CROFT MAY 15/16 PREVIEW – BRSCC MAZDA MX-5 CLUBMAN CHAMPIONSHIP


The BRSCC’s ultra-successful Mazda MX-5 paddock has seen incredible entry numbers over the last few years, particularly within the Mk1 models where the grids regularly achieve 40 to 50+ cars per weekend. During the shortened 2020 season, the club communicated with teams and drivers amongst the paddock to see how the series and the experience could be enhanced and improved and many mentioned the logistics of a race weekend can be a challenge for some.

After taking this feedback on board and carefully considering the best plan of action going forwards, the BRSCC created a brand-new championship for MX-5 racing – the Mazda MX-5 Clubman Championship. While the regular series features three races over a two-day format, the Clubman Championship caters to those who wish to qualify and race all in the same day in two 15-minute races. This coupled with a superb value entry fee makes it one of the most cost-effective ways to race a Mazda MX-5 in the UK in terms of price and logistics. The racing takes place on the same weekends and timetables as the MX-5 Championship and MX-5 SuperCup, meaning drivers and teams can stay together in one paddock without having to spend extra money competing on additional weekends.

The first races take place this weekend at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire, and favourite on the entry list looks likely to be the experienced Jay Shepherd. His racing CV includes racing in the FunCup Championship in recent years, but before that he can boast two Britcar titles and the runners up spot in the TVR Tuscan Challenge one year amongst other drives. He will be hoping his relative success in 2020 will see the momentum carry through into this weekend.

There’s a pair of cars entered by Steel City MX-5, set to be driven by Kevin Bird and Robert Greensmith, brother of former MX-5 and Porsche champion Jonny. These two have already raced amongst the BRSCC paddock in the Clubsport Trophy and are now stepping up to put their MX-5s against their own kind. Both are fairly handy drivers behind the wheel and the Steel City prepared cars always seem to go well, so expect both of them to be up towards the sharp end. Also in the mix should be Dan Blake, who has plenty of MX-5 racing under his belt and has also taken his fair share of multi-class race wins aboard his Mk1. He tackles the Clubman Championship on his first appearance in the BRSCC Mazda paddock, so it will be rather intriguing to see what pace he has from the outset.

The rest of the entry is mainly populated by drivers that already have experience racing in the Mazda MX-5 Championship and are moving into the Clubman ranks for a new challenge. Familiar names include Richard Bartlett and Dale Whiteman are present, as are a few drivers that joined the paddock in 2020, such as Tim and Harry Storer, Andrew Dean and Peter Higton. New for 2021 is Owen Woodwards too, as he’ll be keeping his fingers crossed for a clean first weekend to start his life as a Clubman racer.

Scott Woodwiss