2019 SEASON REVIEW – BRSCC MAZDA MX-5 SUPER SERIES
Even though there were no points at stake, that didn’t mean that the 2019 edition of the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Super Series wasn’t entertaining or full of memorable moments. Given that the number of race winners throughout the year almost reached double figures, it proves that not only was it a series that saw several potential race winners, but also proved that many people could jump in straight away and be on the pace, as well as develop over the year and get quicker.
James Kell used the Super Series to dovetail a campaign in the Ginetta GT4 Supercup and kicked off the season in fine style with a win in the first race, followed by Simon Fleet with one of his best results in 2nd and Joe Marshall completing the podium. It could have been a second win for Kell had he not made a mistake in Race 2, running wide on the exit of Paddock Hill Bend and clattering into the barrier, forcing the race to be stopped in the process. In the restarted race, Marshall drove superbly to clinch his first Mazda MX-5 win, with Fleet again picking up 2nd place and Sam Bailey finishing in 3rd. However, it would be the third race that would prove to be the talking point of the weekend, as former British Rallycross star turned circuit racer Nathan Heathcote followed up on 5th place in the earlier race to storm to the front and take a shock win in the process. Bradley Kent and Fleet would join in on the podium to close out the weekend.
Former BRSCC Mazda MX-5 champion Brian Chandler made a welcome return to racing in a Mk3 MX-5 as the series headed off to Wales and its first visit south to Pembrey. Under beautiful bright weather conditions, there were certainly fireworks aplenty on the opening lap of Race 1. Losing the back end of his car under brakes into the new Clubmans section, Jeremy Crook ended up cannoning into the side of both James Kell and Simon Fleet, putting all three cars out on the spot and stopping the race. When action did resume, Chandler reminded everyone of his superb pace by driving on to win all three races that weekend. Marshall and Alex Miller would join him on the podium in Race 1, however Race 2 would be the most exciting of the weekend as Chandler ended up feeling the pressure from both Miller and Brian’s BC Cars Motorsport teammate Matt Pickford, with both drivers taking 2nd and 3rd respectively. Both drivers would then suffer mechanical troubles in Race 3, allowing Chandler to take an easy win from a recovering James Kell who picked up 2nd and Marshall in 3rd place.
Cadwell Park was next for the Super Series, where former SuperCup regular Nick Dunn made a one off appearance and made an instant impact in Race 1 by charging to victory ahead of Chandler in 2nd and Marshall in 3rd place. From there, the rest of the weekend appeared to belong to Chandler, winning the second race head of Marshall and Jack Sycamore, who had travelled up from the SuperCup rounds at Oulton Park the day before. The third race produced the same podium as Race 2, leaving Chandler to have won five of the last six races in quick succession.
A return to Wales was on the cards as the Super Series ventured to the north coast and Anglesey, where it met up with the MX-5 SuperCup on a combined grid. James Kell got his weekend off to the best possible start by winning Race 1 ahead of Marshall and Clive Powles, before Marshall made sure to dominate the Series contingent in Race 2 to win, even getting amongst some of the SuperCup runners in the process! James Kell and Fleet rounded off their podium, but Race 3 was somewhat different fortunes as both race winners from the weekend ended up out of the race around mid-distance. Therefore, it was left to Darren Kell, father of James and competing in his first full season of racing, to head the Super Series drivers to the flag and take his first Mazda MX-5 win, with returnee Simon Orange and Powles making up the rostrum behind him.
In to the second half of the season, the warm conditions of Snetterton certainly provided a great backdrop for the 5th meeting of the season. Race 1 was interrupted by a safety car and then a red flag in the closing stages shortly after the restart, but through it all it was a sensational and long awaited first outright race win for Jeremy Crook as he managed to succeed ahead of a much improved Matt Pickford and Simon Orange. Race 2 saw another new name at the top of the result, as Bradley Kent (younger brother of TCR UK racer Lewis) picked his way through the pack brilliantly to also claim his first Mazda MX-5 win after debuting last season. Crook kept up his fine form that weekend with 2nd place and Simon Orange again took to the podium with 3rd. For the final race of the weekend, Kent pulled out all the stops and dominated proceedings from start to finish, charging to his second win ahead of Orange and Collins.
Onwards the Super Series marched to its 6th venue of the year and another drivers’ favourite in Oulton Park in Cheshire. For most of this day’s racing, the best fortunes seemed to belong to Joe Marshall as the youngster proved to be the class of the field. He scored a great victory from pole in Race 1 ahead of James Kell and SuperCup regular Garry Townsend, followed by another win in Race 2 with Kell again in 2nd and Powles rounding off the rostrum. However, the hat-trick wasn’t to be in the end as Kell managed to put one over his main rival Marshall to win the final race, with Darren Kell making it a family affair on the podium with 3rd.
The penultimate weekend saw the Super Series once again link up with the SuperCup on one grid, with everyone converging on the Donington Park GP circuit in Derby. Matt Pickford came to the fore on this occasion and converted a great pole position into an even more superb first race win, heading up Simon Fleet and newcomer Simon Hutchings with a very impressive 3rd place on his debut. Pickford then did it again in the second race, proving that sometimes wins really do appear like buses! Hutchings went one better with 2nd place and Miller in 3rd, before Pickford’s hat-trick chances were put on hold as more incredible progress from Hutchings as he also took his first Super Series win. Fleet collected 2nd followed by double winner Pickford in 3rd, with just one weekend left to go.
That weekend would take place at Silverstone on the International circuit, with Brian Chandler making a return to the grid for the first time since Cadwell Park. He picked up where he left off, driving on to score the win in Race 1 with Pickford taking 2nd, while new boy James Cossins driving the new hire car built by SuperCup front runner Aidan Hills made an instant impact with 3rd place in his very first race. Chandler once again drove to victory, although this time Cossins went one place higher to score an excellent 2nd ahead of Joe Marshall. To round off the year, the final race of the season saw Matt Pickford take his third win with Chandler and Cossins completing the last podium of the year.