BRSCC & ROCKINGHAM BASK IN SUNSHINE AND SUPER RACING
Beautiful weather conditions graced Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby over the weekend as nine championships and series took to the track for our South Eastern Centre race meeting. Bright blue skies and blazing sunshine drenched the venue across both days as racing action entertained all those in attendance with some spectacular results.
Taking a weekend off from TCR UK support duties, the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup took to Rockingham with a three-way battle for the championship in full swing, and if it was close heading into the weekend, that was nothing compared to how it ended up when it finished! Race 1 would see Jack Harding finally pick up his first win of the season, beating pole man James Blake-Baldwin to the lead by the end of the opening lap and never being headed, despite the 2016 champion hounding him all the way. Incoming points leader and defending champion Luke Herbert was forced to settle for 3rd place, but he managed to go one better in Race 2. This time, Blake-Baldwin would beat Harding to the lead from the front row, and despite a very short safety car period at the start he maintained his lead to win by almost 2.5 seconds, with Herbert in P2 and Harding taking P3.
The reverse grid for Race 3 put Steve Roberts and Jack Sycamore on the front row, but neither could hold off the hard charging title contenders behind them. Harding picked his way through to score his second win of the weekend. Roberts was still able to secure a very strong 2nd place, while Aidan Hills made it his fourth podium of the season with 3rd place. Leaving Rockingham, Herbert still heads the table, but both Harding and Blake-Baldwin are tied on points for second, but just 2 points behind the lead – if anyone had any doubts about how competitive this championship was, that may just have quashed them! Simon Baldwin and Garry Townsend would share the Masters honours across all three races.
For the Fiesta Championship racing with MRF Tyres, the first race of the weekend brought about an all-new top 3 on the podium. After a superb effort in qualifying to take pole, Ryan Faulconbridge went on to secure his first every victory in the championship, holding off Jam-Sport teammate Myles Baker in 2nd and Richard Ashmole in a strong 3rd. Jam-Sport would then take a clean sweep of the Race 2 podium as Harry Gooding raced to his first senior victory in the Fiesta paddock, followed home by Faulconbridge and team boss Jamie Going. Gooding then doubled up with another win in Race 3 with Going taking 2nd and Tom Hutchins completing the podium on this occasion.
Over in Class D, defending overall and Class D champion Jamie White made a triumphant return this weekend after missing Cadwell Park, as he went on to dominate his class. In all three races, he started from the class pole, before heading to three unchallenged victories with fastest class lap in each – a clean sweep! John Cooper, Tim Bennett and Luke Bannister would all take home silverware of their own with class podium appearances, while Colin Newbold completed all three races trouble free to bank the points for Class A.
The two most winningest drivers so far in the Fiesta Junior Championship racing with MRF Tyres were out for more success this weekend and both dutifully went on to take a win each. Brands Hatch dominator James Waite inherited the win in Race 1 after main rival Magnus Kriklywi was given a 2 second time penalty for driving standards, pushing him down to 2nd place ahead of Olly Turner in 3rd. The young Danish driver would bounce back in the second race and this time held on to victory ahead of Waite with Isaac Smith rebounding from a retirement in the first race to pick up 3rd place. Just three points separate Kriklywi and Waite at the top of the table with the second half of the season beckoning.
Michael Watton left Rockingham feeling rather disappointed with his fortunes in the Speed Group F1000 Championship, as the reigning champion saw his points lead slashed after after poor mechanical fortunes blighted him all weekend. Former champion Rob Sayell converted pole positon for Race 1 into victory ahead of Paul Butcher in 2nd place and Watton managing a podium in 3rd, before Butcher finally managed to pick up his first win of the season in Race 2. He swapped places with Sayell who took 2nd on this occasion, while Watton was forced to settle with another 3rd place in a car that didn’t seem to be at 100%. Indeed, this was evident come the reverse grid race 3, as Sayell took his second win of the weekend from Dan Clowes and Adam Walker, while Watton had to struggle home in 5th. Watton’s points advantage has now been reduced, so he aims to fight back next time at Castle Combe.
Bridgwater College’s Josh Smith was unbeatable in all three of the Speed Group OSS Championship races this past weekend, taking his Class C Radical PR6 to pole position and a trio of dominant victories both in class and overall. Patrick Sherrington owned the second place step on the overall podium in all three races as he dominated Class A, while Joe Stables did well to take a pair of third place overall finishes with Daniel Prendergast picked up the other. Martin Heath was also left to dominate Class B in his Juno, after defending two-time champion Mike Jenvey’s weekend lasted all of 8 laps before mechanical issues forced him out of the race and subsequently out of the meeting as a result.
Something new occurred in the Toyo Tires Porsche Championship, as for the very first time one of their races featured a mandatory pit stop to spice up the action a little more. While it certainly provided a little more entertainment, it did nothing to stop runaway championship leader Adam Southgate from once again owning first place all to himself. After incredibly setting pole position by more than 2 seconds in qualifying, Southgate romped away to a 13 second victory in Race 1 ahead of Kevin Molyneaux and Jesse Chamberlain. Not content with that margin of victory, Southgate pushed even harder to stretch his lead gap at the chequered flag in Race 2 to just under a staggering 26 seconds! This left 2nd placed Molyneaux and 3rd placed Garry Lawrence trailing in his wake as the pit stop race loomed.
Even so, despite a mandatory call to pit lane for all drivers involved, the winning driver was unchanged as Southgate completed a rout with three wins out of three, heading Nick Hull and Lawrence on the podium. Gavin Johnson picked up two 924 Class wins for his troubles with Karl Rossin taking the third race, and Leigh Bowden would see the flag on all three occasions in his Class B Production Boxster.
The Teekay Couplings Production GTi Championship made their appearance on Sunday with two cracking races to boot. Paul Blackburn was the man to beat in the first race of the day in Mk5 class as he went on to take the overall and class win from Simon Hill and John Mawdsley, who was sharing his car with sibling Simon. Blackburn was unable to make it two from two in the second race, as Martyn Walsh drove his #96 to victory on this occasion, followed home by James Colbourne and Blackburn. The podium in the Mk2 class was unchanged in both races, as Tim Hartland swept to a pair of wins, ahead of defending champion Chris Webb with two 2nd places and Dan Gibbs collection a brace of 3rd place finishes.
Kicking off Saturday’s action were the Track Attack Race Club, who ran a massive combined grid for their Nippon Challenge, Tricolore Trophy and Multi Marques series. Regular TARC frontrunner Tony Hunter lived up to the #1 on the door of his Renault Clio by taking victory in the first race from sole Multi Marques runner James Breeze in his supercharged Clio and the Peugeot 205GTi of Chris Bassett, while top Nippon Challenge honours went to Nigel Ainge in his Honda Integra. Hunter would then go on to lead home a Tricolore Trophy 1-2-3 as he completed a brace of overall wins ahead of Don Hughes’ Peugeot 306 XSi and Nick Gwinnett in his Renault Clio. Ainge would again top the Nippon Challenge runners while Breeze sadly failed to finish.
Another championship making a guest appearance was the Drayton Manor MG Metro Cup, as they contested a race on each of the two days. Picking up pole position for both races in qualifying, points leader Jack Ashton proceeded to take a lights-to-flag victory in Saturday’s race from Dick Trevett and Andrew Ashton. Unfortunately, Jack was unable to double up as his race on Sunday was over even before the first lap ended. Instead, sibling and championship rival Andrew would head the field to take victory for himself ahead of Trevett in 2nd place once more, while the Ashtons’ teammate Przemyslaw Glodek was happy to come home in 3rd.
You can find the full breakdown of the weekend’s results from Rockingham here – ROCKINGHAM RESULTS.