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Why a nationwide racer will get extra pleasure from giving again to motorsport

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Dan Cammish’s lack of his Crew Dynamics drive on the eve of the 2021 British Touring Car Championship campaign, amid Honda and different crew sponsors withdrawing, was one of many shocks of that low season. But it set in movement a sequence of occasions that has led one seasoned System Ford 1600 racer to assist gifted drivers deal with the age-old drawback of motorsport being too costly.

When Cammish came upon the shock information, it was too late for him to safe the funding to stay on the BTCC grid and he as an alternative sought to make a Porsche Carrera Cup GB return. However he was nonetheless in need of the funds required and turned to long-time buddy and single-seater competitor Chris Hodgen for assist.

“I used to be sponsored by an organization known as Basic Visitors, which is an enormous automotive retailer, and I spoke to them and mentioned, ‘Is there one thing we might work on?’” recollects Hodgen. “And so they mentioned, ‘Effectively, really, we’re nearly to signal the contract to have the unique distribution rights for Duckhams.’

“They mentioned if this deal went forward, they’d want to advertise the actual fact they’re again in enterprise and this might be an incredible alternative for a comparatively cost-effective sum of money to get the model again into the forefront of motorsport. We agreed the take care of Duckhams and obtained all of it signed off.”

And positive sufficient, Cammish was again on the Porsche grid with a automotive bedecked within the iconic blue and yellow colors of Duckhams, a model that had been mothballed for 20 years after being concerned in sponsoring the works Van Diemen FF1600 crew and the likes of Ari Vatanen within the World Rally Championship. Its comeback made for fairly a narrative – simply as Cammish’s performances within the Carrera Cup additionally did, the Yorkshireman going on to snare a third title up in opposition to some robust opposition.

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Duckhams deal Hodgen brokered helped to get Cammish again racing – and profitable – on Porsche Carrera Cup GB return in 2021

Picture by: JEP / Motorsport Images

These performances ensured Cammish was in demand, and he secured a BTCC return with the Motorbase-run NAPA Racing squad. However this introduced an issue for Duckhams and Hodgen: with NAPA being a rival model, the take care of Cammish couldn’t proceed.

“Dan received the championship and so they obtained a little bit bit hooked on it,” says Hodgen, who now wanted another person to fly the Duckhams flag. Luckily, he had been contacted by rising star Adam Smalley, who had received that yr’s Ginetta GT4 Supercup and was seeking to graduate to the Carrera Cup.

“The entire goal [of the scheme he developed with Yuasa and Car Finance 247, alongside Duckhams] is to try to discover sponsorship and assist underfunded drivers,” Hodgen continues. “Adam labored very laborious to win the Porsche Junior scholarship, and that’s a superb chunk of cash in direction of the funds, however there’s nonetheless loads of work to do to get the funds wanted to get to that subsequent degree. However it’s simple to again somebody like Adam as a result of he works so laborious and he’s such an incredible character.”

“I get 5 or 10 proposals per week from drivers asking for sponsorship and it frustrates me that on a regular basis it’s about ‘me, me, me’. They neglect it’s not about them”
Chris Hodgen

The scheme additionally expanded to a second automotive, with Hodgen enabling 2020 Walter Hayes Trophy victor Oliver White to lastly make the development from FF1600 into sportscars. And extra success adopted when Smalley completed runner-up in 2022 earlier than profitable the Carrera Cup title final yr. The partnership is now persevering with as he progresses to British GT this season in a Storage 59-run McLaren 720S GT3.

However the Duckhams Yuasa Racing set-up options extra than simply some stickers on a automotive, and is all designed to offer the businesses concerned a tangible reward for his or her funding.

“We’ve obtained some actually good publicity for Duckhams, they’ve elevated their gross sales by 300/400% over the time frame we’ve been working collectively,” Hodgen explains. “We’ve tried to make use of the Carrera Cup as a platform to drive gross sales. We’ve obtained plenty of incentives – for instance, the extra [Duckhams products] you bought, the extra you bought invited to races, you bought presents. In direction of the top of the yr, we did some mannequin vehicles and we had been very proactive attempting to drive gross sales.”

Hodgen is now attempting to unfold that message in regards to the significance of understanding the enterprise of racing in different methods, too. He has created a driver administration company, Seventy7, alongside Cammish, and work together with sponsors is on the forefront of its steering.

Hodgen (left) thoroughly enjoys supporting Smalley’s career

Hodgen (left) completely enjoys supporting Smalley’s profession

Picture by: JEP / Motorsport Images

“We are able to assist different younger drivers, not essentially simply on the driving expertise but in addition the commercialisation of it and attempting to get them to know what sponsors are searching for, what are the returns on funding a model is searching for,” says Hodgen. “I get 5 or 10 proposals per week from drivers asking for sponsorship and it frustrates me that on a regular basis it’s about ‘me, me, me’. They neglect it’s not about them.”

In the end, Hodgen views all this work as giving one thing again to a sport he has cherished ever since following his uncle Rob Moores round when he competed in F3 within the Seventies and Eighties.

“I by no means had the funding to do [top-level] nationwide motorsport and I’ve run a advertising and marketing company now for 25 years, so I perceive the data that’s wanted to talk to sponsors,” he concludes. “Dan was the primary recipient of that however that’s what it was about, simply giving one thing again and utilizing a few of my experience to assist underfunded drivers.

“I most likely get extra enjoyment seeing Adam crossing the road first or Dan crossing the road first than I ever do after I race since you really feel you’ve helped somebody obtain their dream.”

Hodgen reckons he gets just as much if not more joy from Smalley's success than he ever got from his own racing

Hodgen reckons he will get simply as a lot if no more pleasure from Smalley’s success than he ever obtained from his personal racing

Picture by: JEP / Motorsport Images

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