Former British Touring Car racer Smiley joined the likes of title protagonist Ant Whorton-Eales in the JamSport tam’s line-up at Snetterton where he took eighth and seventh places finishes in the two races there. That was after qualifying sixth and fourth fastest on the two grids.
Smiley commented: “I’ve never raced at Rockingham but I want to be on the podium this weekend.
“Snetterton was a case of learning how the tyres work over a race distance plus of course you’re racing against people you’ve never raced against before, some who’ve already done a lot of miles in these cars – it takes a bit of time to get a feel for a new environment.
“But I think we can be in with a chance of a top three at Rockingham. We’re chasing tenths of a second, not full seconds, and aren’t a million miles away.”
For Mini Miglia series leader Deegan, much of Snetterton was spent adapting to the UK Clio Cup car’s extra power as well as its technically-advanced steering wheel-mounted six-speed paddle gear shift. Sixteenth and 18th in qualifying became 15th and 17th in the two races in his Team Cooksport-run machine.
Deegan said: “I want at least one top-ten finish at Rockingham. I actually ran inside the top ten briefly at Snetterton but came off second best in a clash with someone else which put me back.
“There was a lot to learn – particularly the technicalities of the car and I had to adapt my driving style quite a bit – but we’ve now bought the Cooksport car we raced there with the full season in mind for 2017.
“For Rockingham I’d like to get the car to oversteer a bit more – that’s more my style. I’ve got a bit of experience of the track too in Stock Hatches when I got a win and a second place after being punted down to 26th! So I know it’s possible to pass around there…”