2018 SEASON REVIEW: BRSCC FIESTA CHAMPIONSHIP RACING WITH MRF TYRES
The ever-competitive BRSCC Fiesta Championship rolled into the 2018 season ready for another year of door-to-door tin-top action, with reigning champion Jamie White ready to defend his crown against all comers across four classes. An added element for the new season was the switch to Indian tyre supplier MRF Tyres after a long standing relationship with Dunlop. With that in mind, the opening rounds at Brands Hatch were certainly going to be interesting.
White aimed to pick up where he’d left off at Brands Hatch in March and while he didn’t take a clean sweep of class wins, two out of three was satisfactory enough with rival John Cooper taking the other. Also featuring on the podium that weekend was newcomer Zachary Lucas, a name that would end up being a key figure in the battle for the title. This was further emphasised when White’s absence from Cadwell Park allowed Lucas to claim his first two Class D wins, but his own absence next time out, coupled with the return of the #1 at Rockingham (a place where a year before he’d ended up on his roof), gave White all the advantage he needed to make up points with another three wins. He did it again at the next rounds at Snetterton, but not without an awkward incident with fellow Daniels Motorsport driver Cooper in Race 2 that saw him retire from it and also Race 3. This allowed Lucas to bag more points as a result in his title bid.
Not even the substantial rain at Castle Combe could stop White’s winning streak with three more flawless victories, nor did a new venue in Thruxton where collected two more, but he was made to work for the latter two by Lucas as the pair enjoyed a fantastic back and forth battle all weekend that eventually saw White come out on top both times. More wet weather followed them to Silverstone for the penultimate rounds, but this time White only clinched two of the three wins on offer, as the other fittingly went to the returning Cooper who ran as #42 in tribute to friend and fellow driver John Bateman, who sadly passed away the previous weekend – a fitting result.
On the return leg to Brands Hatch at the Formula Ford Festival, White did what he needed to do and nothing more. Once again taking two class wins with Cooper claiming the other, it was enough to claim another Class D crown as well as securing back to back overall Fiesta titles. That weekend also saw the return of 2016 champion Alastair Kellett, who did well on his comeback to claim three podiums, but scored no points due to his guest status.
At the head of the overall field, the fastest cars were again the Mk6 Ford Fiesta ST150s as expected. Danny Harrison went three times as better as he had at Brands Hatch 12 months ago by taking a clean sweep of wins ahead of 2016 Fiesta Junior champion Harry Gooding. On the championship’s visit to Cadwell Park up next, defending Class C champ David Nye got back to winning ways with the former BTCC ace claiming a brace for himself, while at Rockingham a couple of weeks later it was Jam-Sport’s turn to steal the limelight. Ryan Faulconbridge took a long awaited first win ahead of teammate Myles Baker and Richard Ashmole, followed by Gooding’s first two senior circuit victories to enhance his title chances further.
Snetterton turned out to be another JamSport racing demonstration, however it was the turn of team boss Jamie Going to put his best foot forward as he bested his young charge Gooding twice out of three races to claim two wins, with Gooding taking the other. Nye got back to winning ways in the first of three incredibly wet races at Castle Combe before Gooding took two more for himself again with Going in tow, before making it three in a row in the first race at Thruxton a few weeks later. That weekend would also see the returns of Specialized Motorsport boss Simon Horrobin, who was forced to start at the back of Race 1 due to a technical irregularity, but drove through to 4th before an epic duel with old sparring partner Jamie Going in the second race that eventually saw him victorious.
Silverstone’s contrasting weather conditions saw Welshman Samuel Watkins claim a win in the wet on Saturday, followed up on Sunday by two more Harry Gooding victories on a substantially drier track on Sunday, to further move him into line for a potential overall title shot. Alas, it wasn’t to be at the Brands Hatch finale, as S. Watkins and Faulconbridge shared the final Class C honours between them, while Gooding couldn’t best a 7th place all weekend. No matter, as it was enough to see him crowned Class C champion, followed by Going taking runner up spot and and Nye in 3rd place.
With no Class B cars featuring all season, maximum attention further down the field was on the season long duel between Class A drivers Mark Court and Colin Newbold. Court struck first at Brands Hatch in March with three wins, before his absence from the following three race weekends allowed Newbold to maximise his points hauls at Cadwell Park and Rockingham. Neither driver made the trip to Snetterton, meaning battle lines were drawn again at Castle Combe where Court picked up three more class honours.
Another came his way at Thruxton where he and Newbold shared a win and a DNF each, before Court did another hat-trick at Silverstone to set the title fight up nicely for the Brands Hatch return. Court’s win in Race 1 help him hold the advantage, however his exclusion from the second race coupled with Newbold’s retirement meant it all came down to the final race. In the end, Court won again to incredibly clinch the Class A championship by just one single point – proof that even just two cars can make a very close title battle!