BYRNE LOOKING UNSTOPPABLE AS CATERHAM SEVEN UK CHAMPIONSHIP ARRIVES AT BRANDS HATCH


The fastest cars on the Caterham Motorsport roster are usually the most spectacular to watch and the Caterham Seven UK Championship is certainly full of fantastic action. As the 2020 season rolls on to Brands Hatch Indy this weekend with the continuing quest to find and crown the first-ever official British Caterham Champion, the chasing field have one goal in mind – to stop the championship leader’s runaway form so far this year!

Caterham’s premier championship has firmly established itself as one of the most competitive and exciting race series in the country. A grid of high quality, experienced drivers, most of whom have worked their way up through the Caterham ranks, winning races and championships along the way, ensures that the top level of Caterham racing is amongst the most exciting. The Seven 420R used in the Seven UK Championship is a dedicated race machine and is perhaps the fastest racing formula without the benefit of slicks or wings. As with all Caterham racing, close control of the regulations ensures a level playing field of machinery. Plus, after its successful introduction last year, the Championship also features a Superpole element of qualifying with bonus points for the top 3 fastest drivers in that session.

So far, there is simply no halting the charge that defending champion John Byrne is on right now. The record is simple – four races, four wins, all from pole position. While he hasn’t won them all by commanding margins, a win is still a win and that’s all that matters to John. He has nothing but praise for the car that he has at his disposal and at this rate, he may well be unstoppable. It could even be an unprecedented clean sweep of the season – provided those who are doing the chasing can manage to reel him in quickly enough. If they can, there’s a possible ray of hope.

The driver leading that campaign to halt Byrne’s run of dominance appears to be Henry Heaton. Still yet to claim a victory in the top class of Caterham racing thus far but having taken two 2nd places and two 3rds, remaining on the podium in every race and ensuring the gap to the leader hasn’t been built up to more than 13 points. That’s still, however, a fair margin to make up which will certainly get bigger if Henry can’t overthrow Byrne from the head of the pack. If he can at least make some kind of headway this weekend, there may be a ray of hope as the second half of this amended season progresses.

Stephen Nuttall certainly proved his business in the Seven UK ranks is far from finished as he overcame first-lap drama in the first Thruxton race to charge back to 7th before working his way into 2nd place in the second race. Stephen is an experienced and successful multi-time Caterham champion and has won a title on every step of the Caterham Motorsport ladder in his career thus far – except one. The top-level title still eludes him, but he’s pushing hard to change this and sitting 3rd in points certainly still gives him a fair chance to turn the fight around. That said, 23 points between himself and Byrne is also quite a gap to make up and he will need to ensure that he too can take the fight to him and stop the defending champ from running away at the front.

Just behind him is Jake Swann-Dixon, running an excellent 4th and adapting well to life behind the wheel of the 420R race car after competing in the 310R ranks previously. While he hasn’t made the podium just yet, he’s come close and managed to finish in the top 5 in every single race and he enjoyed a healthy battle for the final podium spot while racing at Thruxton, so he’s certainly come close more than once to getting on that rostrum. Maybe it can happen this weekend on the short, sharp Indy circuit layout as at just 1.2 miles, it’s certainly realistic to predict that he’s going to be in the mix too. Next up comes Harry Cramer, who has consistently finished either 6th or 7th in each race so far, while last year’s graduating 310R champion Gordon Sawyer had an up-and-down Thruxton weekend which left him back in 6th at the end of it. Rob Watts is just behind him and will have been encouraged by a 3rd and a 5th from his two races in Hampshire, and will want to move up from his current position of 7th, while Neil Fraser, Chris Aubrey and Stephen Collins fill out the rest of the top 10 places as they continue to find their feet again on the race track after the delayed start to the season and the amended calendar that has followed.

Scott Woodwiss