CATERHAMS AND MAZDAS HEAD TO DONINGTON PARK FOR BRSCC SPORTS CAR EPIC
Sports car racing fans will be in for a treat this weekend at Donington Park as the BRSCC Midlands Centre hosts two days of action dedicated to two of the best loved small sports cars of all time – the Caterham Seven and the Mazda MX-5. With over 250 drivers entered across nine championships and series, it’s set to be a busy and entertaining occasion on the GP loop with title battles beginning to intensify.
It’s another full roster in store from Caterham Motorsport as all five tiers of the factory ladder of championships are back out in force, with all but one group of drivers fresh from their annual European trip and Spa-Francorchamps being the chosen location which featured some typical extremes of weather. The exception was the Caterham Academy who haven’t raced since the end of June at Snetterton and will be itching to get back on track after a break of several weeks. The Green Group sees Alexander Conway leading the standings and keen to extend his advantage over David Morgan, William Brunt and Dimitri Melas, while the White Group will see Blair McConachie and Tom Wyllys ready to do battle and break the deadlock of their dead heat at the top of the standings right now, with James Fowler and Adam West waiting in the wings to overhaul them too.
The Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsport Championship saw German ace Lars Alexander Hoffmann pick up a brace of victories on a Spa weekend that saw torrential downpours on Saturday, yet bright skies and sunshine on Sunday. Stuart Bell, Ben Buckley and Harry Cook would also share the podium that weekend and it’s Bell that leads the way in the standings as a result despite the ground made up by Hoffmann in Belgium. Angelos Alvanos holds 2nd place despite a difficult weekend that only saw him best 7th place in the wet first race, with Will Rossetti and Andrew Murgatroyd also experiencing mixed fortunes of their own and both hoping to bounce back strong this weekend.
The Roadsport contenders shared the same track that weekend with the Motul Caterham Seven 270R Championship, which saw none of the major championship contenders win a race on that occasion. Tom Allen was the man able to brave the elements the best in Race 1, while Caterham CEO Graham Macdonald fought valiantly in the dry second race on Sunday to finally take a first championship race win. Even so, both drivers still sit 15th and 13th respectively in the standings as a result while points leader Daniel French clinched a 3rd and 2nd place each to maintain his place at the top of the table by 3 points from James Murphy, who had a DNF in Race 1 followed by a fight through the field to 12th place the next day. Daniel Halstead, Matt Sheppard and Greg Monks will also be ones to watch at the head of the field.
Jay McCormack heads to Donington Park this weekend as the leader in the Santander Caterham Seven 310R Championship despite not finishing higher than 5th place in either race. Despite this, he was still able to capitalise on an up-and-down weekend for main rival Gordon Sawyer whose 4th and 10th place finishes have now given him a 22 point deficit to reel in after dominating most of the first half of the season. Tom Grensinger took both wins that weekend despite stiff competition from McCormack and Sawyer, plus the likes of Lee Bristow, Pete Walters, David Yates, Matt Topham and James Beardwell. All will be in contention on a circuit that always produces stellar racing when Caterham are in town.
The fastest Caterhams of the weekend undoubtedly come from the Avon Tyres Caterham Seven 420R Championship, featuring purpose-built thoroughbred Caterham race cars racing at the limit. John Byrne may have been the man which everyone has had to beat on most occasions this season with some sterling drives along the way, however it’s Tim Dickens that holds the points lead at this stage with Byrne trailing by 6 heading into this weekend. Henry Heaton, David Henderson, Aaron Head and William Smith are the main opposition to the top two here, plus look out for Caterham CEO Graham MacDonald sampling top line machinery for the first time and Mazda MX-5 SuperCup ace James Blake-Baldwin also getting his first taste of a Seven too.
Speaking of the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup, they head up the non-Caterham championships and series represented on the timetable. Tensions rose between top contenders Luke Herbert and Jack Harding as both shared the spoils of victory last time out at Brands Hatch a couple of weeks ago. As the second half of the season begins to progress, this weekend marks the first of two visits to Donington Park with the year ending on the National circuit later in the year. Aidan Hills, Steve Roberts and Patrick Fletcher will be hoping to keep the top two in touch all weekend, while the grid gains an unexpected boost in TCR UK front runner Lewis Kent as he lines up on the grid alongside brother Bradley for the first time since their days in the Fiesta Championship. Chris Dawkins also make a welcome return to the grid, as do Simon Baldwin and Jack Sycamore.
As they did at Anglesey earlier in the year the SuperCup will share a grid with the Mazda MX-5 Super Series which runs identical cars but races as a non-points scoring series. Jo Marshall looks set to be the main man here as he picked up wins last time at Oulton Park, with his nearest competition amongst the entry sure to be Simon Fleet, Matt Pickford and Alex Miller. That said, Jo’s pace at Anglesey against SuperCup competition proved that he can run with some of the faster drivers towards the front of the overall grid, so keep an eye on him this weekend. Adam Rowlandson makes his Super Series debut this weekend, with Christina Holley and Simon Hutchings amongst some of the returnees too.
In the same section of the paddock, the ever popular Mazda MX-5 Championship boasts the biggest single entry of the weekend with over 60 cars set to race amongst two groups. Back at Oulton Park, Joe Wiggin continued to thrust himself into title contention with two more victories in Cheshire making it five out of the last six races. John Langridge took the other that day and in the process stole the championship lead from long time table topper Will Blackwell-Chambers who only made the podium once. Watch for all three to battle for victory along with Oliver Allwood, Jack Brewer, Adam Bessell, Steve Foden and Masters leader Jason Greatrex, as well as many of the usual suspect and one or two new faces on the grid as well.
Rounding off the timetable is the Teekay Couplings Production GTi Championship, catering to two generations of the ever popular Volkswagen Golf GTi. The front running Mk5 class has been dominated thus far by Simon Hill and Donington is a prime opportunity to leave the weekend with one hand on the championship trophy, although James Colbourne, Adam Hance, Simon Vercoe and Martyn Walsh will do their best to give him the run around once again. A bolstered entry in the Mk2 class is set to see Tim Hartland, Pete Milne and Chris Webb as the main men to battle it out for honours along with Spencer Beale, Matthew Eccles and newcomer Matthew Rhodes.