A Thrussington race team upstaged a few big names to claim a storybook win at a landmark 24-hour race with a £400 car.
With Northamptonshire circuit Rockingham Speedway due to close at the end of the year Thrussington Garage owner Mike Comber decided to build a Citroen C1 race car and enter its final 24-hour endurance race with a team of fellow MX-5 drivers.
The Mazda specialist garage became Citroen experts overnight, spending a week making the £400 buy fit for racing, and after just a day of testing lined up on the grid.
Initially entering for fun, Mike and his team of amateurs drivers – Rearsby-based motor dealer Sam Smith, race tyre supplier Nick Duggan and customers Simon Fleet and Adam Bessel – ended up topping a 37-car grid.
Together they chalked up 571 laps of hard-fought racing in 24 hours, with Nick crossing the line 1min 26secs ahead of their nearest rivals, a team of Rockingham Speedway instructors.
Mike’s dad Rob said: “Mike has won many race championships over the last decade, but his victory last weekend caps the lot.
“The other top team were all professional paid drivers, but the cars are cheap to build, so unlike F1, the best drivers win, and not the best engine or funding.”
Mike did most of the difficult night driving, comprising two shifts of two-and-a-half hours, and was well supported by his team of amateur drivers against experienced race teams.
“To finish was our initial target with the hope of a top-10 finish, so to win was the dream of a lifetime for all of us,” Mike said.
“The C1 may not be the fastest of cars, but they are very reliable and economical, and inexpensive to buy and repair.
“It’s an ideal formula for some relatively inexpensive, but highly competitive sport.”
This season Mike and Sam dominated the BRSCC MX-5 Championship together with Will Blackwell-Chambers, from Loughborough University.
They are due to return to Rockingham in the next round of the championship as they look to complete a clean sweep of the podium places.
And the C1 is expected to see plenty of racing in 2019, including in Europe if the funds can be found.