THE REIGNING champions won in the rain at an annual mini grand prix.

Rocks Park were crowned Uckfield Grand Prix winners for the second year in a row as the kit car event beat the elements to produce some skilled manoeuvres yesterday.

They did not chicken out of the chicanes or back out of the bends as they beat off competition from Nutley, who finished second. Holy Cross picked up the bronze and High Hurstwood in a closely-fought race.

The event is now in its 13th year, and organiser Rory O’Connor hailed this one as the best yet with more than 200 youngsters taking part.

He said: “The driving conditions were very tricky and there was some superb driving on show.

“Thankfully the rain cleared, but everyone was just so positive about it.

“I think I can safely say this was our best one just because the driving was so good in the conditions.

“The level of support and sportsmanship on show was just amazing too.

“One team’s battery failed, and another team – who had nothing to do with them – stepped in and helped them out by offering them one of their own.”

Unlike Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, the drivers had to build their own cars before race day.

The manufacturer distributor of industrial nuts, bolts and screws, TR Fastenings, was the host this year in its Bellbrook Estate car park.

The car park was transformed into a racing track featuring 20 local schools with teams of around 12 pupils as 24 volt electric-powered Greenpower Goblin kit cars are built by the children.

Mr O’Connor said: “It’s a bit of fun, but it’s a big project for those taking part because they build these cars themselves.

“We’re certainly looking at the future of British motorsport in terms of the engineering skills on show.

“It’s not all about the race, but it’s about teamwork and how these kids work together on the car and become invested in it.”

Work is already underway for next year’s race and Mr O’Connor is promising a bigger and better event in 2016.

When asked to pick a highlight of the 2015 Grand Prix, he said: “The final was superb, “The level of driving was another level and the awareness they showed was great.

“These cars go seriously fast, so the controlled them beautifully.

“And the behaviour in the pits was exemplary too as they didn’t let the emotion get the better of them.”

He also thanked the Rotary Club of Uckfield and a group who helps him organise it.