CATERHAMS OPEN AT SNETTERTON


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Four Caterham championships get their season underway at Snett this weekend. Photo: Rick Wilson


After a long winter for all drivers in the Caterham Roadsport, Tracksport, Supersport and Superlight championships, the waiting is finally over and they will be congregating at Snetterton today in preparation for this weekend’s two day meeting on the 300 circuit.

It is also the first meeting of the 2013 season for the BRSCC East Anglian Centre and they will be running 19 races over the two days, including rounds for the new Duratec Formula Ford Championship, the Mazda MX5 SuperCup and the Fiesta seniors and juniors.

The Avon Tyres backed Caterham Tracksport Championship has the honour of getting proceedings under way, and it is never an easy championship to predict. Paul Lewis, Duncan Harris and Oliver Jarrett all start the season with the benefit of a season of Tracksports under their belts. This will certainly serve them well in the early rounds while those new to the championship get to grips with the feel of the car. Jarrett was consistently the fastest of the three and a top-ten regular in last year’s field.

The new BRSCC Formula Ford Duratec Championship is the only series in action this weekend to have a triple-header (all other championships have double headers). The grid has a very continental feel as only Max Marshall, run by Myerscough College Motorsport, hails from these shores. Similarly, American driver Abdul Ahmed is the odd man out being the only non-European. The rest of the grid is made up of drivers from the new North Sea Series and features the Dutch trio of Max Van Splunteren, Bart Van Os and Paul Sieljes who all impressed at the Festival last October.

The Caterham Supersport is the ultimate evolution of the Academy car and widely regarded as one of the most fun Caterhams to drive. The big question is; will 2013 be Lee Wiggins’ year? Simple law-of-averages says it really must be by now. The 41 year-old Essex-man has been a runner-up every year since Academy back in 2009. Along the way, he built up an exciting rivalry with nemesis Jeremy Webb who robbed Wiggins of the Roadsport title at Snetterton in 2010, but after four years of racing together, Webb has moved to pastures new. That should leave the way clear for Wiggins this year, but then there’s David Robinson…

The R300 Superlight is Caterham’s premier championship and is one of the most competitive and exciting race series in the country. With reigning R300 champion Paul Wilson taking a break this year, his former team-mate Mark Shaw starts the year as favourite from the established R300 bunch, but he will be severely tested by newcomers Brad Smith, Terry Langley and Aaron Head, who move up from Roadsports, Tracksports and Supersports respectively.

The Roadsport championship is the next step on the Caterham ladder for Academy drivers & cars from 2012 and the season opens with a whopping thirty-seven car grid, as the majority of last year’s Academy are back for more (with many more jumping into the higher levels of Caterham racing). The most exciting prospect is that of the equal champions from the two Academy grids last year; Alex Gurr and Stephen Nuttall, racing against each other for the first time.

The Vortex Motorsport News Fiesta Junior Championship got underway at Rockingham two weeks ago and it was James ‘JJ’ Ross who put down a marker by winning the opening two rounds. Alex Reed and Robert Cox shared the second place spoils with Rory Collingbourne the other podium finisher. All three will need to take the challenge to Ross to prevent the Watford youngster building an unassailable lead.

The BRSCC Mazda MX5 SuperCup made its debut at the BRSCC’s first meeting of the season, at Castle Combe on 1stApril, and the honours were shared by Matt Davies and Andy Clarkson. Both drivers will renew their rivalry this weekend but the addition to the grid of the ultra-experienced Paul Sheard and the proven Mk3 winner Chrissy Palmer, will give them both plenty to think about!

The Vortex Dunlop Ford Fiesta Championship is also on duty this weekend and as they did last season Classes A, B & D, run in separate races from the STs of Class C. All classes had two races at Rockingham a fortnight ago and it was the Zetec S of David Abbott that dominated both Class A, B & D outings. David is literally in a class of his own (D) so expect more garlands to come his way, but there will be fierce battles in Classes A and B where Ian Scruton, Alan Donnelly and Ken Bateman all claimed class wins.
There will be twenty-four STs battling it out in the Class C double header and the one to watch is David Ellesley who took a brace of victories at the Rockingham opener. Nicholas Bowers and Aaron Trigwell exchanged second and third places and both will have to be on their mettle to nip Ellesley’s early season dominance in the bud.

The entry lists, timetable and Final Instructions can be found at SNETTERTON OPENER