CATERHAM ROCK FESTIVAL
Caterham Motorsport never like to be out done and so with music festivals very much ‘in season’ they thought they would stage their own Rock Festival this weekend at the Corby based Motor Speedway!
The BRSCC Midland Centre run meeting will host 14 races over the two days featuring 5 different Caterham championships. Joining in the action is the Drayton Manor Park MG Metro Cup and the new Formula Academy for Formula Ford 1800 Zetec cars.
First up on Saturday after the morning qualifying sessions is the Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsport A Championship. Title leader Jamie Orton heads soon-to-be (or proud-new) father Graham Johnson by just a single point. Orton took his Fauldsport run car to an outstanding victory at Castle Combe. But it’s his only win so far, whereas Johnson has come home to victory twice. However, both have been overshadowed by the unmistakable yellow and black car of JJ O’Malley. In Ortonesque style, he drove to victory at Zolder from the back of the grid after gremlins put a stop to his first race of the weekend. The ‘A’s have a second half hour race on Sunday afternoon.
In the Roadsport B Championship, who also have two races, Lee Wiggins will be looking to get his championship charge back on track after it was curtailed at Zolder. Until then, only Jeremy Webb had been able to take a sole victory from him, at Combe (where Steve Day crossed the line in true Caterham style = backwards). Although Wiggins still leads, ’09 Academy champion Ben Whibley now holds second place. Whibley took a very, very (very) overdue first championship race win at Zolder, displacing Day in the points.
New for 2010 is the Caterham Supersport Championship which supersedes Roadsport A in the Caterham Motorsport ladder. Supersport uses a similar specification of car, except with a 125bhp Ford engine. Drivers for Supersport come almost exclusively from the ’09 Roadsport-B championship or directly from Academy. James MacLachlan is the man to beat this season, the Academy garduate having a 100% win record so far. The DPR Motorsport driver has now pulled out a massive advantage in the points tables as his rivals can’t decide on who should be next best.
Caterham’s premier championship is now the BookaTrack.com Caterham Superlight R300 Championship and it’s a busy weekend with three races for the crowd pleasing series. The extra race replaces the one lost at Silverstone at Easter due to torrential rain. In the five races so far, there have been four different winners with only Trevor Fowell able to repeat the feat. The Fauldsport driver now leads from Andy McMillan, who snatched his first win in the Belgian sunshine at Zolder four weeks ago. Whilst the pair appear to be the class of the field, it’s misfortune that has really played the bigger part, scattering potential winners all over the points table. Having had time to regroup after the initial flurry of rounds, things should get back on track at Rockingham, although staying on track does seem to be an issue for the R300 grid!
The PistonHeads Caterham Academy Championship is a unique series exclusively for novice drivers. An all inclusive ‘introduction to motorsport’ package of Ford Sigma powered car, race licence, technical support, the racing itself and perhaps most importantly, the guidance of the Caterham team at every stage. So successful has the formula been that in the last fifteen years, nearly 750 ordinary people have become racing drivers through the Caterham Academy and each year, two identical Academy championships are run in parallel to cater for the demand.
Rockingham marks the halfway point in the Academy championship but far more importantly, this is where the racing starts, the groups having completed the sprint phase of the series at Snetterton at the end of May. Nearly fifty novice drivers are expected to line up across two grids and for every single driver, this is their first ever race. Mike Hart leads Group 1 and Tim Abbott Group 2.
Away from the Caterhams, the Drayton Manor Park MG Metro Cup has one 20 minute race on Saturday afternoon. The Cup is for members of the MG Car Club, participating in MG Metro, MG Metro Turbo, Three Door Rover GTa, GTi Metros & Rover 100s. It has recently been expanded to include the MG ZR 105 and the equivalent Rover 200/25. Last year’s champion was Andrew Ashton from Class B in his first year of motor racing. This season Andrew has progressed to Class C where he will be up against last years Class C winner, his father Paul!
Finally, the Formula Academy will bring down the curtain on the Caterham Festival with two races on Sunday afternoon. This will be the first outing for new series which consists of identical Van Diemen RF97 Zetec Formula Ford cars. Modelled on the former BRDC Single Seater Championship, it is an entry level series for ambitious drivers just starting out on their car racing careers.