DONINGTON PARK MAY 8/9 PREVIEW: CATERHAM ROADSPORT CHAMPIONSHIP
The first race weekend of the new season for the Caterham Roadsport Championship is finally here – a little later than first originally planned, but at least it’s getting underway earlier than it had done in a somewhat truncated 2020 that saw an entire compressed calendar within just three months! Hopefully, it won’t be as full of interruptions this time, but one thing we are certain of is that the racing this season is set to be as competitive as ever.
The Roadsport championship is the next step on the Caterham ladder for the Academy drivers and their cars from the 2020 season, enabling them to enjoy another year of racing with the friends they have battled against in the hugely successful Academy series. With only light modifications, the Roadsport race car is a simple development of the 2020 Academy car; its performance significantly enhanced by the addition of a rear-anti roll bar and a switch to track orientated, yet still road legal, Avon ZZS tyres.
Checking out the entry list for the opening race of the year, it looks like we’re set to enjoy another battle between both champions from last year’s Academy, as the Green Group winner Tom Cockerill prepares to square off against his White Group counterpart Taylor O’Flanagan. Both will certainly have a point to prove having each secured a title in their first year of racing and will be keen to try and add to their win tallies, as well as make it two on the bounce. Tom and Taylor both picked up three wins apiece in 2020 and would dearly love to begin the new season on a high note.
There will be those that are graduating to Roadsport with them that will be hoping the minor modifications from Academy make a big difference to their fortunes. While Green Group vice-champion Chris Skillicorn doesn’t return for this year, 3rd placed man Gwyn Jones does in the bid to pick up at least a second win after his sole success at Brands Hatch. To find another driver from the same group on the entry list, you have to go all the way down to 9th placed Andy Lund to find a returnee. He showed one or two glimpses of pace at times, but couldn’t better a 4th place at Thruxton, something he’ll be keen to improve on this season. Also watch out for fellow Green graduates Peter Mott, Andrew Berg, Ian Hapgood and Ron Mounsey.
Over in the White Group ranks, O’Flanagan will probably be looking over his shoulder just a little more as the rapid German pilot Domenique Mannsperger is back to claim the title he missed out on by just four points in 2020. Having topped and tailed the season with a win as well as also showing great pace in both the Autumn Trophy and 2021 Challenge non-championship races, Domenique will surely be a solid contender to become champion – something he’d love to achieve given his father’s own personal history as a racer himself. Also back for more is Hugo Bush, who almost made 2nd place his home last year as he visited that step on no less than four times. His target will simply be to grab that first trophy as well as use all of his experience from 2020 to stay with the leading pack. There’s also certain to be a group of drivers that finished in the bottom half of the top 10 in points last year, as Nick Timpson, Sam Gibbons, Ryan Lovett and Christopher Broom will all be keen to continue their battles from the previous 12 months’ worth of racing.