Moseley and Quaife – Mentor and Protégé
On the day that it was announced that Stuart Moseley would be driving the LMP2 Rollcentre Radical at Le Mans in June (Saturday May 20), the Loughborough driver unexpectedly found himself sitting in a Motorbase Porsche at Donington Park - following Gary Eastwood’s illness-induced withdrawal from the weekend’s proceedings.

“I was lying in bed at home at ten past nine on Saturday morning when Dave Bartrum phoned to see if I was available,” began Moseley (in disguise, right, and with Phil Quaife late last year, below). “I had been testing at Knockhill on Friday so all my gear was still packed; I’m only 20 minutes from the circuit so I jumped in the shower and was signing on while Phil was taking part in practice.”

The last time this pair was in a Porsche together was at the final round of the 2005 championship at Silverstone, a race they won; but it turns out that this is no pairing of convenience.

“The first time I met Stuart was at Barcelona when I was 14 or 15,” said Quaife, “and he took me around the circuit in a Radical. That led to my signing up for the series.”

In choosing the head-instructor for Radical to be his race partner, Quaife’s selection was a shrewd one. The two subsequently shared a car in the Radical Enduro Championship for the 2004 and 2005 seasons and with no little success.

“He’s a quick learner,” said Moseley of his protégé. “When you bear in mind that 2004 was his first year in a racing car [Quaife’s only previous racing experience being two seasons of karting] and that the Radical is as quick as an ARP F3 car, to go from nowhere to race winner in his first season, as he did, is no mean feat.”

Winning in his first season is becoming something of a habit for Phil Quaife.

When he made his British GT debut in an RPM Porsche in the (then) GT3 class in 2005, it would be fair to say that Quaife was very much the number two driver in the partnership with Alex Mortimer; but when he signed up to race with Dave Bartrum’s Motorbase Performance mid-season, he made the most of the wealth of Porsche racing experience that he suddenly found he had at his disposal, in the form of Tim Harvey and others. “To begin with he was very quiet in the team meetings, because he didn’t know the car and didn’t know what he needed to be asking,” said Bartrum. “But he listened and learned and was making a full contribution before you knew it.”

At the last race of the season at Silverstone, Quaife put all of that learning to good use and claimed the GT3 victory. It was somehow fitting that Stuart Moseley was his race partner that day, seeing at first hand the results of his mentoring, and Quaife’s own determination.

Phil Quaife is concentrating on the Porsche Carrera Cup this year and so Donington was his last BGT outing of the season – unless Dave Bartrum’s plans for world domination come to fruition later in the year, the team boss having several Porsches at his disposal – but his double victory at Oulton Park in the 997 suggests strongly that his was a good move and that we will undoubtedly be seeing much more of this young man’s racing talents in years to come.

While admitting that he enjoys racing Porsches in the British GT Championship - “It’s great fun; you really get close in with the other cars,” - for the time being, Stuart Moseley’s racing career is tied very much to Radical Sportscars; these are exciting times indeed for that particular company, with the SR9 about to debut at Le Mans in the hands of Martin Short’s Rollcentre Racing.

“To race at Le Mans is genuinely a boyhood dream of mine,” said a very happy Moseley. “I’ve been racing with Tim Greaves in an SR8 this year and we did a Britsports race last year. With the SR9 project, Tim and the other directors have been pushing for me – as a works driver - to be a part of it. Now that it’s come to fruition, my dream is coming true and I’m very grateful to Radical for the opportunity.”

Moseley does actually have experience of the 24 hour track, having taken part in the 2002 Le Mans Classic. “Knowing the track is a bonus, but there are an awful lot of drivers there with vastly more knowledge of it than me. Anyway, I learnt the track on a Playstation before I went out there,” he laughed.

Martin Short is on record as describing the Radical SR8 as “the best handling car I’ve ever driven” and there are few people around with more experience of that car than Stuart Moseley, which suggests that his input into the SR9 project will be of immense value to Rollcentre.

“This is very much a full-on project for Radical,” said Moseley. “There won’t be many teams out there with as many spares as we’ll have with us.”

And what of his plans for 2006 beyond Le Mans? “We should be doing the rest of the Le Mans Series (with Tim Greaves' factory car, AER-powered), although we are looking strongly at the feasibility of taking the car to the Petit Le Mans, which would mean missing Jarama.”

But for now, his focus is fully on the looming 24 Hours. His and the car’s progress will be hugely interesting to follow; and perhaps one day we’ll see Stuart Moseley and Phil Quaife sharing a Radical prototype in a future Le Mans?
Mark Howson

 

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