MX-5 SUPERCUP REJUVENATED AHEAD OF 2020 START AT CADWELL PARK
It’s a championship that never, ever fails to produce plenty of thrills, action, drama, excitement and above all else, incredible club racing in the UK. The Mazda MX-5 SuperCup is one of the best club level series out there and despite the extended delay in starting the season, the 2020 campaign is finally ready to set off at high speed at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire this weekend.
A big positive for the 2020 season will be the growth in grid size for the SuperCup. This is down mainly to the reunification between the championship and the MX-5 Super Series that was conceived in 2018 when the SuperCup joined the TCR UK support package in 2018. Now, however, the BRSCC has elected to bring drivers from both contests back together to great one large grid of Mk3 Mazda MX-5s once again and the decision has helped produce a field of more than 25 cars for the season opener.
Also introduced for 2020 is a brand new class structure – “Pro” for the fastest drivers in the field who will surely be battling for overall victory, and “Club” to cater to drivers who may have mainly raced in the Super Series over the past couple of years and can race without the pressure of trying to keep up with the Pro class, but instead enjoy competition amongst themselves. Both classes will score their own dedicated championship points each, meaning that there will be both a Pro and Club class champion in this year’s MX-5 SuperCup for the first time – exciting!
So, enough setup – let’s talk drivers. Leading the entry is James Blake-Baldwin, who clinched the #1 back in 2016. Whenever James lines up on the grid, you know that he’s always going to be in contention for the race win and if he elects to run the full season this year, you can bet that he will be pushing hard to add a second championship trophy to his cabinet. Never dull to watch on track and always willing to make a daring pass, get involved in an exciting battle for position or even wave his hands at his fellow competitors for one reason or another, it’s always great to see his name on the entry list because you know he’s bound to entertain! James’ step-brother Simon Baldwin, a former Mk1 Masters champion, will also be on the grid this weekend, another driver who has the pace to run at the front and was able to contend for victory at the Donington Park finale last year.
However, Blake-Baldwin is not the only winner on the grid, as for 2020 he is now joined by a defending champion from just across the paddock. The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Championship title winner John Langridge has decided to follow in the wheel tracks of many and switch from Mk1 to Mk3 with BLiNK Motorsport. Testing appears to have shown some promising lap times and his three years of racing the Mk1 have prepared him suitably to make the switch. He will be keen to make an instant impression this weekend and will look to use the likes of Blake-Baldwin as a benchmark to get up to speed.
There’s sure to be a few drivers that will want to put themselves in contention for a top result and possibly even a podium finish. Jack Sycamore has switched across to the title-winning AK Automotive squad and will be keen to use the knowledge for former champion Alan Henderson to build up his pace even further. Having already been out testing, he’s sure to be full of confidence heading to Lincolnshire. One driver that impressed many in the two outings he made in 2019 was James Cossins, racing with the Hills Motorsport team run by Aidan Hills and his father. James was able to take a podium at Silverstone in his Super Series debut, while his SuperCup cameo helped produce a top 5, so he could be a real dark horse for strong results.
Last year’s Rookie of the Year was former Clio 182 racer Patrick Fletcher and his switch from front to rear-wheel drive happened almost seamlessly. Having adapted to the high competition the SuperCup provides, Patrick only just missed out on a podium finish on more than one occasion and he will hope that 2020 is the year he finally stands on the rostrum. Colin Bysouth makes a welcome return to the grid after a year away and will be keen to get back to the form he showed at times in 2018, as he will certainly have unfinished business. Adam Bessell is back too after two seasons racing in Mk1s again, while regular competitors from previous seasons reemerge including Nick Rutter, Chris Richardson, David Henderson (brother of Alan), Alex Miller, Kristian White and Simon Fleet. Two more proven race winners will also be on the grid, as Nicholas Dunn reappears aboard one of Sheard Autosport’s trusty mounts while 2018 Mk1 vice-champion Samuel Smith is back on track, this time making his SuperCup debut with his long term team Mike Comber Racing.
We’re also delighted to welcome back a stalwart of the SuperCup paddock once again in George Grant, who has also brought his family business of Clapham North MOT as a primary sponsor for the championship once more for 2020. Based in Clapham in London, Clapham North has been offering comprehensive servicing and MOT testing for cars and motorcycles since 1960 under the guidance and leadership of George and his much-loved father Ronnie Grant. A massive thanks to the Grants and to Clapham North MOT for their renewed and continued support!
All the drivers we’ve talked about so far have been allocated into the Pro Class, but let’s take a quick glance at those who are competing in the Club class. Declan Lee will certainly be a favourite as he switches teams to Hills Motorsport for this year in a bid to step up his pace, but his competition will come in the form of Clive Powles, Liz Walton and Xavier Brooke. Close Racing will also make their SuperCup debut with their Mk3 being run by new driver Gary Mitchell, using the Club class as a platform to learn the car and the competition on his first weekend in the championship.
A former Le Mans 24 Hour and WEC championship class winner in LMP2 on both occasions, Martin Plowman has taken on a new venture of starting his own racing team. The outfit is named Paddock Promotions Motorsport and is a joint effort with his fellow racer and British GT teammate Kelvin Fletcher, who can also boast racing experience at both club level and in the BTCC. Martin has elected to get behind the wheel of one of his team’s Mk3 MX-5s and get on track to find out what the SuperCup is really all about and he elects to race in the Club class. Martin will be joined by Kelvin’s younger brother and fellow racer Brayden Fletcher along for the ride in a second car, albeit in the Pro class. It’s superb to have a brand new team in the paddock and we’re very much looking forward to seeing what they can do!
Last but certainly not least, more names to be lining up this weekend include former Mk1 Masters champion Martin Tolley, Super Series race winner Matt Pickford, Duncan Harris and Michael Knibbs, who will be performing double duty this weekend in the MX-5 Championship as well as making his SuperCup debut.
With the grid looking healthy once again and plenty of talented drivers filling it, the SuperCup looks set to be another classic season regardless of the reduced calendar. Will it be a usual suspect that challenges for the title or will someone new come to the fore to claim the crown for themselves? Let’s find out!
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