Snetterton delights King’s Lynn businessman
Neal Clarke picked up a maiden victory at his home circuit of Snetterton – before announcing a three-month sabbatical to spend more time with his family.
The Tilney All Saints driver claimed silverware in both races of Sunday’s Kumho BMW Championship driving his Mini Cooper S as he ended a six-year wait for his first-ever race victory.
But no sooner had his sensational win been on than the Norfolk Cars owner revealed he would be stepping away from the track briefly with his wife Sonia who is expecting their second child in June.
“I was delighted to have my family there to support me, but now is the time for me to return the favor,” the newly married Clarke said on social media after his success at Snetterton.
“I always wonder how I managed to do it. I knew my car was fast and the main thing is that I didn’t make a lot of mistakes.
“It’s great to get my first win on my home track and I will come back to it, but maybe not this season.
“Ideally would like to do the race meeting at Donington on August 14, but we’ll have to wait and see if I can get permission.”
The Kumho BMW category is divided into several classes which are defined by the engine capacity of the competitor’s vehicles with all the sports Kumho tires of the Mini Cooper S.
Saturday’s qualifying session saw Clarke second fastest and fellow West Norfolk Andy Langley, using a borrowed car, in sixth.
An eventful first race saw the top five Minis swap places throughout the race.
Despite dropping to fifth place by one stage, the former Mini Challenge contender moved back to second place at the finish, with Langley finding himself further down the grid in his donor car.
Sunday’s second race saw Clarke move up a place after again dropping to fifth from second on the grid before battling for his first-ever win. Langley found improvement in his car and sat just behind the lead pack at the checkered flag.
“My setup for the race was perfect and it helped me to know the track well,” Clarke said afterwards.
“I went down alone for a day of practice, made some adjustments and kept the car exactly the same for both races.
It is hoped that Clarke’s success will help develop the mini-grid into the long-established BMW Championship with a number of former Mini Challenge drivers already competing against each other.
Anyone wanting to race their mini in the series should visit: https://www.bmwrdc.com
To find out more about Norfolk Cars visit: https://www.norfolkcars.co.uk/ or Norfolk Mini Racing visit: https://norfolkminiracing.com/