CSCC Open at Thruxton with Alex Baldwin

The avid readers among you (hi Mum) might remember Alex Baldwin. Filming a documentary titled Dreamchaser, Alex was to enter his first-ever motor race in 750MC Roadsports, driving my car at Brands Hatch in April 2019. We got there, we qualified and we were fighting for a podium when a suspension failure forced me to retire the car before handing it over to Alex. He didn’t get his shot… that year.

I was more than happy to make sure he got his turn at the ‘wheel, this time at Thruxton. We booked a few sessions of testing, as neither of us had ever raced Thruxton and I’d only driven it once five years previously. A real white-knuckle ride of fifth-gear sweepers and rolling hills, it’s a circuit famed for testing your commitment. We entered the Classic Sports Car Club’s Open Series, finding the name delivered on its promise of a widely varying field from an MG B through Jaguars to a Ginetta G55. We’d no expectations of winning, but were certainly going to get some racing.

The format was two 20-minute races, with the grid for the “second half” set by finished order from the first. Despite the car’s usual reliability I was taking no chances and Alex went first, starting from 37th on a colossal grid of 45 cars to bring the car home 34th. Simply finishing without incident on a damp and slippery circuit he’d only seen for the first time 24 hours ago was a feat, making up places was impressive.

Late in an afternoon of torrential rain came my turn. My favourite: wet tyres, wet track, and time to drive by the seat of the suit. Starting 39th this time, I used every ounce of my faith in the car to overcome a field of vastly more powerful competitors by carrying as much momentum as possible – all the time. 12 laps later, still averaging 85mph despite the appalling conditions, I crossed the line 16th overall. I’d never climbed so many positions in a single race, and rarely felt quite so satisfied on getting out of the car.

Here’s the thrilling onboard video from that race.