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MSV’s sporting heroes of 2018

Wednesday, December 26 2018

There have been several incredible performances at MSV circuits and MSV-run championships in 2018, and we've chosen some of our heroes from 2018.

The competitors on this list have made 2018 another memorable year for MSV, with many either winning races or championships, while others have displayed supreme sporting achievement or overcome adversity. The list is in alphabetical order rather than by merit, and we look forward to seeing many of these coming back to do battle again in 2019!

Jonny Adam & Flick Haigh

Haigh made her British GT debut this year after stepping up from Caterham and sports car racing. Partnered with all-round GT ace Jonny Adam, she had the best mentor possible, but stunned the paddock at Oulton Park with a pole position lap, which the pair converted into victory in the season opening race - the first overall pole and win for a female in the series history. If that wasn't enough, two podiums at Silverstone and Spa, and a further win on the Brands Hatch GP circuit in August set them up perfectly for the title, which they claimed with a fourth place in the season finale at Donington. The title secured history as Haigh became the first female to take overall honours in the British GT Championship, while Adam took his third title in four years, and with a third different team too!

Jamie Chadwick

Chadwick entered her second season of BRDC British F3 action, looking to earn more podiums and victories, and did just that! She started her season well with a podium at Oulton Park, and then claimed a major milestone as the first female race winner in the long and illustrious history of British F3 with a triumph at Brands Hatch. Finishing in the top-10 of the championship, Chadwick is seen by many as a trailblazer for women in motorsport, having taken a role with Suzie Wolff's Dare to be Different initiative, and is in the running for the all-new W Series in 2019 too - so there's every chance we'll see her in action at Brands Hatch again next year!

Paul di Resta

The former F1 ace has always been a class act in the DTM, and this year he returned to regular winning ways, taking three wins, the same as eventual champion Gary Paffett, including a brilliant triumph in the second race at Brands Hatch. Bouncing back from a 16th place in the opening contest, he went wheel to wheel with Paffett on the first lap to take the lead. Holding off race-long pressure from his countryman, he made it three wins from his last four Brands Hatch appearances to demonstrate his status as a master of the legendary Kent circuit.

Leon Haslam

Haslam has been the nearly man in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship since he returned to the series in 2016, narrowly missing out on the title in both 2016 and the cruellest possible way in 2017. But he absolutely dominated in 2018, taking 15 wins on the way to the title. He entered the crucial showdown phase with the biggest margin since the introduction of the three-round shoot-out system, and Jake Dixon ate into that lead with a double win and a second place from the first three Showdown contests. But Haslam responded with a double win of his own at Assen, and then clinched the title on the Brands Hatch GP circuit in October. The Donington-local will return to the World Superbike Championship in 2019, and we look forward to seeing him in action at his local circuit in July!

Linus Lundqvist

The Swede was the man to beat in BRDC British F3 in 2018, taking seven wins across the season to take the title by 85 points from fellow Scandinavian Nicolai Kjaergaard. He built up a big championship lead over the opening six weekends, including an extremely impressive double victory at Spa, but a nightmare weekend at Donington Park allowed Kjaergaard to close the gap down to a comparatively small 50 points. But Lundqvist kept his cool, and when he needed it the most, took a brilliant win at Silverstone to clinch the crown. He now looks set for an assault on the new FIA F3 series on the F1 support-bill in 2019.

Billy Monger

Few tales come close to matching Billy Monger's combination of heroism, sportsmanship and courage. The 19-year-old returned to racing in the BRDC British F3 Championship in 2018, while at the same time adapting to a completely new style of driving that included hand controls mounted on his steering wheel. He quickly got to terms with his new system, and scored an incredibly emotional podium in his first race at Oulton Park, that generated huge crowds as he received his trophy. A further three podiums throughout the season at Spa, Donington and Silverstone were earned in a strong second half of the season where on merit, he was consistently inside the top-three drivers on raw pace, a status indicated by a double pole position on his return to Donington, the circuit where he suffered his life changing injuries. Like Lundqvist, the Brit is eyeing a spot in the new F3 category for next season.

Gary Paffett

It had been a long time since Paffett's first DTM title, 13 years in fact, but the Bromley man wound back the clock with his championship winning campaign in 2018. Starting the season with a victory at Hockenheim, his first since 2013, which he followed up with further triumphs at Lausitz and at Zandvoort, and claimed a podium at his home round at Brands Hatch, which involved the exciting wheel to wheel battle with di Resta. He then had to contend with René Rast's extraordinary run of six consecutive wins at the end of the season, to ultimately claim his second DTM title by just four points, and Mercedes' final title before it withdraws from the series.

Bradley Ray

It was a real breakthrough year for youngster Bradley Ray in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship. In just his second year in the series, the 21-year-old claimed his first two race wins in the series (both coming in the season opener at Donington Park), led the championship for the first time, secured a showdown spot, and made his WorldSBK debut as a wildcard entrant. Three further BSB podiums, including a brace of second places at Cadwell Park, ensured he finished sixth overall in the standings.  If he continues his progress, and with several rider changes coming into place next year, there could be an opportunity for Ray to seriously challenge for the title as he remains with Buildbase Suzuki for 2019.

Ryan Smith

British Truck Racing features the most robust action of the season, with the heaviest racing machines and daredevil drivers. It takes something special to take the championship title, especially when there are several races each weekend, so Ryan Smith's accomplishment of claiming 21 wins across the season was something truly special. Despite his near domination of the series, he still didn't have the series wrapped up heading into the final rounds of the year at Brands Hatch, thanks to the close nature of the series points structure. But by soaring to victory in the opening race of the weekend, he claimed his third consecutive championship crown.

Colin Turkington

The Northern Irishman cemented his status as a BTCC legend in 2018, after claiming his third series title. He may only have taken a single victory throughout the year, an emotional triumph at Oulton Park shortly after his mother had passed away, but was a model of consistency with nine additional podium results. The title battle came down to the wire, and a 12th place finish in the opening contest on the Brands Hatch GP circuit, ahead of title rival Tom Ingram put him within touching distance. A trip through the gravel in the next encounter could have swayed the initiative towards Ingram, but a fourth place finish for the Toyota driver meant the title was Turkington's once more.

There will be more heroes in action at MSV circuits in 2019, and you'll be able to see them in action with one of our season passes, offering superb value for money and entry to dozens of events. Click here for more information or to purchase a pass.

Haigh Adam

Chadwick -05 (2)

Diresta

Haslam _Snetterton _170518-051

Lundqvist -48

Monger _04

Paffett

Ray

Ryan Smith (10 Of 10)

Turkington -08 (2)

Images courtesy of Jakob Ebrey, Hoch Zwei, Double Red