A SENSATIONAL SUMMER SNETTERTON SPECTACLE
Jamie Going (right) and Sam Priest (left) were the dominant forces in the Fiesta Championship Class C races – Photo: Jon Elsey
While at times the weather conditions certainly didn’t reflect the season, the action on track this past weekend on the Snetterton 300 circuit certainly was as hot as ever. Saloons and sportscars dominated the timetable with two days of thrilling racing that thoroughly entertained all in attendance.
The biggest entry of the weekend once again came from the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship with almost 50 cars split across two groups. In Group A it really only seemed to be all about one man, as Samuel Smith found himself reinvigorated after a lacklustre showing at Oulton Park. Promptly sticking it on pole for race 1A, Smith enjoyed a race long tussle with teammate Will Blackwell-Chambers and Joshua Jackson, but try as his two rivals might they couldn’t overhaul him; Smith finally snatched the lead with two laps to go and held on to take his first win of the weekend ahead of Blackwell-Chambers and Jackson.
For race 2, it was more of the same although this time Smith held on to the lead for a substantially longer amount of time and only lost the lead for one lap all race. Smith won again with Jackson 2nd on this occasion and Blackwell-Chambers down to 3rd. The final Group A encounter was an easier affair for Smith as he was able to create a gap of almost 2 second at the flag, with Blackwell-Chambers regaining 2nd place this time from Jackson. All in all, it was a very successful weekend for Mike Comber Racing’s pair of Mk1s.
The first Group B Mk1 MX-5 race was also rather frantic as Kevin Brent had to beat both Jack Rawles and Adam Craig in a drag race to the line come the end of the race to take victory, after the trio had remained together for the entirety of the race. Paul Maguire would then go on to take a superb win in the second Group B race from a delighted Stephen Foden, taking his first ever circuit racing podium, and Sam Gendy. Then it would the turn of Group A regulars John Langridge and Patrick Lay to duel in the final Group B race, with Langridge winning by almost a second with rookie Paul Stephens picking up a superb 3rd.
Given his pace in qualifying, reigning Mazda MX-5 SuperCup champion James Blake-Baldwin must have thought his luck had turned after starting on the front row of the grid for race 1 with polesitter and points leader Luke Herbert. However, getting caught up in Herbert’s own incident didn’t help matters as this forced him off the podium, leaving Tom Roche to pick up the race win ahead of Herbert and a superb first SuperCup podium for former BMW Compact Cup champion Steve Roberts. Herbert was then able to escape the scramble going on behind him for 2nd place downwards as he charged away to victory by almost 5 seconds, with Ben Short clinching a hard fought 2nd and Liam Murphy grabbing 3rd place.
But in the 3rd race, while Herbert went on to win again with Roche almost 2 seconds back in P2, the talking point was the other man stood on the podium with them. After retiring on lap 2 in the previous race, James Blake-Baldwin was a man on a mission to prove a point – and prove it he did! Starting 36th on the grid, Blake-Baldwin drove like the reigning champion he was as he carved his way through the pack to eventually secure a sensational 3rd place. It’s no wonder Motorsport News dubbed him their National Racing Star of the meeting!
Over in the Fiesta Championship camp, split grids were once again the order of the weekend as Class C would go on to race separately in 3 incredible races. After returning to the class and the Championship last time at Rockingham, reigning Class C champ Sam Priest was out to prove just why he’d been top of the pile in 2016. After team boss and regular front runner Simon Horrobin retired after 4 laps, Priest overhauled Jamie Going before pulling away at almost a second a lap to take his first win since re-joining the championship. Going would still end up 2nd with Nathaniel Gollin taking his first Fiesta podium in 3rd. The second race was run in two parts, after a red flag caused by a Simon Horrobin oil spill left a sprint for victory. That sprint over 4 laps was won by Going, who incredibly was only just taking his first ever win in the championship. Priest managed 2nd with class points leader Lewis Kent in 3rd. Going sadly couldn’t repeat the feat in Race 3 as he retired in the opening laps, leaving Priest to grab a second victory from Lee Dendy-Sadler and Nathaniel Gollin.
For Classes A, B & D, it was a weekend of redemption for one Jamie White. Having suffered his worst weekend of the season back at Rockingham, he immediately set out to put things right by taking pole for Race 1 and dutifully converting it to race victory. Stuart Robbins grabbed 2nd place followed home by Tom Hutchins, with Tim Bennett taking Class A victory and Derek Robinson scoring points as sole Class B runner. For Race 2, White made it two from two with title rival John Cooper securing 2nd and Hutchins again in 3rd, while Bennett and Robinson also topped their classes once more. White then proceeded to complete the grand slam of 3 race wins, all from pole position and fastest lap in each, by winning race 3 from Robbins and Jack Youhill as once again Bennett and Robinson took the flag.
For the young guns in the Fiesta Junior Championship, their weekend also only seemed to go in favour of one driver. Nicholas Reeve superbly took pole for Race 1, but it was title rival Jack Davidson whom he would spend the race battling with for the lead. Davidson would score the victory on the road, however a 5 second time penalty for driving standards was applied which handed Reeve his second win of the season. There was also a first time podium in Race 1 as Josh Hislop made a long awaited rostrum visit in 3rd. The second race saw Davidson jump into the lead from the front row but Reeve found a way past around half distance and fended off the young Scotsman throughout the rest of the race to secure the double. There was more cause for celebration behind them, however, as Olly Turner put in a superb drive from 7th on the grid to also clinch his first podium of his career in 3rd place.
Sports prototype action once again came in the form of the Excool BRSCC OSS Championship, with a star guest driver in former Radical champion Bradley Smith making an invitational appearance in his Radical SR3 RSX. He duly took pole position for the first two races, but it was Rockingham dominator Mike Jenvey that would go on to win race 1 with his good friend and rival Duncan Williams pushing him all the way in 2nd, as Josh Smith took 3rd as part of a trio of Class C victories. Race 2 would see the eternal struggle between Duncan Williams and Mike Jenvey continue as despite being closed down by Jenvey in the closing lap, Williams went on to secure his 3rd win of the season with returning champion Josh Smith picking up 3rd overall.
The top 3 for race 3 was a carbon copy of race 2, however thanks to an early safety car Jenvey made sure Williams was never further than a second in front; Josh Smith once again took up P3 on the rostrum. Richard Fearns and Patrick Sherrington shared Class A honours all weekend, Richard Webb and Steve Owen shared the sole Class D car running in the field and Paul Myers and the Aquila CR1 of Paul Watson & Matt Domin also represented Classes E & F respectively.
A competitive Alfa Romeo Championship to the Snetterton circuit with 2015 champion Graham Seager the man on form in his Modified Class GTV, as he swept to two easy victories. Simon McFie would take 2nd overall in Race 1 in his Invitation class Fiat Punto while Ron Davidson came home 3rd. He and Paul Plant would share a win each in the Power Trophy class as the biggest contest was undoubtedly in the Twin Spark Cup. Title contenders Tom Hill and Andrew Bourke made sure they won a race apiece, with Hill taking race 1 from Bourke and Simon Cresswell before the same 3 drivers took to the class podium, this time with Bourke winning ahead of Hill.
Another superb weekend of racing in Norfolk was had by all involved and thank you to the hard work by our East Anglian Centre officials and volunteers as well as our magnificent marshals. You can find a full breakdown of all the weekend’s results here – SNETTERTON RESULTS.