CATERHAMS CONCLUDE AT DONINGTON


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Can Caterham Roadsport's Russ Olivant take the title he missed out on in last year's Academy? – Photo: SnappyRacers

Just where has the time gone? They say it flies when you’re having fun and that’s something we’ve had plenty of since we kicked off the season proper at Snetterton all the way back at the beginning of April. Yet here we are back in mid-October with the last races of the year all set to play out before us. There’s still titles to decide and bragging rights to earn, so now is the time to both reflect and celebrate another fantastic year of club racing.

Caterham Motorsport have had one of their most competitive seasons to date and all 5 championships on their roster are out to play here this weekend. It’s been another stellar sell-out year for The City Magazine Caterham Academy, with both White and Green Group titles still up for grabs. It’s a 3-way tussle for the Green Group honours with Steven Tozer, Peter Spencer and Tom John all separated by just 4 points. Given that there’s just one 15 minute race left to decide who wins the crown, it’ll certainly be a very hard fought race with tensions set to run high all the way to the chequered flag.

It looks a little bit different in the White Group with Ben Gillias holding an 11 point advantage over season long rival Jay McCormack and James Beardwell a further 8 points back. Both Gillias and McCormack have been keeping the top step of the rostrum all to themselves in the 4 races run so far, but with motorsport’s unpredictability it’s by no means certain that this will remain the same. Perhaps Beardwell will cause an upset and take a victory all for himself, potentially helping to mix up the outcome of the championship in the process.

In addition to the regular Academy races, there’s also the now annual Academy Autumn Trophy, a one-off race that sees drivers from both groups come together for the first time for one last hurrah to graduate from their first season of racing in style. The grid is at full capacity with 40 drivers set to compete in the biggest field they’ve experience so far, which some drivers may relish given the extra competition. Something else to savour will be the sight of both Academy group champions facing off against each other of the very first time, leaving it open to decide just who is the fastest of the fastest from this year’s class.

The only other Caterham title left to decide is in the Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsport Championship. Russ Olivant wants to put it to bed after narrowly missing out in last year’s Academy contest, but with the amount of competition he’s faced this season, his task has never been tougher. Daniel Quintero, Rob Watts, Guy Hawkins and William Lloyd will all be out to cause him headaches and possibly even cause an upset, making this a pair of races to watch with great intrigue.

As for the other 3 titles on the ladder, they’re already done and dusted. With Anthony Barnes having already sealed the Avon Tyres Caterham Tracksport Championship at Croft and moving into a higher class for this round, it means that someone else gets to grab the limelight on the final weekend of the year. There is still a key duel to be fought for 2nd in the standings between Daniel Bremner and Andy Ebdon, with Damian Milkins, Steve McCulley and more also due to be prime candidates for a last gasp win.

This year’s ITC Compliance Caterham Supersport Championship has been absolutely stellar with the competition levels off the charts all season. The title has already gone to William Smith and he too has taken a step up, meaning that it’s open season for anyone who wants a win. Henry Heaton would be a stand-out favourite, but with as many as at least a dozen cars battling over podium places at every meeting, all bets on who could win would be wasted – this championship really has been THAT unpredictable!

Something which could be a contender for races of the weekend has to be the pair of Bookatrack.com Caterham Superlight R300-S Championship races. Aaron Head has secured his 2nd title, but his task of taking 2 more wins just got harder. Both Anthony Barnes and William Smith have stepped up to challenge him and along with the likes of Danny Winstanley, Stephen Nuttall, Lee Wiggins, Clive Richards and more as dangerous rivals to watch out for, you’d have to hope that the mouth-watering prospect of just how good these races could be isn’t simply an anti-climax!

In support of the Caterhams, there’s also the pair of Teekay Couplings Production GTi series to watch out for. The Mk2 Championship will still have champions to crown in both the 16V and 8V classes with Chris Webb and Matthew Petts the favourites in each class respectively. Over with the Mk5 Series, there’s been top drawer racing all season despite a more compacted grid. One driver to definitely keep an eye on here will be young Charlie Cudlipp, who has been revelling in strong results this year, including a couple of hard earned victories.

There’s also the final appearance of their for our wonderfully enthusiastic Toyo Tires Honda VTEC Challenge, who always bring fun and fast racing everywhere they go. Being a series, there’s no points up for grabs, just trophies and pride here. There’s classes for Production, Tuner and Super Tuner machines with Rob Burkinshaw’s Integra and the pair of CRXs of Peter Dixon and Jeff Cooper the prime runners. They will also share a grid with the quirky and unique Smart 4Two Cup.

Finally, there’s further action provided by the Monoposto Tiedeman Trophy to bring single seaters into the mix too. This championship is solely dedicated to keep ex-junior formula cars in services such as F3, Formula Renault and Formula Ford. They will close out their season with a pair of races. HRDC are also back in town with the A-Series Challenge, Academy and Allstars appearing together on track, along with a separate race for the TC63s and Touring Greats. You can’t go wrong with some fantastic historic racing.

Weather wise, it's set to remain dry throughout both days of action, however there is rain forecast overnight which could make the circut tricky for the drivers to cope with come Sunday morning. For a full breakdown of the forecast courtesy of the Met Office here – DONINGTON WEATHER

Also, all the key spectator and competitior information can be found via our Facebook page – DONINGTON FINALS WEEKEND.

So, enjoy the weekend that sees many drivers make their final on-track adventures for 2016 before hibernating away for the off-season in prep for next year. As ever, a massive thanks goes to all our competitors, teams, spectators, marshals, Club personnel and officials for making 2016 one absolute cracker of a year!

Scott Woodwiss