Author Archives: Scott-W


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    Donington Park in September is set to host what looks on paper to be one of the best race weekends we have in store on the BRSCC calendar, as not only is there a superb line-up of championships and series on the bill, but all of them will be tackling the full Grand Prix layout which will certainly add an extra exciting element to proceedings. There’s just about something for everyone on this timetable with several superb series all in action.

    Headlining the event is something very special – this season has seen BRSCC host rounds of the new Motorsport UK British Superkart Championship and this weekend we are privileged to be featuring the centrepiece of their calendar – the coveted British Superkart Grand Prix. This will be an amazing race that will see the winner walk away with the much sought after “GP plate” to denote that they are the champion and with four classes bidding for glory at the same time, it’s guaranteed to be quite a spectacle. We say once more – if you’ve never seen Superkart racing before, do one thing and watch this, because it will be spellbinding!

    Alongside the GP, there are some of our most popular championships featuring that are guaranteed to entertain. There’s the trio of Mazda MX-5 competitions with the Mazda MX-5 Championship and Mazda MX-5 Clubman Championship for Mk1 models and the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup for Mk3 models all ready to compete once more. This will be their penultimate weekend of the season and all three are sure to feature close battles at the head of their respective points tables. There’s just something about the combination of these small Japanese sports cars and this circuit that seems to fit so well!

    With the Mazda MX-5 Championship, Jack Brewer currently holds the lead in the points standings on dropped scores over Oliver Allwood and Brian Trott and this weekend will be the last set to results that will be eligible to count as dropable rounds if required, before the Brands Hatch finale in October. While Brewer is having the season of his life this year, Allwood has been in this position numerous times before and will be desperate to finally clinch the title he so agonisingly missed out on last year. As for Trott, his first fully committed campaign has seen him shine too and he will carry on gunning for top results to remain in the hunt next month.

    The one-day, two-race format Mazda MX-5 Clubman Championship continues its impressive growth and popularity with another 30+ car entry to mimic that from Silverstone. Harry Storer is currently on course to become champion, but he knows that having missed the Snetterton meeting earlier in the season, for him it means that every single point has to count at this stage, otherwise his rivals will swiftly close in. Rob Greensmith and Dan Blake are his closest adversaries, both themselves locked in a duel for 2nd on dropped scores.

    The tightest of the Mazda contests right now is the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup, where defending champion Samuel Smith heads perennial title contender and frontrunner Jack Harding by just ten points on dropped scores at this stage. While it does put Smith in control at the top, Harding will make sure he pushes him all the way to the end in a bid to win a championship that, like Oliver Allwood in the Mk1s, he’s labored over attempting to win several times but always come up just shy of capturing the prize. Meanwhile, Patrick Fletcher will have to be on his a-game to ensure he holds onto 3rd, otherwise he’ll be in real danger of losing it to James Cossins, who sits in 4th just a single point away.

    We’ve also got Ford action in the mix too with the Fiesta Championship and Fiesta Junior Championship also reaching the twilight of the 2021 season. The senior-level Fiestas will feature the usual mix of the older ST150 class and the newer generation ST240 class cars competing on track against one another with the latter contesting their first season as a points-scoring class. It was one of the new turbo Fiestas that won last year’s Clubsport Trophy race (more on them in a moment) in the hands of W Series racer Jessica Hawkins, so these cars seem perfectly suited to a fast and flowing circuit like Donington. Rob Smith, Luke Pinder, David Nye, Zachary Lucas and Alastair Kellett will be the main men to watch for in the ST240 class, while Ethan Rogers, Briannie Davis and 2020 champion Samuel Watkins will be the main ST150 contenders.

    As for the Juniors, this will only be the third season that they’ve ever raced on the GP loop having done so before in 2012 and 2015 previously. Any time FJC visits Donington the racing is usually quite entertaining, so we’ve no doubt that will be the case again this year! Names such as Deagen Fairclough, Jenson Brickley, Alex Ley, Sid Smith and James Wallis will be those to look out for in years to come in GT and touring car racing for years to come, as this series provides the next generation of domestic racing stars.

    More tin-top action is expected from the Nankang Tyre BMW Compact Cup, which returns to the site where last year’s champion Steven Dailly made history by winning his fourth consecutive title here in 2020. Currently in a position to make it five this time, he knows all too well the competition in this championship is always fierce. No matter where you are in the pack, there is always someone to race with and at the front of the field, there’s never any guarantee who will turn up as the favourite to take the victory.

    We referenced the Clubsport Trophy earlier and they’ll be back in action once again at Donington, the only circuit that the series has visited every year since it started in 2019. The 45-minute pit-stop race will be the last race on the timetable, meaning we could see a potential scene like the one in October last year with the cars racing into the twilight and finishing with headlights ablaze, something which gave the race a true endurance feel! There’s always a mega variety of cars that turn up and we’re certain to see a few from other championships also competing as an extra bit of fun to add to their regular series commitments.

    Plus, some of the fastest racing we’re set to see all weekend is set to come from the excellent new ZEO Proto Series for sports prototypes. Conceived by long time racer Duncan Williams and his daughter Grace, the series accommodates anything from a Radical or Global GT Light all the way to LMP3 race cars and everything else in between that fits the bill, be they open or closed top, naturally aspirated or turbo or supercharged. The fast sweeps and flowing nature of Donington will suit these cars perfectly and previous races of a similar elk on the BRSCC roster have always been excellent. We’re looking forward to seeing the mix of machines on the entry list for this one!

    The 2021 Welsh Sports & Saloon Championship will be at Donington Park on 26th September with its usual format of one qualifying session and two 15 minutes races. The 2021 season will be the 30th year for the championship, and WRDA spokesman Robert Allender said ‘A visit to Donington Park is always a highlight. We were last here on 2018 but on the National circuit. In addition to the championship points scorers we also extend a welcome to Guest Drivers who might think ‘Let’s see what it’s all about! Although they can’t score points, guests can still have some fun because that’s what we are all about. We want to put the fun back into racing!’


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    With twelve races to run and a whole host of rising stars in with a realistic shout of lifting the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost crown, Croft this weekend marks the start of the title run-in.

    It’s still JHR’s Matthew Rees who leads at the championship summit, but after only a second-ever weekend in single seaters without a podium finish at Thruxton, his margin has been cut to just four points over Matias Zagazeta (Argenti).

    The Peruvian leap-frogged James Hedley, now at Carlin and adapting fast to his new challenger, in Hampshire with a brace of second-place finishes, but the trio remain blanketed by just eight markers in total.

    Both Rees and Hedley were given a boost in mid-week with the announcement of their nominations for the prestigious Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Award, news that is sure to give both contenders a spring in their step this weekend.

    Fortec’s Joel Granfors and Ollie Gray arrive with some serious momentum after both scored maiden victories last time out to boost their own hopes of making a late season bid for the honours, the pair now split by McKenzy Cresswell (JHR) in fourth, fifth and sixth respectively in the points.

    JHR’s final challenger, Joseph Loake, remains on the fringes of the title fight but will need to start chaining together some big results, and quickly, if he is to put himself back into the reckoning.

    Nine different drivers have won a race this season, and a whole host of Ford-powered rising stars could yet be a thorn in the side of those vying for the championship.

    Arden’s Zak Taylor will be aiming to banish memories of his Thruxton roll with a return to his race-winning antics earlier in the campaign, the Brit joined by new arrival Georgi Dimitrov and the ever-improving David Morales.

    Ditto the rest of Carlin’s line-up; Dougie Bolger has been knocking on the door of a maiden podium for some time now, whilst Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak and Kai Askey will be aiming to add to their silverware haul in Yorkshire.

    Aiden Neate’s performances of late have attracted plenty of praise, and an equal season-best fourth at Thruxton has put the wind in the sails of team-mate Eduardo Coseteng.

    The last of Argenti’s prospects, Marcos Flack, has endured a character-building set of results but will look to start the fightback this time out.

    Georgi Dimitrov returns to the fray this weekend, having completed a switch from Richardson Racing to Arden Motorsport, meaning the Red Arrows return to a three-car line-up from this weekend.


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    A bold overtake at Circuit Zandvoort gave Alice Powell (Racing X, GBR) her third victory of the season and a share of the lead in the W Series title race.

    Alice started from second on the grid in the Netherlands, but passed pole-sitter Emma Kimiläinen (Ecurie W, FIN) in the early stages before beating Jamie Chadwick (Veloce Racing, GBR) by three seconds. The fourth win of Alice’s W Series career moves her level on 109 points with defending champion Jamie – who scored a fifth consecutive podium finish – at the top of the championship standings. Emma completed the podium and is now 34 points behind Alice and Jamie with two rounds remaining, the first of which takes place at the Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, USA, on 23 October.

    Nerea Martí (W Series Academy Team, ESP) was fourth, Jessica Hawkins (Racing X, GBR) fifth – the best result of her W Series career – and Abbie Eaton (Ecurie W, GBR) sixth. Reserve driver Abbi Pulling (PUMA W Series Team, GBR) overtook eighth-placed Belen Garcia (Scuderia W, ESP) on the final lap to finish seventh, one place higher than her Silverstone debut result in July. Sarah Moore (Scuderia W, GBR) and Miki Koyama (Sirin Racing, JPN) completed the top 10.

    On another warm and sunny day at the Dutch seaside resort bordering the North Sea, the start of the race was delayed by 30 minutes due to red flags during the preceding Formula 1 qualifying session. Bruna Tomaselli (Veloce Racing, BRA) qualified 14th but started at the rear of the field after spinning on the formation lap, during which Emma also dipped a wheel into the gravel.

    When the lights went out, the Finn made a flying start to retain her lead at the end of lap one ahead of Alice – who survived early pressure from third-placed Jamie – by just over one second. Abbi started fifth but lost three places in the early stages, promoting Jessica, Abbie and Belen up the field.

    With 23 minutes remaining, Alice set the fastest lap of the race to close to within two tenths of a second of Emma, who she overtook on the inside at Turn 10 to hit the front. Jamie followed Alice past Emma to go second at Turn 1 on the next lap.

    At the halfway stage, Alice led Jamie by 2.2 seconds with Emma a further 4.1 seconds back in third and coming under pressure from Nerea and Jessica. Alice had extended her advantage by a second with a quarter of the race left and eased to victory.

    The fiercest battle in the closing stages was for seventh place between Belen and Abbi. Abbi – making just her second W Series appearance – looked to have made a successful overtake on the penultimate lap when she attempted the same move at Turn 10 that her mentor Alice had pulled off earlier in the race. Belen survived on that occasion, but the pressure told on the final lap when Abbi went past her at Turn 3.

    Alice was also named Star of the Track, a brand-new fan initiative in association with W Series’ partner, Heineken. Alice received more votes from fans than any other driver at the end of Saturday’s race.


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    We’re heading into an important stage of the season at the BRSCC as September means it’s getting to a vital stage in the fight for several championships with the end of the calendar in sight. Six series make the journey north to Croft Circuit in Yorkshire where they’ll certainly have silverware and points on their mind as they race at one of the fastest venues in the country.

    Caterham Motorsport make their first visit back to Croft for the first time in two years after they last competed here in 2019. Four of their five-series factory-supported roster will be in action this weekend as the novices in both groups of the Academy will share the paddock with the Roadsport, Seven 270R and Seven 310R competitors, all of whom will be raring to go on a circuit that should suit the close, tight pack racing nature that Caterhams always provide. This will be especially evident on the long straights, where slipstreaming will be in abundance leading to plenty of overtaking opportunities. What happens here could well be key as with just two weekends to go for the majority of Caterham’s series, keeping out of trouble and scoring as many points as possible at this stage will be on everyone’s mind.

    The Fun Cup Endurance Championship also makes a welcome return to Yorkshire after two years away, when the drivers had to deal with mixed weather conditions and a greasy track making things fairly tricky. Given that this round is taking place in September, the threat of rain will be all too present once more, but it will certainly be a test of skill for all drivers, both experienced and new. Fun Cup Endurance’s longer races always produce a fine spectacle for the duration, as even with a safety car or two thrown into the mix, there’s never usually a lean spell in the action. Races are fast and frantic from start to finish and winners regularly take the chequered flag just tenths of seconds ahead of their rivals in the end. This is certain to be an enthralling race, whatever happens!

    Another championship that will be keen to impress is the Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship, running in its first full season after it debuted just over a year ago. Croft was the sight of CityCar’s initial promo launch as well as the first-ever standalone races held in November last year, so it’s a circuit which certainly has a special place in the championship’s heart. There’s an anticipated grid of over 30 cars set to compete with Citroen C1s, Peugeot 107s and Toyota Aygos all built to identical specs ready to jostle for position and put on a show. With the Student Motorsport Challenge and Novice Racer awards also up for grabs for the season as well as the first ever CityCar Cup title, it’s sure to be quite the show that these little pocket rockets will put on!

    Scott Woodwiss


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    As an exciting addition to this year’s Race of Remembrance programme in November, Mission Motorsport and the BRSCC are delighted to announce the inclusion of two additional opportunities to get your race car on track over the weekend of the event, and to further support the charity in the great work they do.

    Before the main Race of Remembrance event starts on Saturday 13th we’ll be hosting a special 45-minute RoR ClubSport Trophy race, as well as a one off RoR Mazda Allcomers Cup 2 x race programme!

    The RoR ClubSport Trophy race will follow the current BRSCC format and regulations, meaning it’s open to one or two drivers, has a single mandatory pitstop and gives a 20 minute qualifying session followed by a 45 minute race. This offers a great opportunity to end your race season with a great fun short endurance race, and also gives Race of Remembrance entrants the opportunity to get some more track time under their belts prior to the main event. The entry fee has been set at a discounted rate of just £245 per car, and further reduced to £195 for those who already have an entry in place for the main Race of Remembrance.

    The RoR Mazda Allcomers Cup has been conceived as a one-off Mazda only programme, and offers a 20-minute qualifying session followed by 2 x 20-minute races. It includes classes for Mk1, Mk3 and Mk4 MX-5’s, as well as a class for Ma7da Championship cars. There will also be a power to weight-based class structure for other Mazda race cars such as RX-7’s, Mazda2 etc. The entry fee has also been set at a rate of just £245 per car, and further reduced to £195 for those who already have an entry in place for the main Race of Remembrance.

    All proceeds from the above races go directly to Mission Motorsport, so even if you aren’t planning a full Race of Remembrance entry, what better way to get your car onto the grid for an end of season blast and to support Mission Motorsport at the same time!


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    The BRSCC and the Silverlake C1 Racing Club are delighted to announce an agreement for the C1 endurance racing programme to be hosted by the BRSCC from the 2022 season onwards. Both parties view this new partnership as an exciting opportunity to further develop the hugely popular race series, and to deliver the best racing and support package possible to C1 Racing Club competitors.

    On announcing the new partnership, C1 Racing Club owner Robin Welsh said,

    “I’d firstly like to thank everyone at BARC for the support and assistance given to me since I took ownership of the C1 Racing Club, and also for their commitment to the previous owners. I wish them all the very best for the future.

    Paul McErlean (the BRSCC’s Chief Operating Officer) has been a friend for many years, and I’ve also worked closely with Greg Graham (BRSCC’s Head of Formula Development) on racing projects over a number of years too, however, aside from these relationships I’ve been greatly impressed by the way the BRSCC have developed over the past few years, and I’m confident that they can assist me in giving C1 Club members the best levels of support and service going forward”.

    Commenting on the release of the news, Paul McErlean said, “I’m delighted that Robin has made this decision, as both of us have very similar views when it comes to providing the best levels of customer support and service. The BRSCC have a long history of delivering successful endurance and 24hr race events, and I believe that this new partnership with the C1 Racing Club will enhance and grow what is already a very successful and popular series.

    The BRSCC and BARC have a great working relationship, and whilst we both focus on developing our portfolios with as little conflict as possible, we accept that movement of independently owned race formulae between clubs is a fairly normal situation. BARC have done a great job assisting the development of C1 endurance racing in the UK, and the BRSCC look forward to continuing that progress for the benefit of all involved”.

    The 2022 race calendar is already being planned, and C1 Racing Club and BRSCC look forward to sharing more details soon.

    For all current news and updates, please head to


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    Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire produced another thrilling two days of competition with the British Racing & Sports Car Club, as sports cars and tin tops put on a great display of racing. While some championships made a step closer towards the conclusion of their seasons, one wrapped up its titles this weekend at a meeting that certainly will have been influential on the direction of several points standings.

    BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship
    Oliver Allwood managed to make the top step of the podium his own all weekend in the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship and made strong gains on points leader Jack Brewer at the head of the table on dropped scores. The first race was something of an AB Motorsport racing demonstration as he led teammates Fraser Fenwick and Brian Trott to lock out the podium ahead of main championship rival Brewer, who managed to capture all three fastest lap points over the weekend as he claimed 4th in the opening encounter. Allwood jumped back into the lead from the start of Race 2 and once again held on to win from the front, but he was closed down in the final laps by a charging Brewer who worked his way into 2nd place with a few minutes to go; Fenwick would take the final podium spot. Just before the safety car was called to clear up an incident in the opening laps, the final race of the weekend saw Brewer managed to take the lead from Allwood, but a classy switchback move at Park Corner allowed Allwood to reclaim it on the penultimate lap before pulling away to win, while Brewer held off Trott’s late advances to pick up 3rd.

    BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Clubman Championship
    The one-day Mk1 counterparts of the Mazda MX-5 Clubman Championship saw a new race winner come to the fore as Kevin Dengate justified his return to Mazda racing with an excellent pair of performances to capture a double victory. Kevin resisted pressure from points leader Harry Storer (back from his absence from Snetterton) all race to clinch his first Clubman win, managing to cross the line first by 1.5 seconds with Neil Chisnall claiming his second podium finish with 3rd place. A strong start to the second race later that day gave Dengate a strong gap to begin with, while Chisnall briefly tried to steal 2nd from Storer before he took it back again before the opening lap was through. Storer managed to close in onto Dengate’s bumper in the final minutes and made a daring pass outside into Coppice to take the lead. However, Dengate stayed close and on the final lap repassed Storer at the top of the circuit to sensationally confirm the double, leaving Storer and Chisnall to fill out the podium.

    BRSCC Mazda MX-5 SuperCup
    Samuel Smith managed to maintain his points lead on dropped scores for the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup with another brace of victories in Cadwell Park, although once again his main rivals made it very difficult for him to relax for any given moment. Both Jack Harding and Adam Bessell remained on his tail all the way throughout the first race which remained trouble free until an incident at Barn saw a car end up upside down, although the driver appeared to escape the accident unscathed. This brought out the red flag to all the race to an early finish with Smith winning from Harding and Bessell on the podium. Smith powered away from the line to lead the second race while Harding quickly picked off Bessell for 2nd to chase him Sam down. The pair quickly pulled away from the rest, but with six minutes to go Harding muscled his way through at Park to take the lead. Smith retaliated into Coppice, but contact was made dropping him back and while he did close the gap back down again, Harding had enough advantage to remain in front on the road. After the race, Harding’s contact initially landed him a five second penalty, handing a second win of the weekend to Smith with Bessell again in 3rd place, but this was later rescinded and the result reverted back to its original order, giving Harding the win once more.

    The partially reversed grid for the third race gave James Cossins a chance to once again take an outright race win as well as top the Pro Class and he managed to do so despite late pressure from Harding, although Smith’s Club Class teammate Richard Amos provided an unexpected helping hand by placing himself inbetween Cossins and Harding in a bid to take points away from Smith’s main rival. Cossins would indeed win Pro Class for the second time this season from Harding, with Declan Lee managing 3rd in class behind. Amos and Kevin Silvain shared the spoils in the Club Class, splitting the three race wins between them with two in Richard’s favour. Despite this, Silvain still tops the class points leaving Cadwell.

    Motorsport UK British Superkart Championship
    The final rounds of the Motorsport UK British Superkart Championship produced some incredible high speed action, including a brand new outright Cadwell Park lap record in the process set by Division 1 racer Sam Moss of 1m21.036. Lee Harpham set the pace initially with victory in Race 1 overall from Ross Allen and Andy Gulliford on Saturday, but Sunday would turn out to be Moss’ day as he followed up his new lap record with victories in both of the encounters that day. Harpham and Allen would join him on the podium in each both overall and in Division 1, while Paul Platt and Lee Plain shared the F250 National honours, Charles Johnson and Garry Ward were top of F450 National and 125 Open wins were taken by Tom Riley, Paul von Gerard and Michael Parr. With the main championship season now complete, attentions will now turn to Donington Park for the all-important British Superkart Grand Prix!

    BRSCC Fiesta Championship
    The BRSCC Fiesta Championship produced its 5th different overall winner of the season as former champion Alastair Kellett clinched the victory in Saturday’s race in the ST240 class, working his way from 3rd on the grid to win from Zachary Lucas and Rob Smith. From pole in Sunday’s first race, Kellett did it again to double up with Smith this time ahead of Lucas, while the final race of the weekend was stopped after just three laps competed after ST150 leader Ethan Rogers blew his engine and the resulting fluid dropped caused cars to go spinning at the Hall Bends, eventually seeing Briannie Davis take an unfortunate trip into the barriers. Because of time constraints, the third race was sadly declared null and void. In the ST150 ranks, 2020 Fiesta champion Samuel Watkins made a triumphant return with the #1 on the window, finishing top of his class in both races as Rogers, new FJC graduate George Davis and Marlo Cordell shared the podiums between them.

    BRSCC Fiesta Junior Championship
    There was a somewhat energetic finish to the first Fiesta Junior race on Sunday as a battle between title contenders Deagen Fairclough and Jenson Brickley boiled over on the final lap. The two drivers made contact at the final corner, resulting in both spinning into the barriers and as a result it would be Jake Triggs who jumped from 3rd place on the road to a surprise first win, stealing it from a recovering Brickley on the sprint to the chequered flag. Brickley and Fairclough would still end up on the podium in 2nd and 3rd given the sizeable gap back to the rest of the field. The second race was affected by two red flags, but through it all Fairclough went on to win ahead of James Wallis and Alex Ley.

    Nankang Tyre BMW Compact Cup
    There was simply no stopping defending champion and points leader Steven Dailly in the Nankang Tyre BMW Compact Cup as he picked up another pair of wins in his quest for title number five. An early safety car for an incident at Coppice at the start allowed the pack to bunch up close, but once racing was underway Dailly slowly edged away to build a two second lead by the flag with Paul Maguire taking 2nd place and top Masters finish, followed by Mikey Doble in 3rd. A later safety car in Race 2 on Sunday put Maguire right on Dailly’s tail in the final laps, leading to the Scot only claiming the win this time by a quarter of a second, with Ian Howes rounding off the podium with an excellent 3rd place. Two trips to Donington Park now await the drivers to close off the 2021 season.

    ETSL ST-XR Challenge
    Such was the competitiveness of the ST-XR Challenge at Cadwell Park that it ended up producing three different winners across two different classes! While both Michael Blackburn and Chris Grimes shared the front row of the grid for the first race, neither of them would see the finish as both retired with mechanical issues despite showing great pace throughout. It was left to Lee Bowron to finally take an outright Class D win in his ST150 with Sam Beckett and Mark Robinson also securing some of their best results of the season so far with 2nd and 3rd place respectively, while further back Simon Robinson was back on form in the XRs ahead of Alex Causer and Paul Green. Robinson and Causer then experienced some glory of their own, as with the XRs placed at the head of the grid for Race 2 the pair were able to pull away in a race of their own, with Robinson driving superbly to claim Class A and overall race victory ahead of Causer in 2nd, while Green rounded off the class in 3rd place and 8th overall; Lee Bowron, meanwhile, was in control of Class D again, heading Michael Heath and Chris Jones this time at the flag.

    Unfortunately, Bowron couldn’t make it three from three as he retired on the opening lap, and a mid-race safety car bunched the pack up for the sprint to the finish to produce a thrilling final couple of laps. Blackburn managed to get the jump on the rest to take Class D and overall victory as Heath held off a charging Sam Beckett to settle 2nd and 3rd respectively, while the XRs came home in an identical top three once again with Robinson ahead of Causer and Green.

    Track Attack Race Club
    Making another welcome appearance on our timetable was the Track Attack Race Club with an fantastic mix of cars taking to Cadwell’s twists and turns. Rich Hockley took his Honda Civic to the top step in Race 1 followed by David Shead’s BMW Compact and the top Classic VW Cup drivers in Chris Adams aboard his VW Golf. The podium for Race 2 was a near carbon copy, as while Hockley and Shead took 1st and 2nd once more it was Ken Lark who would top the Classic VW Cup competitors in 3rd overall.

    Scott Woodwiss


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    Oliver Gray and Joel Granfors sealed maiden victories in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost at Thruxton last weekend [28-29 August] as another dramatic weekend on track raised the stakes in the title fight.

    Both Fortec Motorsport drivers made the trip to the high-speed, 2.35-mile Hampshire venue still searching for their first trip to the winner’s circle, both in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series and their fledgling single-seater careers.

    Gray, a consistent front-runner and visitor to the Rookie Cup rostrum, but still seeking his first outright podium finish prior to the weekend, made the headlines on Saturday morning with a maiden brace of pole positions, breaking the qualifying lap record in the process.

    In fact, each of the four fastest times in qualifying, set by Gray, Phinsys by Argenti’s Matias Zagazeta, championship leader Matthew Rees and his JHR team-mate Abbi Pulling respectively, would have been good enough to set a new benchmark, highlighting the strength in depth of competition between Ford’s rising stars this season.

    The first two races proved to be typically hard-fought affairs, the first of which ended up in the stewards’ room after a boisterous battle up front between Gray and Zagazeta.

    The pair were able to break the tow to the chasing pack behind, giving them license to dispute the race lead on two occasions heading into the Club chicane. In the first instance, a move to the inside by Gray left Zagazeta over the kerbs in avoidance of a collision, with the Brit able to get the advantage at Allard a few laps later.

    Zagazeta kept the pressure on and send a move around the outside of Club on the final lap; again, the Peruvian took to the kerbs but, crucially, kept the throttle in and took the chequered flag a half-second clear of Gray, with Pulling third.

    After post-race judicials, Zagazeta was found to have gained an unfair advantage and the positions between the leading pair were reversed, which stood after an appeal.

    That marked Gray’s maiden win in the series and an eighth different victor of the season, a feat he would repeat on Sunday after soaking up race-long pressure from Zagazeta, then Pulling and finally team-mate Granfors to propel himself back into title contention.

    Gray’s triumphs book-ended a maiden victory of his own for team-mate Granfors, the Swede taking a breakthrough result at the same circuit that yielded a brace of podium finishes on debut back in May.

    Granfors’ victory proved to be another contentious moment on an action-packed weekend, after contact at Club with race leader Pulling pitched the latter into the air and to the back of the field.

    It was adjudged to be a racing incident after the fact, meaning that Granfors’ triumph, secured by 0.9 seconds over a jubilant David Morales (Arden) in second, stood.

    That completed an emphatic hat-trick for Fortec Motorsport on a week that saw their previous chief title contender, James Hedley, switch teams to Carlin, and it was far from a quiet weekend in the title fight.

    Rees remains the ‘one to beat’ heading to Croft and Silverstone next month, but the JHR racer could only manage the lower reaches of the top ten on all three outings, allowing Zagazeta to move to within two points of the Welsh teenager.

    Hedley now sits third, the BRDC Rising Star able to take a solitary podium away from a weekend he chalked down as a learning exercise, the Poole-based racer adapting to the setup on his new Carlin-run challenger.

    Granfors and Gray’s silverware-laden triple headers have elevated them to fourth and sixth respectively, sandwiching McKenzy Cresswell (JHR Developments), who endured another weekend of ‘what might have been’ in Hampshire.

    The two-time race winner enjoyed a solid run to fourth in the opening race but contact from behind by Aiden Neate (Argenti) into Club in the reverse grid contest spun him round and backwards into the tyre barrier, damaging the car beyond repair in time to compete any further.

    He remains fourth but will need to find some momentum once again if he is to continue his starring role in this season’s title fight any further.

    Whilst Morales revelled in a well-deserved maiden podium, team-mate Zak Taylor walked away from a heart-stopping moment at the Complex in the final race, the Gloucestershire teenager rolling before coming to rest ‘the right way up’ after being tagged by Pulling.

    Taylor escaped the incident unharmed, but any chance of adding to a solid eighth-place finish the previous day was gone. The recent Motorsport UK Academy graduate remains in the top ten outright but will be looking to Croft to re-gain ground.

    Kai Askey (Carlin), Eduardo Coseteng (Argenti) and Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak (Carlin) are now blanketed by just eight points for the final spot inside the top ten, the latter pair securing an equal career-best results and a hat-trick of points finishes respectively to close in on two-time podium finisher Askey.

    Dougie Bolger (Carlin) enjoyed another strong weekend fighting up front, although the Japanese racer had to serve a 5-second penalty for spinning Joseph Loake (JHR) into Hedley in the opener, an incident from which he was the only car to continue.

    Neate’s run of top-six finishes continues, including a career-best fourth in the final race of the weekend as the 15-year-old knocks on the door of a first trip to the rostrum. Neate also took a first Rookie victory in the process as he starts to climb the class order.

    Marcos Flack (Argenti) will be frustrated to just miss out on adding to his points haul, but the Australian will now look to re-group and make up for lost time when the championship resumes at Croft, Yorkshire on 18-19 September.


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    Emma Kimiläinen overtook the top two drivers in the W Series championship standings to win a breathless fifth race of the 2021 season at a rain-soaked Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and move into title contention.

    The 32-year-old (Ecurie W, FIN) started fourth on the grid, but earned the second victory of her W Series career by passing defending champion Jamie Chadwick (Veloce Racing, GBR) and Alice Powell (Racing X, GBR) to score a dominant victory by 8.4 seconds in Belgium. Emma is now third in the championship standings on 60 points, 31 behind leader Jamie with three rounds remaining. Jamie finished second to extend her advantage over Alice – who finished fourth – to seven points at the top of the table.

    Marta Garcia (PUMA W Series Team, ESP) came home in third to stand on a W Series podium for the first time this season. Reserve driver Caitlin Wood (PUMA W Series Team, AUS) was fifth on just her second appearance of the campaign and Jessica Hawkins (Racing X, GBR) finished sixth. Fabienne Wohlwend (Bunker Racing, LIE) staged a fine recovery drive from 13th on the grid to finish seventh, as Nerea Martí (W Series Academy Team, ESP), Miki Koyama (Sirin Racing, JPN) and Abbie Eaton (Ecurie W, GBR) completed the top 10.

    As a result of a six-car accident during qualifying on Friday, 16 drivers started the race. Four of the six drivers involved – Sarah Moore (Scuderia W, GBR), Belen Garcia (Scuderia W, ESP), Abbie and Fabienne – were cleared to race. Ayla Agren (M. Forbes Motorsport, NOR) and Beitske Visser (M. Forbes Motorsport, NED) did not receive clearance, though both drivers are determined to return for the sixth race of the season at Zandvoort, Netherlands, next weekend (4 September).

    A four-place grid penalty meant Nerea started seventh, while Bruna Tomaselli (Veloce Racing, BRA) lined up 12th after receiving a two-place grid drop. The start of the race was delayed by one hour due to a red flag during Formula 1 qualifying, and heavy rain throughout the day meant the opening 13 minutes took place behind the safety car. It was worth the wait, as the remainder of the 30 minutes plus one lap race was full of wheel-to-wheel action.

    The pole-sitter had won each of the first four races of the season, and that run seemed set to continue when Jamie pulled out a 2.6-second advantage over Alice at the end of the first flying lap. Emma was a further three seconds back in third at that stage after passing Caitlin who ran wide at Eau Rouge and was then overtaken by her team-mate Marta.

    With less than 10 minutes remaining, Emma and Marta pulled nine seconds clear of Caitlin and took two seconds out of the leading pair on the next lap as the chasing pack began to find some drier sections of track. With eight minutes to go, when Emma overtook Alice for second place at Blanchimont before setting off in pursuit of Jamie who was five seconds up the road.

    Emma set the fastest lap with five minutes left, posting purple times in all three sectors to go three seconds faster than Jamie and reduce the Briton’s advantage to one second. On the next lap, Emma went later on the brakes to pass Jamie for the lead around the outside before easing clear in the closing stages to win by almost nine seconds.

    Marta overtook Alice at Turn 15 with 30 seconds remaining and, although Alice fought back hard on the final two laps, Marta held on to score her first podium finish of the season. Fabienne put Nerea under extreme pressure on the final lap and passed the rookie with just a few corners remaining to complete a fine comeback.

    Emma Kimiläinen, 32, Finland, Ecurie W, said:
    “This is such an amazing feeling! I had a really good car and I have to thank my engineer, driver coach and mechanic for getting everything spot on today. The Ecurie W team is rocking and this track is just amazing – it’s great to be here and race in front of this lovely crowd. More wins are what I’m aiming for in the remainder of the season. It hasn’t been the easiest start to the year for me, but anything can happen from here and I’m still aiming for the title, that’s for sure. If you want to win, get the Finn!”

    Jamie Chadwick, 23, UK, Veloce Racing, said:
    “I had no answer to Emma [Kimiläinen] today. She was really impressive and just seemed to be able to use better parts of the track for the tyres. From my point of view, it’s still a good day for the championship because I finished ahead of Alice [Powell] and, all things considered, I’m just happy to come through that race unscathed because it was pretty tricky out there. I wanted to go racing when we started behind the safety car, but we managed the situation well and Emma [Kimiläinen] simply did a better job today so all credit to her.”

    Marta Garcia, 21, Spain, PUMA W Series Team, said:
    “After such a hard start to the season, it feels great to be back on a W Series podium and I want to thank everyone for their support. I was struggling when I was behind Alice [Powell] because I was faster than her but it’s really tough to overtake in the rain, so I tried to keep the pressure on and managed to finally do a good move at Turn 15. I hope this is the first of a few more podium finishes this season.”

    Beitske Visser, 26, Netherlands, M. Forbes Motorsport, said:
    “It was, of course, a very bad accident during qualifying on Friday – the worst I have been involved in in my career so far – but I’m glad I’m relatively okay. I still have pain, but luckily there are no fractures and that is a great relief.

    “I was going towards Eau Rouge and then it suddenly started to rain. I saw two cars in front of me lost the rear and had already come off the gas but, because it was so wet, I couldn’t hold the back end either. I was praying I wouldn’t hit the others, then I saw several cars coming towards me and I was praying they wouldn’t hit me too hard.

    “When I first saw the footage, I was shocked. In the car, I immediately realised it was a bad crash, but I didn’t realise how bad it was until I saw the footage. Fortunately, those images showed that I could get out of the car myself and that was nice because I could only call my family 40 minutes later.

    “These cars are absolutely safe, although I was lucky this time. I was hit three times hard from different angles and still managed to get out of the car on my own, so I think someone was with me – I had an angel on my shoulder.

    “It’s perfect to be back in the car at Zandvoort next week – I’ll definitely be there. After such a serious crash, I think you should get back in the car as soon as possible.”

    Ayla Agren, 28, Norway, M. Forbes Motorsport, said:
    “I’m a little sore and bruised after the accident in qualifying yesterday [Friday] but, luckily, I have everything intact. My knees banged together and the right one is quite bruised, so it’s not the best now but I’ll be fine in a couple of days.

    “It happened so fast. I came through Eau Rouge and saw Abbie [Eaton] locking up and thought: “that’s going to be a big one”. Then I saw Beitske [Visser] going around and I knew I was going to do the same. My rear started snapping and I braced myself for the impact before waiting for the next few drivers to arrive. It’s one of the scariest accidents I’ve been involved in because I was sitting there waiting for someone to hit me. I’m just happy that everyone’s okay.

    “Massive thanks to everyone at the circuit and at W Series for their help. Everyone was calm and very thorough, and kept my family updated throughout. I wanted to race today and I passed the neurological tests but, according to the medics, I’m not quite ready to drive and they’ve been so professional. My aim is to be back in the car next week at Zandvoort and I’ll be trying to get lots of tips from Beitske [Visser] before we get there!”