It was a weekend of mixed emotions for our hot rod racer Mark Shelper. He exceeded expectations in timed qualifying to secure a respectable start position, but his car suffered a major mechanical failure in the warm-up laps for the big race and he failed to make the start.
Bristol-based Mark, whose 13-year-old Peugeot 206cc is run on a low budget by a family team, defied the odds to qualify for the world championship final at Ipswich.
Saturday (July 2) morning saw him compete in his first ever time trial – to determine grid positions for the world final. And he performed exceptionally well, placing on the 13th row.
But on race day, after the build-up with former champions, a parade lap, and meeting the fans on a public grid walk, it all went wrong during the pre-race warm-up laps. As drivers warmed their engines and tyres on the quater-mile oval track, Mark coasted to a halt on the infield and was unable to take his place on the grid.
“Unfortunately the halfshaft snapped at the most gutting of times,” Mark explained afterwards. “The bearing had exploded and was stuck in the axle.
“But luckily with a massive amount of help from lots of people we managed to JUST get the car fixed and out for the second race which was really enjoyable. We almost got up to fifth but for a car breaking down in front of me. But car felt really good which probably made it worse that we couldn’t see what it was like in the world final.
“Thanks to all my family for coming and to everyone for their kind words about qualifying. Also thanks to everyone who helped us to get the car there. It was disappointing, but a great experience.”
The world final was won by Rob McDonald of Scotland, who took a third successive title. Team Shelper Racing is sponsored by J.B Racing, the Injection Centre, Woodfield Stables and new sponsors Paul Butcher Building Contractor Ltd and James Latham Timber.
The Weltch Media logo has also been on Mark’s Peugeot 206cc this season, continuing our long-standing involvement in motorsport. In the past we have supported Ben Power in the UK Legends Car Championship and James Holman in the Irish Championship. We’ve also backed James in several online iRacing events, and in 2018 we teamed up with Mendips Raceway to present the Weltch Media West of England Hot Rod Championship.
National hot rods are the top level of short track racing in the UK, with sophisticated lightweight production car replicas whose engines produce around 240bhp.