Stox Personality of the Year 2016: Nominee #1

Four personalities have been shortlisted for the 2016 F1Stockcars.com Stox Personality of the Year award. This time, the nominees were chosen by last year’s winner, Frankie Wainman Junior.

One nominee will be announced each day for the next 4 days – so make sure you keep checking the site!

How to vote

Once all nominations have been announced, you will be able to vote for your favourite via the F1Stockcars.com website. Voting will open on Saturday 10 December and will close at midnight on Saturday 17 December. The winner will be announced on Sunday 18 December.

 

Nominee #1: Mark Sargent

The self-proclaimed tippex-top champion, Mark Sargent came into F1 after 20-odd years in F2, having achieved a couple of championship podiums in the smaller formula. One of the most experienced lower graders out there, you’ll never catch him without a smile on his face.

Says Frankie Wainman Junior, who nominated him for the award: “Sarge is personality personified. He’s the joker in the pits. No matter what he does racing wise, he lifts everybody’s spirits. He’ll chat to anybody and help everybody.”

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You had six race wins in 2016. Are you pleased with that?

That’s a very good year. It’s the most I’ve ever won – the last time I won six races in a year was when Finn was born, so that’s 15 years ago! Since we got a brand new shale car off Mat Newson everything has changed and I feel much more competitive.

Since moving into F1 you’ve had 10 race wins but you’ve come only second 4 times and third once. Do you go all out for the win?

No! Some teams have spent a phenomenal amount of money and they have to win. We don’t. Sometimes we’ve had £40 of start money and got completely smashed up, but we’re just as happy as winning. The fun factor is the first thing. 100% banter, 100% fun. I enjoy the full circus of F1 – the fans, the drivers, the racing. I like to think I bring a bit of life and laughter to the sport.

But don’t get me wrong, if you have a good race around Coventry or King’s Lynn in front of a big crowd, it’s a great feeling. If you can mix it with the big boys from time to time, even better.

You’ve dropped to white a couple of times in the last two years. When was last time you were a white top?

Yeah, I got ribbed massively for that! In 1993/94 I was white in F2 and I never dropped down until I got into the F1s. But I’ll take being the tippex-top champion!

You could have won even more races this year but were forced out by injury. What happened?

I ruptured my bicep muscle, not in a racing incident – I was just messing about, which is me to a T. But then I got septicaemia and a blood clot and had to have surgery pretty quickly. It was quite severe. I had three or four months of rehabilitation and it still gives me grief. Eventually I took my place at the back of the grid at Coventry to see if I could do this again, but I had a successful meeting.

When I started back after the injury, lots of people were coming and asking after me. I had a couple of wins and people I’ve never met before were coming up to me and shaking my hand. I didn’t have a clue who they were! It’s nice that people notice and look for you. If they do, I’ll do my best to entertain them. The F1 fans are phenomenal, they are really keen. I’ve sold t-shirts and polo shirts. Who buys white-top t-shirts? Has Frankie Wainman Junior sold out?!

Do you have any plans for the future?

Next year is my 24th year in racing. The plan is for Finn to join me on the grid during my 25th year. He had a go in my car around Swaffham and did really well so we’ve already got him a Formula 1 and it’ll be father and son in 2018. He’ll go testing throughout the year next year so hopefully he’ll be ready for the start of the one after that. We’ll line up side by side at the Good Friday meeting at Skegness and that will be a really proud day – a golf ball in the throat moment. If I have to ease up a bit when he starts racing, then I do. As long as he enjoys himself.

From my point of view, hopefully I can get the magic red roof at some point in my career. That’s all I want, just to be red top once. If I do that I can pack up, hang my spoiler in the shed and know that, at one point, I was pretty good.

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Interview with Mark: Scott Reeves
Photos: Colin Casserley

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