The 2019 CSCA Drivers’ Championship was won by Rex Hodder, who piloted his 2004 S2 Lotus Exige to victory ahead of a very closely-matched duel between Martin Duursma and Liam Sheppard. We caught up with Rex to share some of his history.
2019 Combined Sports Car Association Sprint Series Drivers Champion Rex Hodder
I am one of the original members of Club Lotus Australia and hold membership number 11. I have been competing with the Combined Sports Car Association since it commenced in the early ‘70s.
My Lotus cars include an S4 Elan roadster, which currently awaits restoration, an S1 Elise, which I am working to keep original and nice, and an S2 Exige in which I currently compete. I purchased the Elan in 1975, the Exige in 2004 and the Elise in 2009.
Since the commencement of the CSCA I have won both class and overall CSCA championships in both the Elan and Exige. In the Elan I was also successful in winning my class several times in the State Hillclimb Championship and I have won my class several times in the State Supersprint Championship driving the Exige.
The competitive side of CSCA events has always been of interest to me, although possibly more so in years gone by, when I pushed harder in series like the State Supersprint Championship. Although I enjoy the competition, the friendship and camaraderie in the Lotus club and at CSCA events is what brings me back.
At each event, the total time spent in the car is less than an hour. You spend the balance of the day, which is most of it, socialising with other competitors and sharing stories, tips and jokes. Thanks to that, I’ve formed long lasting friendships with people from the Lotus club as well as the many other marques who compete with the CSCA.
When I first started, most of us were single or newly married. In the years that have followed we’ve made families and careers; built businesses. Many of these things pulled us away from the sport at times. However, the sprint days have always been there to bring us back together and make sure we keep in touch.
I’ve been part of other clubs; driven other cars, but I keep coming back to the Lotus. The people in the Lotus club are down to earth, relaxed and friendly. There’s a mix of people who are there for the competitive aspect and those for whom the competition is just a good reason to get together with friends.
We have a good tool to use as well. Lotuses seem to improve your ability – or at least make your ability look better!
That said, don’t turn up and expect to be fast – if you do that you’ll be disappointed. Some of the people you’re driving with have been doing it for decades. Take the time to chat with them and learn from their experience; pay attention to what other people are doing out on the track.
If you’re going to spend some money on your performance, spend it on driver training. You’ll improve much more with that than anything else, and you’ll do so more safely. As you progress, look at your seat and a full harness – things that connect you with the car and help you feel and understand the information it’s giving you.
Take the time to learn about your car and discover how different driving on the track is compared with the road, because it is unbelievably so. You don’t, or most definitely shouldn’t, get anywhere near the limits of your car on the road. On the track you start to understand the differences in technical aspects, things like tyre pressures and potential performance issues. You’ll also appreciate what a brilliant machine a Lotus is.
For anyone who’s interested I’d say to come along, have a look at what’s going on and say ‘Hi!’ to a few people. You’ll not only enjoy the opportunity to get more out of your car, but it will also introduce you a wonderful community.