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Benn Tilley races at Thruxton in a Formula Atlantic Modus M1 car

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Bourne’s Benn Tilley was able to take plenty of positives from his first taste of the Thruxton race circuit in Hampshire.

Tilley triumphed in his opening race driving a Formula Atlantic Modus M1 before his hopes of a victory double were dashed when a suspension component bolt snapped at high speed in his second outing.

Tilley’s car had a Ford BDD engine with around 205bhp that only weighed 440kg so the power to weight ratio was really good for his first experience of the circuit.

Benn Tilley racing at Thruxton.
Benn Tilley racing at Thruxton.

He commented: “I had never raced at the Thruxton circuit before so it was a totally new experience.

“On the Friday afternoon, I did a few passenger laps with an instructor which really helped.

“Qualifying was just about learning the circuit and finding what works best with the car.

“It seemed to be over before I knew it, but I managed a lap good enough for second place (0.015 of a second off pole position) and I was very pleasantly surprised with that result.

“Race one started pretty well by latching on to the first place car which was a Formula 2 and had around 80bhp more than me.

“The car I was driving had better aerodynamics so through the corners I could keep up with him and over a lap it was very equal.

“I kept on his tail until he made a mistake at the final chicane and spun. I was then gifted a 6.5-second lead.

“It was a multi-class race so, with different sorts of cars, back markers were difficult to deal with at times and I lost five seconds in one lap getting stuck in a group of slower cars and the faster car was on my tail again.

“From there on in I was under pressure right until the end, just managing to hold off the faster car for the win.

“It felt amazing after a really hard race under pressure and I was almost in tears as I got out the car.

“Race two started really well and I was driving over the limit on the first couple of laps to try and build a gap to the faster car behind.

“I had a gap of roughly two seconds and I was gradually being caught but I think I could have been able to defend and hold off the car behind but then a suspension component bolt snapped at high speed around one of the corners and I was unable to finish the race.

“There were plenty of positives to come from the weekend though. It was the first time at the circuit and winning one out of the two races was really pleasing so a huge thank you to everyone who has made it possible.”

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