By Jamie Arrowsmith Thursday 25 October 2012 Updated: 01/11 16:59
BROMSGROVE’S Damian Cottrell roared to the 750 Motor Club Classic Stock Hatch Championship title with impressive first and second place finishes during the final weekend of the series at Snetterton.
“After so many disappointments in qualifying lately I decided to test the day before and be as ready as possible,” Cottrell said.
“I was glad I did as this was the only track I hadn’t raced on before. Despite that I got to grips with it very quickly and I ended the day with a time almost two seconds faster than the lap record. Was I ever ready for qualifying!”
But yet again fate was to play its part as the morning began with thick fog that did not lift and as a result qualifying was cancelled.
A grid was devised with Cottrell fourth and title rival Matt Rozier sitting on pole. A perfect start saw Cottrell take the lead but it was to prove short-lived as contact forced him to down into fourth place.
Further contact saw him to fall eighth and at that point Cottrell admitted he was fearing the worst.
“I thought the championship was over to be honest. Matt was ahead in the distance and I was eighth, but I had to try.”
A series of blistering laps saw Cottrell recover to second place having passed Rozier on lap four who eventually finished fifth. That gave Cottrell a one-point lead in the title race with a winner takes all situation going into the final race.
Another great start saw Cottrell climb from fourth to second and without incident this time he decided to sit behind race leader Rozier for a while.
“I was easily matching his pace and hoped he would crack under the pressure, Cottrell said.
“To be fair he handled it well and our pace was so hot we had pulled out a three-second lead on the rest of the pack.”
Cottrell eventually got ahead with a well-timed pass at turn one before he enjoyed a moment of fortune.
“I was really finding great speed through the last chicane which gave me better momentum on the long uphill straight and Matt could only watch as I went by,” he said.
“As the race continued I was getting later and later on the brakes for the final chicane.
“I think Matt must have realised this and tried to copy me because a few laps later I looked in my mirror to see him half spin at the exit and I pulled out a three-second lead. From there on I just had to stroke it home, take no risks and make it to the line.
“I can’t describe the feeling, I have been in and around this championship for ten years but have never made a full on Championship challenge before.
“To win it at my first attempt feels amazing and I can’t wait to ride with number one on the car next year. I would really like to thank my family and friends for all their help and support especially Rob and Tony who have just been fantastic, travelling up and down the country with me.
“Finally I would like to dedicate this championship to the late Chris Jones, a promising young motor cycle racer from these parts who tragically passed away after an accident at Cadwell Park in 2005, he was only 14 with the world at his feet, I used to enjoy reading his race reports and was really saddened at his passing. I always think of Chris when I race at Cadwell, and this dedication is so his family know he is not forgotten.”
FIVE race victories, eight pole positions and a
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