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Meet The Team – Jordan Hollands

Jordan is a very valued member of the Caged team, joining up in the earlier tenure of the Caged team to help push it into the limelight with a combination of his superb photography and wonderful journalism. It is through the journalism that Jordan now masters his craft professionally, and he fortunately managed to take some time out to have a chat.

Jordan himself doesn’t come from a family directly involved in the bangers, but the passion he has for the sport derives from family roots, stemming from his grandad’s own motorsport career. ‘My whole family are into motorsport. My grandad used to do Mini-Cross in the 1970s and won the title twice. My dad would often go with him to watch and help out, despite still being young. They would also go to watch race meetings at Wimbledon and Arena Essex. When my dad learned to drive, he would go further afield – one year prior to me being born, he went to a few rounds of the British Touring Car Championship. When I came along and was old enough to, he would take me to watch racing also. We mainly stuck with Arena Essex, but did occasionally go to Wimbledon and Ipswich.’

Jordan certainly grew up ‘PRI n Proud’ as the saying was, regularly spectating at Arena Essex where his earliest racing memories derive from. ‘My earliest racing memory is of the Mark ‘Polo’ Boulden Memorial in 2003. I don’t remember much about the meeting itself, but I do remember walking along the white tyres in the car park after the meeting and asking my Dad if we could go along again the following week.’ It’s often the case where it’s not the meeting that captures you, but the whole experience. ‘After that, we went to pretty much every meeting at Arena until 2008,’ Jordan reflects. ‘Back then, Arena had a strong driver base with some quality teams as well. It meant that every meeting was well subscribed and you always had some great action as well – standing on the pit bend was always my favourite place to watch from.’

The passion continued to blossom for Jordan from there, and unfortunately dreams of racing himself didn’t take fruition so he explored other ways to enjoy his racing. ‘I obviously loved the sport and loved attending race meetings with my dad. It didn’t matter whether it was a stock car/banger meeting, or a BTCC event at Brands Hatch – I just loved it! Like most other kids growing up, I had aspirations of racing myself, but then I realised that would not be possible; I thought what could I do? I think I was in year 9 at school, and my head teacher gave an assembly about how many adults don’t like their job and he didn’t want that for any of us. It was at that point I decided I wanted to pursue a career in sports journalism and media – specifically with the motorsport element. I think I wrote one article when I was about 15 and shared it on Ovalbangerchat, asking for people’s feedback. People seemed to enjoy it, which was a massive boost! A couple of months later, Matt Josey (Caged founder) was on OvalTalk if I recall correctly and he was speaking about Caged! and how he required reporters for the website. I sent him a message with a couple of articles and he made me a part of the team. I’d say that was around 2017 – the rest they say is history!’
That’s certainly a great way to sum it all up – many meeting reports, previews and interviews later, Jordan begun earning a wage for his talents seeing him work his way up to becoming a writer for Eurosport. Jordan values the work he did with oval racing as being a great contributer to getting him where he is now. ‘It all worked as practice for me. It’s a bit like anything really, the more you do it, the better you become. On top of that, my name was getting more exposure, which is a massive part of getting started in journalism, or any other media work. With Bangers and short circuit oval racing in general, it’s all about knowing your audience – what works well and what doesn’t. Writing the articles helped me define my writing style. It was important to keep things simple but also sophisticated, while trying to bring out the excitement and drama of the race meeting within the writing. That way, the audience stays engaged and reads the entire piece. That’s the most important part. With social media constantly evolving, it’s key to try and stay on top of things – for example, what’s trending or what people are talking about. You then have to adapt that to fit with your audience – that way you get both fans of your sport, and people that are just looking at the latest trending news, interacting with your post, so there is slight differences to normal media, but the principle remains the same. The interviews were always good fun though. They helped me understand the importance of both having a good name and maintaining relationships with people as well. That is essential in my line of work, and indeed, the media industry in general. I guess it’s similar to the phrase, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Having professional relationships is a massive part of the job and makes things a lot easier – whether that be a relationship with a client or a colleague at work. Nobody will want to talk/work with you if you’re rude or unprofessional – it sounds very basic, but it is arguably one of the most important parts of the job.’

In Jordan’s line of work, he covers all crevices of the motorsport world, and as previously mentioned, is also a fan of most motorsport. I thought it would be interesting to get his perspective of how he feels bangers and short-oval racing is viewed as a collective whole compared to other forms of racing. ‘I actually think it’s viewed pretty well. Of course, some people will have their perceptions of it, but some of the top names in motorsport still have worked, or still work within our side of the sport. David Addison is a prime example of this. Most would know him from his commentary duties on ITV for the BTCC, where he often throws in some oval racing facts – especially when drivers who have raced on the ovals are on screen. The BTCC has had an affiliation with the world of short-circuit oval racing – most recently apparent with the BTCC drivers race at November’s BriSCA Gala Night. We’ve also seen the likes of Matt Simpson and Carl Boardley step up into the BTCC and produce strong results. It’s not just limited to the BTCC either. David Croft often strikes comparisons to the F1 Stock Cars when someone has damaged their rear wing. A couple of years ago, Sky Sports F1 actually filmed a short piece that included Robert Kubica and George Russell driving an F1 Stock Car at Northampton. There was the recent Top Gear episode involving Freddie Flintoff racing an F1 Stock Car at Kings Lynn. All of these provide great exposure for the sport as a whole. I guess Bangers are potentially a little more difficult to do stuff with, but we have still had some great documentaries on mainstream TV in recent years.’

Jordan makes a very valid point towards the end there. We have seen National Hot Rods and F1 Stock Cars gain a lot of traction in mainstream media over recent years, but that’s not fully transpired to the Bangers – how does he feel that this could change? ‘With the growth and popularity of social media nowadays, there is definitely an avenue there to push it. Trackstar and Spedeworth use their social media channels very well – it’s a great way of not only engaging with fans, but also people that may have never heard of banger racing before. Social media is also essentially a free platform to use as well – which is certainly a bonus! The sport has grown massively on social media over the last few years with the various Facebook pages that are getting some great engagement figures, so it’s already happening. It’s all about promotion, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be social media based, but I’d say that’s the main aspect to focus on.’

Talking about the various Facebook pages, which includes ourselves in that bracket, Jordan mentions the impact and responsibility that we have. ‘Pages like ourselves have a responsibility to help to show the sport in a positive light, and that is something we’ve prided ourselves on over the years. I think the overall impact has also been positive. People will see a clip we’ve put up, and think that banger racing looks good, I’ll see if there is some going on nearby. These people could then go to a track and really enjoy their day and become repeat fans – this keeps tracks running, which is great considering how many we have lost recently. It’s not just about bringing new fans into the sport, it is about keeping current fans engaged. I’m not sure whether there is anything more we can do really. We just need to keep going as we are. As long as we enjoy producing content, and people enjoying watching, listening and reading it, that’s all we can do.’

I rewound the interview slightly to discuss with Jordan about what it is about bangers that pulls him back, given the fact her watches a vast variety of motorsport racing. ‘Banger racing just provides a form of escapism. I often find if I’m worried about something or have been feeling a bit down, then going racing helps. Watching cars smash into each other is also an adrenaline rush – you often go to a meeting not knowing what to expect. I just love that sense of anticipation before a meeting/race. It’s just unpredictable! The open access you have at a meeting is also very cool! There aren’t many other forms of motorsport where you can go and chat to the drivers and see the work that goes on in the pits.’

It was then time to ask the question – who would Jordan have in his dream 6 a side team? ‘That’s a tough one!’ Jordan admits. ‘We have seen so many top class drivers over the years, but I’ll have to go with 13 Pieter Liestra, 47 Andrew Davies, 120 Shane Brown, 331 Jason Jackson, 555 Roy Rawlins and 617 Jack Overy.’ Now that’s a solid looking team which would take some beating for sure – Jordan provides his reason’s for choosing them. ‘Growing up at Arena Essex in the mid noughties, I saw Boxer dominate. I think he won pretty much every Final – well, it seemed that way anyway. Despite what people may think, he also got involved in the action when he needed to also. You only need to look at how well his is doing in the 2L Hot Rods to see how much of a top class driver he is. I was a big fan of Andrew Davies growing up as well. He was a seriously quick driver wherever he raced, and when needed to, could also get stuck in. He won the Pre 70 DD at the Kev Waller Memorial last year with a fantastic performance! Shane Brown’s CV speaks for himself really. Autospeed World Champion and Saloon Stock Car World Champion among countless other solo and team titles, with his time in Team Blitz. The man was a serious pilot! He could race and wreck and would be a pivotal member to anyone’s team line up. Peewee is just a legend! He always had a smile on his face no matter how the meeting went. His exploits at Firecrackers in particular were always tremendous. His retirement meeting at Kings Lynn a few years ago showed how respected he was by his fellow drivers and fans alike. Roy Rawlins was a true entertainer! He’d get wrecked and just sit in the car reading a newspaper. He also has a ‘never say die attitude.’ which would be perfect for a team meeting. There probably isn’t much to say about Jack Overy that hasn’t already been said. A racer and a wrecker – his performance at the 2009 PRI World Final was incredible. He put on a brilliant display in a trademark Mk2 Granada at a time when the Ford Mondeo was starting to dominate National Bangers. There are lots more drivers who I could have included – can I have a B team?’ Jordan jokes.

He concluded the interview with a few notes of appreciation. ‘I’d like to say thank you to everyone who supports the page and website. It’s kind of crazy to see where it’s at from where it first started. From a selfish point of view, thank you to everyone that has helped me along the way. Working at Caged gave me the confidence I never really knew I had, and has helped me into my dream career.’ We would like to say a huge thank you to Jordan as well for his contributions over the years, it has always been greatly appreciated.

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