CATERHAM AND CO CROWN CHAMPIONS IN CADWELL PARK BRSCC CONCLUSION


The final rounds of the 2021 season for Caterham Motorsport, the BRSCC Fiestas and the CityCar Cup all concluded in thrilling fashion at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire, with many titles decided and provisional champions crowned after two days of non-stop action-packed club racing courtesy of the BRSCC.

The Mission Motorsport Caterham Roadsport Championship title had already been wrapped up at the previous rounds by Taylor O’Flanagan and with him choosing to sit on the sidelines for the last two races of the year, it left Hugo Bush, Domenique Mannsperger and Tom Cockerill to duke it out between each other for the remaining championship podium places. Saturday’s race was advantage Cockerill as he took the flag first with Bush and Mannsperger on his tail to round off the podium, but his wishes of taking 2nd in the points sadly didn’t come true as later in the final race, a snapped gear lever forced him out and left Bush to dominate at the front with a lead of almost 11 seconds, securing 2nd in points ahead of Mannsperger who took P2 on track and P3 in the standings; Alex Vincent picked up the final Roadsport podium finish of the season with 3rd.

There wasn’t much that Blair McConachie needed to do to seal up the Motul Caterham Seven 270R Championship as just 16th place or better in the first race would be enough to get the job done. Thankfully, his 2nd place behind race winner Stephen Lyall ensured that he put the crown out of reach of everyone else, an accolade he’d been chasing the previous two seasons through Academy and Roadsport. Wes Payne took the first of his two 3rd places in this encounter, and then doubled up on Sunday as Lyall also captured his second win of the weekend, with Carl Jones just on his tail in 2nd.

A dominant Lewis Thompson was challenged in the final rounds of the Bilstein Caterham Seven 310R Championship by main rival Pete Walters in a bid to stop his title charge, but on both occasions Lewis managed to charge out in front and collect another exceptional pair of wins, emphatically sealing up the 2021 crown. Thompson’s first of the weekend was secured by almost 8 seconds with Walters 2nd and Andrew Murgatroyd driving well to pick up 3rd place, while the second victory was only by a smaller three second gap with Harry Cook taking runner up spot this time while Walters had to settle for 3rd, still enough to finish runner up in the points as a result.

Regardless of the six-car grid that contested all three races, the trio of Avon Tyres Caterham Seven Championship UK races produced some of the closest and exciting racing of the entire meeting. Stephen Nuttall took a step closer to becoming champion elect by winning a tense Race 1 with Henry Heaton, James Murphy and Jake Swann-Dixon all on his tail at the flag, while it was a slightly easier task for Heaton to win Race 2 as he galloped away by 6.5 seconds to come out on top from Nuttall and Murphy. However, Nuttall’s second win of the weekend in Race 3 was enough to give him the title of British Caterham Champion, which also saw him make history as the first driver in Caterham Motorsport history to win a champion in all five stages of the factory-run roster – a truly unique achievement!

For those looking ahead to next year, a one-off non-championship Caterham Roadsport 2022 Challenge Trophy race took place on Sunday featuring a number of drivers from this year’s Academy groups that had upgraded their cars to Roadsport specification early. Green Group title rivals Geoff Newman and Freddie Chiddicks had an early opportunity to rekindle their season-long title fight as they traded the lead several times, with champion Newman managing to hold on in front by just over a quarter of a second from Chiddicks, with Marc Jones taking up 3rd.

The most heart-stopping championship conclusion came in the BRSCC Fiesta Championship, with ST240 class points leader Rob Smith’s journey to the crown not quite as simple as he’d hoped. A fluid spill at Chris Curve in the first race saw Rob and several other drivers slide off the road and bounce off the tyre wall, but Smith was able to get back to the pits to have his car patched up during the red flag. He took the restart from pit lane and collected points for 12th place, a crucial score given the inability to use any of the weekend’s three races as dropped scores. In that restarted race, Luke Pinder and Alastair Kellett made big gains on Smith by finishing 1st and 2nd with Dominic Bush in 3rd, and the top two did it again in the same order in Race 2 on Sunday with Bush 3rd again while Smith couldn’t better 6th in his repaired car. Once the partially reversed grid race came around, Smith found himself on the front row with JamSport team boss Jamie Going but the race would be less than a lap old before Kellett’s title chances ended in the barriers exiting Coppice and other incidents forced the race to be stopped. When it did get back underway, Smith charged off into a lead he wouldn’t lose, taking his second race win of the year and becoming the provisional champion, while Going’s defensive efforts in 2nd held back Pinder to force him to take 3rd and runner up spot in points. Despite retiring on that first start of the final race, Ethan Rogers also finished the year as the best-placed ST150 class car.

Another championship duel was settled in the BRSCC Fiesta Junior Championship, as Jenson Brickley only needed to score well to make sure he walked away with the #1 on the door. 3rd place in the first race ensured he had one hand on the trophy as season-long rival Deagan Fairclough picked up another race win ahead of James Wallis in 2nd, while the second race would see another Fairclough victory, but with Wallis and Brickley swapping positions this time and 2nd place being more than enough to give Jenson the provisional title. Wallis’ strong results also helped him to take the runner up spot in the provisional final points.

The final rounds of the Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup Championship season saw the first ever champion crowned, as runaway season-long dominator Nic Grindrod looked to overhaul his teammate Duncan Stone who entered the weekend just three points ahead on dropped scores. The first race was certainly advantage Grindrod, but he could only manage 2nd place behind first-time winner Andrew Dyer, with Richard Bliss staying close in 3rd to make sure the podium placings were covered by less than a second. Stone, meanwhile, was forced to retire after an incident in the closing stages which saw the race red-flagged to bring it to a premature end. In the second race, Grindrod got back to his usual winning ways, claiming the inaugural CityCar Cup title in style with victory ahead of Novice Racer champion Richard Bliss and Liam Browning in 3rd.

Scott Woodwiss