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  • Chris Ashby

Harry Hickton Endures Thruxton Frustration In MINI Challenge Trophy

Harry Hickton was able to consolidate his lead at the top of the Vertu MINI CHALLENGE Trophy standings this past weekend (8-9 June) despite enduring what he described as three frustrating races.


The Westbourne Motorsport driver had hoped to add to his silverware collection around his home circuit however the three-time race winner would ultimately walk away from the high-speed Hampshire venue with a trio of points finishes.


Qualifying on Saturday morning proved to be a frenetic affair as drivers battled to make the most of any slipstream that they could get, with the difference in having one being calculated at roughly five tenths of a second.


Pushing the limits from the get-go, the 18-year-old produced a string of rapid laps that would ultimately secure him fifth on the grid for race one, while his second fastest time was good enough for a front row start.


The weekend’s opening contest would prove to be one of pure attrition as the battle for the lead changed hands on almost every lap. Hickton wasted no time in hitting the front at the end of lap one but it wasn’t long before the chasing pack closed back up to challenge.


Hanging on to a wild moment when going three-wide through the infamous Church Corner, Hickton would hit the front again before unfortunately being shuffled back to seventh on the run up Woodham Hill on the final lap.


Race two saw Hickton endure further frustration as he was forced to fight back from the rear of the field to salvage as many points as he could. Starting seventh, the teenager made a small error at the final chicane and dropped a wheel on the grass, which sent him spinning.


Managing to recover and not lose too much time, Hickton spent the remainder of the contest carving his way back up the order and fought his way to 13th come the chequered flag.


Hickton - who is backed by Hysons Chartered Accountants, The Platform Lift Company, Vernham Labels, Addventure Leisure, Woodstock, Hippo Campers and Brandfix - concluded his weekend with a feisty drive to ninth.


Harry Hickton: “Hopefully that is our ‘bad weekend’ for the year out of the way. Don’t get me wrong, three top-15 finishes is a solid result however given the start we have made to the season and the potential we had in the package, we should be leaving with much more.


“In qualifying I was really happy with the job that I did because around Thruxton the tow is everything. You only need to misjudge it ever so slightly on one lap and then suddenly you’re nowhere on the timing screens.


“Race one saw us right in the mix however a few little mistakes cost us in races two and three, and that’s completely on me. There are always positives to take and they are that we scored good points and remain at the top of the standings!


“We’ve got quite a lengthy break before we’re back in action at Donington Park in late August so I’ll be trying to keep sharp by jumping behind the wheel of other things and Westbourne will undoubtedly see if we can unlock any more little bits of performance from the car.”


The next event for the Vertu MINI CHALLENGE Trophy takes place in a little over two months’ time on the 24-25 August around Donington Park’s Grand Prix circuit.


Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.

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