Grantham driver Olly Allen completed a thrilling motorsport comeback season by clinching a championship win at one of the world’s most famous circuits.
Garage owner Olly’s victory in the Blue Oval series for classic Fords was the perfect confirmation of his decision to return to the sport after a break of several years while his children were small.
And the victory affirms the faith shown in the talented 34-year-old racer by his supporters and sponsors, Peter Lackey, Xtralis and EMS.
Victory in the final race in the final round of competition on the celebrated Spa track in Belgium at the weekend secured the title win, which Olly proudly adds to three Ford saloon championship crowns he won in his earlier spell on the track.
He said this week: “I was nervous because Spa is a fast and taxing track, especially for the smaller cars like mine.
“But everything turned out well in the end for us.
“I couldn’t have hoped for a better season. It makes me a quadruple champion and I am chuffed to bits to be honest.
“I owe a lot to my main sponsors, Xtralis because I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Olly and his team - dad Phil and mechanics Liam Berry and Chris Nettleton - went into the decisive final rounds in second place in the championship after two wins the previous weekend at Brands Hatch.
The circuit called for a tactical approach from Olly, who knew he had to preserve the 2.0 litre engine and running gear of his mk3 Fiesta on a track with long, punishing uphill straights better suited to more powerful cars sharing the track in races and practice sessions each lasting half-an-hour.
Despite this, he did enough in practice to start the first race in pole position and built an eight second lead.
But he paid a high price for easing off the gas in the final stages and was overhauled by the experienced Pantelis Christoforou at the last lap.
The slip meant the champagne stayed on ice, and Olly then feared he might not get to taste it at all.
He said: “I was still a bit anxious about the engine. I thought, Oh no, the poor old car is just going to have to go again.
“But then, next morning it was raining and I thought, great.
“I love driving in the wet because it separates the men from the boys. The bigger cars can’t use their power advantage and it suits my car and driving style.”
Olly took his opportunity in decisive fashion, lapping six seconds faster than his main race rival ... and finally getting onto the podium for that champagne moment.
Now Olly, who runs ORA Motor Services in Inner Street, Grantham, is planning modifications to the car for next season, hoping to take on a bigger racing challenge.