Motor Sports Association

Sprint

 

Rob Thomson

Lives: Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset

DOB: 1979

Occupation: Civil Engineer

Currently competing in: Welsh Sprint & Hillclimb Championship

Career highlights: I've won the 'Standard Car' class at several sprints and hillclimbs.

 

What got you interested in motor sport in the first place?

I caught the bug from my father and brother who were always interested in motor sport. Football was considered the work of the devil in our house, so I grew up watching F1 and rallying on telly instead.

 

Where/how did you get started?

I'd always loved watching motor sport but I hadn't appreciated that competing in club level motor sport was so accessible. When I was 19 a friend suggested that I should join the local motor club and the door to a whole new world was opened. I started competing in club autotests, production car trials and 12-car rallies, building up to navigational road rallies and eventually stage rallying. For a while work and life got in the way of my hobby but a couple of years ago I thought I'd try sprinting. I loved every second of my first event, and realised that sprinting was the most enjoyable motor sport I'd competed in. I've been hooked ever since.

 

What car do you use now and how much does an event cost you?

I compete in a completely standard 2003 Renault Clio 172 Cup, the light-weight version of the Clio that came from the factory with thinner glass, no air-con, an aerosol can of sealant instead of a spare wheel, and no ABS or stability control. It's a fun little car that's perfect for the 'Standard Car' class in speed events.

Entry fees are typically £70-120 but sprinting is otherwise an inexpensive form of motorsport, particularly in the 'Standard Car' class where there's no temptation to modify the car! A set of tyres will last a whole season and other running costs are minimal.

 

What do you enjoy about your particular form of motor sport?

I love the intensity of sprinting. Before my first sprint I was cynical about the short amount of time I'd actually be in the car, but I quickly realised that's what makes the sport so exciting. A typical sprint event consists of a couple of practise runs before lunch, followed by two or three competitive runs in the afternoon. If everything goes to plan every run is a bit quicker than the last as you learn the course and build confidence. To be as fast as possible on the last run of the day you need to be quick from the first run in the morning, so you can learn as much as possible for each subsequent attempt. Sitting on the start line for that first run is the most exciting part of any motor sport I've tried.

 

What tips would you pass onto someone who wants to start competing?

Sprinting's a great way to begin your motor  sport career. I'd definitely try an event in a relatively standard car to see whether the sport is for you before committing time and money to more specialist equipment.

 

Why would you recommend taking up motor sport?

I love so many things about motor sport. I love the thrill and the excitement of competing, but I also love spending time out of the car with the like-minding people I compete against. The competition can be intense, but it's always friendly and relaxed.

 

Image courtesy of Jack Flash Photography.