ROCHE IN COMMAND AT CROFT
Tom Roche maintained his dominance at Croft. Photo: www.tonytodd.co.uk
The reigning king of Mazda MX5 racing Tom Roche was in imperious form at Croft for rounds 3, 4 and 5 of the BRSCC Mazda MX5 Championship. Heading a list of 32 drivers, Roche achieved pole position in qualifying and then proceeded to win all three races and posted fastest laps in all races as well!
Qualifying saw Brett Smith, Alex Preston, Simon Baldwin and Ed Gay chasing Tom Roche but only managing to get within 0.7secs of his time. James Blake-Baldwin who was joining the championship for the first time had high hopes of attaining a front row grid position, but a tyre issue saw him only complete one flying lap in qualifying but still managed to post the 15th best time.
Race 1 saw a lights to flag win for Tom Roche by a margin of over 7 seconds at the end of the 20 minute race. The real tussle was for the runners up spot with a fantastic battle between Brett Smith, Alex Preston, Simon Baldwin and Ed Gay. It was Ed Gay who came through in second place having started in 5th place followed by Alex Preston in 3rd. As expected James Blake-Baldwin showed his class by finishing in 7th place and would make steady progress in Race 2.
The first race on Sunday was held in wet and damp conditions and this time saw Roche finish as the class of the field finishing some 17 seconds ahead of his closest challenger. With the grid based on the results of Race 1, it was again about the battle for 2nd spot. It finished on the road with Ed Gay again taking second and Alex Preston in 3rd sport with the hard charging James Blake Baldwin in 4th place. However, post race Gay was deemed to have exceeded track limits and incurred a 30 second penalty which dropped him down to 12th.
The final race on Sunday saw the Cardiff flyer attain the perfect result again and this time winning by 21 seconds. Alex Preston finished in a very solid 2nd place with Ed Gay in 3rd being followed home by Wayne Le Montais, who made up a massive 10 places from his grid position.
Roche now has a healthy 36 point lead in the championship. Preston and Smith are tied in second with Gay dropping back to third due to his time penalty in the 2nd race. The championship now moves onto Cadwell Park on 22/23 June and will again feature a triple header event on the tricky but very rewarding Lincolnshire circuit.