LYONS SHOWERED WITH ACCOLADES AT HSCC AWARDS EVENING
Outstanding young racing driver Michael Lyons rounded off a highly successful 2008 in fine style at the Historic Sports Car Club awards evening on Saturday, 22nd November -- the Felsted sensation receiving a total of five trophies in recognition of a phenomenal year.
Held at Whittlebury Hall near Silverstone in Northamptonshire, the ceremony -- which saw former Grand Prix driver Tony Brooks appear as guest of honour -- brought the curtain down on a stunning season of historic race action for 17-year-old Michael.
Not only did he win the Historic Formula Ford Championship at the wheel of a 1971 Merlyn Mk11A last month during Finals Weekend at Silverstone's National Circuit, he was victorious in two classes of the Classic Racing Cars Championship in two separate machines -- a Merlyn Mk10 F2 and the aforementioned Mk11A.
In addition, Michael won the F5000 Class in the prestigious Derek Bell Trophy and he was also awarded a Marque accolade on Saturday night having been acknowledged as the driver who produced the best performance all year at the wheel of a Merlyn.
Speaking at the HSCC awards evening, Michael said: "It's been an outstanding year and I'm obviously delighted to receive five awards. Winning the Formula Ford title was the big highlight for me but there were so many other high-points over the course of the year.
"The HSCC organises fantastic events and I want to thank everyone involved with the club for a tremendous season's racing. I also want to take this opportunity to thank my mum and dad as, without their help, support and guidance I wouldn't be celebrating such a successful year. Huge thanks to my engineer Ritchie Box too for doing such a fantastic job with all of my cars."
Lyons gunning for Formula Renault UK success in 2009
Racing for just two years, Michael has achieved great things in the championships of the HSCC and made headlines in 2007 when he became the youngest ever driver to pilot a Formula One car when racing a Surtees TS9B at the Nurburging in Germany. He has also competed at the world-famous Monaco Grand Prix Circuit in Monte Carlo, driving a Hesketh.
While he plans to continue participating in historic circles alongside his father Frank and mother Judy, the Essex teenager does now have his sights set on attempting to establish a career in contemporary single-seaters.
Away from the HSCC events, Michael has this year been racing in the Formula Renault BARC Championship with Derbyshire team Hillspeed and also made the step-up to the full Formula Renault UK series earlier this month during the four-round Winter Championship.
Making great strides forward in Formula Renault, he secured a best race result of 10th position during the final round of the recent winter series and is now focused on competing in the full Formula Renault UK Championship -- which supports the UK's biggest motor racing series, the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship -- in 2009.
Having already proven his undoubted racing skill and natural ability, Michael is hopeful his superbly successful year will go a long way to helping him attract the required backing to climb the contemporary motor racing ladder and follow the likes of Formula One stars Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton, former Formula Renault UK Champions in 2000 and 2003 respectively.
"It's been a superb year for me and now we want to step up a level but to do that we need to attract more sponsorship", said Michael, "Formula Renault UK is a huge championship and so many drivers have gone on to Formula One from it. Now we're working hard to secure the budget to race in Formula Renault UK next year -- we'd love to hear from any sponsors!"
Next on the agenda for Michael is winter testing in Formula Renault UK over the coming weeks.