LOOKING FORWARD TO A WEEKEND AT ROCKINGHAM
Jayson Flegg's Boxster will be in action at Rockingham this weekend. Photo: James Roberts Photo
Two weeks after their last trip to Rockingham our Midland Centre returns to the Motor Speedway this weekend for a two-day BRSCC ‘club’ meeting featuring twenty-one races.
Getting the action started with the first race just before the lunch-break are our guests from the BARC South-Eastern Centre with their Avon Tyres Intermarque Championship. Although Vauxhall Tigras seem to be the preferred body shape, there is variety in the form of a BMW Z4 driven by Simon Smith, plus a couple of Mercedes SLKs driven by Richard Smith and Paul Adams. There is also a normally very reliable Mitsubishi Colt driven by Philip Young. Peugeot is represented with the 206 saloon version driven by Steve Burrows. There should also be a VW Corrado for Daniel Smith, who will be hoping all his wheels stay on this time!
After two superb Formula Jedi drives at Silverstone last month, Michael Watton sits at the top of the point’s table. Watton was the only driver to visit the podium twice during the opening two races, and also took his maiden race win, and by doing so put himself forward as a serious contender for the 2015 title. Dan Clowes and Lee Morgan are two more drivers you can expect to see running up at the front at Rockingham. Other proven race winners to look out for are Scott Stevens, Paul Butcher and Richard Gittings. Ryan Harper-Ellam and Matt Ryder will also be knocking on the door of their first race wins, while newcomer Ben Hingeley has the pace to spring a few surprises.
The Excool OSS Championship makes a welcome return to Rockingham after four years and the lap records are sure to tumble! Graham Cole in his Jade Trackstar is the favourite for Class A but the Ligier of Simon Tilling and the Radical SR8 of Richard Fearns will be looking to take the chase to him. Class B will be a toss-up between Duncan Williams in his Juno and Mike Jenvey, a previous outright winner at the Rock in his Jenvey-Gunn. Josh Smith, the reigning OSS champion in his Bridgwater College run Radical PR6, has a habit of breaking the Class C record at every circuit he goes to, so expect to see him well up the field. John Wilkes is the favourite for Class E in his Global Light but with the Irish Global Lights joining the OSS races they may give him some competition.
The Honda VTEC Challenge was formed to provide somewhere accessible for novices to take their first steps into the world of motor racing and a place for existing Honda racers looking to race in a dedicated one make series. This ethos still rings true today, with many drivers progressing through the ranks as their experience grows. Sheffield based racer Rob Burkinshaw took two clear victories at the opening event at Silverstone last month and will be looking for victory again this weekend. However with more and more drivers entering the series, he may find he has a fight on his hands for that number one slot. Joining the grid are eight Smartcars contesting the 4two cup.
The BRSCC Toyo Tires Porsche Championship's second round of the 2015 season consists of three 20-minute races over the two days and the drivers will be looking to challenge the leads set at Oulton Park last month with double wins from Simon Hawksley in the 924s and Gary Duckman in the Class A Boxsters. Adam Southgate is back in his race-spec Boxster and will likely be challenging the front of the grid, along with Ed Hayes. Nizar El-Chamaa and Karl Rossin will battle for 924 honours as will Austrian driver Alfred Piesinger who returns to the grid after a few seasons away.
As the Mighty Minis Championship has not raced at Rockingham since 2012 it will be a first for many of the drivers, and as such it is difficult to forecast who might be on the podium. Predicting the front runners is further complicated by the fantastic uptake of new drivers with sixteen having entered so far. Brayden Fletcher has carried on from his regular top five finishes last year currently lead. He will be closely pursued by Australian new comer Liam Sullivan and Stuart Combes. Teenager Josh Young was a surprise to all at Oulton, very nearly winning his first race and fending off the relentless attack of the experienced Peter Bonas in his second race.
As it did last year, the Dunlop TVR Challenge season gets underway at Rockingham and they are raring to get going. Last year’s champion Tim Davis is be back to defend his title in the well supported Class A. Competing against the champion are the Tuscans of Matt Holben, Keith Vaughan-Williams, Hugh Marshall and Ivor Watson to name a few. Chris Ridge will be campaigning the S3/Cerbera/Tuscan hybrid, S3rbera. Class B will feature the RV8 Tuscan Racers of Jim Walsh and Darren Smith, with Dave Stewart in his Griffith. Last year’s Class C champion Mike Luck will return in his Chimaera, while Jason Clegg is also in a Chimaera.
Scott Kendall threw down the Super Mighty Minis gauntlet with two race wins at the Oulton Park opener last month. Title defender Jamie White will be determined to recover the lost ground but Ian Slark and Paul Inch, the front runners from the Class ‘A’ 2014 championship, both showed that they will also be contenders this year. Another of the main men to watch is Steve Maxted who is bang on form in this his second year in the Supers.
The Pickups return to their spiritual home for the first time this season so the oval is bound to be a bit green and the surface slick. So who to watch for and who to support? Michael Smith #93 is the present Champion so he will be confident as will the returning Pete Stevens #4 and Mel Collins #27. Phil White #63 and Dave Weaver #88 will both want to prove they have what it takes to be the Oval Champion while David O’Regan #8, Paul Jones #82, Mark Willis #65 and Antony Hawkins #98 are all on form having been recipients of trophies at the Brands Hatch opener.
The Irish Global Lights have made the trip across the water to join us for what is their season opener. Last year’s championship went down to the wire with Paul Fitzpatrick winning out in the end. Throughout the grid the competition is intense with Max Drennan, Ivor Miller, Mark Twomey, John Conway, John Murphy and Mark Braden always ready to pounce and take a place.
The weather forecast for the weekend looks good! It should be dry on both days with sunny intervals. You can see a detailed forecast at ROCKINGHAM WEATHER
You can see the timetable, entry lists and Final Instructions at ROCKINGHAM RACE WEEKEND