CATERHAM SEVEN UK CONTINUES QUEST FOR FIRST BRITISH CHAMP AT THRUXTON


The newly renamed and now National level Caterham Seven UK Championship is undoubtedly the fastest and now most coveted Caterham series to compete in, as the amended 2020 season goes on the quest to crown the first-ever British Caterham champion. Cadwell Park provided a stern test for the rapid top-spec Caterham 420R race cars, but from Lincolnshire’s twists, turns and even four-wheels-off jumps, the drivers now move on to the ultra-fast Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire for their second race weekend, once again sharing a grid with the Caterham 310R drivers.

Caterham’s premier championship has firmly established itself as one of the most competitive and exciting race series in the country. A grid of high quality, experienced drivers, most of whom have worked their way up through the Caterham ranks, winning races and championships along the way, ensures that the top level of Caterham racing is amongst the most exciting. The Seven 420R used in the Seven UK Championship is a dedicated race machine and is perhaps the fastest racing formula without the benefit of slicks or wings. As with all Caterham racing, close control of the regulations ensures a level playing field of machinery. Plus, after its successful introduction last year, the Championship also features a Superpole element of qualifying with bonus points for the top 3 fastest drivers in that session.

Despite the long gap between the end of the 2019 season and the start of this one, it was clear from the outset that defending champion John Byrne had lost none of his speed or pace, as he charged to the Superpole followed by two fairly convincing race wins plus a fastest lap to head his competition in the standings by at least seven points. John didn’t race at Thruxton on the championship’s last visit in 2018, so he may be going into the unknown with this circuit, but just like Cadwell Park he may well adapt to a new circuit quickly. Once again, he will be the target that everyone has to aim for.

His closest competition for 2020 appears to be Henry Heaton from the outset. It appears that more than ever compared to previous seasons, Henry is incredibly fired up and his charge back to 2nd in the first Cadwell race despite a poor start is evidence of that. He shared the 2nd and 3rd place podium steps that weekend with Gordon Sawyer, last year’s 310R champion who has already taken to the top level of Caterham racing like a duck to water. In fact, both of them enjoyed a thrilling photo finish in the first race for 2nd, proving that both are pretty evenly matched for pace. Both are of course yet to win a Seven UK race but both will sincerely want to put that right, especially Heaton who is now in his third season at this level and is still awaiting that inaugural top step visit. Could it finally happen this weekend?

Stephen Nuttall enters Thruxton in 4th place in points and he too was looking in good form at the opening rounds. The man some have dubbed the “Roger Federer of Caterham racing” has a championship title in each of the first four steps on the Caterham Motorsport ladder, but the top-level prize has yet eluded him. To be crowned a British Caterham champion is incentive enough for him to keep pushing, and he’ll be doing just that on a circuit which he’s stood on the podium on in one of these cars at least once. Jake Swann-Dixon currently rounds off the top five, having taken two 5th places to fittingly sit in the same position in the points. He’s been steadily gaining speed over the last few appearances he’s made in the Caterham paddock and will certainly be keen to make more progress.

Harry Cramer, Chris Aubrey and Rob Watts also return on the Seven UK entry for more fun after their Cadwell Park adventures, while Neil Fraser and Stephen Collins make their first appearances of 2020 with both hoping to begin their respective seasons with some decent results and a healthy haul of points. The quest to find the first-ever British Caterham champion continues!

Scott Woodwiss