Harry Vaulkhard: I’ll prove myself abroad

CHAMPION racing driver Harry Vaulkhard is adamant one title is not enough and is looking abroad for his next big challenge.

CHAMPION racing driver Harry Vaulkhard is adamant one title is not enough and is looking abroad for his next big challenge.

Despite winning the Seat Cupra R Class championship, the Newcastle driver believes the time is right to prove himself outside the UK.

“I’m over the moon to have won the championship, but I don’t think there’s much reason to continue racing in the UK next season,” said the ambitious 22-year-old.

“The R Class I won doesn’t look like it’s going to be around next year and I don’t think the main Cupra Championship is going to be any better than the R Class was this year – so there’s nowhere for me to go in Britain.

“I’m not going to rest on my laurels, I want to look to the future and test myself with things that will keep me concentrating – make sure I don’t get too lazy. I’m looking at the Seat Eurocup which offers the prize of a race in a Seat touring car if you win a race.

“It is cheaper to race in the Eurocup and the prizes are better. That is only one of the options.”

One thing Vaulkhard now has to his advantage is the experience of how to cope with pressure.

“The idea at the start of this season was to finish every race on the podium and have a consistent year,” he said. “But after leading the championship for the first two or three rounds I was spun at Oulton Park and missed out, dropping me to second place.

“That meant my plan had to change and I suddenly had to start winning races because every time I finished second, Ian Churchill’s lead was getting bigger at the top of the championship – it really put the pressure on me.”

But Vaulkhard coped admirably, winning every race in the second half of the season with only one race in the entire season ending pointless – at Rockingham when he was involved in an accident.

There was almost a double celebration in the Vaulkhard household, with Harry’s father, Nigel, in with a chance of taking the Historic Racing Saloons Championship.

But Vaulkhard senior was involved in an accident in the final race of the season and couldn’t pick up the two points he needed to take the title, finishing second.

TYNEDALE Truck Racer Stuart Oliver is in pole position to become British champion after a treble victory at Pembrey in Wales.

Driving for Kilfrost of Haltwhistle, Oliver stands 22-points clear of his nearest rival, Chris Levett. Wth only 22 points available in the final rounds this weekend, he can’t be beaten.

But a man who has won the championship six times before will be racing hard for the extra points to seal an outright victory. “It’s been a gruelling year for the team competing in the British and European Championship,” said Oliver. “Racing at this level means everything has to be set up for each circuit to fine tune the suspension and get the engine power right.

“It’s thrilling not just for the race team but also for our sponsors, most of whom are local companies who have been watching the team’s performance all year.”

Oliver took pole position for day one at Pembrey and Levett couldn’t catch him all weekend as Oliver notched up an average speed of 73mph.

Sunday’s race again saw the Tynedale driver in pole position but he was outpaced by Levett to the first corner.

That was where Oliver’s experience helped him judge the line into the corner to regain the lead. Levett then suffered gearbox failure, forcing his immediate retirement.

THE final round of the 2007 LINGsCARS.com Rallycross Open Championship takes place at Croft on Saturday, with Barnard Castle driver ‘Mad Mark’ leading the championship by four points from arch rival, Ferryhill’s Tony Bell – who has vowed revenge after losing out to Mark at Barnard Castle last month.

“I have had the engine and gearbox fully rebuilt which will give me another 30-40bhp at Croft. There is no way Mad Mark is taking the number one off my car,” said Bell.

“He has a lot more pressure on him as he is the title sponsor of the Superprix on the Sunday – he will not have his eye on the ball and he will have to conserve his car throughout the weekend after the problems of late.

“This will give me the advantage as the Open Championship is the only thing I am interested in and I will be giving it 110% to win the title at all costs.”


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer