Mid Wales racing driver Ben Power had to contend with a burst brake line as well as snow, as he launched his campaign in the 2018 National Legends Car Championship with MRF Tyres.
In a freezing cold, and at times snowy, opening round at Oulton Park in Cheshire, Power, from Guilsfield, near Welshpool, finished 8th and 6th in the heat races before taking 8th place in the final.
The meeting attracted a 32-car entry from around the UK and mainland Europe, including top drivers from Belgium and Finland.
“I’ve never been so cold in a car,” he said. “It took me a while to thaw out. With some brake problems too, it wasn’t the best start to the season, but there’s a long way to go.”
From 8th on the grid in the first race, he had progressed to 4th place by lap 3, when he started having brake issues with the pedal going to the floor. It turned out a brake line had burst, leaving the car with no brake fluid by the end.
Race 2 was plagued by safety-car periods, with only a handful of racing laps, as cars spun out. Power did well to finish 6th, having started 19th on grid.
In the final, he again started back in 19th place, but quickly worked his way to the front. However, some contact on the way through damaged a shock absorber and more brake issues meant slipped back to 8th.
Power made his debut in the Legends Car series in 2009 – finishing 8th overall and 2nd in the rookie table, having switched to the circuits after winning the Junior Rallycross crown in 2006 and Supermodifed Rallycross titles in 2007 and 2008.
His progress in Legends racing has seen him climb from a 10th place finish in the 2010 championship to 6th in 2011, 4th in 2012, 3rd in 2013, 2nd in 2014, and 3rd in 2015. In 2016, he only raced in one round, as he focused on his off-track career commitments, but last year he returned and finished second again, narrowly missing out on the championship title.
The formula originated on the US oval tracks, and the cars have an American look, being 5/8-scale replicas of classic US models. Guttercrest Racing runs a Ford Coupe 1934 replica, with a 1250cc Yamaha motorcycle engine.
With identical cars and the fastest drivers having to start at the back of the grid, there is said to be more overtaking in a single Legends race than in a whole season of Formula 1.
Guttercrest Racing is backed by the family-owned aluminium guttering company Guttercrest, based in Oswestry. The team has further support from award-winning Cardiff-based PR and communications consultancy Weltch Media.
Brands Hatch in Kent will host the championship’s second race meeting on Easter Sunday and Monday, 1-2 April, with six races across the weekend.