CROFT MAY 15/16 PREVIEW – BRSCC MAZDA MX-5 CHAMPIONSHIP
There’s always excitement, intrigue and anticipation when a new BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship season comes around and the 2021 edition could just be one of the most open for many seasons. With the defending champion Joe Wiggin having departed for the MINI Challenge, it leaves the door open for a new driver to take up the mantle come season’s end. The campaign trail starts here this weekend at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire, a true drivers’ favourite and one that always promises to provide memorable racing.
As a quick recap, the truncated 2020 season started at Cadwell Park last August where Wiggin and key rival Oliver Allwood shared the wins that weekend. Donington Park then came next a few weeks later with Wiggin winning two more races and former double champion Will Blackwell-Chambers scoring one too. Then came Silverstone, the meeting that arguably settled the championship both before and after it finished. Wiggin won race one, but was then disqualified after a technical infringement was found in post-race checks (more on this in a moment). Allwood and Mike Comber would take a win apiece in the remaining two races, leaving all three drivers in contention for the title at Brands Hatch. While Allwood and his AB Motorsport teammate Matt Luff took the three wins between them and Oliver was provisionally given the title as a result, Wiggin’s disqualification was overturned in the National Court weeks later which reinstated his Silverstone win and therefore crowned him champion as a result.
So, with 2021 now finally here and a new season upon us, who should we look out for as the title contenders this time? Of course, the main favourite has to be Allwood, who returns surely with one thing on his mind – vengeance. Having effectively touched the championship all but briefly, he will want to ensure that this time it stays with him and must use 2020 as a driver and a motivation to push even harder. His AB Motorsport team will have his back throughout and with the same strong car underneath him, he may well prove to be unstoppable. But there are those who will be out to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Experienced drivers back for more include Oliver’s fellow AB teammates Brian Trott and Stuart Symonds, two men who are very formidable on their day. If Brian is choosing to contest a full season this time, surely he will be an overall championship contender as he has more than enough pace to win races outright and at least must surely be a favourite for the Masters title for drivers aged 45 or over. Symonds has also proved himself on more than one occasion and will be another welcome full-time returnee should he be back for the entire campaign too. Also carrying plenty of experience is Jason Greatrex, who didn’t appear on the grid in 2020 but is welcomed back this year alongside son Callum.
Incredibly, there’s a very real chance for several of the existing front runners to claim their first-ever win despite many of them coming close and appearing on the podium a few times already. Jack Brewer has to be one of them, as he came agonisingly close at Silverstone only to be denied on the last lap by Mike Comber. Tucker Motorsport will put a good car underneath him and his target has to at least be to secure that first winner’s trophy. Steve Foden is another driver who is yet to win on BRSCC shores but has certainly come within touching distance time and time again. Already being race fresh from racing his MX-5 elsewhere, perhaps he should be the one everyone needs to look out for. Matt Pollard will want to carry on the form that began from securing his Rookie of the Year status a couple of years ago and finally reach the top step, while Luke Pullen certainly has the confidence from AB Motorsport that he can build on what he’s done already and pick up a victory soon. Plus, don’t rule out Fraser Fenwick either, as he already has race wins under his belt and must feel confident that 2021 is finally the year he can take the big leap and make a solid championship charge.
There’s also plenty of familiar names that you’ll know and love if you’ve followed us over the last few seasons, including Adam Craig, Michael Knibbs, Oliver Graham, defending Masters champion Paul Bateman, Kian Donaldson, Graham Rumsey, Bryn Griffiths, Nick Le Doyen and Richard Wootten, plus the return of drivers such as Scott Leach and Kevin Dentage into the foray as well. All in all, this season has plenty of promise to be another stellar spectacle and it all begins again this weekend at Croft. Excited? You should be!