2014 SEASON REVIEW: BRSCC MAZDA MX-5 SUPERCUP
The first lady of Mazda – Abbie Eaton. Photo: Jon Elsey
The MX5 SuperCup has grown spectacularly since its inaugural race at Castle Combe in 2013 where just six cars took the grid. At the beginning of the 2014 season, 24 cars lined up for the first race of the season at Silverstone and large grids remained the story throughout the year. Looking ahead to 2015 things appear even better, with yet more drivers committing to the series, more new cars being built over the winter and Blendini Motorsport announcing a scholarship programme to be run within the championship. Grids of 30 cars or more are confidently expected.
The cars lining up at Silverstone were better and faster than those of the 2013 season, having been provided with induction, exhaust and suspension modifications over the winter. Everyone expected lap records to be broken and over the course of the season no less than seven new ones were set. Not only was the racing fast, it was also extremely competitive, with six different drivers taking wins from the eighteen race starts.
Mike Comber dominated the early part of the season but in August things began to go wrong when a technical infringement led to a disqualification. At the next meeting another disqualification for driving standards meant the end of his title hopes. Even before this, his dominance had looked to be slipping when Abbie Eaton took a clean sweep of three wins at Anglesey. David Chapman, who had run Comber close in the first half of the season, dropped by the wayside during the summer, due to budget restraints.
The second half of the season became a close fought thing between Abbie Eaton and Tom Roche, with Eaton eventually securing the title by a single point. Mister consistency was Matt Davies who amassed the season’s highest raw points total through a string of podiums and just one non-finish all season. After dropped scores were applied, he finished third in the title race.
That summarises the top three championship places and the other main contenders, but others featured significantly in the story of the season. There was Paul O’Neil who is more often to be seen as a pundit on the ITV British Touring Car coverage. He took both wins at an eventful Oulton Park meeting, as a guest driver in one of the Paul Sheard run cars…. and looked happier with the result than when he won BTCC races earlier in his career!
There was also Liam Murphy who, while looking like a very fast driver all season, had failed to gain a single podium place before the final meeting at Donington. At Donington, he leap-frogged the staging posts of third and second places, securing pole position and dominant wins in both races.
Anthony Neild was to be found at most meetings, hard at work in the paddock making sure that all was well with the immaculately prepared Paul Sheard cars, but at Anglesey and Rockingham he jumped in one of the cars himself and proved himself as effective a driver as mechanic, by securing podium finishes.
Ray Worley took on the role of Driver Representative for 2014. At the Cadwell meeting he crashed heavily, reducing his car to wreckage, and injuring his back. Unable to drive for most of the rest of the season because of his injuries, he threw himself into the running of the series and also contributed his mechanical expertise, so that more than one competitor with car woes was able to get their car out on track. He made it back out onto track himself at the final round, at the wheel of the Barnet and Southgate College entry.
Everyone else involved with the series, from drivers to mechanics, to Bob Marsh the indefatigable race day administrator, contributed to the MX5 SuperCup being one of the biggest success stories on the BRSCC calendar.