46. Charles Dickens

47. Seeing off the Nazis

48. The Royal & Ancient

49. Bobby Moore

50. Doctor Who

51. A good old cup of tea

52. A murmuration of starlings

53. Cockney Rhyming slang

54. King Edward potatoes

55. Corner shops

56. Our patience

57. The South Wales accent

58. Laura Trott

59. Greasy spoons

60. Llandudno, especially Haulfre Gardens

61. Only Fools and Horses

62. Country cottages

63. Diana Dors

64. Our resilience when times are hard

65. Stephen Hawking

66. The seaside

67. Emmeline Pankhurst

68. The Proms

69. Sir Isaac Newton

70. The Brontë Sisters

71. Aston Martin

72. Alan Turing

73. Our openness and generosity of spirit when newcomers make an effort to fit in

74. The Scouts and Girl Guides

75. Beatrix Potter

76. Melton Mowbray Pork Pies

77. National parks

78. The RSPB

79. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

80. Buckingham Palace

81. Morris Dancing

82. British Cheeses

83. The Victoria & Albert Museum

84. Flying Scotsman

85. Coronation Street

86. Steam Rallies

87. Stonehenge

88. The WI

89. Strawberries and Cream

90. The Lake District

91. Beer gardens

92. Big Ben

93. Wimbledon

94. Dame Judi Dench

95. Armed Forces

96. Cornish pasties

97. James Bond

98. The Spitfire

99. Stephen Fry

100. Black cabs

101. The Rolling Stones

102. Dame Maggie Smith

103. Red post boxes

104. Harry Potter

105. Scrumpy Cider

106. Match of the Day

107. Beefeaters

108. Joanna Lumley

109. Sue Ryder

110. Mary Berry

111. Unpredictable weather

112. Jessica Ennis-Hill

113. Morecambe and Wise

114. The Two Ronnies

115. Dame Helen Mirren

116. Tom Baker

117. David Jason

118. Worcestershire Sauce

119. Carry On films

120. Jaguar cars

121. Tony Hancock

122. Michael Palin

123. Chelsea Pensioners

124. Football

125. Rugby

126. Comic Relief

127. Great Ormond Street Hospital

128. Charles Darwin

129. Sir Joseph Bazelgette

130. Monty Python

131. Compulsory Education

132. Sherlock Holmes

133. HP Sauce

134. Mr Bean

135. The Jurassic Coast

136. Record collecting

137. Dry Stone walls

138. Hot Cross buns

139. British Film Institute

140. Rolls-Royce

141. The Grand National

142. Bradley Wiggins

143. Lords cricket ground

144. The Red Arrows

145. Ballroom dancing

146. Andy Murray

147. Seb Coe

148. Midsummer afternoons

149. John Surtees

150. Cumberland sausages

151. Mr Benn

152. Blackadder

153. Haggis, neeps and tatties

154. The Telegraph crossword

155. Roald Dahl

156. James Herriot

157. Driving on the left

158. Churches

159. The Boat Race

160. Bertie Bassett

161. Heritage railways

162. Arboretums

163. Countdown

164. Our coastline

165. The Union Flag

166. Caravanning

167. Queuing

168. Branston pickle

169. The Bisto kids

170. The National Trust

171. The Sky at Night

172. Magna Carta

173. Our seats of learning

174. Our gardens

175. Bangers and Mash

176. Alexander Fleming

177. Stan Laurel

178. Alfred Hitchcock

179. Charlie Chaplin

180. Cream Teas – Devonshire or Cornish

181. Fudge

182. The London Marathon

183. Arctic Roll

184. The Loch Ness Monster

185. The World Wide Web

186. Treacle Sponge and Custard

187. Pork Scratchings

188. Help For Heroes

189. Thomas Telford

190. John Logie Baird

191. Laurence Olivier

192. Mowing the lawn

193. The Queen’s Christmas Message

194. TV dramas

195. Wind-up radios

196. Hovercraft

197. Peter Kay

198. Twiglets

199. Salt and Vinegar crisps

200. Jumble sales

201. Billy Connolly

202. Sir Michael Parkinson

203. The Science Museum

204. Sir Steve Redgrave

205. Cancer Research

206. Nelson’s Column

207. The Presumption of Innocence

208. Band Aid/Live Aid

209. Riding for the Disabled Association

210. Chas & Dave

211. The Pennine Way

212. National Railway Museum

213. Sir Michael Caine

214. Tartan and Tweed

215. Alan Bennett

216. Julia Donaldson

217. Paddy Hopkirk

218. Enid Blyton

219. Age UK

220. Barry Cryer

221. The Natural History Museum

222. English Heritage

223. Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

224. Wallace and Gromit

225. Quality Street

226. Sir Stirling Moss

227. John Lewis/Waitrose

228. Bernard Cribbins

229. Brian Blessed

230. June Whitfield

231. Jorvik Viking Centre

232. Sir Bruce Forsyth

233. Walnut Whip

234. Sir Tony Robinson

235. Art Deco lidos

236. Saucy Seaside postcards

237. Dame Patricia Routledge

238. Ironbridge Gorge

239. Roundabouts

240. The BT Tower

241. Morse Code

242. Guide Dogs for the Blind

243. Steak and Kidney Pudding

244. Bletchley Park

245. Chocolate Orange

246. Bobbies on the beat

247. The Goon Show

248. The Shipping Forecast

249. David Coleman

250. Best of British Magazine

Harrop TVS900 Supercharger Kit for MINI R53


The new TVS900 Supercharger Kit is the result of an exhaustive research and development process aimed at delivering an affordable solution for R53 Mini Cooper S owners who are seeking greater performance or a direct replacement for the factory fitted M45 Supercharger.

GALLERY: Classic Mini MkI S sold for £47,600 at Brooklands Historics Auction

This amazing looking MkI Mini Cooper S was recently sold for a eye-watering £47,600 at Historics @ Brooklands

MINI Model updates: Summer 2017

  • MINI model range updated with enhanced cockpit instrument design
  • More precise fuel level display, and new control system for MINI Driving Modes and MINI Head-Up Display
  • Introduction of Apple CarPlay on MINI Countryman and MINI Clubman
  • Alertness assistant introduced on MINI 3-door Hatch, MINI 5-door Hatch and MINI Convertible

The MINI brand is further enhancing the appeal of its model line-up in summer 2017 with a range of new design, functionality and infotainment improvements.

Diesel still preferred by hire-car customers


Europcar UK analysis of customers of ‘Model Guaranteed’ service sees diesel the preferred choice – and appetite for electric slowly building

International Mini Meeting 2017. Westport House, Ireland


Westport Co. Mayo is set to see an invasion of MINI’s old and new this week, as the 2017 International Mini Meeting gets underway from the 25th May to 28th May. Described as a ‘MINI’ Electric Picnic, this event is expected to attract close to 3,000 fans and 1,200 MINI cars of all shapes and sizes, new and old which will be proudly presented by their loving owners.

Lib Dems plan to scrap diesel


Just 15 years after the government at the time encouraged people to buy 'fuel-efficient' diesel vehicles, the tide has turned again against the evil black stuff. 

Death of great British banger?


-38% of newly licensed drivers opting for brand new first car –

-32% cited fuel efficiency as the main reason for this change -

THE GREAT BRITISH banger could become a thing of the past as ambitious new drivers are now aspiring to opt for a brand new vehicle as their first car, according to new research.

Snetterton Mini Festival

Clubstands and Show 'n' Shine cars on display
There were many firsts to celebrate at the Mini Festival at Snetterton last weekend. It was the first time the Mini Festival had visited the Norfolk race circuit, making the number of amazing Mini Festivals on offer throughout the year to three. This one was the first of the year though, and the temperamental early summer weather had tried to spoil the weekend with a couple of brief showers in the mornings but it eventually succumb to the warm rays of the sun to ensure visitors left with a spot of sunburn. With the weather sorted there was an action-packed schedule of racing over both days and access to the paddock to chat with racing teams and drivers who were happy to have a natter about their setups and efforts over the weekend. 

love:mini Classic Mini Show 'n' Shine winners
Elsewhere there had been a large turnout for our first ever show 'n' shine event, particularly the MINIs. With the rain showing up briefly in the morning, it might have made Mini owners think twice of bringing the rust-baiter out. Splitting the categories between Minis and MINIs there were some stunning looking cars as well as well-used ones, but all dearly loved by their owners. Each category winner was awarded a smart sparkplug trophy and rosette, with the Best in Show for the best Mini and MINI taking home the gold cup! Admittedly things didn't run perfectly smoothly and we had some teething problems, but these have been addressed and corrected for the next event at Brands Hatch Mini Festival on July 8-9. 

MINI Challenge action!
After some exciting track action visitors were able to relax and mingle with competitors in the on-site restaurant whilst enjoying a band for the evening. Over on Palmer's Bank an outdoor cinema had been setup with a screening of the original The Italian Job film. With the sun setting and the warm breeze blowing over the site, it was the perfect way to chill out with friends and family. Those in the know had made preparations, bringing camp chairs, duvets and blow-up sofas for the occassion!

Some local clubs joined others, who had travelled further, in making a weekend of it by camping over. The campsite was quiet and secure with staff on hand and floodlights keeping it lit until late. a block of toilets was nearby and there was fresh water and even showers available! 

Leon Wightman had a bad bump on Saturday
After some early Sunday morning rain, the sun made its way out and set the day up for a blinder. We made our way to the pits and paddock to say hello and found Leon Wightman's Mini 7 had taken a big hit on Saturday seriously bending his front subframe and trashing his radiator... so no more racing for him. Around the corner Lewis Selby and his team had spent most the night and morning changing a gearbox gasket. In the MINI Challenge it was Jessica Hawkins who was grabbing all the attention with a double win on her first outing!

The trade area was a little quiet, but with it being a new show, and sandwiched between the British Mini Club's Himley Hall and the London 2 Brighton events, it was always going to be a big ask to attract them until it becomes a bit more established.

Judging underway
All in all, we felt the weekend was a surprising success, albeit with areas for improvement. Having not been to Snetterton before, we wern't sure how it would all pan out. But the weather turned up, and so did the Minis for the Show 'n' Shine. We'll be at Brands Hatch next, on July 8-9, so come and join us there where there will be even more on offer!

New Autoglym App Makes Car Cleaning Easy


Royal-warranted car-care expert Autoglym has made weekend driveway life even easier with the release of its fabulous new app for iPhone, Android and windows devices. Packed full of useful tips, product advice and all manner of interesting social features, this app is perfect for everyone who is passionate about their car, whether they’re a ‘quick wash on a Sunday’ type – or a detailing obsessive.

Free, transparent and valid for 36 months: The new BMW and MINI Tyre Insurance. 100-per-cent refund for damage in first year.

With the purchase of Original BMW and MINI Tyres or complete wheel sets with star marking, customers automatically receive the new BMW and MINI Tyre Insurance for 36 months free-of-charge. The insurance provides 100-per-cent reimbursement of tyre costs for damage in the first 12 months. With this approach, the BMW Group is setting a new standard in the marketplace.

Mini 7 Racing Club Newsletter Issue 2, Out Now! - Snetterton preview and Castle Combe reports

The new issue of Pit and Paddock, the Mini 7 Racing Club's Official Newsletter is out now!

Issue 2 previews the upcoming battles likely to be on display at Snetterton, as well as rounding up the events of Rounds 1 & 2 at Castle Combe last month.

There's also a special tribute to two Mini legends who have recently passed away, with touching memories from current racers.

Finally you can go back in time with the Mini 7 Club and read about what was happening and who was racing 50, 40, 30, 20 and 10 years ago - it's fascinating!

Download or read your copy online for free now.



MINI CHALLENGE: Rockingham (JCW Rd 3&4)


Round: 3         Laps: 6             Weather: Sunny, dry

Max Bladon learned from his starting errors at Oulton Park to take his maiden JCW victory in a fragmented first race at Rockingham.

Bladon didn’t just have to get off the line once to notch his first win in the turbocharged class, he had to do it twice after a mid-race red flag prompted a full re-grid.

When the lights went out Bladon got a great getaway to hold the lead from the charging Brett Smith as the top four held station with David Grady running third ahead of James Turkington. Charlie Butler-Henderson managed to sneak past Mark Wakefield for fifth off the line.

Things stayed that way until CB-H and Turkington rubbed through the fast Gracelands left-hander. Turkington was spun off while CB-H was delayed with bumper damage. While CB-H continued in fifth, Turkington was 22nd when he rejoined.

That wasn’t the end of the chaos either. The safety car made a brief appearance before the red flags flew when Will Neal’s car was stranded mid-circuit after a collision in the pack out of Tarzan corner.

Will Neal gets stranded on-track

Both delays heaped the pressure on Bladon. “Starts are like a lottery, they can go well, or badly and I could get hit or delayed or anything, so I really had to focus on both restarts,” he said.

Safety car and red flags hold up the racing
“The second standing start was way worse, as the car had lost all temperature by the point we got going so it was really stressful.”

Despite his fears, Bladon nailed it and pulled a colossal 2.6s clear on the first lap as an epic battle broke out behind him. Brett Smith was forced wide through Deene when the pack ran four-abreast into the tight turn, leaving Wakefield in second ahead of Grady, CB-H and Barr.

Grady leads the rest of the pack
Not happy to settle for fifth, Barr dived past CB-H into the Brook chicane before sneaking around the outside of Grady at Tarzan to net third. He then latched on to the back of Wakefield, but couldn’t find a way past in the remaining few laps.

Reece Barr squeezes past CBH on the closing laps

“I’m delighted to get the win and clear the monkey off my back,” said Bladon, who took the flag almost five seconds clear. “The restart went perfectly and I couldn’t believe the gap I got. I was able to back off a bit and look after the tyres as race two could be a struggle on the rubber as it’s very abrasive around here.”

Wakefield said: “The restart could have gone either way for me, better or worse. Thankfully it went better and I got behind Max through the hairpin. When Reece got through behind me I had to turn on defend mode and quit attacking as this championship is all about scoring solid points, not winning every race.”

Barr added: “If you’d offered me third yesterday I’d have happily taken it so I was really happy with my drive. It was about picking my moments and taking every chance I got. I start three places higher for race two, so let’s see what we can do from there.”

Grady was fourth, ahead of CB-H, Brad Hutchinson, Brett Smith, Scott Jeffs and Stuart Gough. Turkington fought his way back to 10th, netting fastest lap in the process. “What happened at the start was unfortunate, but I’ve got to take the positives – we had the pace in the car and I got the bonus for fastest lap. Now on to the next one!”

Round: 4         Laps: 14           Weather: Cloudy, dry

Reece Barr made it four different winners from as many races this year after scoring an emphatic maiden JCW victory in race two at Rockingham.

Barr, a former double Irish karting champion, showed maturity and race craft beyond his young years to storm through the pack and secure a commanding first victory.

The reversed grid placed Charlie Butler-Henderson on pole, with David Grady alongside as Barr and Mark Wakefield occupied the second row, with race-one victor Max Bladon back in fifth.

Bladon and Barr in an early tussle
CB-H’s start wasn’t the best, allowing Grady past on the outside of Turn One before Bladon made an audacious lunge on the brakes down the inside on the brakes into the Deene Hairpin to secure third, as those behind were delayed. Barr was swamped down to fourth and Brad Hutchison secured an early fourth.

Barr didn’t wait long to start making a move and went door-handle to door-handle with Hutchison as Rob Smith also closed in. Smith pulled off a fine move to briefly dive in front of both on the brakes at Deene, before contact with Mark Wakefield a lap later led to Smith spinning and Wakefield heading to the pits with damage.

Mark Wakefield has to pit after damage in a collision with Rob Smith
Barr slipped past Hutchison and then set his sights on the top three. He passed Bladon with a fine move up the inside through Gracelands, which he also then repeated on Butler-Henderson for second. Grady then fell victim to the charging Irishman on the brakes into Deene with a few laps to run.

Barr has CBH and champion Grady in his sights
“That was an amazing race,” said Barr. “I lost a few places in the first corners but then calmed myself down and started concentrating on pumping the lap times in and the car felt great. I had new-ish tyres on the front and the extra grip really seemed to pay off.

“After the start to the weekend with the penalty this is the perfect result. It’s moved me up in the championship and I’m feeling really good ahead of the next rounds.”

Grady said: “I was blown away by Reece’s pace there, I didn’t expect him to come through as fast as he did. I was managing the gap to Charlie and then he just arrived and cruised past. It caught me by surprise a bit. I’ll still take second as a good result though.”

And takes the win to make it four different winners in four races
Butler-Henderson added: “I thought age and experience pays over youth, but that little Irish lad is quick! It’s great for points and I really enjoyed it. We were all really struggling with tyres and around turn one there’s huge clumps of rubber vibrating and flying off the car so it feels like the tyres are about to blow out and it’s massively unsettling. I backed off when I knew I was sure of a podium.”

Brett Smith was fourth ahead of Stuart Gough, Hutchison and Scott Jeffs. James Turkington fought to eighth place ahead of Henry Neal and Mohammed Nalwalla. Max Bladon gradually slipped back after opting to not fit any fresh tyres for this race. He wound up 11th, but said: “It’s a learning exercise really. Sure we got the call on the tyres wrong but we’ve still won a race and earned good points this weekend.”

MINI CHALLENGE: Oulton Park Rounds 1&2

Words: MINI CHALLENGE   Photos: David Young

Round: One     Laps: 7      Weather: Cloudy

Mark Wakefield secured his first victory in the MINI CHALLENGE’S JCW class with an assured drive in a shortened opening race of the season at Oulton Park.

Mark Wakefield starts with a win

Wakefield, on tenterhooks with his partner in hospital expecting the birth of their child, looked in a rush as he made an excellent getaway off the line from his front row start and move into the lead past his Excelr8 team-mate and pole sitter Max Bladon up the inside at Old Hall.

Bladon suffered a less convincing start, quickly being swamped by last season’s runner-up Charlie Butler-Henderson, who made a lightning jump of three places from fifth. Bladon’s opening lap woes continued as Brett Smith snuck around the outside at the Brittens chicane.

Max Bladon battles with Butler-Henderson

Despite a good start, Rob Smith was soon heading backwards, losing out in a side-by-side duel with James Turkington up Clay Hill and into Druids, before losing sixth place to a recovering Reece Barr and immediately under pressure from Jeff Smith.

While Henry Neal was putting on an impressive surge, to move up five places to 13th by lap three, Butler-Henderson made his move for second with an excellent manoeuvre through Cascades. As in qualifying, last year’s champion David Grady struggled to make inroads into the top 10 as he and Neal passed Formula Ford 1600 convert Stuart Gough.

Neal makes a move inside Grady
As Brett Smith set the fastest lap on the fourth tour to cut Wakefield’s lead to less than half a second, the local racer was forced on the defensive. But with Smith sticking to Wakefield’s rear bumper, their tussle began to slow each other down bringing Butler-Henderson into the squabble.

With the race reduced to only 13 minutes due to incidents earlier in the day’s timetable, Wakefield benefited from navigating the Cheshire circuit for only seven laps. By the final tour, Brett Smith was forced to focus his attentions on his mirrors as Butler-Henderson closed in further, enabling Wakefield to pull out the largest advantage of the race.

Bladon continued to pursue the leading trio, but with Turkington closing in his mirrors, fourth was the closest his would manage.

Barr took sixth place with Rob Smith managing to curtail any further place loss in seventh. He headed Jeff Smith with Brad Hutchinson taking ninth just ahead of David Grady.

“I got off to a lightning start, it was tricky as it was still wet on that side of the track and I did get wheel spin,” said a delighted Wakefield. “The car felt like it was pushing away from me but later in the race I managed to get it under control and it wasn’t until the final corner that I felt I’d got the win. I’m over the moon.”

Smith was full of admiration for Wakefield’s defensive skill: “Mark didn’t put a foot wrong. Charlie left the door open at Cascades as there was no grip on the outside which is where he had placed his car.

“It wasn’t worth the risk to try to pass Mark towards the end of the race. I’m targeting the title and didn’t want to score a DNF so early in the season.”

Butler-Henderson added: “We were on wet tyres with the track now totally dry, so we decided just to push the tyres and go for it. Under braking the car was a handful but it was good fun.”

Charlie Butler-Henderson scores his first win of 2017

Round: Two    Laps: 8      Weather: Cloudy

Charlie Butler-Henderson scored victory in race two of the MINI CHALLENGE JCW opening weekend of the season at Oulton Park to once again stake his claim for a championship challenge.

With the top four finishers from the day’s opening affair reversed, Max Bladon sat on pole position once again with Butler-Henderson, courtesy of his earlier podium finish, alongside on the front row of the grid.

Butler-Henderson made a demon start, heading into the lead by the time the pack made its way to Old Hall Corner, as Bladon struggled with excessive wheel spin off the line.

“That was my first ever dry start in this CHALLENGE JCW car,” Bladon said. “I know what I did wrong and I’ll have to learn quickly.”

CBH leads after Bladon wheelspins at the line
Race one victor Mark Wakefield was unable to repeat his earlier feat, being handed a 10-second time penalty for a false start despite challenging in third place on the road.

As Kevin O’Connor took a spin to the back of the field, Brett and Rob Smith, who vaulted his way up from seventh, tussled side-by-side through Cascades enabling the top three to further pull away.

Henry Neal continued his challenge for the top 10, moving into ninth and ahead of a battling Reece Barr on the second tour as brother Will Neal went for a spin at Hislops on lap three.

The Smiths battle for third
With Butler-Henderson pulling away from Bladon to a one-second advantage, Rob Smith had managed to nip ahead of his namesake Brett for third, but was a further five seconds back.

Last year’s champion David Grady profited from other drivers’ misfortune, making his way up to seventh place behind Jeff Smith, who was demoted four places after an earlier excellent start.

Butler-Henderson had more in the tank after a brief one-lap advance from Bladon to the flag, while James Turkington slid out on to the grass down The Avenue after contact with Jeff Smith.

“It was all about the start but I went wide at the Shell Oils hairpin on lap four, started hearing noises in the car and wondered if my luck was out,” Butler-Henderson said. “But I loved every single movement of that race.”

The leader was just far enough ahead to not have to defend from Bladon with Rob Smith taking third from Brett Smith.

Bladon added: “I’m happy with that result. I had the pace to force it towards the end when I closed up on Charlie, but around this circuit it would need to be a bold move, and when I saw that there were three laps left, I just decided to bank the points. To sit close to the top of the points is not a bad start to the year.”

Smith was in a reflective mood after taking third. “If I’d been able to get some clear air at the start, with the pace that we had in the car, I think we could have won that race,” he said. “But I’m happy to take third after not being able to show our pace in qualifying and with the grid position I had to contend with.”

Wakefield had to settle for fifth following his time penalty. Reece Barr worked his way up well to sixth, out-dragging Jeff Smith and David Grady to the line. George Sutton and Ryan Dignan completed the top 10.

Eight out of 10 motorists have no idea about the new speeding fine structure


84% of British motorists are unaware of new speeding fines that come into force next week
Drivers caught for most serious cases of speeding could be fined 150% of their weekly income in England and Wales
This means a motorist earning £50,000 a year would pay up to £355 for creeping over the limit, or £1000 for travelling 41mph in a 20mph limit
New fines system doesn’t address driver distraction risks, says leading consumer motoring website

More than eight out of every 10 British motorists are unaware of new speeding fines, which could see someone earning £50,000 pay a fine of £1000* for travelling 41mph in a 20mph limit, according to research carried out by leading consumer motoring website

CMA says "Don't trust the MoT certificate"

Following DVSA clarification CMA urges used car buyers to check MOT details online – the paper certificate is too susceptible to forgery

Following a clarification by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), Claims Management & Adjusting Ltd (CMA) is urging used car buyers to check MOT details online, rather than relying on the paper certificate.

In response to a Freedom of Information request by CMA’s Philip Swift, the DVSA’s MOT Scheme Management Team confirmed: “…the view of DVSA is that the test certificate is a receipt style certificate and it is the database holds the authorative [sic] record… DVSA advice is that if a customer has concerns to the validity of the certificate or wishes to, they can confirm the details via the website.”

Managing Director of CMA, Philip Swift, a former police detective, said: “This important clarification should signal a change in consumer best practice. Most car buyers accept the paper MOT at face value, but 25 years of investigating cloned and clocked vehicles has taught us not to be so trusting.  The first thing we do with any claim is check the MOT on the primary source, the government website. It is a great free service and you can see at a glance the recorded mileages going back years and any advisory notes on the condition of the vehicle. Any discrepancy between this data and the paper certificate should set alarm bells ringing. Vehicle crime has become highly sophisticated but when it comes to paper MOTs a lot of the tactics are rudimentary, commonly simple photocopies with the mileage altered. In one recent case, someone had downloaded the sample certificate from the government website, filled it in and passed it off as genuine. They should at least put a watermark on that because they’ve inadvertently provided a handy resource for fraudsters.”

Link to check MOT history:
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