Xentek Motorsport driver Ollie Chadwick, from near Tetbury, Gloucestershire, was on Sunday crowned the Ginetta GT5 Challenge runner up, after a storming season in the British GT support series.
Going into the Championship finale at the East Midlands venue, some 34 points behind eventual winner James Kellett, Ollie had a very tall order to overturn the deficit, but he did precisely that with two excellent performances in the opening two races.
Dominating qualifying, which took place on a damp and drying track on Saturday, 12th September, Ollie displayed his supreme car control and feel as he stamped his authority on the session by taking pole position for the first race an incredible 1.5 seconds clear of his closest rival.
Although missing out on converting pole into a win in round 19, Ollie importantly finished in second position while title rival Kellett ended his race in the gravel on the first lap – results which saw the championship gap close to just 2 points.
In round 20, on Sunday morning, another 2nd place, plus the bonus point for fastest lap, moved Ollie to the top of the championship with a 7-point point cushion going into the grand finale – televised live on Motors TV – but, on Lap 4 it all went cruelly wrong.
Running in 3rd position going into the lap, ahead of Kellett, all Ollie had to do was finish immediately behind his rival to ensure the championship would be his. But, as he turned into the right-hander at Redgate, his car dramatically slowed and he eventually coasted to a halt following a rare mechanical failure.
Following the race, a disconsolate Ollie said: “Of course it is very disappointing to have come so close and then lose the title at the final hurdle, through no fault of mine, but it’s a sport and these things can and will happen sometimes. What was really nice was the support I had going into the race and afterwards”.
“However, I’d like to congratulate James [Kellett] and thank my fellow racers, the guys at Xentek of course, Ginetta, who are great for British motorsports, all the officials and marshals, and everyone who has supported me and given me encouragement. Not sure what’s next, I’ve got my studies, career plans, and flying to work on, but I still enjoy my racing”