Team: JHR Developments/ HHC Motorsport
Comment: After winning the Ginetta Scholarship in 2016, Smalley made a solid start to the championship with a string of top 10 results. Though he was rarely close to the top of the order by the chequered flag, he showed clear improvement as the season progressed, taking a fourth place finish in the final race before the summer break. He also picked up a number of rookie wins throughout the term.
Comment: Smalley continued to improve and develop as the season went on. Even when JHR were excluded from the championship and he was forced to change team, Smalley still picked up top results. He even claimed his first podium of the season, a second place at Snetterton. Despite two retirements at Brands Hatch, he finished the year seventh overall and second best rookie.
Overall Grade: C
Best moment of the season: Smalley produced strong performances throughout the Snetterton weekends. Between two fourth place finishes in the first and final races, the rookie picked up his first overall podium of the year. Starting eighth on the grid, he immediately joined the seven car fight for the race lead. On the penultimate lap, aided by a collision between the race leaders, Smalley took third on track, a position he held until the chequered flag. A time penalty for race winner Harry Dyson promoted him to second.
Worst moment of the season: At the end of such a solid season, Smalley’s year ended in disappointment with two retirements at Brands Hatch. The first came in the second race of the weekend on the opening lap. He made contact with Luke Browning as he tried to find a way past and both were sent into spins. Whilst Browning was sent into the gravel, Smalley stopped on track, where Finley Green hit him in the driver side door. All three involved were able to walk away from the incident and HHC repaired Smalley’s car for the final race of the weekend. Race three lasted no longer for Smalley, who was caught up in an incident on the grid which delayed the start of the final race of the weekend. Browning, Matt Luff, and Greg Johnson were also involved, bringing an early end to their year.
Feature credit: Caroline Rhea