MAZDA MAGIC EXPECTED AT CROFT


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The MX-5 SuperCup will see the title fight intensify further – Photo: Jon Elsey

It may only be our one and only visit to North Yorkshire this season, but that doesn’t take away from the mouth-watering prospect this weekend is sure to bring. The Croft circuit in Darlington will play host to a sensational display of motorsport as an array of our championships roll into town.

Another strong Mazda contingent tops the bill once again, with both the MX-5 Championship (Mk1s) and MX-5 SuperCup (Mk3s) in action. Simon Baldwin will be looking to fend off the attentions of championship rivals Darron Lewis, Sam Smith and Ben Tuck in Mk1s, with Lewis and Tuck claiming wins last time out at Oulton Park. One man also looking to bounce back from a trying weekend is Brian Chandler, who lost valuable points his rivals and slipped 3 places in the standings as a result. He will be one to watch as he strives for redemption this weekend.

In the SuperCup, local hero Alan Henderson will continue his charge towards the title after another pair of victories at Oulton. The County Durham man may not have everything his own way, however, as this weekend also marks a one-off appearance from the reigning SuperCup champion Abbie Eaton. Expect to find her #44 machine hovering around the front of the field and becoming the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons for the championship contenders. Speaking of which, Jonathan ‘JJ’ Clements, Liam Murphy and Simon Goddard will hope to build on solid weekends in the top 6 at Oulton, as the race for 2nd in the standings has tightened up to separate the trio by just 5 points.

Alongside the Mazda’s, there’s plenty more track action to entertain the spectators. The Toyo Tires Porsche Championship will feature former double champion Rick Styrin hoping to continue his successful return, unless points leader Ed Hayes has anything to say about it. The pair of them took a win apiece at Brands Hatch and Rick has been complimentary about the quality of the grid on his comeback, making success that little bit harder. Adam Southgate, Garry Lawrence and Richard Avery will also be in the mix in the Boxster class, while the 924 class see Adam Hayes strive to defend his lead against Karl Rossin, with second placed Alistair Kirkham a no-show this weekend. Niz El-Chamaa will also want to capitalize on securing his first class win in 924s at Brands too.

Also on the programme will be the Alfashop Alfa Romeo Championship which sees a few drivers make the journey north which didn’t feature at Brands. In the Modified class, Graham Seager is the only one present from Brands as he is locked in the overall title fight. This time, however, he’ll have a larger contingent to deal with as Andy Robinson, Bryan Shrubb and Roger McMahon. Keith Waite and Ron Davidson make up the Power Trophy class, while the Twin Spark Cup will see the biggest class entry. James Bishop maintains his hold on the competition, nonetheless also occupied by his overall championship scrap with Seager, the pair just 2 points apart at the top. Veteran Dave Messenger and Tom Hill, first time winner at Brands, will look to be his main competition with Paul Plant and Andy Hancock also expected to be in the mix.

Giving support to our championships will be our good friends from the Darlington and District Motor Club. Their vastly popular Northern Sports and Saloons. A stacked grid is expected across 9 classes with machines of all shapes and sizes set to take part. The variety of the field features anything from Caterhams, BMW M3s, ex-V8 Supercars and Lotus Elises to Ford Fiestas, Peugeot 205s and even a pair of modified Suzuki SC100s! There are also a selection of drivers from Darlington competing, which should definitely give the local fans some cause to cheer them on.

Last, but certainly not least, we also have the Irish Global Lights on the bill with us once again. This championship features small sports prototypes, producing large amounts of downforce and power from a potent yet lightweight 600cc Yamaha bike engine.

Weather wise, it doesn't look too amazing, we're afraid to say. Forecasts from the Met Office tell us that heavy rain is expected on Saturday, which could mean some potentially mixed up grids come qualifying. Sunday promises to be an improvement, but still overcast with the chance of light showers. Temperatures aren't predicted to exceed 16 degrees, so you might want to bring an extra layer with you just in case. You can find the more detailed forecast at CROFT WEATHER.

Also, the provisional timetable, entry list and final instructions can all be found at CROFT RACEDAY.

Scott Woodwiss