Dream Weekend For Lyons

DURING HSCC SEASON FINALEFelsted racing driver Michael Lyons enjoyed what can only be described as a dream outing at Silverstone National Circuit on Saturday, 18th October, during the final event of the year for the Historic Sports Car Club.Competing in three races in a trio of different cars at the Northamptonshire venue’s 1.64 mile track, not only did the 17-year-old sensation claim the Historic Formula Ford Championship title with an excellent second place finish, he also scorched to dominant race wins in the Derek Bell Trophy and the Classic Racing Cars encounter. Speaking after the most memorable race weekend of his young career, Michael said: “Winning the Historic Formula Ford Championship is the culmination of a really great year. Adding wins in the Derek Bell Trophy and the CRC race was the icing on the cake, I couldn’t have asked for more.”Making a perfect start to the HSCC Finals’ Meeting, Michael secured a place on the front row for each encounter including pole positions for the prestigious Derek Bell Trophy race and also for the Classic Racing Cars outing.Qualifying second fastest for the Historic Formula Ford Championship race with a time of 1m 05.121 seconds (90.60mph) at the wheel of his 1971 Merlyn Mk11A, the talented Essex teenager made a good getaway to slot in behind pole-sitter Callum MacLeod and stay ahead of season-long title rival Westie Mitchell.Trading second place with Mitchell on almost a lap-by-lap basis, Michael held the position heading into lap nine and then assumed the race lead when MacLeod pitted with car problems. At Copse on lap 12, Mitchell moved back in front of Michael and the former managed to hold on to win by just 0.126 seconds on lap 14.Although disappointed to miss out on the race victory, Michael was obviously delighted to seal the 2008 Historic Formula Ford title with a fine second place – some 15 seconds clear of third place runner John Hayes-Harlow.“Those were the longest laps of my life”, he said after the race, “I really enjoyed it, me and Westie have been wheel to wheel all year so I thought I’d let him have this one! Seriously, he out-drove me to take the win and deserved it but it’s a fantastic to win the title by finishing such a close second in the race.”Double win delights teen star LyonsJumping straight into his immensely powerful 1975 Lola T400 Formula 5000 car, Michael took no time to adapt and scorched to pole position for the Derek Bell Trophy race with a superb time of 55.152 seconds (106.98mph).Lining up with his father Frank alongside him on the front row in his 1974 F5000 Lola T332, Michael led into Copse Corner from the rolling start and was never headed as he built an outstanding cushion of over 13 seconds to Lyons Snr by the end of lap 12. At the chequered flag on lap 16 Michael took the win by 10 seconds from his father, a terrific result for the Lyons family, with mother Judy finishing the race in 15th position at the wheel of her F5000 Gurney Eagle FA074. Michael also posted the fastest lap with a time of 55.522 seconds (106.27mph).For the Classic Racing Cars encounter, which he contested in a 1967 Merlyn Mk10, Michael doubled-up with his second pole position of the day thanks to a dominant lap of 1m 01.116 seconds (96.54mph), over a second clear of his closest rival.Much like the Derek Bell Trophy encounter, Michael was in a league of his own but this time his advantage over the remainder of the field was even more devastating, a winning margin of 26 seconds. Ending the race in the best way possible, he bettered his own fastest lap on the final tour with a time of 1m 02.648 seconds (94.18mph).Coupled with the race victory, the result enabled Michael to climb into the top four of the outright championship and end the season as class victor.He said: “The Derek Bell Trophy was another great race. Dad wasn’t that far away, it shows I had a great teacher for learning how to drive these cars. I want to take the opportunity to say thank you to him, my mum and the team for doing an amazing job.“Our cars have run consistently well throughout the year and this weekend is proof of that. The Ford race was just unbelievable, Westie and I have been racing hard all season – it was sensational and we almost managed a full lap side-by-side! The CRC race was fantastic too, the car was amazing. It’s been an unbelievable weekend for me.”Lyons makes VdeV UK sportscar endurance debutRemaining at Silverstone on Sunday, 19th October, Michael was invited to take part in the burgeoning VdeV Endurance UK series – his fourth race of the weekend.Qualifying the Norma M20F sportscar in 12th position, Michael and team-mate Andrew Bentley raced well and ran as high as eighth position early on during the three-hour endurance outing. Unfortunately the duo slipped down the order after encountering some problems but four pit-stops and three battery changes later, they managed to end the outing in eighth place – a good result after a very challenging run.Prior to the weekend’s racing, the Essex ace also tested the contemporary Formula Renault UK car he will drive in the 2008 Formula Renault UK Winter Championship. In total, over the last three days, Michael has been at the wheel of five different racing cars, underlining his adaptability.With some Formula Renault UK testing pencilled in over the next couple of weeks, Michael’s next race action will come on Saturday, 1st November, at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire during the first two rounds of the aforementioned Winter Championship.