SEVENS STAGE SNETTERTON TAKEOVER


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You won't be able to move for Caterhams in the paddock this weekend! – Photo: SnappyRacers

Snetterton has already produced two cracking race meetings so far this season, with our season opener back in April and our summer race weekend last month both bringing incredible action both in the wet and in glorious sunshine. It’s incredible to think, therefore, that on this occasion we visit Norfolk for the 3rd and final time in 2016. That doesn’t matter though as this one should be non-stop action from start to finish, especially when the majority of the entry is populated by Caterham Motorsport!

Starting on the bottom rung of the Caterham ladder, The City Magazine Caterham Academy heads to its second circuit race of the campaign, having seen all of this year’s rookie drivers tackle their first on-track encounter at Rockingham last month. In the Green Group, Peter Spencer was the man who took the win and the points lead, however in typical Caterham fashion it was almost a photo finish as Tom John ended up less than two tenths away at the flag. Pete Walters completed the rostrum that day, while Steven Tozer carried his sprint form over into the circuits. Ian Johnson shouldn’t be counted out either as he sits amongst the top 5 in the points table.

Over with their compatriots in the White Group, events were even closer at the front. Ben Gillias went into that weekend leading the points and stayed there by the time he left it, although it wasn’t him on the top step. That honour went to Jay McCormack, however Gillias and James Beardwell firmly made sure he only took the flag by just over half a second from the pair. Other drivers who initially impressed on their circuit racing debuts included Caroline Gilbert and Philip Bianchi, while Richard Toomey still sits 5th in points, so you definitely shouldn’t count him out either.

Last year’s Academy class now reside in the Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsport Championship, where the competition at the top of the points is really heating up. Current title contenders Russ Olivant and Daniel Quintero were locked in combat all weekend last time at Zolder in Belgium, with the pair never separated by more than 1.3 seconds at the flag in either race. Last year’s Academy Green Group champion Rui Ferreira lies 3rd in the standings, however he couldn’t better 6th that weekend in either race so he will be determined to make up ground. Other key names to keep an eye on include Guy Hawkins, William Lloyd and Alex Jordan to name a few.

Despite a lower turnout than in recent years, the Avon Tyres Caterham Tracksport Championship definitely hasn’t lost any quality whatsoever. Anthony Barnes and Daniel Bremner are currently the stars of the field so far as they continue to lock horns with a 10 points gap between each other. The pair took a win each at Zolder with a photo finish on both occasions, meaning that both drivers are so evenly matched that there’s no telling just which one can come out on top here this weekend. There are also those who could give them cause for concern, such as Damian Milkins, Barry Moore, Richard Lambert and Andy Ebdon.

In terms of both quality AND quantity, it’s safe to say that the ITC Compliance Caterham Supersport Championship definitely has both. With the majority of the field having stepped up from last year’s incredible Tracksport season, their intense battles have continued all the way throughout 2016 so far. William Smith so far has been the man that everyone’s trying to beat, although drivers such as Jack Brown and Henry Heaton have given him cause for concern. You can easily throw into the mix names like Christian Szaruta, Andres Sinclair, Ben Tuck, Chris Hutchinson and more, as there’s a dozen drivers at the very least that have a shout at a podium on any given weekend – it’s that close!

For those who want the ultimate expression of a Caterham race car, you’ll find it with the Bookatrack.com Caterham Superlight R300-S Championship. It’s been wonderful to see an influx of top drivers make the step up from Supersport including multiple champions Stephen Nuttall and Clive Richards along with youngster Jack Sales. Those who are more established seem to maintain a firm grip on the championship so far, with 2014 champion Aaron Head maintaining an 11 point advantage over Lee Wiggins, a driver who’s coming of age this season. You certainly can’t count out Jonathan Mortimer, Jeremy Ellis and others for potential glory either.

Providing some excellent support to the Caterhams will be two wonderful examples of single make competition. First off, the thunderous Dunlop TVR Challenge never fails to put a smile on the faces of those in attendance, as a selection of Blackpool’s finest help keep the spirit of the much loved Tuscan Challenge alive and well. Indeed, a few of the machines from that iconic championship are in appearance, as well as a mix of Chimaeras, Griffiths and Cerberas to really help spice things up.

In addition, we’ve also got action from the Toyo Tires Honda VTEC Challenge and Smart 4Two Cup. So far, it’s been an exciting few races for the VTECs, with plenty of top cars and drivers continuously in the mix for the win. Car to look out for include Robert Burkinshaw’s Integra, Adam Jones’ turbocharged Super Tuner Civic and Mark Bennett’s S2000 which took its first ever win last time at Rockingham. As for the Smart cars, they will provide their own thrills and spills in the 4Two Cup and will give the Hondas something to think about whilst battling amongst themselves.

This is pretty much a meeting where sportscars will rule the day, although with Caterhams you are virtually guaranteed a fantastic race in each. If you’ve never seen them before, then what lies ahead are races with a plethora of slipstreaming on Snetterton’s long straights, overtaking aplenty as a result and the knowledge that no-one is a safe bet for the victory. Plus, have your cameras ready at the flag, as we’re sure to get at least one side-by-side finish – enjoy!

Looking at the weather, it's looking likely to be overcast and humid, but remaining dry with a high temperature of 23 degrees on Sunday. That said, with high humidity usually comes an increased chance of rain and while the forecast currently shows the chances being low, you shouldn't pack those umbrellas away just yet, just in case. A full breakdown of the forecast as available via the Met Office here – SNETTERTON WEATHER.

Plus, the final instructions, timetable, supplementary regulations and entry list for the meeting are all available here – SNETTERTON CATERHAM RACE WEEKEND.

Scott Woodwiss