BRSCC BRIGHTENS UP SILVERSTONE WITH EXCITING CLUB RACING SPECTACLE


The BRSCC managed to shine through two days of damp and overcast conditions on the Silverstone National circuit to provide a weekend of racing that was superb from start to finish. There was something for everyone, from sports cars and endurance racing to single-seaters and sports prototypes with each race being as exciting as the last.

Saturday’s FunCup race provided its usual non-stop thrills in the 4-hour encounter in the afternoon, as the Team Greensall car of Sam Smeeth made a storming charge through from the back row of the grid to quickly take the lead in a matter of laps, but he was joined by the UVio/ Hofmann’s Lotus car driven by Fabio Randaccio in the opening stint, with the pair eventually trading places time after time before the first set of stops. Defending champions Team Olympian also worked their way into contention from deep in the field, but their chances of victory went pop just like their engine in the race’s third hour, forcing Riley Phillips, Chris Dovell and Kristian Rose to retire the car from the lead. UVio/ Hofmann’s Lotus also survived a puncture along the way before driving on to collect their second win in a row with Randaccio and Farquini at the wheel, ahead of the Despatch Bay Express car of Andy Bicknell and Harry Mailer and the Team Viking pair of Mark Holme and Nick Nunn.

There was Mazda MX-5 racing aplenty across the two days, which kicked off with the Mazda MX-5 Clubman Championship on Saturday featuring a bumper grid of over 30 cars, a good few of which running as Invitiational entries. Owen Mills, one of those invitational drivers, made sure he was in command throughout the entirety of the first race ahead of Adam Sparrow, with Chris Dawkins finishing top of the points scoring drivers in 3rd overall from Jon Pethick in 5th and Richard Baxter in 7th. Mills and Sparrow then endured a fantastic three-way fight with Oak Richardson in the second race, until Sparrow’s mistake at Brooklands forced him to settle for 3rd place as Mills led Richardson home to take his second victory on the road. Taking the maximum points behind them was double Croft winner Harry Storer, claiming the “win” ahead of Dawkins and Steven Bartlett.

For the Mazda MX-5 Championship, their action was even most intense as Fraser Fenwick managed to hold back the tide of pursuers in the first race to take his first win of the season, dicing in the latter half of the race with Jack Brewer, Brian Trott, Seb Fisher, Oliver Allwood and Matt Pollard in a thrilling display of racecraft from all involved. While Fenwick managed to take victory, Trott’s 2nd place came after an unfortunate tap into the rear of Brewer’s car which left the points leader down in 7th, while Sebastian Fisher benefitted the most to collect a strong 3rd place. The second race was cause for celebration for one Steve Foden as he recovered from a spin in Race 1 to start 19th, and then drove his heart out in less than ideal conditions to climb his way to the front. An early incident for Brewer saw him out of contention, while Foden managed to move up to 8th place in just two laps before picking off the cars in front one by one. Despite the weather, Foden carved his way through, hit the front and would finally take a long-awaited first BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship race win to his, his team’s and his father’s delight. Trott and Fisher again took the podium in this race, with the same top three leading the pack at the start of Race 3, but after Fisher dropped back it was left to Foden to hold back a phalanx of AB Motorsport cars to collect his second win a row, followed by Allwood and then Trott.

It was just as packed a grid for the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup too with another 40 drivers all battling it out in damp and slippery conditions. Defending champion Samuel Smith commanded the race from the outset but was briefly caught and passed by Patrick Fletcher before he slid down the top 10. Smith held on for his first win of the year ahead of Adam Bessell and Jack Harding with points leader Fletcher finishing down in 7th place. A safety car neutered Smith’s lead in the second race and shortly after the restart he was under pressure from Fletcher, who managed to quickly slip by and fend off any of Samuel’s retaliations to take his third win of the season, while Richard Amos took a superb 3rd overall along with the Club Class win. The partially reversed grid draw put Declan Lee on pole alongside Jack Harding, who wasted no time in claiming a lead that he would end up swapping with Smith over the entire 20 minutes, eventually driving to his first win back in the championship full time. Adam Bessell overtook Smith at Brooklands on the final lap under waved yellows which led to his disqualification, promoting the defending champion back to 2nd ahead of James Cossins in 3rd, while Richard Amos completed another superb Club Class win in 12th place overall.

Single seater action came from the ever-competitive Avon Tyres National Formula Ford Championship, which produced another first-time winner in the opening race on Saturday. Low Dempsey Racing’s Max Esterson, who had consistently finished on the podium through the opening five races, came out on top of an entertaining three-way tussle with Chris Middlehurst and Alex Walker to clinch his first National Formula Ford victory, but was unable to repeat it in Sunday’s first race after he and Walker tangled on the Wellington straight to put paid to his chances there and then. Middlehurst was left to fight a classic Formula Ford battle with Joey Foster and Thomas Mills to clinch his second win of the season, before Esterson took advantage of the reverse grid for Race 3 to charge to his second win of the weekend with Middlehurst and Rory Smith completing the podium. The third race was red-flagged late on due to an incident for Lucas Romanek.

The club welcomed back sports prototype racing for the first time in two years with the first two races of the brand new ZEO Prototype Cup, featuring a fabulous mix of machines from various different manufacturers. Experienced racers Matt Manderson and Duncan Williams ended up in an evenly matched duel in the first race on Sunday as Manderson ensured his Radical SR8 was able to keep Williams’ awesome Norma LMP3 at bay for the entire 15 minutes as the two cars finish 1st and 2nd respectively, while sports racing stalwart Mike Jenvey came home 3rd in his Jenvey-Gunn TS6. Williams’ second race sadly went no further than Brooklands on the opening lap, as a spin and damage to his right rear left him bound for the pitlane. With Manderson also hitting strife, it was left to Jenvey to dominate the rest of the race to collect victory from the Juno of Graham Charman and the new Radical SR10 of Tony & Simon Freeman, with Tony at the wheel for the second race. With more cars expected for Brands Hatch in August, the series is already shaping up to be one of the talking points of the 2021 season!

Finally, another sold-out grid took to the track last thing on Sunday afternoon for the 45-minute Clubsport Trophy race, with a wide variety of clubman-level race cars all set to dice it out amongst themselves. A leading group of five make a quick break on the opening lap with Tom Stanway’s BMW 328i quickly jumping into the lead with the Paul Sheard/ Mike Comber Mazda MX-5 Mk4 and the Toyota MR2 SuperGT of Olly Samways chasing him down. A safety car just before the pit window opened came when the Marco Ricci/ David Nye Ford Fiesta ST180 Turbo ended up on its side in the gravel at Becketts, and when racing resumed once the majority of pit stops had been completed, it left Zachary Lucas and Jamie White in their own ST180s first and second, although both hadn’t made stops within the designated window. In reality, it put the David Shead/ Malcolm Edeson BMW Compact in the lead with Stanway chasing them down in the closing stages. Both drivers enjoyed a thrilling duel in the final laps, but while Stanway crossed the line to win the race behind the two Invitational Fiestas, a time penalty post-race pushed him to 2nd overall and in Class B behind Shead & Edeson. Samways brought his Toyota home 3rd overall and winner of Class A, while Stewart Donovan (Class C), George Grant (Class D) and Oliver Faller (Class E) also took home silverware for winning their classes too.

Scott Woodwiss