Mitchell OSCC speed champion

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Trusty wagon . . . James Mitchell with the Mitsubishi Evo 5 he drove during the Mikes Cars Otago Sports Car Club Speed Championship 2016/17. PHOTO: JOSHUA RIDDIFORD

James Mitchell, of Ocean View, has secured the Mike’s Cars Otago Sports Car Club Speed Championship 2016-17 after the final leg of competition at Flagstaff on Saturday was cancelled due to the weather.

Mitchell has been driving competitively for 12 years but this was his first year of 4WD racing and competing in the championship.

The winner of the speed championship was determined based on points accrued by drivers in six hill climbs held between August 2016 and the final event at Church Rd, Omimi, in May.

Mitchell won three of the hill climbs outright and was placed in the top three of the other events.

Despite being a first-time competitor, winning the championship was a goal for Mitchell at the start of the season so he was pleased to “knock it off.”

He said winning the first hill climb of the series at Cape Saunders was a “confidence booster”.

That result also confirmed that his Mitsubishi Evo 5 was fast enough to compete, he said.

Mitchell credited the hard work of his mechanic Casey Irons for the Evo’s good performance during the season.

He said Irons had made the car easy to drive and predictable.

“He’s set the car up really well.”

One of Mitchell’s rare defeats was to former national hill climb champion Bruce Saxton, at the Church Rd hill climb.

Mitchell said he had enjoyed the challenge of footing it with Saxton.

“That was a good day, good battle.”

He was looking forward to testing himself against Saxton again in the 2017-18 championship.

Mitchell also thanked his wife and co-driver Aimee Mitchell for her support.

The 2017-18 championship will begin with a hill climb at Cape Saunders on Sunday, August 27.

Before that event, the OSCC will run a night rally sprint at Hindon, on Saturday, August 19.