Damon Wellman will defend his 2LTR Hot Rod World title at the Foxhall Heath Stadium this weekend as part of the Ipswich Spedeweekend.
Wellman clinched the World Championship at the Lochgelly Raceway in a chaotic race that was restarted twice. He not only had to negotiate the two restarts, but he also came under increasing amounts of pressure from Gordon Alexander and Northern Irishman Adam Best as the contest progressed.
As the trio entered the final lap nose-to-tail, contact between all three at the final corner led to a drag race towards the chequered flag in one of the most closely fought 2LTR hot Rod World Finals in recent years.
Wellman recalls last year’s race by describing it as ‘one of the most contested Championships that the 2LTR Hot Rods have had.’
“I’ve been doing the 2LTR’s for a long time now.” said Wellman. “We started on pole last year, so therefore you’re going into the race knowing that you’re starting in the right place effectively. But the quick guys from memory were Adam Best – one of the Northern Irish guys, and Gordon Alexander. Now, of course he was defending because he was current World Champion at the time, so I was up against it.
“The race itself, in reality for me, was relatively comfortable up until about five laps from the end but everybody will tell you, it wouldn’t matter if it was 100 laps – it’s where you are on the last lap that matters. The other 99, in reality don’t matter, racing is all about where you are at the end and you need to be at the front.”
As World Champion, he admits that he thinks he’s done as much as he could this year, to promote the formula and to be a good World Champion.
Speaking about his year, he said: “I didn’t want to just turn up and do the World Final again as it were. We’ve travelled as much as we could, we did Northern Ireland and we’ve been back to Scotland. We went back a few weeks ago for the European, we didn’t have much luck in that one but we did win the Scottish Open.
“It’s been a good year; I’ve had to start every race off the back but that’s a challenge. It’s not the easiest, the formula is monstrously competitive but that’s great, that’s what we’re all out there for. The car’s been good to be fair, we’ve made some development changes and we’ve moved forward a little bit, so yeah – it’s been a good year.”
With such an impressive calibre of drivers booked in to contest the World Final this weekend, with drivers from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Holland, Germany, and South Africa – Wellman admitted that ‘every car on that grid is not only a rival, but your main rival.’
“You’ve got the top eight or 10 cars from every promotion there this weekend,” he said. “They’re not the top cars because they’re not competitive, they are the best at what they do. So, the reality is if there’s 40 cars on the grid, 39 of them are my top competitors.”
With two reverse grid qualifying heats deciding the grid for the World Final, Wellman admitted, ‘It does make a difference if you’re at the front, but it’s not always the best place to be.’
“On short oval, there’s a lot of things you need to have on your side and luck is one of them,” said Wellman. Not getting tangled up in someone else’s accident is a big one, the European a few weeks ago at Lochgelly was restarted four times so it just goes to show you that it’s not just about having the fastest car, it’s not just about being the fastest driver and it’s not just about starting on pole. You’ve got to have the luck to go with it.”
You can listen to the rest of Damon Wellman’s interview later this week as part of our Spedeweekend 2019 preview podcast!
By Jordan Hollands.