CATERHAMS CHARGE BACK TO CHESHIRE IN OULTON PARK RETURN
Caterham Motorsport usually make a one-day trip to the magnificent Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire once every year and after missing out last season, the entire roster gets set for another trip to the North West for their third meeting of the year, with all five championships in action this Saturday.
After the traditional sprint event at Curborough and opening circuit round at Cadwell Park just a couple of weeks ago, this year’s Caterham Academy Championship is already in full swing as this year’s first time racers join the rest of the paddock for the rest of the season, bar the European round at Spa. The Green Group heads to Oulton Park perfectly poised with a tie at the top between event winners Alexander Conway and James Venning. While Venning won the sprint, it was Conway who picked up the circuit win at Cadwell which means he could be the main man to watch on this occasion. Stephen Hutchinson and Dimitris Melas also both have a podium each to their names, while Benjamin Miller, Roger Gaunt, David Morgan and William Brunt will also be names to watch out for too.
The top of the White Group standings look somewhat similar as Blair Mcconachie and Tom Wyllys also have a win each under their belt so far this season, however the fastest lap point taken by Mcconachie on his way to victory at Cadwell means he leads the standings by a single point. James Fowler has so far looked consistent with a pair of 3rd place finishes and could be an outside bet for a race win, plus keep an eye out for drivers such as Wes Payne, Daryl Cresswell, Adam West and Christopher McMahon to be in the mix as well. Remember, this will only be the second ever circuit race for these Academy drivers, so expect them to learn on their feet quickly!
So far, the Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsport Championship is proving to be more competitive that first estimated, with four different winners from the first four races. Lars Hoffmann leads the standings after a victory at Croft, while Stuart Bell, Andrew Murgatroyd and Will Rossetti have all stood on the top step in 2019 too. All four will be looking to add to their win tallies this weekend, with Angelos Alvanos, Giuseppe Felet, Andy Lees and Trevor Conway all eager to mount their own charges for victory too. All of these drivers are fresh out of the Academy, so expect them to develop further as drivers before your very eyes.
Daniel Halstead was able to mark himself out as a potential title favourite in the previous rounds of the Motul Caterham Seven 270R Championship, the middle rung on the Caterham Motorsport ladder that has produced some sensational racing to date this season. He picked up a brace of victories for his troubles, but was pushed all the way to the flag on both occasions by Daniel French, another name to throw in to the hat in the race for the championship. Nevertheless, neither top the standings as Justin Heap, one of last year’s Academy champions, leads the table after a steady run of strong results thus far including a win at Silverstone. Halstead and French give chase, while several drivers will be joining the pursuit once more including Neil Fraser, Toby Clowes, Greg Monks, James Murphy, Matt Sheppard and of course Caterham CEO, Graham Macdonald.
One man who is proving to be unstoppable this season in the Santander Caterham Seven 310R Championship is Gordon Sawyer, who came close to becoming champion last season and is on a mission this year to right that wrong. He’s taken a clean sweep of all four races run so far and has already built up a 10 point cushion in the standings, but with a multitude of top drivers snapping at his heels, Gordon will be put under more pressure here at Oulton Park. So far, Jay McCormack appears to be his nearest challenger, but don’t count out others who will also be sure to give him a hard time on track including Tom Grensinger, James Beardwell, Nathan Bell, Pete Walters and James Wingfield. This is the ultimate evolution of the original Caterham Academy car and one which can really test a driver’s skill after as many as 3 seasons in the same vehicle.
Last but certainly by no means least, the Avon Tyres Caterham Seven 420R Championship will provide the fastest racing action all day as some of the fastest drivers found on the roster go head to head in the ultimate expression of a thoroughbred, purpose-built Caterham race car. So far John Byrne has taken three wins from the first four races to lead the points standings heading here to Oulton Park, while David Henderson has been the man to deny him from emulating Gordon Sawyer and completely dominating the field so far. Alongside them are several rapid drivers waiting to mount a challenge, with William Smith, Tim Dickens, Henry Heaton, former double champion Aaron Head and even former Olympic gold medal winning cyclist turned racing driver Sir Chris Hoy expected to be battling at the front. All in all, it should be an intense day of dedicated Caterham racing action in Cheshire!