CROFT MAY 15/16 PREVIEW – BRSCC FIESTA JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
In 2020, the BRSCC Fiesta Junior Championship made something of a heroic comeback after it turned around its low entry numbers into a healthy grid of 15 cars by season’s end. Thanks to all the hard work by the coordination team and the BRSCC itself, that momentum gained throughout last year means that heading to the start of the 2021 season, FJC is still in a strong position with the prospects looking bright for the year ahead. While not everyone has been able to make it for the opening rounds at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire this weekend, the majority are in action and ready to kickstart an exciting year of junior racing.
We should give a quick recap of last season just to refresh the mind and effectively, there’s only one name we need to mention – Joseph Loake. After making a memorable debut in 2019 and showing incredible progress throughout, 2020 was something special for the youngster from Macclesfield. From the season opener at Cadwell Park to the finale at Croft, Joseph was simply unstoppable and became the first driver ever in FJC history to win every single race in a season, a 100% winning record. Of course, the shorter calendar played a part in that but it takes nothing away whatsoever from his incredible achievement which helped him win the title. Now he’s moved up to British F4 and at the time of writing has already become a race winner at the opening rounds at Thruxton, something we as a championship are incredibly proud of! His pursuers did their best to keep him honest, with vice champion and top rookie Will Orton taking a flurry of 2nd places and Bradley Beavers making constant improvements and consistent progress to claim the final spot on the podium in the points.
Now that Joseph, Will and Bradley have all made their respective steps up the racing ladder, it’s time for a new champion to step forward and naturally we look to those who contested 2020 and remain for their sophomore year as some of the favourites. Best of the rest outside the top three from 2020 was Joseph Knight, whose season started slowly at Cadwell Park but rapidly picked up momentum for the remainder. He went on to never finish lower than 6th in the subsequent six races and will hope that this form carries over to this season, starting this weekend. Next in the points was Jake Weston, who is unable to race this weekend but will be joining us again from Oulton Park onwards. He made a strong debut at Silverstone with two 3rd places and followed it up with another at Croft to cement his top five spot, so he’ll want to keep this up and improve further when he makes his first start of the year.
Next come those who ended up outside the top five but will certainly have enough knowledge behind them now to really make a serious charge. Jenson Brickley came good in the second half of the season by picking up his first podium at Donington Park and then another at Croft and the former National Ministox champion will be looking to add a first FJC winner’s trophy to his collection at some point this year. Albert Webster made a decent start to his 2020 season by claiming 3rd at Cadwell Park and while his form tapered off a little throughout the middle of the calendar, he finished strong enough with P4 in the final race. Dylan Hotchin will certainly be fired up to, having also taken a podium but also been denied other strong results due to bad luck and with a new car underneath him, he will be keen to be flying straight out of the gate. Sid Smith hasn’t yet stood on the podium but he has come close and will certainly want to put that right as quickly as possible too, especially with the guidance from his father Rob.
The rest of the returnees will simply want to make more progress towards the front. George Davis remains while sister Briannie moves into the senior ranks of the Fiesta Championship and would dearly like to get himself in and around the top five more often this year. Jake Triggs also had his moments in 2020 and despite not appearing in all of the rounds he still managed to score some solid results to build a foundation for his full-season attack on 2021. Alex Ley made his debut from Silverstone from karting and managed to secure a top 10 on the same weekend too, so perhaps there’s still more to come from Ali Rushforth’s driver, especially at this opening meeting. Alex Sprange, also unable to make it this weekend, is the definition of commitment to the cause as his tireless work maintaining his race car himself along with the support is incredibly commendable and we can’t wait to hopefully welcome him back onto the grid from Oulton Park onwards.
Now let’s take a look at the new drivers joining us for this season, starting with Archie Handy. Archie comes to the championship already boasting experience in junior racing elsewhere in the UK and 2021 will be his first foray into the Fiesta Junior paddock. He’s looked pretty potent in previous performances and if there’s one car you certainly won’t miss on track this year it’ll be Archie’s bright pink machine. Jake Maynard comes fresh from karting and runs in a newly built car with Misty Racing in a bid to kickstart his circuit racing career, while Harry Garman becomes the first driver ever in FJC history to move into the championship from the world of junior rallycross, so his car control should, in theory, be pretty decent! Daniel Lewis is also one of JamSport’s newest recruits and has been getting up to speed thanks to tuition from former FJC alumni Bobby Thompson, while their other new driver James Pope, also another karting graduate, might be hoping for rain this weekend as his nickname of Seaweed suggests he might be a bit good in the wet!
All in all, it’s sure to be a magnificent first race of the season for us in Fiesta Juniors – it’s been over six months since we last raced and now we can’t wait to get back in action in North Yorkshire!