READY FOR ROCKINGHAM?
Caterhams will dominate at Rockingham this weekend with twelve races in total. Photo: www.snappyracers.com
Not content with seventeen races at Donington Park, our Midland Centre will also be running nineteen races some fifty miles away at the Rockingham Motor Speedway, with the focus very much on Caterham racing.
The Avon Tyres backed Supersports will be first to take to the track. Jon Mortimer heads the championship table; the only driver to have finished every race on the podium, although with just one of those being on the top step. Team-mate James Robinson continues to chip away at his lead and a pair of wins at Zolder was an excellent result for one of the least experienced drivers on the grid. Robinson is sandwiched in the championship table by Mortimer and Matt Dyer, both of whom have taken two fastest lap points this year arguably making them the faster drivers. However, Dyer has yet to win this year with an emphasis on the word ‘yet’.
An impressive thirty-six Roadsports will be on duty at Rockingham and to accommodate them all there will be four races, with each driver going out in two. Roadsports has produced four different winners from six races so far. Academy champion Will Smith leads the table and along with Henry Heaton (the other Academy champion from 2013), has been one of the two drivers to have taken more than one win this year. It is a narrow margin though and the second place man, Chris Hutchinson, will likely be more motivated than others this weekend. It was here at Rockingham last year that ‘Cheesy’ arguably lost the Caterham Academy.
Tamworth’s Pete Morris is the man to watch as the Porsche Club GB’s Baylis & Harding Porsche Championship joins us for a double-header. Morris leads the championship in his 966 C2, ahead of Northallerton’s John McCullagh. But it is Tom Bradshaw who has carried the fight to Morris taking three wins, only to be hampered but some DNFs. Mark Koeberle heads the Class Two points, second overall behind Morris, and hit a rich vein of form at Silverstone last month taking three class wins.
Danny Winstanley launched onto the BookaTrack.com Caterham Superlight R300 scene last year in style. Now contesting his first full season, the 22 year-old set his stall out quite clearly by dominating the opening weekend of racing. However, whilst the Preston based driver continues to lead the championship table, his lead is being eroded by David Robinson and Aaron Head. Head scored a DNF in the first race of the year, which has seemingly left him on the back foot; but there are two drop scores to be taken into account and with this is mind, the Essex engineer is the man to beat. Robinson has been on the podium in all but one race and is just a few points off the lead. He could easily leave on Sunday evening as the leader.
The Porsche Club GB championship isn’t the only Porsche championship in town this weekend as our own Toyo Tires supported championship is also at Rockingham for a double-header. Following the excursion to Zolder last month, Richard Avery took full advantage of previous leader, Jonathan Greensmith’s absence, to accrue enough points to take over at the top. Avery scored his first win of the season in Belgium and will be confident he can use that as a spring-board to more success. However, Greensmith is back this weekend and will be determined to make up the lost ground on Avery, Garry Lawrence and Ed Hayes. The Class B lead is held by Jayson Flegg while Simon Hawksley has a useful advantage in the 924s.
Caterham Tracksport just keeps on delivering! Pete Fortune, who at 55 is the oldest driver on the grid, continues to keep ‘youngster’ Stephen Nuttall (37) in check. The pair went to the last race weekend at Zolder in Belgium level pegging in championship points and took a win a-piece, making it evens with three wins each. However, Nuttall allowed two drivers to get the better of him as Fortune went on to win, with Michael Coulten celebrating his 50th birthday with a second place, followed by a jubilant Nick Portlock adding to his third place trophies. But could Nuttall have it all his own way this weekend? His nephew’s wedding means Fortune will miss this weekend. He’s opened the doors for some serious challengers to make his life harder.
The Pickup Trucks make their second visit to the Rockingham monster oval this year and their flamboyant corporate colours, charismatic drivers and committed team members make up a carbon copy of their American counterparts. This weekend there will be two elements to the event; late Saturday the Pickups will visit the oval for the first time. Initially fifteen minutes will be used to rubber up the oval. Following this there will be two ten minute qualifying sessions one for each of the races on Sunday. Sunday’s races will see an exhilarating game of cat and mouse played out over the two 35 lap races – a spectacle of close racing!
The Pistonheads.com Caterham Academy drivers are set for their second circuit race, having made their race debuts at Oulton Park two weeks ago. The Group 1 winner was Alistair Calvert, who revelled in the tricky conditions and was leagues ahead of the fancied Wigg brothers; Olly and Benjamin. However, Alistair did it the hard way having dropped to eighteenth after spinning at the first corner! The Group 2 honours went to form with David Webber and Paul Aram, who dominated the sprint phase of the championship, leading the field home. However, Rockingham is a very different challenge from Oulton Park. If Webber continues to dominate, then he will be favourite for the championship, but now is the time when things start to change as other drivers find their feet.
Following on from their guest appearance at our June Brands Hatch meeting, the HRDC Touring Greats and Allstars are with us again and join forces to provide a packed grid of beautifully prepared cars from the 50s and 60s. Richard Butterfield will be the man to watch in Touring Greats. Richard is a vastly experienced racer and has pedalled his immaculate 19587 Jaguar Mk.1 to many victories over the years. But things will not be made easy for him as the impudent Austin A35 of Neil Brown will want to make a ‘David & Goliath’ contest of this historic race. In the ‘Allstars’ category, Richard Skinner will no doubt be hungry for yet another win in his sleek Marcos 1800GT but will probably have his mirrors full of Jason Kennedy’s thunderous TVR Griffiths. Ian Burford will be the ‘hare’ in the GTG class in his original ‘Lumbertubs’ Sebring Sprite.
The Met Office is forecasting for it to be dry and warm on Saturday with a chance of light rain on Sunday. You can check the forecast at ROCKINGHAM FORECAST
The timetable, Final Instructions and entry list for all races can be found at ROCKINGHAM RACE WEEKEND
Live timing from TSL can be found at TSL TIMING