The BRSCC and its North Western Centre is ready to sprint back into action at Oulton Park in Cheshire, as we prepare to wave goodbye to spring in the only way we know how. The full International circuit is in use this weekend with Mazda MX-5s, CityCar and pit-stop racing from ClubSport Trophy all set to provide the entertainment.

There’s no question that the driver in command of the GAZ Shocks Mazda MX-5 Championship so far this year is Thomas Langford, as his record so far has given him five wins and a third place to head the standings by 20 points going to Oulton. That’s not to say his competition hasn’t been strong as all six races run have been thrilling contests from start to finish. So far, five drivers in total have already stood on the podium with more potentially waiting in the wings, meaning this year’s championship is still looking as competitive as ever.

Langford’s closest opposition comes from the likes of Jack Noller, Adam Sparrow, Ben Short and Luke Pullen, the other four of the aforementioned five drivers that have scored podiums, and between them their on-track battles have been spellbinding. Expect all of the above to be in contention for wins in both races on the day, while other contenders trying to get up there too will include Neil Chisnall, Harry Storer, Levi Aisbett and more.

There’s also been some fine competition at the front of the Downforce Radio Mazda MX-5 Clubman Championship, where Paul Bateman has been showing some of the younger drivers in the field a trick or two. Three wins from the first four races put him on top of the standings, but only by four points from Beau Parry who managed to steal race two victory at Snetterton from the leading Masters driver.

Del Paice has scored three third places in a row which help to put him ahead of son Jake in the standings, and Pete Smith currently rounds off the top five runners. Others such as Russell Halley, Jack Warry and Jamie Turner have all been in good form too early doors, but are another case of the results on the board not telling the whole story. Expect each to throw themselves into the mix in Cheshire in a bid to upset the form book a little.

If you want a truly sky-high level of wheel-to-wheel racing, there’s no finer championship to some than the Clapham North MOT Mazda MX-5 SuperCup. Every single one of the six races from Silverstone and Snetterton so far have produced a spectacular with no guaranteed or runaway winner in any of the encounters. That means 2024 has all the prospects of potentially being the most intense title fight in recent seasons both in Pro and Club classes.

Patrick Fletcher may be ten points in the lead of Pro class, but he’s one of four different race winners already this season and six in total to stand on the podium, which proves just how tough his task has become already. Defending champion Aidan Hills is hot on his tail, as are Leigh Britten, Joe Wiggin, Sam Heading and co, whilst a vast contrast in fortunes for the likes of Tom Griffths leaves him with work to do at Oulton.

As for Club class, so far it’s been advantage Aimee Watts, having made massive strides in her pace to win the class four times from six races. It gives her a 14 point lead over Ollie Hall in second place with Clive Powles in third, while her teammate Wilbur Tiley made moves to recover from a tough Silverstone opener with two podiums at Snetterton but still has a lot of ground to make up. Either way, both Pro and Club battles are sure to be VERY fascinating.

More sprint action also comes our way courtesy of the Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup & Student Motorsport Challenge. The championship returns to Oulton Park after previously racing back in 2022, and there’s never been a dull moment whenever the CityCar Cup has turned out in Cheshire. That’s especially true when it looks as though we have a strong lead group this season with several drivers vying to be top of the class.

From the Snetterton season opener, Stuart Bliss took all three wins but that alone doesn’t tell the full story. That’s especially true when he snatched race three victory after the top two cars tripped over themselves at the final corner to allow him to complete the hat-trick. Those top two cars were driven by Richard Jepp and Joshua Jackson, both of whom proved to be fast and on the pace from the word go in Norfolk. Add in Christopher Mackenzie, newcomer Chris Parkes from C1 Endurance, plus Jack Wheeler, Joe Moss, Toby Owen and more, and you’ve got a collective up top that’s certain to thrill.

Some of the names mentioned above also star for the Student Motorsport Challenge with Team Northbrook Racing 1 (Jepp), QE Motorsport 2, East Surrey College (Wheeler) and Barracksport (Reilly) looking like the early trailblazers. With Northbrook being the two-time defending champions, they are the target for everyone to beat and with several teams running two cars this year, it means Jepp and co’s task just got a whole lot tougher.

It’s not all sprint racing at Oulton Park, though – this weekend also see the next outing this season for the SW Motorsports ClubSport Trophy, a series that never fails to pack out its grid. As you’d imagine being one of the most popular on the BRSCC roster, there’s another sold-out entry in prospect across all five classes.

The format of a 45 minute race coupled with a multi-class system based on power to weight ratio and a mandatory pit stop continues to inspire so many drivers and teams to take part, with a healthy mix of regular ClubSport devotees, local racers that call Oulton their home circuit and a few new names and machines jumping in to try their hand.

Just a look down the entry list proves the sublime breadth and depth in variety on the grid – usual club racing favourites such as Mazda MX-5s, Honda Civics, Renault Clios, MINIs, VW Golfs and a mix of BMWs are joined this time by one or two interesting stand-out attendees, including a Morgan Plus Four, a Mazda RX-8 and an endurance-spec Citroen C1 amongst the list.

As for expected front runners, look out for Andrew Dyer’s championship-spec Audi TTCup racer, David May’s Nissan 370Z, Phiroze Bilimoria’s VW Scirocco, Jim Benson’s Lotus Elise, David Shead’s BMW E36 Compact and Liam Crilly’s BMW Z4, all of whom are no strangers to contending for outright ClubSport wins.

Written by Scott Woodwiss


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