The curtain has fallen on Wrotham, Kent based Motorbase Performance’s maiden season in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship with the final round of the championship taking place at Thruxton, Hampshire this weekend.
Matt Allison (Norwich) once again demonstrated the pace that has been in evidence throughout the eight-month long season, but was ultimately left unrewarded for his efforts.
Allison said, “We didn’t finish the first race which straight away makes the second one more difficult. We got caught up with Tom Chilton, who hit me hard and that was the end of race two. The boys put it back together again for race three and then a driveshaft broke with four or five laps to go. Having started 24th, I think we were running 12th.
“It was a weekend of ‘what ifs’ really. I think if I’d finished tenth in the first race then it could have been a different story, but it’s not. It’s frustrating and everyone’s gutted, but it happens and it’s one of those things. It’s been a hard year, but I’ve enjoyed it and I hope to be back.”
Driving the second of Motorbase’s SEAT Toledos at Thruxton was former Vauxhall works driver, Paul O’Neill. O’Neill was drafted in as a late replacement for Tom Ferrier after testing at Snetterton last week.
O’Neill had support at Thruxton from his Spice Girl sister Melanie C and was able to bring the Toledo home safely in all three races despite running right in the middle of the pack for much of the day.
Paul O’Neill said, “I just struggled to get on top of the car. I really wanted to perform for the team so it’s a bit disappointing. It’s great to be racing with Motorbase Performance in the BTCC, it’s just a shame the weekend couldn’t have gone a bit better.”
At the end of the 30 race season, Motorbase Performance claimed eighth position in the Teams’ championship and fourth in the championship for those without factory support – an impressive result with cars that first raced in the BTCC four years ago. Matt Allison took 12th spot overall in the Drivers’ championship and sixth in the Independents’ standings.
Motorbase Performance Team Principal David Bartrum commented, “It’s been an interesting year! The SEATs have done us proud – they’ve taken some knocks, but they’ve done ok. Now we want to move on and come back next year with a couple of cars that will put us further up the grid.
“Running two cars at this level is a real challenge. We’ve run on a tight budget this year and a lot of people have really gone out of their way to help us. I’m really grateful to the whole team, to the drivers, Gareth , Tom , Paul [O’Neill] and particularly Matt Allison. We’ve had a reasonable year, but we haven’t really been able to show what we can do. Next year we will!”