Runner-up in MG car owners Championship for Great Yeldham driver Steve Darbey
Great Yeldham’s Steve Darbey has come second in a national racing championship, and is now targeting the top spot at next year’s event.
The 44-year-old competed in Class Z of the 2018 Lancaster Insurance MG Owners Club Production Championship, which takes place over 16 rounds annually across the country.
And, after more than 20 years of competing, Darbey has finally had a season to remember with two race wins and at least eight podium spots during a consistent season for the experienced driver.
His runner-up finish, which saw him claim victory in the final round at Silverstone, has sparked a competitive edge in him that has led to his decision to chase the overall championship title in next year’s event.
But, to do that, the racing instructor will need to secure more sponsorship opportunities over the winter months, to be able to build, run and drive an MG of a high enough quality to knock this year’s champion off his perch.
Stephen McDermid won the class by 33 points over Darbey, the biggest margin between all competitors in the class, as he stands apart with his car.
Darbey said he believed this was, at least in part, due to the funding McDermid has, which saw him use brand new tyres for each round – with tyres allegedly costing upwards of £500 each.
“It’s a great achievement to come second this year, it’s a really big deal,” he said.
“It’s a hobby for me – I’ve been racing for the past 20 years or more and this is the highest championship standing we have had.
“But we have a small budget, a tiny budget actually. And to come second when we have very little money in an expensive sport is very special.
“All the cars are the same and so, in theory, it is all about the skills of the driver, but sponsorship is also important to fix the things that break on the vehicle as the season goes on.
“We – I have a team of friends who are all mechanics who help out – would love to get a local business involved, it would be of benefit to us both really.
“If we can get some more sponsorship I have really high hopes of going one place better next year.”
Darbey left it late to claim second place, only pushed up to the runner-up spot with his results in the final two rounds at Silverstone – first and second.
He said the outcome was almost a surprise to him and his team, with a number of mechanical issues besetting them across the season.
“I had a couple of withdrawals and some car trouble,” he said.
“And that definitely had an effect on my racing quality.
“But I think we did the best we could really and are looking ahead to next year now.”