2017 SEASON REVIEW – BRSCC FIESTA JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
Coming off the back of its best ever season in 2016, the BRSCC Fiesta Junior Championship headed into 2017 brimming with confidence and a grid made up of second year drivers, one or two returning names and the usual influx of new junior drivers looking to make a name for themselves as they began their circuit racing journeys.
Brands Hatch in April provided a thrilling opening two rounds as HW Racing’s James Hillery, competing in his second year, kicked off his sophomore campaign with his first circuit racing win after taking advantage of a Code 60 restart and passing both James Waite and Jack Davidson to take the lead. Davidson fought back in Race 2 with his own inaugural top step visit, beating Nicholas Reeve and Hillery to the punch.
Davidson’s fortunes took a brief nosedive at Cadwell Park in May after a qualifying accident forced him to start from the back for Race 1. While Hillery non-started thanks to a mechanical issue, it was down to Reeve to make it three different winners from any many races, followed home by Waite and Lochlan Bearman. Davidson managed to work his way to 4th place, before using his second row start in Race 2 to full effect and taking victory from Reeve and Bearman.
The first of two Silverstone visits on the National circuit saw Davidson continue his stellar form by dominating the entire weekend, while the podium places were shared by first-time visitor Scott Cansdale, Reeve and Bearman. The latter of the three put on one of the best performances of the season after technical problems forced retirement from the first race. Starting towards the back, Bearman charged through the pack to pick up an incredible 2nd place that day.
The mid-way point at Rockingham in June would see two new winners have their day in the sun – quite literally! In bright and sunny conditions, James Waite clinched a long-awaited first win in Race 1 from a resurgent Hillery and Gus Burton, also making his first appearance on an FJC podium in 3rd. Scott Cansdale had mistakenly started out of place due to points leader Davidson forced out on the formation lap with engine problems, thus he was handed a time penalty and lost P3 in Race 1. Fired up to put this right, Cansdale drove superbly to also pick up his debut win in Fiesta Juniors, with Waite and Hillery filling out the podium.
Into the second half of the season, the title battle appeared to be narrowing between Reeve and Davidson, with the former picking up a double at Snetterton, while the latter went on to secure another clean sweep in the championship’s second visit to Silverstone of the season, as Reeve racked up a double non-finish thanks to mechanical troubles. Davidson would suffer the same fate at Croft after winning the first race with a DNF in the second, and as Reeve clinched his 4th win of the year, it left 4 drivers still in with a shout of the crown at the final round.
Davidson, Reeve, Hillery and Waite all entered Donington mathematically still in with a shout, but despite Reeve taking his win tally to 6 by the end of the weekend, two second places were enough to see Davidson become the 2017 BRSCC Fiesta Junior champion. Despite ups and downs, the young Scot made the most of his second season to rise to the top finely and emulated fellow Jam-Sport champions Aaron Thompson and Harry Gooding. He now aims for his first campaign in the senior BRSCC Fiesta Championship next year.
Throughout the year, the likes of Josh Hislop and Olly Turner took their turns on the podium with their first visits, while Specialized Motorsport’s Jamie-Lea Hawley made massive strides with every race weekend she completed. New drivers also hit the track throughout the year with Denmark’s Magnus Kriklywi joining at Snetterton, while Abby Lock debuted at the finale at Donington. Thomas Horton and Warwick Daden also made sporadic appearances throughout the year too.
All of the above seem set to continue into 2018 with a goal to emulate Davidson’s exceptional championship charge – that said, will the next crop of talented juniors scupper their plans? Only time will tell!