BRSCC HEADS NORTH TO CROFT FOR ANOTHER 2021 SEASON STARTER
The British Racing & Sports Car Club makes its second stop on its 2021 schedule at the fast and flowing Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire. This will act as another season opener for eight of the club’s most popular and well-supported championships, including one that begins its life this weekend but will be familiar in many respects to fans of the paddock it belongs to.
That paddock is of the Mazda MX-5s, where three championships will compete in 2021 as opposed to the regular two in previous seasons. The usual Mazda MX-5 Championship for Mk1 models is back in action with over 40 drivers on the grid ready to begin another hard-fought season. Last year’s shortened campaign ended up swinging in favour of Joe Wiggin, but his move to MINI Challenge this season now paves the way for a new champion to be crowned. Oliver Allwood has to start as the favourite after agonisingly missing out in 2020, but he will have pressure right from the start from Steve Foden, Jack Brewer, Brian Trott, Fraser Fenwick, Luke Pullen and Jason Greatrex among other top drivers.
Rather than run two grids within the main MX-5 Championship as in previous seasons, this year the BRSCC has created a new Mazda MX-5 Clubman Championship which runs a one-day, two-race format for those just starting out or looking for a more logistics friendly and cost-effective MX-5 racing experience. On the grid here, experienced racer Jay Shepherd has to start as the favourite, but keep an eye out for teammates Robert Greensmith and Kevin Bird plus Dan Blake to give him a challenge throughout the day.
Their Mk3 model counterparts in the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup have seen popularity explode to new heights for 2021 as a capacity 40 car grid is set to race in North Yorkshire for the season opener. Defending champion Samuel Smith returns to go for two in a row, but so does the formidable Jack Harding who will surely become his main rival. There are so many excellent drivers in the entry that it’s difficult to choose further standouts, but the likes of Patrick Fletcher, John Langridge, Will Blackwell-Chambers, Declan Lee, Adam Bessell, James Cossins and Michael Knibbs will all be looking to hit the ground running.
The weekend is also packed full of Ford Fiestas too – the Fiesta Championship will see the official class debut of the new specification Mk7 Ford Fiesta ST180 Turbo, denoted as the ST240 class due to its increased power. These cars were developed across 2020 and are now ready to race with drivers such as Jamie Going, Simon Horrobin, Zachary Lucas, John Cooper, Dominic Bush, David Nye and Rob Smith all going straight into the new class. There are still the evergreen Mk6 ST150s on the grid too, with Ethan Rogers, Spencer Stevenson and Jack Youhill all anticipated to top this class this weekend.
The young guns of the Fiesta Junior Championship are also back in action too with an excellent line-up of talented racers. Returning from last season, Jenson Brickley, Albert Webster, Dylan Hotchin, Joseph Knight, Sid Smith and Jake Triggs are among those hoping for successful starts to their 2021 ambitions, while the new faces on this weekend’s grid include Daniel Lewis, Jake Maynard, Archie Handy, James Pope and Harry Garman. Junior racing is always intense and this will be no different!
You can also look forward to a packed grid in the ETSL ST-XR Challenge, another championship that has bloomed superbly across 2020 and throughout the winter. The bulk of the entry is made up by the Fiesta ST150s in Class D, with favourites here expected to be Mark Robinson, Chris Grimes, Sam Beckett, Michael Blackburn, Michael Heath and Chris Jones. With Fiesta XR2s, a Fiesta Si and an Escort XR3i all in the lineup too, some 30 cars will take to the grid for their season opener – fantastic!
More tin-top action, you say? Alright then, how about the exceptional Nankang Tyre BMW Compact Cup for further entertainment! Steven Dailly is looking for an unprecedented fifth title in a row as returns once more to the championship that’s served him so well, but he knows that he’ll have some familiar faces giving him a challenge including his usual sparring partner Ian Jones, Wayne Flint, Paul Maguire, Oliver Faller, Mikey Doble and Ben Huntley. All will be hungry to put one over the multi-time champion, but that is a task much easier said than done.
Rounding off the timetable on Sunday afternoon will be a packed grid for the 45-minute ClubSport Trophy mini-endurance pitstop race. A mega entry of 36 cars is expected at the time of writing, chock full of Mazda MX-5s, Ford Fiestas and BMW Compacts along with some interesting additions to the grid. These include a Porsche Boxster, a Toyota Celica, a VW Golf GT, a BMW 328i and even a Nissan 350Z! No Clubsport Trophy race has been anything less than excellent and we expect their season-opening encounter to be no different!
Be sure to tune in to all of the action LIVE on the BRSCC’s Facebook and YouTube channels across both days!