2014 SEASON REVIEW: AVON TYRES CATERHAM ROADSPORT CHAMPIONSHIP
Sales of the century – Jack Sales pulled off a dramatic title triumph. Photo: www.snappyracers.com
The Roadsport championship is the next step on the Caterham ladder for Academy drivers and cars from 2013. With light modifications and a change to track orientated tyres, this enables them to enjoy another year of racing with the friends they have battled against in the hugely successful Academy series. 2014’s Roadsport grid was comprised of a combination of drivers from the two 2013 Academy groups, joined by novice drivers entering, or re-joining Caterham racing.
William Smith dominated the 2013 Academy Group 2 and if he’d overtaken just one more car in any of the fourteen Roadsport races and nine-and-a-half hours of racing, he’d have back-to-back championship wins. As it was, double victory for Jack Sales at the Silverstone finale put the 21-year-old level with Smith on points. And it was that last win of the last round that clinched it for Sales on the tie-break: He had won six races to Smith’s five. It rarely gets much closer than that.
The start of the Roadsport season is always greeted with much anticipation as it usually brings together the champions from the two Academy series for the first time. 2014 would be no different, but would start in controversy when one of the champs, Henry Heaton, was excluded from the second race at the first round for a technical infringement (a little too much camber). Meanwhile, Smith had a steady start, so it was Chris ‘Cheesy’ Hutchinson that was the early season leader, just as he had been in the Academy a year earlier.
By the time the series had completed its away trip to Zolder, Smith had edged into the lead, with only he and fellow champ Heaton having won more than one race. Sales’ challenge did not materialise until mid-season, with a win at Rockingham and two at Brands, pushing him ahead of Smith; though it was actually Hutchinson back at the top of the leader board at that points thanks to his consistency. The three drivers were separated by just two points.
By the start of the final round, the tables had turned yet again with Smith at the top and the title his to lose, with Sales having all the work to do. A second place in either of the races would give Smith his championship, but in something of a worst-case-scenario for him, Sales managed to win both races and take a crucial point for fastest lap, whilst Smith could only muster a 5th and 7th in perhaps his worst weekend of the year. Although the scores could be dropped, Sales’ performance was everything he needed to do to snatch a memorable championship victory.
The road-legal Roadsport race car is a simple development of the 125bhp Ford Sigma powered 2011 Academy car; its performance significantly enhanced by the addition of a rear-anti roll bar and Avon CR500 road legal track tyres.