2016 SEASON REVIEW – BOOKATRACK.COM CATERHAM SUPERLIGHT R300-S CHAMPIONSHIP
Aaron Head now leaves Caterham racing as a double R300-S champion, and a thoroughly deserved one at that – Photo: SnappyRacers
Caterham’s premier championship has firmly established itself as one of the most competitive and exciting race series in the country. The Superlight R300-S is a dedicated race version of the venerable Caterham Seven, powered by a Caterham tuned Ford Duratec engine coupled to a Sadev sequential gearbox; creating a car that is arguably quicker on circuit than anything else without slicks or wings.
2014 champion Aaron Head was back with the bit between his teeth and whilst his rivals would occasionally push him very hard, no-one would suggest that Aaron looked like anything other than an unstoppable force throughout 2016. Nine wins from the first twelve races gave him the title after the penultimate weekend at Croft. Unusually, Head chose to race in the last round of the year (risking the possibility of a penalty), but with the 24 year-old leaving Caterham racing after six years, it was fantastic to see him racing to the last. His farewell weekend at Donington didn’t go quite to plan, race one finishing in the gravel trap; but with true style, Head fought from the back of the grid, passing twenty cars, to take second in race two.
Lee Wiggins, a fellow Essex man to Head, though nearly twice his age; started his racing career in the Caterham Academy in 2009 and has been racing Caterham’s ever since with considerable success. 2016 marks his seventh appearance on the championship podium from eight seasons, a remarkable record. Wiggins was first to rob Head of a victory, following a mistake by Head in the first corner of the first Anglesey race which put him on the back foot; but Wiggins had to remain faultless, to prevent the super-quick Head catching him, and faultless he was. Another victory wouldn’t come for Wiggins until the last race of the year, but in total, he visited the podium twelve times from fourteen races, well and truly justifying his place in the series.
Rounding out the top three was another of the younger generation; Jack Sales. Like Wiggins, Sales started his racing journey in Academy, albeit several years later in 2013. Sales went on to be the 2014 Caterham Roadsport champion but cut short his 2015 Tracksport campaign in order to enter R300-S this season and duly burst onto the scene with two podiums, two fastest laps and the coveted lap record. Although the 23 year-old and his family supported car could not quite repeat that feat, more podiums were to come and he quickly cemented his position ahead of two legends of Caterham racing; Stephen Nuttall and Clive Richards, who as a pair, have more Caterham crowns than any other two drivers, illustrating how well Sales took to the car despite his limited experience. All eyes will be on Sales for the 2017 season.
Head and Wiggins failed to share all the wins between them. Preston’s Danny Winstanley, a title contender, started the season well but not to his unusual lead-challenging standard. A DNF at Zolder put paid to his title hopes as he had to sit out the following weekend as well, but he would be back to Oulton Park where he had made his impressive Caterham debut, and would take both wins that day. Another victory would come in something of a ‘what could have been’ season for the unmissable bling green car.