CATERHAMS & CO TO CLOSE OUT 2019 AT BRANDS HATCH WITH BRSCC


Brands Hatch and the BRSCC South Eastern Centre are gearing up for what is sure to be an intense weekend of racing on the Indy circuit, as the first of our main championship finals meetings gets set to commence. Caterham Motorsport headline the action on the time table, with five of their six series set to crown champions, while additional saloon and single seater title deciders will also add to the excitement.

There’s two title battles to worry about in the Caterham Academy championships with both going down to the wire once again. The Green Group crown has almost been settled, as Alexander Conway scored the results he needed in order to put the #1 spot out of reach of his rivals on total accrued points. However, he races on Saturday to seal the deal once and for all on dropped scores, where his advantage is a mere 6 points over 2nd placed man James Venning.  Dimitris Melas and Benjamin Miller may both have to settle for contesting a podium place in the final standings, but both will certainly give it their all to be amongst the leaders as they fight to come out on top.

With the White Group, it’s set to be even more intense. Heading to Brands Hatch, Tom Wyllys and Blair McConachie will settle a season long scrap for glory as they reach the final round with just 2 points between them. Ultimately, it will come down to who can outscore the other in the race by the most points in order to swing it one way or the other. James Fowler could be a factor in a distant 3rd place while 4th in the standings looks set to be an interesting three way battle between Adam West, Christopher McMahon and Wes Payne. Whatever happens in either group, all drivers can be proud of the progress they’ve made in their inaugural seasons of racing.

In an annual tradition as something of an ultimate “graduation” from the Academy of sorts, a special non-championship Autumn Trophy race will also take place that sees drivers from both groups competing together for the first time. The entry list at the time of writing features just about every driver that’s in contention for the title the day before, meaning that Sunday’s race will be the first time that both Academy champions will face off on track together. Not only that, but it will also be a chance for either group to earn the bragging rights of being the faster of the two from this season.

It’s going to be an intense battle for honours in the Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsport Championship, with the top four drivers separated by just four points. Will Rossetti heads into the weekend in the lead, followed by Stuart Bell just a point behind, while Lars Hoffmann sits in 3rd place ahead of Andrew Murgatroyd. The championship permutations could get very interesting once dropped scores start to come into play, especially as all four have wins to their name the season and there’s a real possibility that it could be settled on countback in the event of a tie. It’s been another mega competitive season in Roadsport and it’s fitting that we head to the finale this weekend with a grandstand finish in store.

For the Motul Caterham Seven 270R Championship, Daniel French and Justin Heap appear to be the main contenders in reality, with French leading by 7 points ahead of the final two races of the year. Both have taken five wins and a multitude of podiums between them and have been a constant force at the front of the field all season, and Brands Hatch will be the final test to decide who comes out on top as champion. Daniel Halstead, Matt Sheppard and Greg Monks could all still be outside threats for the title but they would need luck and results to go their way, leaving the trio to battle it out for the final championship podium spot.

We could see one driver achieve something he’s longed to do ever since he joined Caterham Motorsport’s ranks, as the Santander Caterham Seven 310R Championship could be falling the way of Jay McCormack this weekend. Even though his main rival Gordon Sawyer has won seven of the 12 races contested so far, McCormack was finally able to get his win tally off the mark last time out at Donington on countback thanks to a red flag. Jay has made sure to stay on Gordon’s tail every step of the way and a retirement from Sawyer at Oulton Park has helped McCormack carry his current advantage on accrued points. It may well turn out to be a different story when dropped scores come into effect, but after coming close three times could it finally be fourth time lucky for McCormack in his quest for #1?

The top step of the Caterham Motorsport ladder will also see a new champion crowned, as the Avon Tyres Caterham Seven 420R Championship heads to the Kent speed bowl the top five drivers all hungry for the title. John Byrne has been the main force all year and has managed to claw his way back from misfortune to victory on a number of occasions this year. He can get the job done here at Brands Hatch, provided main rival David Henderson doesn’t manage to overhaul him. They’re also sure to have Henry Heaton, Tim Dickens and former double champion Aaron Head for company at the front of the field, and it’s sure to be another nail-biting conclusion to a very competitive year.

Away from Caterhams, the final rounds of the Avon Tyres National Formula Ford Championship sees another incredible conclusion to an amazing year of competition. Effective champion Ross Martin isn’t set to be present, as he wishes to conserve his chances of sealing his title back at Silverstone, which means the battle for 2nd place is on this weekend. This has left the trio of Cliff Dempsey Racing drivers to fight it out amongst themselves, and the gloves will be off for Spike Kohlbecker, James Clarke and Jonathan Browne to secure the runner up spot. These races will also serve as a warm-up for next month’s Formula Ford Festival, with Luke Cooper, Chris Middlehurst and Joey Foster all on the this weekend’s entry list too.

The last championship to be settled will be the Teekay Couplings Production GTi Championship, with the Mk5 class title all but a foregone conclusion for runaway leader Simon Hill. Having won all but one race this season, it could all be wrapped up by the end of the first race, but you can be sure that James Colbourne, Martyn Walsh, Simon Vercoe and co will push him all the way to the flag. In what is a bumper entry list for the season finale, amongst it lies the other championship battle in the Mk2 class. Even though defending champ Tim Hartland leads the way, former double champion Chris Webb could still steal a third crown provided results go his way. Pete Milne, Spencer Beale and Luke Haberman will also look to be factors in this battle too.

Additionally on the timetable come two contests from our friends at the Classic & Modern Motorsport Club, as they bring their Amusetime Production Saloons and Iwade Garage Super Saloons to play on their local circuit. Key drivers and cars to watch out for here include the evergreen and ebullient Rod Birley and his Ford Escort WRC, Steve Rothery’s Peugeot 308 TCR and a whole host of BMW M3s and silhouette race cars. It should be some incredible racing here as a wide variety of marques and models will be on display!

Scott Woodwiss