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Ain’t no plonker Rodney – 248 Shaun Bennett Interview

‘Rodney’ 248 Shaun Bennett has been chipping away at racing over the past 10 years, but is now a regular within the Spedeworth 1600 scene coming off the back of a respectable 2023 season, but it was well before then when Shaun got his first taste of racing. ‘My uncle used to race Bangers at Paices Hill, Tadley, and my dad raced at Tongham Motor Club for something to do in non-contacts. I’ve always been around racing from a young age, but how I first started was through a close mate of mine Brian Pugsley (Pugz) – he gave me a Peugeot 205 with no brakes and said “there you go!” Shaun chuckles. ‘I managed a 3rd at my first meeting however.’

It was an initial quiet start to racing for Shaun as he admits himself, but post-COVID saw Shaun step up a gear. ‘It’s been on and off since 2014. I had one year of Junior Bangers, and then a few odd meetings where we could. These last two years is the most I’ve done. 2022 we done a year at our local track just to get some track time and to get back into it; done a couple of gold rush rounds too at Spedeworth. In 2023 we just went for it to try and qualify in my first season of Spedeworth – we just about managed it. This season we are hoping for the same again, and we are definitely keen, 1600s are the best formula for budget in my opinion.’

The 1600 division has been growing in popularity over the last few seasons, something that Shaun touches upon. ‘I find it very competitive; close racing with big fields of cars at every meeting and most importantly it’s not overly expensive. It was nice to see everthing being stripped at World Final and also the top 3 checked after every race throughout the year. It’s going to keep it under control in my opinion and there’s not a lot I would change about the formula.’ With comments like that from the drivers, it’s clear to see why they are popular, but what else takes Shaun’s eye? ‘I always fancied a go in a Micra Stock, but the tracks are too limited, so it had to be 1600s for me – much more track variety to choose from.’

With that in mind, we got Shaun to select his dream team. ‘That’s a hard one!’ Shaun admits. That difficult he opted for two variants. ‘Myself and then Jamesie (28 Fred James), Maggot (820 Martyn Perkins), Nort (732 Mark Bryant), Winkle (82 Paul Tompkins) and 282 Uglee (Lee Treasurer) – keeping local and they all raced in the best era!’ Shaun adds a little extra though, ‘that’s when they were all young – they’re all old farts now!’ The second team Shaun has opted for is one of current racers with a line-up of Boogie (252 Steven Bugler), Roona (262 Rob Bugler), Aaron Charles (77 Aario), Rickie Beasley (67) and Liam Lake (114). ‘They are all switched on drivers and can both rod and crash.’

Shaun would like to finalise the interview with a few thank-you’s. ‘My Dad and Alex mainly for the long hours in the yard. Fred James, Martyn Perkins, A4 Metal Recycling, AB Powder Coating, Refine Metals, Sound Cuz Race Prep and K&P Holmes Construction. They have all been great last year, from supplying metal to help over the phone when I have been stressing 😎💙’

We wish Shaun all the best in his 2024 campaign and hope he qualifies for the 1600 World once again. 

Credit to each photographer for photo use

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