The 2018 Mazda Mx-5 Supercup moved to the tricky Oulton Park Circuit in Cheshire for rounds 16, 17 and 18 of the championship. Aidan Hills, 22 year old Worthing based racing driver, took the journey, full of confidence after being on the podium in the previous 5 race meetings, and sitting 3rd in the championship out of 40 drivers.
Qualifying was good for Hills, he managed lap times fast enough to see him starting 3rd in races 1 and 2 of the weekend, he stated after qualifying. “That was a really good Qualy session for us, we had good pace in the practice so I knew we would be up the front, so to be in the top 3 is good. Hopefully we can get a good start and mix it with the front two.”
Race 1 started on Saturday morning and Hills got a good start and maintained his position in 3rd place. The front two drivers pulled away from Hills who seemed to be struggling a little bit with car set up. He had a race long battle with former Champion James Baldwin who hassled Aidan all race. They traded paint and positions for the full 20 minute race but Hills just managed to hold him off by 0.03 seconds to clinch his 6th podium finish of the season. Hills was happy with his work in race 1 “That was a good start to the weekend for us, we made a change with the tyres for race 1 and it didn’t work so the car wasn’t capable of keeping up with the top 2, so 3rd was always going to be the best I could get. Happy to hold off James and keep my podium run going!”
Race 2 saw Aidan starting again in 3rd position. Changing the set up for this race Hills was optimistic on pushing to get his first win. Hills put all his focus on getting a strong result and making sure he stays in the hunt in the championship battle. Aidan stayed in 3rd position at the start and looked good at the beginning of the race. He was in the battle for the lead for the first few laps but, after a couple of mistakes, dropped off the front two and had to settle for another solid 3rd place finish, making that 7 podiums in the season so far.
Race 3 was the reverse grid race which saw Hills starting in 4th position. He had his two championship rivals starting behind so had to optimise his opportunity to keep his slim championship hopes alive. Aidan set about his business very quickly, he got up to 3rd after turn 1 and soon found himself moving up to 2nd before the end of lap 1 with a very good move around the outside. He now set his sights on the leader and managed to reel him in on lap 3. Aidan went to the outside at the daunting and very fast Druids corner where he pulled off an amazing move to take the lead from former champion James Baldwin. Aidan now had 7 laps to hold off the cars behind to win his first race. As the laps went by Hills didn’t put a foot wrong even though he had a line of 8 cars behind him ready to pounce on any mistakes. He held off reigning champion Luke Herbert, and Championship leader Jack Harding for the whole race and took his first ever Mazda MX-5 Supercup Victory.
“Wow what a day, my goal for this weekend was to get 3 podiums! I have exceeded that goal massively. This is something we have been working towards, me and my dad, for the last 18 months and there have been plenty of times where I thought I’m never going to win a race. But we’ve finally done it, I can’t believe it! There may have been a slight tear in my eye after the chequered flag. That was by far the hardest, most intense race of my 13 year racing career. I obviously have to thank my dad for all his hard work over the years, this win is as much his as it is mine, also thanks to DMH MOTORS, DMH STORAGE and Discount Tyre Direct for all of the support they give me!”
Aidan stayed 3rd in the championship standings after his sold weekend at Oulton Park, still within touching distance of the front 2. The championship now heads north to Darlington, Yorkshire at the Famous Croft circuit for the next races on 7th/8th September.