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Category: Intersteps Championship

Sean Walkinshaw - InterStepsRockingham International Sports Car Circuit proved a happy hunting ground for Sean Walkinshaw on Sunday, 2nd September, as he secured his maiden InterSteps Championship podium finish on only his fourth weekend in the series.

Having matched his previous best result of sixth during round 18 on Saturday, 1st September, despite running with an engine problem, the SWB Motorsport driver delivered his most competitive performance of the season yet in an eventful round 19 on Sunday to take a deserved third place.

Starting the second of the weekend’s three races from seventh on the grid, the 18-year-old made a great start to climb into the top five at Deene Hairpin before challenging, and subsequently passing, Jack Aitken for fourth position at Tarzan.

Although tagged heavily from behind on lap two at Deene, which damaged the rear wing of his Mygale FB02, Sean managed to hold onto his fourth place prior to the emergence of the Safety Car on lap six.

Unexpectedly, championship leader Matt Parry was forced to pull off the circuit from second place while the race was under caution and so Sean was able to profit to move into third. At the re-start, on lap nine, he maintained the position and stoutly fended off Nikita Miliakov over the last four laps.

“It’s good to get on the podium”, said Sean, “I was worried I’d got a puncture from being hit at the first hairpin, the rim was digging into the tyre so I don’t know how it didn’t deflate. We had some problems with the engine unfortunately as well but if I could get ahead of people off the start it was fine as I could defend, and that’s what I was able to do in the second race.”

Making the required good getaway at the start of round 20 on Sunday afternoon, from sixth on the grid, the Chipping Norton racer looked to try and gain at least one position on the run through Turn One of the Oval into Deene but he was boxed in at the hairpin and had to lift off the throttle.

Exiting the corner in sixth place, he remained there to the chequered flag on lap 15 but even with the lack of top-end from his engine he was able to lap within 0.7 seconds of podium pace to cap a strong and encouraging, if somewhat frustrating in parts, weekend.

While the final event of the 2012 InterSteps Championship will take place four weeks from now at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire over the weekend 29th/30th September, Sean will be back on track next weekend, 8th/9th September, for his debut outing in a Formula 3 car in the MSV F3 Cup.

Taking place at Anglesey International Circuit in North Wales, the seventh event of the F3 Cup season will see the Oxfordshire driver pilot a Dallara F302 fielded and engineered by experienced squad Lanan Racing.

Photo by Paul Davies / Paul Davies Photography.

Sean Walkinshaw - Pembrey InterStepsPembrey in South Wales proved a happy hunting ground for first year InterSteps Championship racer Sean Walkinshaw on Sunday, 5th August, as he took a season’s best sixth place finish on only his third weekend in the series.

Although difficulties with over-steer hampered his potential in qualifying, the Chipping Norton driver was still able to post the seventh fastest time in the opening session – securing a starting slot at the head of row four of the grid for the opening encounter – but had to settle for eighth in session two.

Making a good getaway at the beginning of race one on Saturday, 4th August, the 18-year-old still encountered over-steer issues, especially through the slow speed turns such as the Hatchets and Brooklands hairpins. Even so, Sean managed to see off the challenge of both Matteo Ferrer and Nikita Miliakov to bring home a seventh place finish at the wheel of his SWB Motorsport car.

Starting the first of Sunday’s races from the outside of the fourth row, the category rookie quickly became the filling in a Falcon Motorsport sandwich at the first hairpin as things got very tight into the right-hander and he subsequently needed to pit for his Mygale FB02 to be checked for damage.

After rejoining the race, Sean increased his pace throughout and two separate Safety Car periods enabled him to get back in the thick of the action. Fighting his way into the top six to secure his best InterSteps finish to date, he also posted his fastest lap on the final tour to confirm his improvement.

For race three, Sean started in ninth position but progressed through into seventh and performed well to get his car to the chequered flag on rapidly fading rubber. The grip of the tyres fell away significantly during the closing stages but he maintained seventh with a strong showing.

“Sixth was good from the first of Sunday’s races but the contact at the start meant I lost two places, I had to come in and get the car checked over by the team so, without that, I think we could have had a fifth place as our pace was pretty good”, said the Oxfordshire teenager.

“We did have problems with over-steer on Saturday but that wasn’t too bad on Sunday. I’m still not completely used to the car but we’re definitely improving – getting as much mileage as possible in all conditions is what we need. I would have liked some rain this weekend to help my experience but, for once, none came!”

Sean’s next InterSteps Championship outing will come four weeks from now at Rockingham, near Corby in Northamptonshire, over the weekend 1st/2nd September. Before then, he will be back in action in the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship on 18th/19th August at Donington Park National Circuit in Leicestershire.

Photo by Paul Davies Photography.

Market Harborough-based Cameron Twynham enjoyed an encouraging start to his 2012 InterSteps campaign with Fortec Motorsports at Oulton Park Island, Cheshire on Saturday.

16-year-old Twynham, who was named Junior Sportsman of the Year at the Harborough Mail Awards in 2011, contested his first two races of the 23-race InterSteps Championship at the ever popular Cheshire circuit, with strong results, finishing as top rookie in race two.

Cameron qualified sixth fastest for Saturday’s first race and drove well, holding position for much of the twenty-minute race as he fought hard to defend from Fortec teammate. Eventually Car 3 got the better of the teenager – who is one of the youngest drivers in the field – demoting Twynham to seventh place on the last lap of race one.

With his first car race completed, Twynham was altogether more relaxed and confident for Saturday’s second and final race, and it showed in his performance. Having secured a fifth place grid slot, he raced well from the outset and was part of a hard-fought four-car battle for the third spot on the podium. Cameron pushed hard, and was forced to both attack and defend as a far more experienced James Fletcher mounted an assault on the Market Harborough-based star in the closing stages of the race. A relentless Fletcher snatched fifth spot from Twynham towards the end of the race, as Twynham drove home to a solid sixth place, finishing as the top rookie racer and top rookie in the championship after the first 2 races.

Speaking on Saturday Cameron was pleased with his improvements over the weekend: “I’m really happy with my progress – I was quite nervous for race one but once that was out the way I was a lot more relaxed and I really enjoyed race two. It was great to be in the hunt for a podium finish in just my second race.”

Fortec’s InterSteps Team Manager Steve Lynch was impressed with Cameron’s progress: “The whole team did a great job over the weekend, and Cameron made significant steps forward from race one to race two. It was great to see him in a really strong battle for third and it’s certainly shaping up to be a very competitive season.”

The next round of the InterSteps Championship takes place at Donington Park, Leicestershire April 21-22.

James PeaceFormula BMW InterSteps star James Peace has been selected to represent the MSA Academy at the prestigious Henry Surtees Trophy. James used to watch Henry drive around home kart tracks Rissington and Shenington, and jumped at the chance to support the event. “Getting support to do Motorsport is exceptionally difficult, so an opportunity like this is a perfect chance to give something back to organisations and charities.”

Having shown recent form in the InterSteps Championship, taking 11 podiums from 18 finishes which included 2 wins, 2 poles, 3 fastest laps, 2 second places and 7 third places, the MSA selected James to drive for the Academy Team. It was at Buckmore Park last year that James sealed the Junior TKM British Championship, in which he dominated the season, taking 8 podiums from 12 races and 4 wins.

The Henry Surtees Trophy, organised by former F1 world champion John Surtees, raises awareness for the Henry Surtees Foundation annually, but also gives British drivers the opportunity to race against the very best in British Motorsport, and James will feel right at home, racing alongside established singe seater drivers Oliver Webb and Harry Tincknell in the MSA team.

James PeaceThe event on Thursday 20th October will be the first time James has driven a Kart competitively since his step up to single seaters at the start of the year.

“I cannot wait to drive a kart again, it seems like forever and I would not pick a better track to race than Buckmore, it’s quite possibly the best track I have ever raced at and I have fond memories!”

James Continued, “Not only is this a great charity event, but it is an opportunity for me to network with contacts and discuss options for 2012, so I would like to thank Greg Symes and the MSA Academy for giving me this opportunity and making this possible”.

James PeaceJames Peace finished a strong year in the Intersteps Championship claiming 2 wins, 11 podiums, 2 pole positions and 3 fastest laps, but even considering this fantastic set of results, his future is far from certain.

Unlike many of his competitors for the 2011 championship, Peace had only 2 days testing before the season started. “That put me on the back foot for a while”, said James.

Peace knows that in order to be competitive, a rigorous winter programme of testing and training is required whilst at the same time he needs to raise funding for next year. “I am capable of more than I achieved this year and I am looking for funding to show that. My wins at Thruxton weren’t just wins, I dominated that meeting and I intend to do that all next year”, vowed Peace.

Motaworld are keen to retain the services of the 17 year old Oxfordshire driver, but with interest in the series being so high it might be difficult to hold a seat open for Peace. “We are looking at running a 3 or possibly 4 car team next year, so there are options. James is a consistent front runner and his technical ability is top drawer”, stated team principle Alan Waite.

Peace’s budget plight is nothing new in motorsport, however with his results from this year and support from the MSA through the MSA Academy he is a recognised talent that should be supported. “2012 is going to be tough, with focus on a large athletics event taking the limelight, motorsport and its associated industry will have to work harder to gain the column inches it requires, what better way to do that by associating your products or services with a young up and coming talent?”, said James’ manager.

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Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.