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Paras Racing

Paras Racing hit by double trouble

Support Our Paras Racing and Derek Palmer endured what could best be described as a “character building” weekend in the latest round of the British Touring Car Championship at Knockhill.

Forced to retire in races one and three, and shunted off-track in races one and two, Palmer and his team were left frustrated and reflecting on what might have been.

“This is the first weekend that the pace of the car has been very, very good,” Palmer — whose TENA Men-backed Infiniti Q50 is prepared by injured ex-servicemen from the Parachute Regiment, with all team profits being donated to Support Our Paras, the official Regiment charity — explained.

“The car felt very strong right through the whole weekend. The pace was there, but the frustrating thing was we just couldn’t translate it into a result.

“The boys did an absolutely fantastic job all weekend, and they deserved far more than what we got. The balance of the car was good, and it felt strong; and but for the actions of a couple of other drivers, we’d have delivered some really strong results.”

In the day’s opening race at the 1.27-mile circuit in Fife, Palmer had eased himself up to 19th from 24th on the grid before he was spun on lap nine of the scheduled 24 following contact from the side by the Toyota of Stewart Lines.

The impact pitched Palmer, the 28-year-old Zurich-based Scot from Lesmahagow, into the gravel, and though he managed to rejoin the track he was immediately forced to retire as his car had suffered rear left suspension damage.

In race two, Palmer was denied a potential top 15 result when, again, he was pitched off the track when the Toyota of Robb Holland hit him from behind exiting the Hairpin.

Paras racingThe impact propelled Palmer’s car on to the soggy sloping grassy infield. Beached and unable to gain any traction, the Scot ultimately dropped a lap while marshals pushed his car back on to the track.

“The impact from Robb ruined my race,” Palmer, who eventually finished third-fastest BTCC rookie and 21st overall, explained. “I got beached in the boggy grass on the infield, the car was slithering and sliding about all over the place and I couldn’t get any traction.

“Thankfully the marshals came and pushed me back on to the track, but by that time I’d gone a lap down.

“I’d made a good start, made up about three places and was tucked up right on the rear bumper of Jack Goff, who had Tom Ingram right in front of him.

“I knew they were two good, fast, sensible guys to have in front of me and I knew we’d make progress through the field. The fact Tom went on to finish 13th and Jack 14th shows how far up we potentially could have finished.

“And to rub salt into the wound, it’s not helped by the fact Rob went on to finish 16th!”

To round off a miserable weekend for the team, racing on its home circuit in the BTCC for the first time, Palmer was forced to retire after 15 laps of the final race when his car suffered a broken driveshaft.

“Naturally it’s been disappointing, but in motorsport sometimes you get race weekends like this,” Palmer admitted.

“The main thing is we dust ourselves down and come back out fighting ready to deliver on-track when we head to Rockingham in a fortnight.”

Photos: Copyright Jakob Ebrey

Fern White Show

The Fern White Show

We have been fortunate enough to be selected as one of the chosen charities for The Fern White Show for the last few years.

The show is a horse show, which was established in 2012 to raise funds for The Parachute Regiment Charity and Riding for the Disabled following the death of Fern White.  Fern was a keen horse woman and along with her daughter, her two ponies meant the world to her.  Fern’s father was a PARA back in the day and is currently the Secretary of one of The Parachute Regimental Association Branches, so supporting the Regiment was something that Fern had always been passionate about.

Fern White ShowThe day is jam packed with classes for riders of all ages and a number of different prizes on offer.  This year’s show took place in July and the charity received a generous £700 following the success on the day.

The date for next year has already been announced and will take place on 10 July 2016.  For more information, or to sign up visit The Fern White Show’s website.


ParasRacing storms to season best in the sun

Support Our Paras Racing and Derek Palmer battled to a series of season-best results in their debut year in the British Touring Car Championship. The team left Snetterton with its best overall finish, 15th, and with Palmer having moved into second place in the race for the prestigious Jacks Sears Trophy for BTCC rookies.

The Mallory Park-based TENA Men-backed team’s race cars are prepared by injured ex-servicemen from the Parachute Regiment, with all team profits being donated to Support Our Paras, the official Regiment charity.

“Yeh it’s been a great day for the team,” Palmer — who finished top rookie in the day’s second race, sandwiched between two second places — said. “But the frustrating thing is, it could have been even better.”

In the day’s opening race, under cloudless blue Norfolk skies, Palmer was on course for a comfortable top 20 finish when his Infiniti was tapped into a spin by Rob Holland’s Toyota.

Palmer, the 28-year-old Zurich-based Scot from Lesmahagow nursed his damaged car home to a frustrating 23rd.

“It’s frustrating, but I guess that’s touring car racing,” he explained. “It was annoying, but Rob and I spoke afterward. It was just one of those unfortunate racing incidents: he didn’t have anywhere to go apart from tapping me.

“Unfortunately the contact spun me and I ended up losing four or five places. Without the spin I’d probably have finished anywhere between 16th and 19th, it was so close.”

Starting 25th, Palmer took advantage of the day’s chaotic second race to deliver his, and the team’s, best result of the season finishing 15th overall, and top rookie, despite his car having no power-steering.

“I did the whole 12-lap race, on the 2.96-mile circuit, without power steering after I felt it go on the warm-up lap,” Palmer continued. “It was knackering.

“I was stewed in the car in the opening race, so thankfully we ran with the windows open a bit in Race 2, otherwise I think I’d have passed out with the effort.

“It was carnage out there over the opening couple of laps. It was a case of making sure I didn’t get caught up in somebody else’s accident.

“But it’s a real pity. I’m obviously stoked to have got our best finish of the season, and score our first overall championship points having finished 15th, but it should really have been 13th … or even better.”
And there was further frustration for Palmer in the day’s finale when, having started 15th and holding 16th, his Infiniti was nudged into a spin by the Honda of championship contender Gordon Shedden on the second lap.

Copyright Jakob Ebrey

The impact spun Palmer’s Infiniti which was then hit on the right-hand side damaging the steering and demoting the Scot to 23rd.

“Shedden was trying to come through the pack, having started from 26th on the grid, but I had nowhere else to go at the part of the circuit where he caught me,” Palmer explained. “You can’t really get out of the way.

“Obviously I’m not going to hold him up, because he’s fighting for the championship, but there was nowhere for me to go.
“Once turned, I then got clattered on the right-hand side and the impact damaged the car’s steering: that dropped me back from 16th to 25th.

“It was a pity, because I’d made a good start from 15th and was settling into the race. Then the car was hit and damaged.”
To compound Palmer’s misery, having fought back to 21st and eyeing another top 20 finish, his car then suffered a front-right puncture two laps from the end.

“It was a pretty miserable end to the race,” Palmer continued, “but I managed to get the car back to the pits and the Paras quickly changed the wheel.

“They got me out and I ended up finishing 23rd, which is frustrating given the fact I was 16th before my car was rammed up the rear. Overall it was a pretty difficult Race 3.

“But we scored points this weekend, notched our best finish of the season with 15th in Race 2, and I’ve moved up to second in the race for the Jack Sears Trophy.

“Though I’m disappointed at the moment, when I reflect back on the weekend, I know I’ll be pleased with what we achieved.”

Photos: Copyright Jakob Ebrey

HAC Dinner – 14 July 2015

A great night was had by all at the SUPPORT OUR PARAS Charity Dinner on 14 July 2015 at the Honourable Artillery Company in London.

HAC DinnerGuests were greeted with a champagne reception and displays in the courtyard.  We were joined by serving soldiers, who spoke to guests about what it takes to join the regiment and what sort of kit they use on a daily basis.  We were also very pleased to have the Airborne Museum in Duxford, to talk guests through The Parachute Regiment’s history.  To top it all off, one of the BTCC Paras Racing cars was on show, as well as The Parachute Regiment’s Bobsleigh team, complete with bobsleigh!

HAC DinnerAlthough Air Traffic Control windows closed on the Red Devils Freefall Display, guests were treated to a performance from The Parachute Regiment band before heading inside for dinner.

Each table was hosted by a serving member of The Parachute Regiment, and the room was addressed by Lt Gen John Lorimer DSO MBE, Colonel Commandant.  After a three-course meal, our guest speaker, Martin Hewitt, got up to say a few words.  Martin served eight years as a commissioned officer with The Parachute Regiment before being wounded in Afghanistan.  Since he left the Regiment, Martin has successfully trekked to the geographic North Pole with HRH Prince Harry; he was the first disabled person to reach the summit of Mt Manaslu and attempted the summit of Everest.  He has made the records books on a number of occasions and we were delighted that he was able to join us and treat our guests to such a wonderful speech.

HAC DinnerThe final event of the night was the Auction, where guests were able to bid for items such as a Tandem Day with the Red Devils, a weekend with the Paras Racing team at Silverstone and a beautiful piece of Airborne jewellery.

To view a selection of photographs from the evening, please click here.  Our thanks to Craig Allen for capturing the night for us.

SUPPORT OUR PARAS would like to extend a very big thank you to everyone who came and supported us on the night.  It is with the generosity of our supporters that we are able to continue to support our Paratroopers in a way they deserve.

HAC Dinner


Paras Racing duo impress at Croft

Both Support Our Paras Racing drivers, Derek Palmer and Max Coates, impressed in the latest rounds of the Dunlop British Touring Car Championship at Croft, scoring points in both the Independents Championship, and Jack Sears Trophy.

Coates, the 21-year-old from Scorton, who lives just five miles from the North-east circuit, improved throughout the weekend despite only sitting in his No71 Infiniti Q50 for the first time on Saturday morning.

And backed by a posse of family and friends, Coates not only achieved his principal objective of the weekend — completing all three races without damaging the car — he bagged his first Top 20 finish in the day’s finale.

The North Yorkshireman also scored points in two of the races in the Independents Trophy, and on all three occasions in the Jack Sears Trophy for BTCC rookies.

“At the beginning of the week I didn’t know anything about the car: and now I’ve just had my first top 20 finish,” Coates said as he shielded his eyes from the late afternoon sun which drenched Croft.

“I’m properly made up.

“At the start of the week, I didn’t think my smile could get any bigger, but it has. I’ve improved with every session, so I’m pleased with my overall performance. It felt really, really good, and that has made me seriously excited about the next race at Snetterton.

“I started the weekend in the 1min 29.7s and finished on a 27.2s, so it’s a big difference. I haven’t seen the times, but I’m sure the gap to the lead times is now closer than it was at the beginning.”

In actual fact, in qualifying, Coates’ gap to the polesitter was 3.440s: in Race 3 the gap was just 1.914s to the fastest lap of Matt Neal.

“It’s more than 12 months since I raced,” Coates smiled, “but I now feel like I’m a racing driver again. And it’s a brilliant feeling.”

While Coates bagged two third places and one fourth in the Jack Sears, team-mate Palmer not only finished 19th overall in the day’s finale, but he also scored a second, third and fourth in the Jack Sears.

The 28-year-old Zurich-based Scot from Lesmahagow now stands third in the race for the prestigious Jack Sears Trophy.

But Palmer endured a battle-scarred weekend as his No22 car was pummelled and battered as he mixed it in his debut on the high-speed, technical track.

“A tough, tough weekend,” he admitted. “It’s been rewarding, but ultimately it could have been so much better.

“There were a couple of times I paid the price for being in the wrong place and being collected in someone else’s accident, and in the second race the performance of my soft-compound tyres dropped off dramatically and I lost places.”

After an impressive start in Race 1, Palmer’s progress was halted at the chicane on the second lap when his Q50 was punted from the rear. The impact catapulted him into the rear of Stewart Lines, spinning the Toyota and badly damaging Palmer’s car.

The Scot though recovered from having dropped around 12-seconds, and rejoining in last place, to battle back to finish 22nd, just 1.569s behind Coates.

Support our Paras RacingThe Mallory Park-based TENA Men-backed team’s race cars are prepared by injured ex-servicemen from the Parachute Regiment, with all team profits being donated to SUPPORT OUR PARAS, the official Regiment charity.

And after the Paras completed major repairs to Palmer’s car for the second race, he found himself clipped by another car before a half-spin late in the race due to his deteriorating tyres  saw him drop back to finish 23rd.

In the day’s finale, Palmer made a bad start, thanks to not being able to see all the lights on the start gantry from his grid position, but battled through to battle for 18th.

Despite clearly having the faster car, the Scot was unable to get passed the Toyota of Simon Belcher and had to content himself with 19th.

“It’s very difficult to pass round here without making contact, and I got stuck behind Simon for something like the last six laps,” Palmer continued.

“I could get close, but I just couldn’t get passed without risking damaging both our races. That said, Simon drove brilliantly defensively when he had to, so hats off to him. It was frustrating though because I was clearly a lot quicker than he was.

“I’d opened a healthy two-second gap over Max behind me, but once I got stuck behind Simon, Max was able to close right back up. And that was my progress halted.

“But yeh, overall, we’re here, we’re racing and we’ve made more steps in the right direction.”

Photos: Copyright Jakob Ebrey