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Leicestershire based Subaru tuner, MD of Roger Clark Motorsport and former Trent College Head of School, Olly Clark, was in a jubilant mood today after netting a simply fantastic ‘fairytale’ win at the world-famous Goodwood Festival of Speed in Chichester last weekend.
The team managed to top the time sheets at this prestigious event, running a completely self-engineered Subaru Impreza STI race-car, boasting over 920bhp. Despite stiff competition from some of the world’s finest and fastest automotive manufacturers and race teams, including a specially factory-prepared McLaren P1 optimised specifically for the event, the RCM team was able to beat them all - netting a run of 46.29 and beating the impressive McLaren, driven by former Indy 500 winner Kenny Bräck, by a healthy 0.78 seconds! This was not only good enough for outright victory on the day, but better still, it gave the team back-to-back winner’s laurels over the last two years. A true underdog story then, and one made all the more special thanks to its close and tangible link to Trent College.
Olly Clark might now be one of the leading lights in British motorsport, but his formative years were actually spent right here at Trent College, where he spent five years as a Wortley House Boarder. While hardly the most obvious place to commence such a high octane career, Trent College undoubtedly played a large role in equipping Olly with the skills needed to succeed in this demanding world, and it should go without saying that the former Head of School more than made a name for himself in his time here.
Although very much a team effort, driver Olly Clark and his brother and Chief Engineer Matt, sons of the late, great British rally legend Roger Clark, were the motive force behind the event-winning run, using the skills honed from their Subaru parts and service business to prepare the car to such an unassailably high standard. Although this year’s time was slightly slower than the 2015 run of 44.91 (due to less clement weather) it was clear that the re-engineered car with its bespoke componentry had plenty left to give. Televised to a global audience, and playing out in front of a wildly applauding 125,000 strong crowd, it was clearly evident that this was also an incredibly popular victory.
After being presented with the winner’s laurels by Lord March himself, Olly was understandably ecstatic with his team’s achievements. “To be here at all is such an honour,” enthused the former 1st XV pupil, “But to WIN here is something that is almost impossible to describe. I feel humbled that we get to race with such amazing names, and it’s fantastic to be on track with so many of my heroes. It’s been a team effort throughout though, with my brother Matt performing literal miracles during the run up to the event and the entire staff at RCM, and our families and sponsors giving more support and assistance than we could have ever asked for. It’s been a literal dream come true – and I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to everybody that got us here.”
Clark, who attended Trent while the school was under the Headship of both Mr Lee and Mr Maltby, before graduating in 1991, made a name for himself thanks to his sporting prowess. Indeed, the Wortley House graduate excelled in a wide variety of physical pursuits, including rugby, tennis and hockey, all sports that demand a degree of discipline and perseverance that's surely just as applicable to the world of professional motorsport.
So what’s next for the team? Well, in addition to being asked to return next year to defend a potential hat-trick title, they are also in discussions with a certain well known BBC2 motoring show with a view to attempting a new lap record. Exciting times ahead for this family firm, then!
Olly Clark extends his winning run at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in his "Gobstopper II" - a Subaru Impreza Time Attack car. Following on from his 2015 win, Clark completed the hillclimb in 46.297secs, crossing the line at 140mph, and edging out Kenny Brack’s McLaren P1 LM! Click here to watch the video.