The off-season has finally come to an end. All the waiting to get back on track is over. Now is the time for preparation to stop and the track action to start. The first two-day race meeting of the season for the British Racing & Sports Car Club is all set to get underway at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit in Kent courtesy of our South Eastern Centre, with some of the best supported and most popular championships on the roster all set to kick off another exciting year of racing.

Without question, the most significant entry of the weekend comes, as it usually does, from the phenomenal BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship. For the opening rounds, a stunning 60 car entry is on the cars which sees as many drivers entered here as there were for the Blancpain GT support rounds in 2015 on the GP circuit! Such has been the influx of new drivers that many are keen to prove themselves against the established frontrunners. Two-time defending champion Will Blackwell-Chambers wants a third title in a row, but the contenders are lining up to challenge him. There’s no doubt that names such as Oliver Allwood, Brian Trott, John Langridge, Stuart Symonds, Steve Foden, Jake Bailey and Jason Greatrex will all be hungry to overhaul the #1, plus watch out for much-fancied newcomers Joe Wiggin, Matt Luff and Oliver Sighe as they attempt to make an instant impact. Across six races with all the usual suspects and the typical promotion/ relegation system, this weekend’s opening rounds should be spectacular.

Also sporting one of their biggest grids is the sister Mazda competition, the MX-5 Super Series. Created last season to allow drivers to race a SuperCup-spec Mk3 MX-5 away from the cut and thrust of the main championship, the Super Series saw interest and popularity grow substantially throughout the season. For 2019, 22 drivers are set to line up for their first races of 2019 aiming to pick up where last year’s Driver of the Season Joshua Jackson left off. He graduates to the VW Cup and with Jake Bailey back in a Mk1, the way is clear for a new top dog. Look out for Sam Bailey, Bradley Kent, James Kell and Jeremy Crook, to name a few, aiming to take up that mantle.

Saturday’s racing action will be dominated by the opening round of the ever exciting Fun Cup Championship. This endurance championship for the silhouette bodied single seater chassis sporting a turbocharged Audi engine has seen incredible support over the last few years, with 2019 once again shaping up to be one of its best years. Defending champions Henry Dawes and Chris Hart bring 2 Rent Domino’s back to the track sporting the coveted #1, but several familiar frontrunners will aim to put one over on them. Watch out for Team 7: Funbikes, former champions Racelogic and JPR Uvio, Apollo Motorsport,, CCS Media and last year’s runners up Team Viking as they will all hope luck and strategy are on their side come the end of Saturday afternoon. The first 4-hour race of the new season will be nothing less than an all-out sprint for glory!

Another championship experiencing a welcome growth spurt is the Nankang Tyres BMW Compact Cup, where 50 drivers have already signed up for the season. Forty-six of them are here this weekend and will contest three races between them on Sunday, given that the size of the entry means the regular two race format would struggle to accommodate everyone! Defending champion Steven Dailly wants another year as #1, but title rivals Matthew Parkes and Tom Griffiths will be out to give him a challenge, as will the returning Owen Hunter, Mark Skeats and Ian Jones. Notable newcomers, of which there are many, will include former Fiesta race winner Lee Dendy-Sadler, former MX-5 champion Paul Maguire and Junior Saloon Car graduate Steven Chandler. If you want real door-to-door club level tin-top action, look no further!

The Alfa Romeo Championship gets set for another year of racing dedicated to the favoured Italian marque, with three classes shaping up to do battle for overall honours once again. It’ll be a showdown in the Twin Spark Cup between the two champions from the past three years, as Tim Hill and Andrew Bourke get set to face off once again. Power Trophy favourite Paul Webster will have Scott Austin’s 155 and newcomer Ben Sharich in his MiTO to contend with this time, while in the top Modified class keep an eye on Richard Thurbin as he debuts his beautiful Martini-livered Lancia Delta Integrale for the first time against Barry McMahon’s 156 and Keith Waite’s Alfa 33.

Over in the Toyo Tires Porsche Championship, 2018 champion Adam Southgate makes way as the outgoing champion, but it may well be a familiar face that ends up on top of the pile once more. Former multiple Boxster champion Richard Styrin reappears after making a return at the finale at Donington Park last year, and if he’s around for a full campaign, he could be on his way to yet another crown. Garry Lawrence and Nick Hull are sure to be his closest challengers, while in the evocative 924 class it’ll be Hugh Peart that starts as the favourite against John Jones, Andy Pritchard and Chris Valentine.

In support of the BRSCC content, our friends at the Track Attack Race Club will feature on Sunday with two races combining the Nippon Challenge, Multi Marques and Tricolore Trophy contests. Nerijus Zabotka and Robbie Durant’s pair of Subaru Imprezas should be top Nippon contenders, while Clive Haynsford’s flame-spitting Mazda RX-8 and the Lotus Elise of Miles Hodgson are set to head up the Multi Marques. A good Tricolore Trophy entry should also see familiar frontrunners Tony Hunter and Nick Gwinnett head up a category dominated by Renault Clios and the cost-effective Peugeot 206 Cup cars.

Scott Woodwiss


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