Next came Daryl Bennett. I had high hopes, good vibes, you name a positive idiom and I carried it to Silverstone for his first ever race in 750MC Roadsports.
I knew the quality of his driving: he’d built on his impressive first track day with me in August ’20 at Snetterton to manage wet, damp and dry in his second time out at Oulton Park. His nerves showed but so did his control, finesse and natural ability.
I also knew how deeply he wanted it. A genuine lifelong dream, going circuit racing was for Daryl the absolute pinnacle and he was at the track even earlier than me despite thrice the distance to travel!
Suffice to say he delivered every ounce of his potential and then some. His performance at Silverstone brought us home third in the viciously competitive Class C and was so outstanding that the club named him Driver of the Day.
If we needed any proof just how much it means to the man, look at the final frame below; taken as we waited for that début podium finish to be confirmed, the minutes before it became irrevocably true.
And that was just his beginning: two months later at Croft for Roadsports again, he learned the circuit in half a day and then fought right at the front to only narrowly miss winning the race – leading several laps and finally finishing second with his newlywed wife Jade looking on from the pit wall. It was a triumph.
Calendar shuffles, clashes at my end and some less planned constraints cost Daryl the other Roadsports rounds we had planned but a hat trick of successful outings was rounded out at his home Snetterton in July: he fought a big field on a soaking circuit and kept his nose clean in his first wet race with BRSCC ClubSport Trophy. SJN Photography came with us to shoot some of the fabulous mementos you see here.
Daryl and his brother Ryan have now bought a race-prepped Clio to campaign themselves: after proving beyond doubt his talent in the E36, he spreads his wings to share a grid with me rather than a car. I can’t wait to see what he’ll achieve next.