FOCUS ON DONINGTON
Former Royal Marine, Steve McCulley won his first race at Snetterton. Photo: www.snappyracers.com
The Grand Prix circuit at Donington Park hosts this weekend’s BRSCC meeting with our Midlands Centre running a busy schedule of twenty races over the two days.
The dominant force at the meeting will be Caterhams with four of their championships in action, accounting for eight races. The Tracksports will be the first to race on Saturday afternoon. Tim Dickens was the surprise double winner three weeks ago at Snetterton’s season opener, upstaging the four drivers tipped as potential champions; Jack Sales, Henry Heaton, Chris Hutchinson and Christian Szaruta. Dickens has had a propensity over the last two years to just miss out so with his duck broken, he will be brimming with confidence now he has proven he is not just able to mix it with the top drivers, but is actually one of them.
The Roadsport season started off with a win apiece for David Webber and Mission Motorsport driver, Steve McCulley at Snett and they will be amongst the favourites again at Donington. Paul Aram in the distinctive blue ‘Gorsebank’ car will be the one most capable of sliding in between McCulley and Webber looking for his way onto the top step. With twenty-four cars on the grid, it is difficult to pick out just a few names as historically the Roadsport races always deliver, tight large packs of equally matched ability; helped by the terrific tow generated from their less than optimum aerodynamics. That said, Anthony Barnes is also tipped as one to watch in his bright red car.
Few would bet against Aaron Head taking a second successive R300-S title this year, but the first round at Snetterton saw David Robinson prove that he is not going to make it easy for Head. The opening race saw Robinson snatch victory by a mere 0.034s. Caterhams are notorious for racing in packs and Snetterton was no different. R300-S newcomer Matt Dyer impressed by taking on old hands Lee Wiggins and Sean Byrne in the battle for the final podium place in the opening race of the year. Dyer prevailed, a terrific result given very little time in his new car. However, experience shone through in the second race of the weekend, with Byrne taking the remaining spot left by Robinson and Head, hounded all the way by Wiggins. With Robinson and Head so dominant, we look forward to whatever the equivalent of a dual is when there are three drivers involved!
Stephen Nuttall arrives at Donington as the Supersport leader and the favourite to leave on Sunday evening in the same position, but he did not have it all his own way at the opening round and perhaps this year will be a little tougher for 37 year-old racing Rossi’s #46. Multiple Caterham champion Clive Richards showed at Snett that he can roll back the years and challenge this season. The 53 year-old tree surgeon won his first Caterham title back in 1994! Danny Killeen opened this year’s Supersport account well and lies behind Nuttall in the standings. Killeen has been a race winner in the past, but has never had such a strong start to the year; adding himself to an extensive list of drivers who could give Nuttall a rough ride.
Away from the Caterhams, Jamie Jardine will be looking to put his 2015 season back on track this weekend with good performances in the Avon Tyres sponsored BRSCC Pre 90 Formula Ford 1600 races. Last season Jamie did the Grand Slam by winning all five of the category’s Championships as he scooped the Triple Crown, National, Northern, Champion of Oulton and Star of Anglesey titles but things haven’t started so well this year. Rivals Matt Cowley and Iain Houston will be hoping that Jardine’s run of bad luck continues.
The Post 89 Formula Fords produced one of the highlights of last season at Donington as just about the entire field became embroiled in two slip-streaming classics. Drivers reported that a strong head wind on the straights put whoever was leading at a significant disadvantage meaning no one could make a breakaway. We hope that the meteorological conditions are conducive to some great racing this weekend and with a great grid of twenty-seven I don’t think we will be disappointed.
Fiesta Junior driver Michael Higgs stole the show at Snett with back to back wins to move within just three points of leader Aaron Thompson, who was runner-up in each race. However, the leading pair will have to keep a close eye on Nathan Edwards, who made the podium for the first time in Norfolk and then repeated the trick in the second race! With the confidence gained from those two results Nathan will be determined to back it up with more success at Donington.
In the Fiesta seniors, ST drivers Samuel Priest and Scott Robertson shared top honours at Snetterton with a win apiece. Robertson, who travelled all the way down from Scotland, accrued the most points courtesy of P2 in the first race while Priest dropped to third spot in the second race. Specialized’s Simon Horrobin will be confident of maintaining his solid start to the season. Meanwhile, David Nye, Jamie Styles and John Cooper are all on a roll having won respective class victories in both Snett outings.
Jason Tingle will be hoping to extend his success in the new Teekay Couplings MK5 Production GTi Series. Tingle took double race wins at the inaugural rounds from Martyn Walsh. Walsh, drove the doors off his MK5 to stay with the talented Tingle and will be determined to get the better of him this weekend. The returning Luke Schlewitz, Simon Hill and sports car expert Craig Fleming will also be in the shake-up for podium positions.
In the Production GTi Championship for the Mk2 Golf, also backed by Teekay, Tom Witts is looking to continue his positive start to 2015, having won the opening two rounds. Jason Tingle, who also runs in the Mk2s, will be eyeing another podium as he takes the battle to Witts. Alistair Miles, fresh from his ‘Driver of the Day’ success will be confident of building on his improvement as will Chris Webb.
Saturday’s weather looks like it could be chilly and damp. Sunday promises to be warmer and more importantly, dry all day. A full forecast can be found at Donington weather
More information about the Donington meeting can be found at Caterham Race Weekend