Top ten finish for Nevill
Top ten finish for Nevill

After months of build up and preparation, Alex Nevill’s Mini Challenge Cooper Trophy season got off to a heartbreaking start.

With mechanical issues before the first race had even begun before launching a strong recovery in the second race of the weekend.

Following Friday’s two free practice sessions at the Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire, the 2018 Cooper Am champion was confident going into the qualifying session.

His confidence was well proven as the Kent racer contended for pole position for the majority of the session, before falling back to a respectable sixth place out of 27 competitors right at the end of the session.

His weekend then suffered a devastating blow as a clutch failure on the warm up lap prevented Alex from taking the start in the first race of the weekend and the season.

The Graves Motorsport team were fast to react however and whilst the number 16 car wasn’t able to do enough laps to be classified as a finisher and receive points, crucially the team was able to get the car out in the race for a couple of laps. Which meant Alex would start race two in 25th instead of last place.

This set the stage perfectly for Alex to launch one of the best recovery drives of his career in a wet and historic race two that was broadcast live for the first time on ITV4, as a result of the championship now being a support race to the British Touring Car Championship.

The Motorsport UK Academy Athlete climbed 15 positions (eight on the first lap alone) to claim tenth place in a race that had been shortened to 15 minutes.

On his way to the top ten, Alex was able to set a blistering pace missing out on setting the fastest lap of the race by just one thousandth of a second.

It was a strong and much needed performance following the disaster of race one and left Alex feeling in a positive mood.

He said: “It’s been an immensely difficult weekend for us given the issues we faced, but I’m really proud of the way we handled it as a team.

“I feel we got the best out of ourselves, and ultimately you can’t ask for any more than that. The pace we showed bodes really well for the rest of the season and I can’t wait to see how we get on in round two.”

Round 2 of the Mini Challenge Cooper Trophy will be from Thruxton in Hampshire on the 19th/20th September. The series will again be a support race and will therefore be broadcast live on ITV4.

Images courtesy of Jakob Ebrey