MX-5 SUPERCUP BOUNDS INTO BRANDS HATCH
The Mazda MX-5 SuperCup is already producing one of the most competitive and unpredictable championship battles this season compared to any other in recent history, with at least three drivers in contention and no clear favourite out front even at this stage. After the long and flat nature of Croft, the drivers now move on to the fast and flowing speed bowl that is the Brands Hatch Indy circuit this weekend.
Championship leader Luke Herbert came away from Croft without a race win, for the first time this season, but still maintained his place at the top of the standings thanks to three very strong podium finishes. A 3rd place and two 2nd places allowed him to retain the lead by 10 points heading to Kent this weekend, with Brands Hatch being another circuit that Luke has always performed well at. Maintaining his quest for a third title in a row will continue to be tough but Herbert never backs down from a challenge.
That challenge mainly comes from Jack Harding, who collected two more wins towards his 2019 tally and currently holds more winners’ trophies from this season than any other driver. In fact, Jack has only finished off the podium once this year and remains the thorn in Herbert’s side. Jack has come agonisingly close to the title in the last three seasons, so maybe it could be fourth time lucky this season. The other element in the championship equation is Aidan Hills, whose Croft weekend started well enough but took a nosedive late into Race 2 when am ambitious outside passing attempt for the lead saw him tumble to 5th place. This was followed by a rare mechanical failure on the formation lap, forcing him out of the race before it even started. Thankfully, the dropped score rule has allowed him to claim back some previously dropped points as a result, which only leaves him 24 points back and still in the hunt for the title.
One driver who’s steadily becoming a fourth title contender is Steve Roberts, who has been able to pick up the pieces whenever any of the top 3 have struggled as well as constantly securing a strong haul of points at each round. A win at Croft has helped him move to within 50 points of the lead and an upkeep in this form will certainly see him edge closer over the rest of the season. Just behind him is Patrick Fletcher, who continues to make massive strides in his progress during his first season racing a rear wheel drive car. He kept pace with the leading pack all weekend at Croft and will hope his first podium is on the horizon.
Two drivers to watch out for making their return this weekend will be James Blake-Baldwin and Simon Baldwin, both keen to make an instant impact amongst the championship contenders. Blake-Baldwin has a win to his name this year after securing victory at Anglesey, but the rounds missed recently have seen him fall way down the points table with his chances of taking a second title highly unlikely. Nevertheless, James isn’t one to back down from a fight and he will be keen to remind everyone of the pace that took him to the 2016 title. As for Simon, he too will be hoping to mix it in the field and score some solid results for his troubles, so keep an eye on his progress throughout the weekend.
Other usual suspects to count in will be Anglesey podium finisher Jack Sycamore, Will Stephenson, top Masters driver Garry Townsend and the returning Paul Sheard, piloting one of his own Mk3 race cars as he makes another one-off return to the driver’s seat. Whatever happens this weekend, it will certainly write another fascinating chapter in what’s turning out to be a very compelling 2019 season so far.