2017 SEASON REVIEW: BRSCC MAZDA MX-5 SUPERCUP
Off the back of another frantic but entertaining season, the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 SuperCup expected growth in all areas of the 2017 campaign. But come the time to open registrations, no-one indeed predicted just how much interest it would generate as over 50 drivers signed up ahead of the Brands Hatch opening rounds alone! Competitors that had experience winning races and championships in Porsches, Radicals, Lotus Cup, Clios, Ginettas, Caterhams, BMWs and even junior rallycross were all trying their hand at the Mk3 Mazda MX-5.
Just over 40 cars making the entry for the first triple-header, it was decided that the first 34 cars would race together, while those below 34th would be competing at the same time as their Group B Mk1 counterparts in the MX-5 Championship. At the front of the field, returnee Rob Boston staked his claim from the start with two wins in a row before Jack Harding rounded off Brands Hatch with a victory of his own. Boston doubled up again at Cadwell Park, with “Mr MX-5” Tom Roche picking up one for himself by the end of the weekend.
Heading into Silverstone on the National circuit, a pivotal moment occurred when an incident between Boston and fellow returning driver Luke Herbert on the pit straight, leaving the latter spinning in front of the chasing pack and causing a chain reaction with two more cars involved. Roche would go on to buck the trend of winning the first two races, ahead of Harding and Ben Short, with Boston fighting back through the order to win Race 3 from Herbert and Liam Murphy. Boston’s commitments elsewhere then forced him to miss the remainder of the season.
This allowed the title battle to open up once again, with Herbert staking his claim with the domination of all three races at Oulton Park underneath the heat of the Summer sun, with the likes of Roche, Harding, Murphy and Jonny Greensmith all in hot pursuit. Snetterton would be another incredible encounter between Herbert and Roche, who were now emerging as the vital championship contenders. Herbert would trump Roche on wins that weekend 2:1, while former BMW Compact Cup champion Steve Roberts notched up his first SuperCup podium with a 3rd place in Race 1. It was also a resurgent weekend for defending champion James Blake-Baldwin, who kept himself amongst the frontrunners and put in one of the drivers of the season from deep in the field in Race 3, to take an exceptional 3rd place himself.
Moving to Anglesey on the Welsh coast, Jack Harding drove himself back to the top step by taking the first race. Roche began to push himself further in line to steal the title with two more victories to round off the rest of the weekend, while Herbert ensures a consistent stream of points was kept up with a trio of 2nd places. Further podium finishes also went to Short and Murphy, as the end of the season loomed.
With Croft bringing wet and miserable conditions, the racing still made for entertaining viewing as Herbert and Roche both took wins before the weekend was out. Roche’s tally beat Herbert’s efforts with two wins for the #25, leaving the final rounds at Donington Park to once again settle the score.
That last remaining weekend was left to Jack Harding to dominate, as he crushed the opposition in all three races to cement a great comeback to 3rd place in the final standings, while behind him Herbert and Roche were firmly focused on the title. Both would only see the podium once all weekend with Herbert finishing higher, while in the other two races he would finish behind Roche, but taking enough points to become the 2017 MX-5 SuperCup champion. It was a title Luke would declare as “the most challenging but rewarding championship of my career” – and he’ll be back to defend the #1!
A shoutout must also go to Garry Townsend, who went on to take the Masters title ahead of Alec Livesley and Simon Fleet. The competition amongst the more experience segment of the grid was entertaining as ever.
Plus, of course, one final thing – as a reward for its sensational 2017, the MX-5 SuperCup will take its place on the support package for the new TCR UK Touring Car Championship!