CATERHAM ROADSPORT PUSHES THE STARTER ON 2020 AT CADWELL PARK
Progressing through your first season of racing is a rewarding experience for any driver and that rings true for those who make it through the Caterham Academy. Once they’ve finished their debut campaign, most traditionally move up to the Caterham Roadsport Championship and as usual, the class of 2019 have mostly elected to move forwards. After a delayed start to proceedings, this year’s crop of Roadsport racers gets set to begin the 2020 season on the twists and turns of Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire.
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.
This championship usually gives those drivers who were the front runners in their respective Academy groups the first proper chance to race competitively against each other outside of the usual end-of-season Autumn Trophy. With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that the drivers who are set to lead the line in Roadsport this year are the top two from the White Group in 2019. Last year’s champion Tom Wyllys is back to attempt a second title on the bounce and he’ll be sure to stake a claim to head the field from the outside in qualifying on Saturday. His perennial season-long rival Blair McConachie will be back to give him trouble and battle in the same way they did so back and forth last year when the two drivers constantly traded race wins. It could be the same story all over again, and the pair have also been engaging in some eSports battles in the CaterhamRacer.com series with Blair typically ending up ahead most of the time. Could it be the case on the real circuits?
A top runner moving up from the Green Group is 3rd placed man Dimitris Melas, who managed to pick up at least one race win through the year and will certainly be strong when going up against the likes of Wyllys and McConachie. Melas has the pace and ability to challenge for race wins and podiums, so there’s a real chance that he’ll push himself into contention right from the start this weekend. Those who will be looking to join him at the front from the Green Group will include Dave Currey, Roger Gaunt, David Gracey, David Morgan and Fraser Riddington, all of whom had their moments and finished within the top ten on a regular basis with brief flirtations with the top five places on occasions. They should all be familiar with racing amongst one another too and should be back up to speed quickly.
Moving up from the White Group, top contenders behind Wyllys and McConachie are sure to be Harry Eyre and Wes Payne who regularly traded top-five finishes and even a podium or two in 2019 and will hope that they can post more this time around and make it a more regular occurrence. Others set to be around them on track should include Daryl Cresswell, Paul Hearnden, Mark Lovett, Tim Steel and Nick Allbones, drivers that congregated around the top 10 on a regular basis and could find themselves in the middle of a congested midfield that’s sure to be ultra-competitive.
Given the size of the entry and that the Caterham Seven 270R Championship will be sharing the same grid this weekend, the Roadsport drivers will be split into three groups based on their results in qualifying. For two races, the two grids will line up together, while the third will be a standalone race for the remaining Roadsport group combo. What’s certain is that whoever ends up racing whom in whichever race, there’s certainly some exceptional racing in store as the drivers get set for their second season of competition!