Dec 27 2012 By Douglas Dickie
Rutherglen race-ace Stevan McAleer has promised big things in 2013.
Former Stonelaw pupil Stevan enjoyed his best season racing in the USA last year as he won the Playboy MX-5 Cup as part of the CJ Racing team.
The win means he’ll get a crack in the next step of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Ladder.
And although the finer details have still to be thrashed out, he said it was going to be a massive year: “The exact details are still under wraps.
“I just know it’s going to be very exciting for 2013 and I’m hoping to stay with CJ Racing, doing bigger things.”
Looking back, it’s been a tremendous 2012 for 28-year-old Stevan, who now lives in New York state. After funding problems at the start of the campaign, Stevan and his team powered through, effectively taking the title before the last race.
He said: “We just managed to find enough of a budget and get to the first race and the result (Stevan scored a win in the first race at the Seabring track) helped carry us through the season. It had been a real struggle but we managed to pull something out the bag.
“There are probably two races that stick out. Obviously the first at Seabring. I have been racing for a long time but that was my first time in a sports car and there were some well known names in the field. That was an important race.
“The other one was the last race when I clinched the championship and won the race.”
Stevan had actually effectively sewn up the championship in the penultimate race, but he had to at least start the final race to ensure he took the title.
It was a bizarre situation for him, and despite some nerves, he ended up winning the race.
He says: ““It was a two race meet and there was a lot of pressure going in to it. We were a comfortable amount of points ahead in racing, stranger thing have happened After we finished fourth in the first race it meant I couldn’t be overtaken on points.
“The exact scenario was I just had to start the last race in order to win the championship because I would get points just for starting. All I had to do was complete the formation lap but even that was pretty exciting because I didn’t want to do anything silly. I was just controlling myself
“I was (nervous), and I knew the battle for second place was tight and those behind me would be going to come out very aggressively. Once the race was underway though, I relaxed.
“Obviously it’s a single driver championship but I had tremendous support from everyone at CJ Racing.”
Stevan, who recently raced in the 25 mile Thunderhill, has also had a front row seat to a historic year away from the track. In October and November, he endured Hurricane Sandy and witnessed the US Presidential elections.
He said: “I was living in Monticello at the time of the Hurricane and Manhatten and New Jersey were very badly hit. We weren’t as bad but we still seen some serious wind and rain.
“Our power was out for a week and half as the powerlines were down and when you see a tree on top of a taxi you know it’s serious.
“The election was fun although I don’t necessarily haver too much background information to pick a side. You have 900 TV channels and 50 per cent of them was two guys arguing with each other.”