MX-5 SUPERCUP SHOOTS INTO BRANDS HATCH
If you want an idea of just how competitive and open the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 SuperCup can be, just take a look at the season so far after the first two meetings. From six races, there have been five different race winners and a total of seven different drivers have graced the podium since the start of the season. The small but exciting Brands Hatch Indy circuit in Kent is the next challenge for our competitors as Rounds 7, 8 & 9 of the 2018 season look to start marking out the main title contenders.
Reigning champion Luke Herbert became the first driver so far this season to win more than one race after he picked up a brace last time out at Knockhill on the reverse layout, a unique test for all involved. Collecting a 2nd place in the 3rd race ensured that he heads into this weekend in 3rd place in the standings only 6 points away from the leader. That leader is 2016 champion James Blake-Baldwin, who has been a beacon of consistency having only finished off the podium once so far and collecting a win at Silverstone for his troubles. JB-B seems to have rediscovered the form that propelled him to the title two years ago, with a pair of 3rd places to his name that time helping him on his way. He will be hoping for more victories to cement his lead, even though it’s a slender one. Plus, however he performs on track, you’re guaranteed that his on-track antics will be entertaining nonetheless!
Second place currently resides with Jack Harding, who also sits on one win having inherited Race 2 at Silverstone after on-track winner Herbert was given a time penalty. Having been in the hunt the past two years, Harding is determined not to be the runner up again and having never finished outside the top 5 so far in 2018, the signs look good for his championship charge. All he needs is a little luck on his side and the #43 could be replaced with the #1 next year.
Jonathan Greensmith, a former Mazda race winner and Porsche champion himself, has had a much more satisfactory start to the season compared to last year. A 3rd place in Race 1 at Silverstone, followed by only his second ever SuperCup win in the final Knockhill race, shows that he is once again a formidable opponent to contend with. Aidan Hills should also be one to watch as his form last time out put him close to a first win after he was in contention in all three Knockhill races. It appears to be a question of when, rather than if, the former junior rallycross racer will pick up that first SuperCup top step visit.
Others have made great strides throughout the first two meetings, like former BMW Compact Cup champion Steve Roberts, Carl Garnett and Colin Bysouth. All have had fleeting moments in the spotlight with Roberts himself battling hard at Knockhill amongst the frontrunners and rewarded with a best finish of 5th. Garnett started one of the races from the front row, but bad luck left him without a decent result, while Bysouth briefly showed his pace before hampering his weekend by beaching himself in the gravel. Nevertheless, all three are still ones to watch, so expect all of them to bounce back this weekend.
In addition, other drivers to keep an eye on will be Simon Baldwin (currently the leader of the Masters contingent), Jack Sycamore, Richard Wicklen (set to be back after his awful Silverstone accident with Will Stacey), Sam Tatler, Kristian White and Clapham North’s own George Grant. Lewis Carter makes a second appearance after making his racing return and SuperCup debut at Knockhill, while another new name joins the entry as former Fiesta racer Bradley Kent, younger brother of TCR UK racer Lewis, takes to the wheel of an MX-5 for the first time with Paul Sheard Racing to see both Kent brothers racing on the same package together once again. No doubt Lewis will be giving him some encouragement from the sidelines!