John Loudon’s year in the 2022 British Sprint and Sprint Leaders championships

John Loudon’s year in the 2022 British Sprint and Sprint Leaders championships

What a great season competing in the British Sprint and Sprint Leaders championships in my new Force TA single seater racing car which culminated in the following:

  • Competed at 18 events across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland covering 4000+ road miles.
  • 8th overall in the British Sprint Championship.
  • Winner of the British Sprint Britannia trophy for scoring the most compared-to class records at British Sprint rounds in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
  • 2nd overall in Sprint Leaders (scoring joint maximum points but narrowly missing out on 1st overall due to a tie break).
  • Winner of the 1100cc class in British Sprint, Sprint Leaders and H.S.A. Speed championships.
  • Setting new class records at Blyton Park (Eastern and Outer), Lydden Hill, Kirkistown, Knockhill (anti-clockwise) whilst also be faster than previous records at Pembrey Club, Snetterton and Aintree.

I took delivery of the new car in March which was initially powered by a Suzuki GSX-R 1000cc motorcycle engine and subsequently by a modified 1070cc version running on methanol with pneumatic paddle shift gear change. Immediately I undertook a test day at Blyton Park accompanied by Ian Dayson from Force Racing Cars.  After a few minor adjustments I competed in the car’s first competitive outing at Cadwell Park a week later where it scored its first class win straight out of the box.

The early April trip to Anglesey proved a little more troublesome though with the initial 1000cc engine refusing to change gear above third gear on a regular basis. Therefore the Easter holidays were spent at home fitting a newly built 1070cc engine which both resolved the gear change issues but also gave more power after a visit to Daytuner Performance for engine mapping. The proof was in the pudding by the next British Sprint and Sprint Leaders rounds at Blyton Park in May where I lowered the 1100cc racing car class records for both the Eastern and Outer circuits.

Visits to Pembrey and Lydden Hill had similar results, then early August was the annual trip to Kirkistown circuit in Northern Ireland. A personal favourite of mine as I love a good road trip and ferry crossing amid friendly people. With confidence high after Lydden, the car felt awesome and was immediately on the pace all weekend and lowered the class record by a huge margin by the time we left to catch the return ferry.

Early September saw a Saturday visit to Aintree for a Sprint Leaders’ round where I scored well again before departing early to travel up to Knockhill for a Sunday event on the anti-clockwise layout. I had had my eye on the class record for some time as it was held by a former British Sprint champion. With wet weather overnight, any chance of a crack at the class record looked unlikely. However, miracles do happen, and the weather turned around at lunchtime against all odds and the track dried out for the last timed run where we duly delivered and lowered the class record.

In September we re-visited Blyton Park for hopefully a repeat performance of May. Saturday again saw me set a new class record on the Eastern circuit. But disaster struck on the Sunday when the oil filter came adrift causing engine carnage which resulted in game over for the day. I had however already done enough to score good points in the Sprint Leaders championship by this point which left me sitting at the top of the championship on the maximum possible points for the season on the scoreboard.

For the final two events of the season a kind offer from a friend to double-drive his car for the remaining visits to Anglesey and Castle Combe was accepted and allowed me to finish by competing at all events.

In the meantime, another competitor had drawn level with me on points at the top of the Sprint Leaders’ scoreboard resulting in me losing out on a tie break. This was gutting as I was the reigning champion and had hoped to do the double. In the British Sprint championship another competitor had also drawn level with me to 7th place in the British Sprint championship and I again lost out on a tie break to 8th overall which is the same finishing position as in 2021.

A huge thank you to my valued sponsors Laser Tools Racing.