MX-5 CHAMPIONSHIP READY TO ENTERTAIN AS SEASON BEGINS AT CADWELL PARK
It’s been a long, arduous wait, but finally, it’s time to get one of the best-supported championships in British club motorsport back underway and start its 2020 season. The BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship is back in action once again and Cadwell Park, a favourite with many drivers, is the starting point after the extended delay due to the pandemic.
Despite the current global situation, the entry is still very much typical of that you’d find on any other race weekend the championship appears on. More than 40 cars will be expected to line up, once again featuring a host of familiar names and some brand new ones joining the grid for the first time. Everyone will be at the wheel of the popular Mazda MX-5 Mk1 model with the 1600cc engine, one of the best small sports cars of all time that can teach a driver a lot about handling, set up and car control as well as provide exceptional racing.
Out of the list of drivers set to race, one that won’t be in a Mk1 this year is last year’s champion John Langridge, as his desires to progress his racing career have seen him switch across to the MX-5 SuperCup for the 2020 season. That means his Mk1 crown is up for grabs for a new, or old, name to pick up themselves. The key contender in the field has to be former double champion Will Blackwell-Chambers, whose championship success in 2017 and 2018 puts him in good stead to go for a third crown this season. His 2019 campaign had its ups and downs along the way, but work over the winter sees Will rejoin the grid with renewed determination and vigour and he’ll be ready to make 2020 his year once again.
Looking down the entry list to pick out his main rivals, a few names immediately stand out. One of them has to be Joe Wiggin, who made such a sensational debut in the championship in 2019 by grabbing a podium on his first weekend at Brands Hatch and then proceeding to take eight wins from nine races in the second half of the season, including clean sweeps at Snetterton and Donington Park. Having used 2019 as a learning season, Joe will feel he has everything he needs to mount a serious challenge for the championship and will be gunning for race wins from the outset.
If you’re looking for a strong lineup overall within a team, you can’t go wrong with AB Motorsport who have amassed a rather impressive frontline of drivers. Former title contender Oliver Allwood is always someone to count on to pick up a strong result having been in the hunt in previous years. Despite a small dip in form through the middle of 2019, he was strong towards the end of the year and almost took a win at Donington were it not for Joe Wiggin. He was also the UK representative in the Global MX-5 Cup finale at Laguna Seca in 2016, so he has plenty of ability to shine.
Another contender will be Brian Trott, who picked up his first couple of Group A race wins last year and (should he be in it for the duration) really could be a serious threat for championship success if the season comes together for him. He was particularly strong at Cadwell Park last year, so perhaps history could repeat itself. Alongside him in the AB squad are two young talents that proved their ability at the season finale last year – Matt Luff and Fraser Fenwick. Joining the MX-5 Championship in 2019 from Ginetta Juniors and karting respectively (Fraser lining up later in the year), both drivers incredibly managed to collect a win each at the final round at Silverstone on pure pace, proving that either one of them could be a threat if the car underneath them gives them everything they need.
Other names on the grid will certainly look to use the shortened 2020 season as a chance to make an impact. Jack Brewer has shown much promise over the last couple of years in the series and 2019 helped him break out and score his first few podium finishes. Teaming up with fellow Tucker Motorsport driver Wiggin, Jack will certainly be hoping to reach that top step in Group A at last but he knows it won’t be an easy task. Steve Foden will also be another name that fans of the championship will recognise from running at the front and has shown a lot of promise ever since he made his first appearance. 2019 was also a year that saw him come agonisingly close to a first race win and it will be a goal for Steve to make sure he puts this right this time.
More familiar faces will be the likes of Matt Pollard, Sebastian Fisher, Oliver Graham, Graham Rumsey, Nick Le Doyen, Paul Bateman and Jack Moody, all of which will be keen to make an impression and score some decent results before the season is through. In addition to more usual suspects, there is, of course, the typical influx of brand new drivers dipping their toe in the world of Mazda MX-5 racing for the first time. New names on the grid for Cadwell Park include Jake Taplin, Harry and Tim Storer, Stephen New (no puns please!), Luke Pullen, David Scouller, Ben O’Hare and Michael Green – welcome to the paddock, one and all!
Wherever it goes, the Mazda MX-5 Championship has never failed to excite and entertain both its drivers and spectators and we’re sure that despite everything that’s going on in the world, the series can put some smiles on faces when we all need it most. With the “mini-Nurburgring” awaiting, let’s see who can conquer it this weekend and kick off the campaign in great fashion!
We must also give a thank you to our new sponsors for the 2020 season, WASPP Performance. WASPP are a purveyor of superb motorsport and race car supplies, including products from AIM Technologies, VBOX and Lifeline to name a few, plus helmets, race suits and underwear, FIA harnesses, race seats, air filters, steerings wheels and more. Make sure to visit them at https://waspp.co.uk/ and give their Facebook page a like too.