[mk_revslider id=”home”]

2019 Mazda MX-5 Champion
Hi, I’m John. I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy racing cars and karts for several years and in 2019 I won the highly competitive BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship. Take a look round my website to see more…

Latest News

  • Nominations
    I'm and very happy and humbled to say that I have been nominated for some awards! I'm not sure who put me forward, but I am very grateful. 2019 Driver of the Year - Motorsport Awards To say this surprised me would be an understatement. I thought it was a joke at first, when you see the other drivers in the list. Was someone drunk?? In any case, I am flattered. To see the full list of international superstars from F1, GT and Touring Cars (plus me), click here. You can even vote, if you like. John Bateman Club Racer of the Year I was actually put forward for this last year too, so it is very nice to be considered for it again. John was a Fiesta racer just after I left the class and while I didn't know him I do know his brother Ken, who I shared some good times with. I don't think voting is open yet, but I will make sure to post a link on my social media when the time comes.  
  • Champion!
    2019 BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship. Round 8, Silverstone. Silverstone International is a great circuit for Mazda racing. Its about the right length (1 minute 22 second laps), has a nice blend of fast and slower corners, and is wide enough in places to race four abreast. The racing is always close and often in packs as cars gain slipstreams from each other. In other words, the perfect venue for a championship showdown. I thought from the start of the year the championship would be decided here and it had always been my target to be in with a chance entering the meeting. This looked like it wouldn't happen after the disastrous first meeting at Brands Hatch, but amazingly we arrived with a small but important eight point lead. It was far from over though, as there are maximum of 102 points available for each of the three races. The practise sessions went well and I felt good in the car. It had been five weeks since the previous round, so it was good to get back into the grove. It took a few laps to find space in qualifying, as there were 34 drivers on track in each group, 68 entered in total. Once I found space though I was able to post the fastest time of all to secure pole position. This was my sixth time being fastest in my qualifying group in 2019, and my third pole of the season too. That was all well and good but there are no points for qualifying and my title rival Will Blackwell-Chambers (WBC) would not be far away, starting fourth for race 1A. Off the start, second place (Ali Bray, boss of my old team AB Motorsport) nipped ahead and WBC tucked in behind me. At Stowe on the first lap, WBC got just ahead but I hung on round the outside to maintain my place. And so it began... the race was full of slipstreaming moves, defence and attack. I lead for a time in the first third of the race and at one point it looked like Fraser Fenwick and I had pulled away, but it all closed up again. I then spent the middle part of the race in fourth, behind WBC, but I was able to set the fastest lap during this period and therefore gain two extra points. With five minutes left I was able to slip past into third and then had a go for second, but that didn't work and it was a free for all once more, with cars everywhere as we went onto the final lap. It was all elbows out at this point and I was relieved to finish in fifth, one place and four points to the good over Will. Near the end of that race, there was some contact between the two of us as Will was rejoining the circuit. The Mazda Championship uses something called Incident Report forms, where you can bring something to the attention of the clerk without the need for a full protest. I submitted one and was expecting Will would get a wrap on the knuckles and be warned about any more contact. However, it turned out he was given two points on his race licence (a similar system to road licence points), which also attracts a six championship point deduction. With a lot of over night rain race 2A was dry surprisingly, but with some damp patches about. I got away well, but found myself losing out to a train of cars on my inside as we went round the first few corners. I took the decision to attack down the outside into the slow Village corner and managed to go past three cars, including WBC, in one hit. I then jumped into third place, but not for long as the regulation amount of Mazda racing action meant plenty of position swapping over the next few laps. When it settled, I was in fourth; two AB drivers up the road, Brian Trott in front of me and Ali Bray behind. It was never going to stay like that though and with three laps to go I went from third to seventh in one straight! I clawed my way back to fourth by the end, two places ahead of my rival. Looking back, this was when the championship was clinched due to the penalty points Will received in race 1A, but we were not sure at the time if appeals were on going. I still wanted to do race 3A in any case; we're here to race. And I was very pleased I did race. For the first time in a while, it felt like freedom. By lap two I was in the front group with three other cars (all AB Motorsport) and we had a gap back to the rest of the pack. I sat in third for the most part, then into second when Fenwick missed a gear. There was plenty of shuffling though and I was in fourth place as we went under the bridge on the Hangar Straight on the final lap. I had looked after my tyres well though and was able to take a tight line through Stowe to emerge in the lead! To take the win, fastest lap, and also put a real stamp on the championship in one go has to be one of the best moments of my career. The following hours all flew past with the podium, some interviews and plenty of hugs and congratulations all blurring into one. It was the end of a long hard fought season and of course there are lot's of people to thank. I put all of these together into a post on my Facebook page, which you can see here. Obviously extra thanks go to my Dad, Ian, who has supported me from the very beginning. Plans for 2020 are underway and I hope to be able to bring news about this soon. In the meantime thank you for reading, I hope you have enjoyed the season as much as we did! Circuit photo credit: Dave Luck.
  • Fun and games
    2019 BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship. Round 7, Donington Park. This was the situation going to Donington Park, the 7th race weekend of the year: despite all of the ups and downs, I was in the fight for the championship and held a small 4 point lead over reigning champion, Will Blackwell-Chambers. There are 100 points for winning a race, 98 for second, 96 for third and so on, plus 2 points for fastest lap. With six races to go (three here and three at Silverstone), realistically one or the other of us will win overall as the gap between us and Joe Wiggin in third place is around 50 points. He is the form man at the moment and with 62 drivers entered stranger things have happened. The atmosphere was a little tense before the races as there were question marks over the eligibility of parts on some cars and also an argument about track limits violations in qualifying. I managed to stay away from it fortunately, and posted the second fastest time in my group which would be fourth on the grid for race 1A. Several people had all of their times removed and had to start from the back of the B race, so I was happy to be in the game. At the end of lap one I was into third place and ahead of Blackwell-Chambers, but he was in close attendance and we went side-by-side down the Craner Curves; I just came out on top. I slotted into second place a little later but not for long as WBC slipped past me during the fighting for a few corners before I passed him for good. I then caught up with the front two and had a good race, but it all nearly went wrong on the final corner where second and first almost hit each other! We survived though and with my third place finish pulled out four points as I scored fastest lap too. Race 2A was more straightforward; running in third place for the first two laps before passing Will into Redgate. Wiggin had pulled a good gap and while I did edge closer I was never significantly quicker to catch him. I was pleased with our pace though as I was able to drive away from Will to score another result in my favour. Then followed race 3A; one of the most stressful races of my life. We had a bit of decision to make ahead of the race about which tyres to use and I knew on the green flag lap things were going to be tough! I had a good start and was in the lead out of turn one, but just didn't have the rear grip and dropped two places as I slithered around. By now, Will was getting to the point where he was starting to need cars in between us so he could make bigger points gains. He passed me on lap two and shortly afterwards I was back down in fifth with other cars all over me. Things were not looking good! I kept at it though and things started to improve. Will was overtaken for third, but it wasn't long before I could see he was going to try everything he could to back me into the pack behind. For over half the race I was trying to attack Will whilst also defend from seven other cars behind. Some of his defence was a bit close to the bone, but all just about legal. I was very relieved to reach the chequered flag in fifth and thanks must go to the clean driving of Adam Bessell who could have really thrown a spanner in the works at times. Despite the last race, we had made further gains in the championship and will go to Silverstone with a slender eight point lead. It's not much, but I would rather have it than not! Circuit photo credit: Colin Bass Photography.
  • Podium hat trick at Oulton
    2019 BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship. Round 6, Oulton Park. Oulton Park is a beautiful circuit, but we didn’t get long to admire it as the entire race meeting took place all in one day. With 52 drivers entered, qualifying and three races to get through, it was always going to be a frantic affair. I managed the fastest time in my qualifying group, but it was super close as under 0.1 covered the top three! The other group were faster, so I would start in second, on the outside of the front row. In race 1A I dropped to forth, but soon found my way back into second place. This become the lead when Allwood lost forth gear. I was overtaken at half distance and then the rest of the race was a game of attack and defence as the top three had pulled away and I was in the middle of it! I ended up second, with fastest lap and the bonus points that come with it. It turns out it is quite tricky to start in second place at Oulton and retain your position. Well, it is for me at least. Naturally, I was down to third place at the start of race 2A, but fought my way back into second along the back straight on the opening lap. The racing was so close that this didn’t last and there was some more place swapping until we settled down into a similar pattern as in race 1A; the three of us pulling away with me in the middle fighting both fronts. It was good fun and another second place (with fastest lap) was a welcome result. Race 3A was a classic Mazda enounter. I lead on more than one occasion, but also found myself in sixth place half way through the race too. It was a bit of an uphill struggle from there, but I managed to knick third place on the final lap. It was a great race and probably super to watch. So we left Oulton after three exciting races with a hat trick of podiums and a good points haul. Donington Park is just two weeks away and it’s getting exciting in the championship as we head towards to business end of the season as leaders. Plenty more racing to come yet though!
  • Back in the game
    2019 BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship. Round 5, Snetterton. The weather over the Snetterton weekend was seriously hot, but that didn’t stop 57 of us entering the fifth meeting of the year. I was keen to put my tricky time at Anglesey behind me and get stuck in. Qualifying went well and I set the fastest in my group. I was a bit slower than the other group, so started in second place, which isn’t ideal at Snetterton. I slipped to third at the start of race 1A, which wasn’t surprising. Just before half distance I was able to nip into second place and after that I closed up on the leader, but never managed to quite get in position to pull off a move for the win. Second place was a good result though, so I was a happy chappy. As well as enjoying the outside starting position in race 2A, I managed to have a poor getaway too and went down to forth. I was up into third though as we went under the bridge on the first lap. This time I had two cars from the same team in front of me and despite a pretty heavy attack early on, I wasn't able to get into second pace quickly. I did manage it at one third distance, but the gap was large to the front by then. A couple of good laps saw me start to close in but I couldn’t pull away from the cars behind and I was overtaken under the bridge in the end. To be fair, it was a good move by young Jack Brewer! Despite my efforts I couldn’t quite get him back, but another podium is not to be sniffed at! Between races we had a bit of a drama with the car; the team ended up changing the differential and gearbox, twice. It was close as to whether we would make it out for race 3A, but the BLiNK guys did a great job to get me on the grid. This time I would start on the inside, although now on the second row. The new gearbox was a different prospect to my old one and I predictably fluffed a change off the start, dropping to forth place in the process. Back into third at the start of lap 2, I set about trying to make further progress, but this let the leader gain some space up front once more. At half distance it all got a little close down the back straight and I ended up on the wrong part of the track, dropping to fifth. Before long I was back into third again and pushing for second place, but wasn't able to pass. I kept the pressure up and we were separated by under 0.2 seconds at the flag. I was happy to get my third podium finish of the weekend though and ever happier overall to be back in the mix at the front. There is a bit of a break until Oulton Park, where we can hopefully keep the momentum going. Circuit photo credit: SnappyRacers Motorsport Photography
  • Dreadlock holiday
    2019 BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship. Round 4, Anglesey. We really enjoy the Anglesey race weekend. It's like going on a racing holiday. But this year we had a bit of a difficult time, for one reason or another. It was the first race meeting that everyone would run on the new Avon tyres, there being a choice previously between them and the older Hankook. We had tested on the new tyres, but not used them for a race meeting before, so there would be some learning to do. I was expecting some changes in the running order, but was hoping I wouldn't be one of them! Qualifying was wet and we learnt the first lesson. We opted for full wet (unshaven) tyres. That probably wasn't the way to go, but I managed 2nd in group which would be 4th on grid for race 1A. The race got underway and I was running 3rd. We had set the car up to come in later in the race, as the track was damp and drying. Unfortunately I wasn't really quick enough in the early stages and the front two edged away. Then I had some contact with another car as they tried to pass me, but ran over a wet patch, which meant we touched and it sent me across the grass. I dropped to 10th place and recovered to 8th. Not a good start! Race 2 went better - we were quicker and things went my way a little too. I was able to quickly get up into the podium positions and then had a great battle with Ben Short, Will Blackwell-Chambers and Adam Bessell for the lead. I ended up 3rd and was pleased to be back on the podium. Race 3 was a be lively from the off, with some contact between other drivers on the first lap seeing cars all over the road. I had my own drama at the same time and ended up grass tracking once more, this time breaking my exhaust in the process. I dropped to 10th again and had to try and fight back through again. I ended up 7th after a hard battle with Short. 3rd, 7th and 8th is not an awful weekend by any stretch, but it seemed like it driving home. This just shows how far we have come in the last two years as our expectations are now so high. Blackwell-Chambers won 2 races and pulled a good gap on me in the points, but we are only half way and there is lots of fun to come! Time to reset, forget the points and go for it.
  • 3, 2, 1 at Cadwell
    2019 BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship. Round 3, Cadwell Park. Cadwell Park is a beautiful place to drive a car, but the circuit is quite tight for racing on. Therefore, qualifying is key to set yourself up for a good weekend. I was a little off the ultimate pace of the first qualifying group, but fastest enough to top the times in mine and secure an important front row start for race 1A. After running in second place initially, Brian Trott came past after a couple of laps. I didn’t fight it at that time as I thought he would be able to attack the leader (Will Blackwell-Chambers) later in the race. The three of us pulled away and it was all starting to boil up nicely when another car dropped some coolant at the hairpin. I slid wide and lost some time, but further back a car hit the barrier. The safety car was called to allow marshals to repair it, but ultimately the race was stopped. I was classified 3rd - another podium and a good start to the weekend. Race 2A ran the distance and was much more fun. The three top drivers from the first race pulled away again and we were fighting it out the entire way. Trott pulled a great move to take the lead but then missed a gear a lap later, letting Blackwell-Chambers and I nip past into 1st and 2nd. That was the order to the flag, but there were attacks and defensive moves all the way to the end. I knew the best chance I had in the final race would be off the start. It worked out perfectly as I had a great getaway and managed to take the lead. A bit of carnage behind gave the top three a gap immediately. I was determined to stay in the lead and defended lap after lap, mindful that if Trott could get into second place, that would help my points score compared to Blackwell-Chambers. Eventually it happened and I could see another car catching up too, but he wasn’t able to quiet get into the mix. I was a happy camper by the time the flag fell, taking my third win of the season. So we left Cadwell with three podium finishes. A big thumbs up must go to my team, Blink Motorsport, who made a small but crucial change for the final race. We are allowed to drop points from three races towards our season total and now they are being taken into account I am second in the table, on the same points as Blackwell-Chambers, but behind as I have less points to drop. There is still a long way to go, but it is a fantastic start. Back to Wales next for the costal circuit at Anglesey. Time to dress for all weather! Circuit photos: Dave Luck
  • Bouncing back in South Wales
    2019 BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship. Round 2, Pembrey. We headed west over the Easter weekend to South Wales and a new circuit to us, Pembrey. Friday was spent learning the track and our pace seemed good. Qualifying came and I was in a pretty tough group. It is decided on championship positions and after our difficult start at Brands hatch I was 29th in the standings. It went very well though; I was in second place for most of the session but managed to get a lap together near the end and just nicked the fastest time, which was enough for pole position as the other session was slower. Second pole in two race meetings! On the face of it, race 1A was easy. I got away in the lead and was never headed, taking my 3rd ever A race win in the championship. In reality, it was incredibly hard! Will Blackwell-Chambers was never far away from my rear bumper and so I was clearly keeping a keen eye on him. It was a relief to cross the line and complete a perfect day in the sun - and on Dad's 70th birthday as well. Race 2A on the other hand, was as hard as it looked. Starting from pole position, I initially ran in the lead but it was clear I didn't have the pace I had enjoyed previously and was soon down to second. In my efforts to keep up I braked slightly too late for the turn one hairpin and slid wide, allowing Ben Short to nip past. After that I was trying to attack Ben but also defend from Jason Greatrex, so I was pleased when the flag fell. The final race was very topsy-turvey. I dropped to 4th from the start but was soon into 3rd and chasing the leaders. Blackwell-Chambers then missed a gear and dropped out, but there was still a gap to Short. I chipped away and managed to catch and pass him. It wasn’t over though and on the final lap Ben set me up well to get back into the lead. I was able to cut back however for a drag race along the back straight and squeezed past to take the win. Mega. Overall, it was a cracking weekend with amazing weather and the best possible birthday presents for Dad on his 70th. We moved on well from the difficult opening round at Brands Hatch and continued to develop with the team, who were fantastic. More results like this please! Circuit photos: Dave Luck


Ben’s Latest Tweets

[rotatingtweets screen_name=’btuckracing’ rotation_type=’scrollLeft’ links_in_new_window=’1′ show_media=’1′]

Ben’s Latest Facebook Status

Facebook reports: An access token is required to request this resource.

John’s Partners