READY TO ELECTRIFY AT THE ROCK
The BMW Race Days Compact Cup looks set to entertain once again – Photo: Aaron Lupton
As the weather begins to get better and summer approaches fast, it’s time to mark another inaugural visit of 2016 for our club meetings. Off the back of the recent British GT meeting, it’s Rockingham that marks the next stop on our calendar. Touring cars and sports cars are the order of the weekend here in the International Super Sports Car layout.
The Quaife Fiesta Championship are surely set to be the most populated entry in the paddock this weekend – so much so that we’ve had to split the grids! Class C usually forms the majority of the field and here at Rockingham it’s no exception. Sam Priest holds the points lead with a titanic battle for second place occurring between Kevin Stirling, Simon Horrobin, Alfonso Skriczka and Nick Sanderson. Joshua Watkins will also return to add an extra element while Aaron Thompson will surely want to make up for his DNF in Race 1 at Silverstone to haul himself back up to the top.
Classes D, B & A in the Quaife Fiestas will run on a separate grid, allowing the most contemporary Fiestas a chance to shine in their own spotlight. Post-Silverstone, it’s Jessica King who emerged as the driver to beat, topping both the class and overall points thanks to her first win at Silverstone. Her nearest rivals appears to be Alastair Kellett, Stuart Robbins and John Cooper in terms of pace, although Kellett has catching up to do just like Thompson in Class C after he was dumped out of Race 2 last time out, losing vital points in the process. Classes A & B also contend for individual bragging rights with Peter Dendy-Sadler and John Bateman scrapping in Class A and the ongoing Class B duel between Luke Bannister and Kieran White due to continue here.
The racing stars of the future come out in force in the Fiesta Junior Championship with another well populated grid. The capable group of 14-17 year old drivers take to the track this weekend with the trio at the top of the points already looking likely to scrap throughout the two races and beyond this season. Carlito Miracco, Elliot Wilson and Harry Gooding have all won races so far, with more drivers snapping at their heels to do the same in terms of pace. Names such as Ronan Quinn, Callum-Hawkins Row and James Waite have all come closest to taking the top step of the podium, while Nicholas Reeve will make his long awaited debut in the championship.
Announcing themselves onto the BRSCC roster in fine style at their opening weekend at Brands Hatch, the BMW Race Days Compact Cup heads to Rockingham with another capacity entry of over 40 cars. Their racing was positively stunning and epitomized just why the championship has become so popular. There’s a tie at the top of the points between Richard Miles and former Scottish BMW champion Steven Dailly with the likes of Declan McDonnel, Ian Jones, Joe Wiggin and ex-British GT title winner James Gornall all set to try and take their place at the head of the standings come the end of the weekend. They say that a BMW is the “Ultimate Driving Machine” – with an entry like this, there’s certainly enough drivers to agree with that statement!
If your preference is German sportscars rather than tin-tops, the Toyo Tires Porsche Championship will certainly cater to your tastes. After 3 intriguing opening races at Snetterton, Richard Styrin looks to be on a mission to add yet another Boxster title to his already impressive trophy cabinet. He’s set to be pushed all the way by reigning champion Ed Hayes and the pair diced healthily throughout the weekend. More battles like this are expected in both the Boxster and the 924 class which saw Turn Eight Racing kick off its life as a race team in the latter with a clean sweep of all 3 races thanks to Pip Hammond. Teammate Gavin Johnson will take over the driving duties this weekend.
There’s even more of a German flavour in store with the Teekay Couplings Production GTis for all things VW Golf. The Mk2 Championship allows one of the best hot hatchbacks of both its generation and all time to compete continue its life as a race car on an affordable budget and provides spectacular racing. Chris Webb kicked off his season with a pair of well-earned victories in the 16v Class, with podiums being shared by Christopher Sanders, Peter Milne and Tim Hartland. All 4 of them should be out in force and towards the front once again. The 8V class was dominated by Matthew Petts in both races, with David Aldridge and Paul Cowland his closest rivals. They’ll all want to reach the chequered flag first here.
Alongside their older brothers, the more recently introduced Production GTi Mk5 series makes its first appearance of 2016 with a grid that’s reaching double figures for the first time, giving positive signs that the more contemporary Golf GTi is increasing in popularity and accessibility. Simon Hill has made the switch from Mk2s and would seem to be favourite from the outset, while Martyn Walsh, Josh Johnson, Paul Blackburn and more should give some competition.
It looks as if the warmer temperatures from last weekend have taken a back seat as winds on Saturday will be present and temperatures not set to rise above 12 degrees. For a full breakdown of the forecast via the Met Office click here – ROCKINGHAM WEATHER.
Also, the final instructions, timetable and entry list for the meeting can be found here – ROCKINGHAM WHITSUN RACE WEEKEND.
We’re all ready to rock and roll at The Rock and we’re hoping that the racing and the excitement is there to match!