Daniel Clark, the newly crowned 2020 Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres Champion, has unsurprisingly expressed extreme delight at winning the coveted title – and the Darras Hall-based driver says he will return in 2021 to try and defend the crown.
The 36-year-old, originally from Stocksfield, returned to Legends action this year for his first full season in the category since 2006 and after a terrific year – albeit a truncated one due to the COVID-19 pandemic – he has emerged as a thoroughly deserving champion.
This past weekend, of course, should have been the championship finale at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent. Following ongoing discussions between venue owner MotorSport Vision (MSV) and Kent County Council, though, the tough decision to cancel the race meeting at the eleventh hour was taken in view of the latest coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
As a true out-and-out racer, Clark really did want the title battle to be decided during the last two rounds at Brands where as many as 10 drivers were mathematically in the fight. Following the enforced cancellation of the event, though, as well as the previous rounds at Pembrey in Wales, the 20-point lead he opened at Snetterton in round six means he is the new champion.
“I didn’t actually know we were champions, my Dad rang me and said ‘well done’ as soon as he saw Brands had been cancelled”, commented Clark, “We’d got everything packed up and ready to go down there, then all of a sudden we’d won the championship! I really wanted the weekend to go ahead, I was looking forward to it, but it is what it is and I’m delighted we’ve won.
“It’s a shame the championship has been shorter than planned this year, but we’ve still all battled it out over 18 races. We said at the start of the year we’d be happy with a top 10 finish, but after taking the joint lead of the championship at Donington we moved into the actual lead at Snetterton. When I first bought my car a lot of people said it wouldn’t be competitive…but here we are.”
Clark added: “I’ve absolutely loved every minute, the second I did the one-off meeting at Donington last year I knew I’d made the right choice in coming back. The racing is incredible, everyone helps each other out in the paddock, it’s a fantastic atmosphere and it’s such good value for money.
“I don’t think we’ve even spent £3,000 this year across the race weekends, in fact I know we haven’t. We fortunately haven’t had any damage, but I’ve paid my entries, fuel and tyres. OK the season has been shorter due to the pandemic, but it’s still incredible value.”
Clark’s success means he follows outgoing champion Miles Rudman (Sutton Coldfield) as another first time Legends Cars title winner. Prior to Rudman’s 2019 success, John Mickel (Horsham) had won the previous four championships back-to-back.
Uniquely, Clark was joined on the Legends Cars grid this year by his wife Elby and he has stated they will both be back in the championship together in 2021. In her first ever season of track action, after previously competing in hill-climbing, Elby made strong progress and was the first female participant in the category since Jess Gwynne all the way back in 2011.
“We’ll definitely be back next year”, the champion confirmed, “Elby will be out there again, she’s pulled in some sponsors – the live online streaming of the racing has helped that – and we might even run another car as well. Roll on next season!”
Provisional Final 2020 Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres Standings:
CHAMPION Daniel Clark, 2770pts; 2nd John Mickel, 2750pts; 3rd Jack Parker, 2720pts;
4th Miles Rudman, 2705pts; 5th Will Gibson, 2510pts; 6th Connor Mills, 2490pts