CATERHAM ROADSPORT HEADS TO BRANDS HATCH AS ACADEMY RIVALRY REIGNITES
You’d be forgiven for thinking that this year’s Caterham Roadsport championship appears to be giving a few people deja vu. The top two in the standings heading to this weekend’s latest rounds at Brands Hatch in Kent on the Indy circuit sees two drivers who spent all of last season in their Academy group going back and forth for the title. Now, despite slightly upgraded machinery, it appears the pair are still inseparable and it’s 2019 all over again for them.
The Roadsport championship is the next step on the Caterham ladder for the Academy drivers and their cars from the 2019 season, enabling them to enjoy another year of racing with the friends they have battled against in the hugely successful Academy series. With only light modifications, the Roadsport race car is a simple development of the 2019 Academy car; its performance significantly enhanced by the addition of a rear-anti roll bar and a switch to track orientated, yet still road legal, Avon ZZS tyres.
So, the two men involved in this reenactment of last season? They would be Tom Wyllys and Blair McConachie. All year they dominated the White Group of last year’s Academy with Wyllys coming out on top on that occasion, and looking at the points going into this weekend, it’s the same story once more – for the moment, anyway. Wyllys holds a five point lead courtesy of three race wins, a 2nd place and a fastest lap, while McConachie has two to his name plus a 2nd and a 4th. It’s clear that one doesn’t appear on track without the other on their tail in any race situation so far and they do appear to have a small edge over their rivals, but one thing they have to be careful of is not to get too caught in dicing with one another, as this could allow the competition to not only keep up but even overhaul them in the process.
The three drivers that will be looking to spoil their party are Harry Eyre, Carl Jones and Wes Payne. Wes, in particular, enjoyed mixing it up for the win with Wyllys and McConachie in the first Thruxton race, as he picked up a second 3rd place finish of the season on that occasion to go with the same result he collected at Cadwell Park. As for Eyre, he has three podiums from four races to his name while Jones has two to his and collectively between 3rd and 5th, the gap is just five points which doesn’t leave much margin for error, but does mean we’re likely to see some position swapping throughout the weekend. All three not only appear to be evenly matched on pace, but they all have the capability to trouble the top two as was evidenced at Thruxton, so keep your eyes out for their names near the top of the timing screens.
There’s a neat little private battle that appears to be brewing for 6th place in the standings, as Nick Allbones and Daryl Cresswell are inseparable heading to Brands Hatch on 72 points each. Allbones appeared to have a small advantage in pace considering that he was able to pick up a strong 2nd place in his second Cadwell Park race. That said, the results sheets show that Daryl had a better weekend, which now balances the two drivers fairly evenly. If they’re able to break the deadlock between each other, one key thing that will be on both of their minds will be to bridge the gap to the top five.
It’s also looking close towards the base of the top 10. Nine points cover 8th to 12th with a chance for the order to switch around significantly come the end of the weekend. Roger Gaunt heads Peter Martin, David Morgan, Paul Hearnden and Michael Kerley in that order and all of them have had their share of both top 10 points finishes and off days which have allowed them to keep so close. All of them will be aiming to break away and take the advantage to lead the way up the table, but knowing how tough and strong the competition is ahead of them, it’s sure to be a tough mountain to climb from here on in for the rest of the season.