Graves Motorsport opened their 2023 racing season with the MINI CHALLENGE UK Trophy Class races at Brands Hatch. With victory in two of the three races it was a very successful start to the year for the team.
Qualifying yielded a front row start for Jack Byrne but team mates Nicky Taylor and Alex Solley weren’t far behind in 5th and 6th. James Black was 11th on his debut whilst Alex Keens was narrowly behind him in 13th. Frankie Taylor, Ben Jenkins and Daniel Armstrong rounded out the Graves runners in 16th, 24th and 26th respectively.
After building a small gap at the front a frantic battle between Jack Byrne and Nicky Taylor ultimately lost the victory with Jack, Nicky and Alex Solley coming home 2nd, 3rd and 4th. The whole team moved forward from their starting positions, James improving to 8th, Frankie 10th, Alex 11th, Ben 22nd and Daniel 25th.
The second race saw a dominant win for Jack Byrne who built up a 5 second margin on his way to victory. Alex Solley rounded out the podium in 3rd with an exceptional drive for Frankie Taylor climbing to 5th. James won the rookie cup class in 6th, Nicky demoted to 7th after a track limits penalty finishing 2nd on the road. Alex Keens was 11th, Ben 17th after more progress and similarly for Daniel Armstrong, improving on his performances on his debut weekend.
The weekend was finished off with another first-time winner, this time Alex Solley, with Jack claiming another podium in 3rd. James Black had his best result of the weekend in 5th, taking another rookie cup win. Nicky was right behind in 6th, Frankie 8th in what was a nose to tail race. Alex Keens and Ben were right together in 17th and 18th with Daniel Armstrong claiming his best finish of the weekend in 20th.
Team manager Sam Pearce said, “What a weekend, as a team we had 5 drivers in the top ten in every race, 2 on the podium in every race and 2 overall race wins, it’s a great start. We were so close to winning all three races so there is a small part of me that thinks what if, and what can we do to win all three next time. We’ll be trying for sure. There was improvement across the weekend for all drivers, it was great to see James claiming the rookie cup honours twice as well as Alex and Jack getting their first race wins with a special mention to Frankie’s race two result.
The MINI CHALLENGE Trophy team are back in action on the 13th and 14th May at the Snetterton’s BARC race meeting where the team will be hoping to continue their success.