BMW COMPACT CUP PREPARES FOR HIGH SPEED THRUXTON RETURN
The Nankang Tyres BMW Compact Cup’s 2020 season may have started in the wet and damp of Oulton Park, but thankfully this weekend the outlook appears to be much better weather-wise as dry conditions are set to welcome the drivers at this weekend’s second meeting at the ultra-fast Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire. After some epic racing here two years ago in 2018, everyone is greatly looking forward to the return.
Taking stock of the points table heading into this weekend’s triple-header, Tom Griffiths has the honour of leading the standings after he began his campaign with a 3rd place and a win to head the table by four points from Ben Huntley, whose consistent pair of results, including a strong drive to 2nd place in Race 2 (plus fastest laps in both) have allowed him to sit in P2 in points. The other driver to take home winning silverware from Cheshire was Ian Jones, who had to make do with a result deep in the top ten in the second race for reasons we’ll explain in a moment. Both Jones and Griffiths ended up in the top three in the championship last year and to see them pick up where they left off and improve their fortunes immediately means that their rivals will have plenty of incentive to keep up with them.
We mentioned the top three from last season, but there’s one of them we haven’t talked about – the actual champion. Steven Dailly’s quest for a fourth consecutive Compact Cup title appeared to start well with 2nd place in Race 1 at Oulton behind Jones, but he then proceeded to join Jones in (almost literally) sailing off the road on the opening lap in Race 2, forcing him to claw his way back through the pack to eventually finish in 5th, but it was enough to place him 3rd in points just five off the lead. This means that a good weekend at Thruxton might end up seeing him leave at the top of the standings, but he knows all too well that it won’t be as simple as that.
Wayne Flint is not only the top Masters driver heading to Thruxton, but he’s also fifth overall in the standings thanks to a 5th and 3rd place respectively, proving that some of the more experienced drivers in the field are very much formidable. In that Masters contest, Flint enters Thruxton ten points ahead of Mark Skeats, with Paul Maguire tied on points with him ahead of Gordon MacMillan and Ray MacDowall. Skeats, MacMillan and MacDowall all raced at this circuit two years ago, while Flint and Maguire will see it for the first time in a Compact Cup car, and this might prove key when it comes to battling for results.
Jordan Stilp made an impressive debut despite the conditions at Oulton Park, including a 4th place in the second race. The former Clio Cup and British GT racer should be able to use the dry conditions to his advantage and could potentially score a surprise result or two if he manages to keep up with the main contenders. Others to keep an eye on throughout the field include Oliver Faller, Thomas Langford, Matt Flowers, William Davison and Lee Dendy-Sadler, all drivers with the potential to pop up inside the top 10 if fortunes and results go their way.