SPEEDY Steve Ayres is making a big impression in the 750mc Classic Hatch Championship – with a car engine he rebuilt in his living room.
The 26-year-old from Bognor is second in the championship after six rounds, and goes to Donington Park this weekend hopeful of further success.
Ayres said: “This is my second season in the the Stock Hatch Class B Championship, but this is my first full year in the championship after only six races in 2009.
“I used to race karts and only got into car racing in 2009. I’m ultra-competitive and want to win this championship before moving on to bigger motorsport classes.”
After that 2009 season, Ayres took a break from competition to rebuild the car. “I did it myself – mostly in my living room,” he said.
“My other half was very understanding – she realised it was a labour of love for me! She’s my right-hand woman with the car, my No2 on race weekends.”
Ayres’ dad John ignited his son’s passion for motorsport. He raced alongside some top names in the sport around 30 years ago – including tussles with Ayrton Senna on the Formula 2000 circuit.
Ayres, who had to pay £2,500 to enter the 2011 championship, concedes he is unlikely to win this year, with Matt Rozier, who has been involved with the same car in the championship since 2004, opening up a big lead.
Ayres’ season got off to a bad start at Mallory Park. “Having made up two places on the first lap, I got taken off by an out-of-control opponent and put into the gravel,” he said.
“Having made my way through some of the back markers, on the sixth lap I got taken out by a novice who missed his brake pedal taking me back to 15th.”
At Brands Hatch the car was running badly in qualifying and 13th on the grid converted to a tenth-placed finish.
Then at Cadwell the motor was running well and Ayres finished one second off fourth spot despite a collision that left the front bumper and both wing mirrors missing.
At Snetterton, Ayres faced more problems – including his engine blowing – but battled superbly and ended the weekend second in the championship standings.
That was five weeks ago and meant another engine rebuild, which he has completed in time for Donington this weekend.
Remaining rounds are at Snetterton at the end of July, Silverstone in August, Oulton Park and Pembrey in September and Donington in October. The stock hatch championship is for pre-1993 vehicles, either 1.6 eight-valve engines or 1.4 16-valves.
He added: “If there is anyone who wants to support me, I’d be truly appreciative as I’m actively looking for a sponsor to join me on my journey.”
Ayres can be contacted on 07968 906885 or by email at email@example.com