CATERHAMS DESCEND ON SNETT


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All rungs of the Caterham motorsport ladder will be in action at Snett this weekend, including the Octane Academy. Photo: www.rachelhorganphotography.com

Our East Anglian Centre two-day meeting at Snetterton starts this morning and it will be dominated by Caterhams, with all rungs of their ‘motorsport ladder’ represented in the eighteen-race schedule.

The Avon Tyres Tracksports are the first to take to the ‘200 circuit’ and with six different winners so far this year, predicting a winner isn’t easy. David Robinson currently heads the table but snapping at his heels is Terry Langley. With three wins to his name, Langley has won more races than anyone else and did so in style at the Nurburgring, shadowing Robinson for the full half hour before stealing the victory in a brilliant last lap move.

The Supersports have provided some of the most exciting Caterham racing this year. In fact, Autosport proclaimed one of the races at Donington as ‘sublime’. Aaron Head remains at the top of the leader board in his self-run car but as ever, the four-year battle between Lee Wiggins and Jeremy Webb continues unabated. Wiggins’ unmistakable green car has just a two-point advantage over Webb, the pair taking a win each last time out at the Nurburgring, demonstrating that the old boys still have the pace to keep Head honest.

DPR Motorsport are dominating the BookaTrack.com Superlight R300 Championship with just two points separating team-mates Paul Wilson and Mark Shaw at the top of the standings. However, both have to be aware of the challenge of SPY’s Ian Payne who has re-found his old form after a disastrous start. Making a return to R300 racing is BTCC regular Paul O’Neill.

It has been more than three months since Roadsport championship leader, Elliott Norris, last took to the top step of the podium at Donington Park, five races ago. Since then, the man of the summer has really been second placed driver Brad Smith. The 26-year-old has won four out of the five races. Although Norris retains the lead, two drop scores come into play at the end of the year and when taken into consideration, Norris and Smith are level pegging on identical scores. This means that the last four races (two here and two at Rockingham) are more important than ever.

Both groups of the Octane supported Caterham Academy will be in action tomorrow with a fifteen minute race apiece. If it were not for Matthew Lawrence, Alex Gurr would be running away with the Group 1 championship. The Hertfordshire driver found his speed at the second Academy event and has topped the podium at every outing since. However, Jersey resident Lawrence is keeping Gurr honest. Never off the podium, Lawrence won the only event that Gurr didn’t and has put in a faster lap in both of the Academy races to date.

In contrast to Group 1, three drivers are now vying for the Group 2 title as Stephen Nuttall and Michael Gazda continue to erode Pete Fortune’s lead. Just four points separate the trio (118-116-114pts). Although Pete Fortune was ahead in the sprints, the Welshman has failed to win a race so far with Nuttall and Gazda taking a win each. Nuttall’s win was a lights-to-flag demonstration, whilst Austrian born Gazda set a new lap record at Brands on his way to a dominant win.

Away from the Caterhams, the Dunlop TVR Challenge will be in action with a twenty-minute race today and tomorrow. Dean Cook, from Battlebridge in Essex, looks like the man to beat. He piloted his 4500cc Tuscan to first and second in the Rockingham double header two weeks ago, but he will face a stern examination by Jamie Golby’s Cerbera and the Tuscans of Tim Davis and Martin Crass.

With twelve rounds having been completed, we are now at the business end of the Dunlop Fiesta Championship. It is still season long leaders David Elsom, Nik Barton and Jason Cooper who sit proudly on top of respective classes A, B & C. Class A looks like having the most competitive end to the season as a string of good results from Chris Toumazos has closed the gap on Elsom to just eleven points. Nik Barton is the champion elect in Class B and it would be a major surprise if he didn’t confirm that status this weekend. John Langridge and Nicholas Bowers put Class C leader Jason Cooper under real pressure prior to Brands, but he responded perfectly with two wins to give himself some breathing space.

In the Motorsport News Fiesta Juniors, Charlie Ladell was the early leader but he has been caught and passed by Jack Mitchell, who now has an eleven-point advantage. With a maximum of eighteen points on offer, the table could yet change. Third in the championship is James Ross, whose change of fortunes has coincided with a change of car colour to yellow.

Completing the Snetterton line-up are the popular Mighty Minis, who will have both the standard class and Supers in action in separate twenty-minute races. Gary Patterson leads the Supers but the pressure is on from Chris Morgan and title defender, Elliot Stafford. However, it would be foolhardy to discount any of the other drivers, as they are all potential race winners. Pat Ford is recovering after a poor start to his season whilst Jamie White is becoming a threat and is likely to have a podium finish before the season ends.

In the Mighty Minis, 2011 champion Chris Slade is putting up a solid defence of his title, but he is under increasing pressure from debutant and Emmerdale actor Kelvin Fletcher, who is now just eighteen points in arrears. The extremely experienced local driver, Jonathan Lewis, has changed formulae mid-season, coming across from the Super Mighty Minis and is now making his presence felt. Dan Palmer is third in the standings so he is under pressure to do well in the remaining races.

For the entry lists and timetable visit CATERHAM RACE WEEKEND