CHAMPION DAILLY HEADS 2020 BMW COMPACT CUP ENTRY FOR OULTON PARK OPENER
The Nankang Tyres BMW Compact Cup has become one of the most popular and intense club level saloon car championships of the last few years, with close, exciting and thrilling one-make action entertaining spectators up and down the country. After a long wait since the end of the 2019 season due to the global pandemic, the amended 2020 season will finally get underway this weekend when Oulton Park in Cheshire plays host to the opening rounds.
Last year’s Compact Cup season produced another enthralling fight for the title, with eventual champion Steven Dailly taking his 3rd consecutive title after achieving the same feat in 2018 and 2017. Ian Jones pushed him all the way to the final weekend to claim 2nd place in points, ahead of upcoming front runner and race winner Tom Griffiths. All three will return this coming weekend to start another campaign, although at one stage it looked as though the season would commence sans Dailly due to a lack of sponsorship. However, with the required support now in place, he’ll be gunning for title number four in 2020 knowing that all of the usual suspects will be there to challenge him once more.
Jones and Griffiths also took their share of race wins and are sure to be Dailly’s main rivals again in 2020. Jones has been in the position of “bridesmaid but never the bride” more than once and on his day he’s more than a match when it comes to battling for the lead, considering that he managed to take six victories throughout 2019. As for Griffiths, he was a constant presence around the front of the field, collecting wins at Snetterton and Silverstone and a further nine podiums on his way to 3rd in points. Both will be looking to build on the previous year’s fortunes to try and dethrone Dailly.
Such is the competition levels this season that every one of the top 10 drivers from last year’s points are back this year. Masters champion Wayne Flint, who ended up 4th overall in 2019, will want to retain his crown but is sure to expect his main competition to come in the form of rivals such as former champ David May, Mark Skeats and Mike Doble. Mike’s son Mikey will also be on the grid once more having delivered an impressive second season to place 5th in the final standings, achieving the impressive feat despite only picking up one podium at the final rounds but ensuring a solid and consistent haul of points helped him place so high.
Oliver Faller may not have completed the full season but he too was another driver that made sure he was a constant presence towards the front of the field, managed to climb to 6th in points with a strong run of results in the second half of the year to help him overhaul several drivers. Another race winner in the field is Ben Huntley, too, with that victory fittingly coming at Oulton Park, the sight of our opening races of 2020 this weekend. Ben had a healthy start to 2020 and while he drifted a little further back in the pack as the season went on, his pace still seems to be formidable once everything comes together.
Others to watch for include Gordon Macmillan, Matt Flowers and Rhys Claydon, the latter of the three putting in a sterling drive in his KC Motorsport prepared car to collect an excellent 3rd place at Silverstone, showing his time in the same awning as Steven Dailly appears to be paying off and he’ll be looking to make further progress. Lee Dendy-Sadler and former MX-5 champion Paul Maguire will also be in the mix too, plus a dark horse to impress from the outset could well be Jordan Stilp. The former British GT, Ginetta and Clio Cup racer joins the Compact Cup grid with a vast amount of experience on his young shoulders and may well put all of it to good use to come out of the blocks swinging from the word go. Perhaps Dailly, Jones, Griffiths and co may have worry about a potential fourth element in the championship fight this year – only time will tell…