Michael Boak is not a man who likes to follow convention. He’s used to doing things his own way.
And now, having achieved self-built success in British Supernational and Super1600 events, after a short period away from rallycross as a driver, he’s set to make a return in 2022, in the headline Supercar category.
Unlike his previous self-built efforts, for his full-time Supercar bow Boak has acquired a Skoda Fabia Supercar originally built by German team Volland Racing and, with the car run by his own MB Motorsport concern, is set to contest selected British Rallycross Championship 5 Nations Trophy and BTRDA Clubmans Rallycross Championship events this year.
Bought just before Christmas, the Fabia has been most recently campaigned by Dutch driver Adrian Boele in European Autocross Championship events, and is in the throes of being converted to rallycross trim by Boak’s team.
“It’s a natural progression to aim for the top of the sport and I’m lucky to have a great team behind me so the time is just right to step up to Supercar. After always driving self-built and developed cars we wanted a car that was already developed, but still wanted something a little different. When the Fabia came up for sale it ticked all the boxes,” Boak told RallycrossWorld.
“The plan is to do plenty of testing for me to learn a left-hand-drive car, and we will do the Clubman 4×4 Championship this year, with selected rounds of the British Championship. Then the aim is to do the British Championship in full in 2023. It will be a massive achievement for the team to race in Supercar after a lot of hard work, and a dream come true for me.”
It’s fitting that Boak’s latest project has autocross links, the discipline in which he began his competitive career in the North East of England some two decades ago, with a self-prepared Volkswagen Golf MK1.
That Golf was then used in rallycross, first in the Clubmans series in 2003, but what the Geordie is arguably most famous for is the car that superseded the Golf, a tubular space-frame Audi TT built specifically for rallycross.
The 1.8-litre, front-wheel-drive, turbo-charged TT was debuted at the Pembrey round of the British Rallycross Championship’s then Super Modified division in July 2004.
Over subsequent years, Boak became a front-runner in the series, regularly making podium appearances and performing giant-killing acts by making Superfinals, racing against the leading Supercars of the era.
The first decade of the millennium was home to some big-budget Super Modified efforts, but Boak’s home-built creation held its own.
He endured a weekend-ending accident at Lydden Hill in 2005, but 2006 he was best-of-the-rest behind a dominant Dave Bellerby in an all-conquering Lotus Exige.
Having taken the car as far as he felt he could, and tired of the age-old problem of front-wheel-drive machines being beaten away from the start line by their rear-wheel-drive counterparts, Boak stepped back from full-time competition towards the end of the decade, while he developed his new MB Motorsport business, building and preparing cars for customers.
During that time, Boak made selected starts in autocross, rallying and rallycross, and in fact made his Supercar debut, driving customer and friend Brian Jukes’ production-based steel-bodied Audi TT Supercar in the final round of the Rallycross Open Championship and the Rallycross Superprix at his local Croft Circuit in 2009. He also finished fourth overall on the Christmas Stages rally at the same venue, driving a standard Andi A4 quattro in early 2010.
That rally success preceded another milestone for Boak and his desire to do things differently. He switched the engine in his TT for a turbo deisel unit, becoming the first driver in the UK to race a diesel-powered rallycross car.
Immediately on the pace, Boak won a Clubmans Championship event outright at Blyton Park, then took top two-wheel-drive spoils in the Rallycross Superprix at Knockhill in 2010.
But, it was at the same circuit almost 12 months later where Boak achieved what he considers a career highlight, claiming victory in British RX’s top two-wheel-drive category, by then called Super National, in September 2011, on his way to third in the standings.
Boak continued racing the car regularly until the end of 2014, before building a Citroen C2 Super1600 machine to campaign alongside customer and team mate Phil Chicken at events in the British, European, French and Dutch Championships.
He made his Euro RX debut at Montalegre in Portugal in 2016 and won several rounds of the British RX series over a period of four years. Another career highlight was at the British Rallycross Grand Prix in 2016, qualifying for the Grand Prix final with the 1600cc machine against the best of Super National and Supercar competition.
While continuing to run customers, Boak stepped back from rallycross as a driver in 2020, taking a new path into motorcycle racing, following in father Frankie’s footsteps.
Riding an ‘outfit’ sidecar, partnered as passenger by Jukes, Boak raced in the Scottish and North East Championships, winning the Best Newcomer award and claiming podiums. He also contested British Championship-level events.
But, as anyone in the rallycross world will know, once bitten by the mixed surface bug, it’s a difficult fever to shake off. Boak returns to rallycross in 2022 with the Volland-built Fabia, and while car and driver might be underdogs against arguably the toughest competition at UK rallycross’ top level in quite some time, don’t be surprised when Boak punches above his weight.« Previous Post Next Post »