257 READY TO RACE AT DONINGTON
A very encouraging 257 entries have been received for this weekend’s BRSCC Midlands Centre ‘Caterham Festival’ meeting at Donington Park.
The Avon Tyres Caterham Tracksport Championship has the honour of getting the first of 19 races underway tomorrow afternoon on the 1.95 mile National Circuit. Michael Gazda, who graduated from last year’s Academy, continues to lead the points table, though the Austrian driver has failed to win either of the last two rounds. A brace of fastest lap bonus points has helped maintain the gap to second place man, Oliver Jarrett, with Gazda’s DPR team-mate, and fellow Academy graduate, Matt Dyer, in third.
Next-up is the BRSCC Mazda MX5 SuperCup, which offers a competitive home for the Mk3 version of the Japanese marque.Paul Sheard has edged out in front by the small margin of 8 points. Behind him, Andrew Clarkson, Matt Davies and Mike Comber are separated by only a few points and any of them could still overhaul the championship leader. Sheard will be looking for a mistake free weekend, and preferably, race wins, before the championship moves on to Brands Hatch.
Such is the interest in Caterham Roadsports that the entries have had to be divided into three groups for this double-header to accommodate everyone. The title fight is shaping up into a battle between last year’s two Academy champions, Alex Gurr & Stephen Nuttall, with the latter currently holding sway at the top of the points table. Nuttall has won at every venue visited so far this year, so the smart money will be on him to take at least one of this weekend’s victories.
Single-seater action this weekend is provided by 42 Formula Fords across the Post 89 and Pre 90 championships. The Post-89 lead is currently held by David McArthur, with Blackburn’s Martin Short in hot pursuit following his Oulton win last month. A UK championship it might be, but the FF1600 field is not without its international drivers – Americans Austin Kimberly and Skylar Robinson are popular members of the paddock, and expect both to be pushing for wins this weekend in their Cliff Dempsey Racing prepared cars.
The international feel continues in the Pre-90 category, with the championship currently headed by Dutch airline pilot, Jaap Blijleven, who is undertaking what is proving to be a very competitive full campaign for 2013. However, the flying Dutchman will have to keep a close eye on Chorley’s Chis Hodgen, who has made an impressive come back this season.
In the Avon Tyres Caterham Supersports, David Robinson continues to head the points table with a nine point margin over second place man and DPR Motorsport team-mate Craig Currie, which is a cushion, but not a comfortable one. However, both DPR men will be wary of Mike Hart, who suffered his first DNF in 4 years at Zandvoort, but then made up for it in the second race in Holland by winning from the back of the grid!
The BigProfile Sports 2000 Duratecs and Pintos are with us again at Donington and both have entered competitive fields. Sometime Alfa racer Chris Snowdon is the favourite to win the Pinto race, but Damien Griffin will also have a say. Expect a titanic battle in the Duratec Championship between Robert Oldershaw and Patrick Sherrington. However, having won at Zandvoort last month, Craig Mitchell will be confident he can get amongst them.
This is the weekend that the guys (and two girls) of the PistonHeads.com Caterham Academy have been waiting for excitedly all year long. Having completed the sprint stage of the championship, Donington will see both groups take part in their first race. Let’s make that clear: this is the very first race of their life for every single driver in the two Academy races!
Chris Hutchinson arrives at Donington as the hot favourite for pole position in Group 1; the 35-year-old West Sussex based man has been the only driver on the podium at all three sprint events.Second placed Henry Heaton (21) is the only driver to have knocked Hutchinson into second (at the Snetterton Sprint) and is part of a trio of contenders looking to dethrone him, Nick Horton and James Houston being the other two.
William Smith is the ‘King of the Sprints’, having been unbeaten so far this year in Group 2. It’s a very youthful top three in the Group 2 table this year as Will is joined by Jack Sales (19) and ‘Little’ Lee Bristow (21), a stark contrast to the forty-and-fifty-something’s that usually show the youngsters how it’s done. Two runner-up podium positions have put Sales in second spot, but he’s just a single point ahead of Bristow
For the entry lists, Final Instructions and timetable visit CATERHAM FESTIVAL