Mazda Magic puts West Sussex speedster on winner’s rostrum

Luke Herbert and his supporters celebrate his trophy win.  Picture by MattLynhamPhotography.co.uk

Luke Herbert and his supporters celebrate his trophy win. Picture by MattLynhamPhotography.co.uk

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Aldingbourne ace Luke Herbert clinched the Ma5da MX5 Cup on the final day of the championship.

He went into the deciding race at Croft in north-east England with only a five-point advantage so it was never going to be an easy ride.

Testing went well with Herbert keeping up with closest rivals Jordan Stilp and West Marden’s Chrissy Palmer.

Herbert found himself on the second row of the grid 0.4 seconds behind rivals Stilp and Palmer.

Race one saw Stilp make a getaway as Herbert was caught in battle with Palmer and Adam Gore.

Herbert’s Ma5da MX5 took significant damage and on the line Palmer stole second place from him.

Herbert was handed a 35-second penalty for having four wheels off the track but that penalty was later withdrawn.

He started the second race from third but, going for a move on Stilp, he took a trip to the tyre wall. He resumed in 11th. Stilp took the chequered flag with Herbert home in fourth.

Palmer’s title hopes were badly hit in race two when he suffered a blown fuse – something that happened again in the third race while Palmer was second.

Race three was the championship decider.

A reverse grid start meant Herbert started ahead of Stilp and Palmer. Herbert made a dream start and was in the lead by the second chicane while Stilp and Palmer were battling to get through the field.

With a lap to go, Stilp ended his race in the gravel, dashing his championship chances. Later on the same lap Palmer pulled over with another electrical fault, also ending his hopes.

Herbert crossed the line ten seconds ahead of the nearest driver to take the race win – and with it the Ma5da MX5 Cup.

An emotional Herbert thanked his backers, including parents Cathy and Keith ‘Pops’ Herbert, main sponsor SRC Recycling Ltd and his partner Serena Stokes for all their help and support throughout the year.