CATERHAM CAVALCADE CANVASSES CROFT
Anthony Barnes is looking in good shape to continue his Caterham Tracksport title march – Photo: SnappyRacers
Our BRSCC Northern Centre may only be hosting one race meeting this season, but when you see what's making the trip up to North Yorkshire this weekend then you'll be thankful they are! The wonderful wide open spaces and fast sweepers of Croft play host to the penultimate chapter of a phenomenal year for Caterham Motorsport, as well as the scene of a very important season finale.
As mentioned, Caterham Motorsport are back out in force as they return to North Yorkshire for the first time in quite a while. It'll certainly be an interesting weekend for our class of The City Magazine Caterham Academy drivers who tackle only the 4th circuit race of their so far short racing careers. The competition is incredibly fierce in the Green Group with a mere 9 points covering the first 4 in the championship table. Pete Spencer currently heads it with Steven Tozer, Tom JohnPete Walters snapping at his heels. It was Spencer that had the victory last time at Oulton Park, with the top 4 in that race comprised of those 4 in the title race. Expect a close run contest between them today.
Over in the White Group it's also looking pretty tense in the 3 way dice between Ben Gillias, Jay McCormack and James Beardwell. The last of those 3 is yet to win a race so far, yet his consistency in results on the podium in all 3 encounters at Rockingham, Snetterton and Oulton Park. So far victory wise it's 2-1 to McCormack as they close in on the end of the season, so Gillias will be very keen to level the score on that tally this weekend. As for those who could also cause an upset, don't count out the likes of Spencer Wright, Philip Bianchi and Eric Tiv to count a handful.
By this point in the Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsport Championship, it's looking increasingly likely that Russ Olivant will be capturing the crown that he missed out on in last year's Academy. His outright pace is evident and with a 25 point buffer over his Colombian rival Daniel Quintero and a further 12 points ahead of reigning Academy Green Group champion Rui Ferreira, it's currently his to lose. That said, don't count out other drivers to potentially spoil the party, particularly Rob Watts, Guy Hawkins and William Lloyd who have all been visitors to the podium at least once this season. No matter who's got the outright pace this weekend, it's certainly going to be tight at the front
Anthony Barnes took a 2nd place and a win at Oulton in the Avon Tyres Caterham Tracksport Championship, although it's fair to say his win in the second race came at Daniel Bremner's expense after clipping a tyre stack that put him out of the race. Nonetheless, it's a very comfortable lead that Barnes holds right now with his impressive string of results leaving him 68 points ahead of current 2nd place man Andy Ebdon, while Bremner and Barry Moore are level in 3rd just 3 points away. Damian Milkins is still 5th, but he along with everyone else will have work to do to halt Barnes' charge.
It's safe to say that the level of competition in this year's ITC Compliance Caterham Supersport Championship has been incredibly fierce. William Smith is the man everyone has to try and stop, with Jack Brown now his nearest challenger after a superb weekend at Oulton. Henry Heaton is still in the mix but now some 45 points away from the top as that first title since his Academy title keeps on trying to escape his grasp. With so many equally talented drivers in the mix here and with a train of cars like to cover and possibly extend past the top 10 in these races, you'd be a fool to bet on anyone safely coming out on top. In Caterham racing, NOTHING is guaranteed!
There's also been some sensational displays amongst this year's Bookatrack.com Caterham Superlight R300-S Championship with the competition level having increased substantially over last season. It still looks as though it's set to once again go the way of Aaron Head for the second time in his career with key rival Lee Wiggins still snapping at his heels less than 30 points away. You really cannot count top drivers like Jack Sales, Clive Richards and reigning Supersport champ Stephen Nuttall from contesting victory either as they've all come incredibly close. Watch these guys, it'll be desperately frantic
There's not just Caterhams in attendance here, as there's also a championship season to close out here this weekend. After clinching the title last time at Donington Park, Niall Murray can head to the season finale of the Avon Tyres Formula Ford 1600 National Championship with nothing to lose and the chance to seal off a sensational year's racing for the young Irishman. He can enjoy himself against season long rivals such as Chase Owen, Luke Williams, Patrik Pasma and even Graham Carroll. As has been the case all season, there's both Post '89 and Pre '90 categories on display this weekend.
Also joining us on the programme is the highly enthusiastic Toyo Tires Honda VTEC Challenge, being joined once more by the quirky Smart 4Two Cup. All of the regular frontrunners are coming out for this one, with Robert Burkinshaw's Tuner class Integra once again the car which everyone has to try and better. Mark Bennett's S2000 is back in strength, as are the two CRXs of Jeff Cooper and Peter Dixon, who both gave Burkinshaw a fabulous race last time at Anglesey. Anyone who's a fan of the Japanese marque will love this one.
Last but not least, there's a healthy turnout expected for the DDMC Northern Sports & Saloons, with a host of local drivers bringing out a wide range of machinery to play. There's all sorts here – from BMWs, Lotus and Ford Sierras to Peugeot 205s, Minis and more. They say variety is the spice of life and it's definitely the case with these guys.
Looking over the weather forecast, it's looking to remain dry all weekend with mostly cloud around and the odd peek of sunshine here and there. Temperatures are set to reach a comfortable high of 18 degrees across both days, so thankfully it'll mean the umbrellas won't be needed on this occasion. You can find a full breakdown of the weather forecast courtesy of the Met Office here – CROFT WEATHER.
Also, the final instructions, supplementary regulations, timetable and entry list can all be found here – CROFT RACE WEEKEND.
Whether it's Caterhams, Hondas, Formula Fords or a mixture of marques and models that gets you going, Croft is set to reverberate to the sights and sounds of top quality club level motorsport!