One of the big talking points from the Croft race weekend back in May was the superb performance from the young stars of the BRSCC Fiesta Junior Championship, who put on two excellent races in both the dry and the pouring rain to entertain those in attendance. After they all performed superbly in Yorkshire, it’s time for them to race again and amazing at a brand-new venue to the championship. Oulton Park in Cheshire is a circuit that, believe it or not, has never hosted the Fiesta Junior Championship before, meaning that it’s certainly going to be a special day.

There was mainly one name on everyone’s lips after Croft – Deagan Fairclough. He was a late addition to the entry list before that weekend and prior to Friday testing had never sat in a Fiesta Junior race car. Yet come qualifying he’d stuck it on pole with a new lap record and then processed to put in two fighting drives to collect an incredible brace of wins at his very first attempt. Amazingly, he’s now committed to the rest of the season which means he will certainly be making designs on going for the championship title. Oulton Park will be a great chance to build on his dream weekend at Croft, but he knows the competition against him will be strong.

Sid Smith currently sits in 2nd place in points as his closest opposition, now into his second season of junior racing and showing great progress in his pace and confidence compared to his decent start in 2020. A 2nd and a 3rd have been an excellent start to his 2021 campaign and while he’s still looking for his first win in the championship, it’s surely a matter of when rather than if it happens. A little further back in 3rd place in the standings is Joseph Knight, another sophomore driver that has also gotten stronger as he builds off the back of the solid foundations he laid last year. He was certainly happy with a P3 in the first race, but the crazy conditions left him scoring less than he would have liked. Nonetheless, Oulton Park is now a chance for him to get back onto the pace.

The best of the rookies behind Fairclough at Croft was Jake Maynard, the karting graduate that made a quiet but effective start to his circuit racing life by picking up two 6th places to help him lie in an impressive 4th in the standings, although this would have been helped by the slightly topsy turvy finishing order that Race 2’s extreme wet weather conditions shuffled the pack as a result. One driver who surely feels he should have taken victory was Jenson Brickley who was one of the fastest all weekend, but could only take 4th in Race 1 before a 360 degree spin early in the second left him on the back foot and recovering later on. Having already got a couple of podium finishes from 2020 under his belt and after looking strong in qualifying last time out, Jenson will surely be looking to put things right this time.

Deep in the points are drivers who definitely should be sitting higher but had their fortunes take a nosedive for one reason or another. Alex Ley managed a career best 2nd place in the second race, but this came after a Race 1 retirement following a visit to the gravel trap with Dylan Hotchin, who has also proven his speed but just didn’t have the luck to go with it. Both will know they have to perform strong in order to remain in early contention but will certainly feel the pressure to do so. Albert Webster is another one who always threatened at the head of the field, but ultimately couldn’t collect a first win and also found himself with an exclusion from Race 1 on a technicality. Having also proven his speed with a podium under his belt in 2020, his ability is in no doubt and Oulton Park will be a great chance to get back on track. Make sure to watch out for Jake Triggs and George Davis too, who both had mixed starts to their seasons and will want to pick up the pace this time round.

Many of the newcomers were able to make their mark in the opening rounds and will have every hope of doing it again in Cheshire. James Wallis was another driver who appeared on the entry list late for the opening weekend, but keeping himself out of trouble and reaching a steady pace helped him to leave Yorkshire 6th in the standings , ahead of fellow rookies Daniel Lewis and James Pope and then Archie Handy in 9th. Former junior rallycross racer Harry Garman may have had to test his car control in the rain at times, but he did well to take home a top five for his efforts. All of them performed admirably and will be looking to carry on their solid starts this weekend.

Making his first appearance of 2021 will be Alex Sprange too, a popular driver amongst the paddock who is known for the amount of hard work and effort he puts in to ensure his place on the grid. With a striking new livery and support from Specialized Motorsport, he will be feeling ready and raring to go at Oulton Park and looking to make a triumphant return.
Scott Woodwiss


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