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76 Aaron Cozens

Interview with F1 Stock Car driver 76 Aaron Cozens by Mark Paulson which appeared in the 28 March programme

76 mb (3)

Starting on pole position for tonight’s opening BriSCA Formula One race, their White & Yellow Grade Series Final, will be 76 Aaron Cozens. The front row place has been well-earned by the Cambridgeshire driver who had something of a breakthrough season in 2014. That included securing his first two race wins, both here at King’s Lynn. The first was in a white & yellow grade heat that was part of the meeting proper on 24 May, secured in style with some swashbuckling overtaking moves around the outside.

“That was really good – a good boost,” said the 24-year-old. “The first one, I spun out down the back straight and then rejoined just about dead last, I think. And I just kept picking away and I got through them and won it. It was brilliant. I’d love to know how I drove that race because I’d like to do it again, but I don’t – I haven’t got a clue what happened!

“It was fantastic. It’s a hard sport to learn, if you know what I mean. I didn’t come from any other racing background so we really struggled the first couple of years but last year was a good confidence boost.”

Perseverance certainly seems to be paying off for Aaron, the grandson of Alf Cozens who also raced under the number 76 in the 1960s. It was the family connection that got him involved in the sport in the first place.

“It was my dad really,” he recalled, “and Russell Cooper (415). I used to mechanic for Russell Cooper and then he let me have a go in his car – twice at Skegness and once at Coventry – and we got on quite well in it, to be honest.

“Then when Steve Cayzer’s car came along it was just the perfect car because me and him are the same sort of build. So we went and had a look and bought it. Grandad used to race under number 76 and Dad’s uncle Wilf Blundell (75), he used to race as well. Dad’s always been really into it so when the chance came along we snatched it – got a car and had a go. I just jumped straight into the Formula Ones. It was a bit daunting at first. I think we’re getting there, slowly.

“[Cayzer] was always fast in it, so it was a good car. But we’ve made some slight changes to the suspension this year though so that’ll be interesting to see how that works.”

It will indeed – starting tonight with that W&Y final. How does Cozens rate his chances?

“Fairly good, I would think,” he considered. “If I can get a good start and get away. Keep my cool – I should be ok. I’m really looking forward to it, really ready for it this year. We had a good season last year so I’m quite excited. It worked out really well at King’s Lynn. The car always goes really well round there.”

He knows there will be no shortage of capable drivers in the race though, including a few blue tops who scored qualifying points while in the lower grades last season.

“There’s no slow drivers really,” Cozens commented. “Everyone’s on the pace. You’ve got some of the blue graders at the back – Geoff Nickolls; Ben Hurdman’s in there as well, he’s quite quick. But I think it’s just going to be a case of breaking free and keeping tidy. It’s going to be same for everyone, to be fair.”

Beyond tonight, the Somersham-based mechanic is hoping to build on that progress of last year, making a step or two up the grades while focussing on shale racing, mainly – but not solely – at King’s Lynn and Coventry.

“Absolutely,” said Cozens, adding: “We’re booked in for Stoke as well. We raced at Stoke at the Christmas meeting and got third in the final so that was good. But yeah, we’ll just stick to shale and try and head up to blue. We got yellow top last year so we’ll try and aim for blue this year.

“I’d like to see more racing at King’s Lynn,” he continued. “Like last year, there was a three month gap. Once a month at Lynn would be perfect. It’s my favourite track and I think a lot of the drivers would agree it’s the best shale track. We usually stick to King’s Lynn and Coventry but we’re going to venture to Stoke and Belle Vue later in the year.”

With his racing career on an upward trajectory, that blue roof for the #76 surely can’t be far off.

My thanks go to Aaron for sharing his thoughts, and finally some words from him for those behind the scenes who help make his racing possible: “Thanks to all my sponsors and my team for all the support they’ve given me over the last few years.”



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