PRODUCTION CLASS ALFAS LEAD THE WAY INTO 2012
Chris Finch is a potential Class E winner this year with his 156. Photo: Michael Lindsay
After what has seemed a long winter break, the 2012 BRSCC Alfashop Alfa Romeo Championship gets underway at Silverstone over the Easter weekend. A one day double header will take place on Sunday, April 8th, using the 1.64 mile National circuit for the first time since 2009. The Championship once again enjoys strong support from independent Alfa Romeo parts and service specialists Alfashop who are entering their seventh season as title sponsors while MMC Motorsport Insurance continue to back the Driver of the Day award.
The major success in 2010 and 2011 was the very competitive racing in Class E (Standard Production up to 2000cc). It was this category that produced the overall champions in those two years – Mel Healey in 2010 with her 156 and Emma Karwacki (147) last year. In 2012 It looks as though Class E will again give us not only the largest class in the field but also the closest battles with several past winners in action.
These include Emma, James Thomas (146) and the 156s of Andy Inman, Chris Healey, Chris Finch and Dave Messenger. If we add in Peter Tervet (156) who has moved to Alfas from playing a leading role in Mighty Minis, longtime Alfa racers Martin Jones (145) and Andrew Bramah (147), James Ford (156) who nearly won at Silverstoine last October, and Gareth Haywood then we have the recipe for a very hard fought year. New drivers are the life blood of any championship and the regulars will be joined by James Bishop (156) plus Tom Eastwood and Dave Peddie with their 145s, all of whom will be eager to make their mark.
The opening Silverstone race is highly unlikely to be won overall by a class E car (unless it pours with rain!) but whether the modified cars can achieve a consistent and reliable enough season to beat them to the Championship remains to be seen. Leading contenders during the year for overall wins are likely to be Neil Smith and Steve Dymoke with their 156s. Steve's GTA is a new-to-him ex ETCC car which has had a chequered career in Brazil and Portugal but he reported a "fab test session" with it at Mallory last week.
Rumours abound that Barry McMahon will also be seen in a quick 156 that has recently been raced in Sweden, this replacing his GTV. Roger Evans will be back with his race winning supercharged GTV 3.2 while Guy Hales' 147 GTA has undergone major development work at NJS Racing over the winter. Additional spice may be added later by Andy Robinson's 3.8 litre 24v 156. Anthony George will certainly race his 156 Turbo on circuits to which it is suited, otherwise he is planning to bring out his 2002 and 2005 Championship winning 33 16v in Class B where he will be up against the rapid 75 shared byRobin Eyre-Maunsell and Clive Hodgkin.
Class A2, for modified cars up to 2 litres, should be the province of Chris Snowdon and Nick Anderson with their 33s while there should be some good racing in Class C (Production up to 3200cc) with 2011 winner Sarah Heels (147 GTA) facing a strong challenge from the GTVs of Graham Seager, Ray Foley and Vincent Dubois. The Championship is also pleased to welcome again the Irish Fiat Puntos of Roger and Arthur McMahon who will run in an invitation class.
Graham Heels has taken over from long time Championship Co-ordinator, Michael Lindsay, and can be contacted on 01483-834383 or via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org for further information about the Alfa racing in 2012. Alternatively take a look at www.alfaracer.com which has the full championship calendar.