One of the overwhelming successes from the South Coast Hydraulics banger league at Arlington this season has been the number of young drivers coming through to challenge the established old guard.
The latest is 21 year old Aaron ‘Smiler’ Godfree.
The first thing to address is that moniker of ‘Smiler’. Normally such a name is given in irony because the recipient is a miserable ‘soing-so’, but in this instance it is deserved as in every circumstance Aaron has a positive beaming smile on his face.
Godfree has served just as a mechanic for his friend and work colleague, multi champion Rob Haines, but this season with the help of sponsor Riggs Plant, he has taken the next step and dipped his toe gradually and methodically in the water.
Preferring to only drive Rovers has restricted Godfree’s opportunities. but when such a car has come up he has taken each chance to garner more experience with both hands.
Despite only limited times on the grid he has taken to the oval circuits like a natural, improving with each spirited performance. With his amiable personality, the home crowd have been cheering on the rookie in encouragement for his first win.
After several promising efforts, that first win almost came a few weeks back. With some consistent driving he had got to the front of the pack and was leading the race for several laps.
In the final stages, just as it seemed he would collect his first trophy, his mentor Haines spun him out and took the chequered flag himself.
Whilst harsh, it did teach Godfree a valuable lesson. A lesson he had clearly learnt when he raced at Aldershot Raceway last week. On that occasion, once he hit the front he maintained his composure to come home first.
But there was more to the story than just the win. On the morning of the meeting, the engine on Godfree’s Rover developed a problem. Haines offered him one of his spare cars, which was gratefully accepted.
Out in Haines’ colours meant that with his championship grade, Godfree had to then start at the rear of the grid. With this handicap, the prodigy still won, which begs the question is a move to the racing colours of Haines’ team and Hondas going to be permanent?
Having accepted an invitation to race in this year’s winter series in the capital, we’re soon going to find out.