SILVERSTONE CALLS FIESTA JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP AS GRID CONTINUES TO GROW TO 15 CARS THIS WEEKEND
The wait for the 2020 BRSCC Fiesta Junior Championship racing with MRF Tyres was certainly worth it when racing finally kicked off at Cadwell Park, with some excellent on-track action from our young stars of the future including the fact that all but one of them were making their circuit racing debuts that weekend. Now, the championship moves on to its second venue of Silverstone, after the original second rounds at Anglesey had to be moved to November due to the August meeting’s cancellation.
If Cadwell Park made one thing clear, it’s that the main favourite for the title this season certainly appears to be Joseph Loake. After he debuted in spectacular fashion at Pembrey last year, his pace and momentum have just carried on rising, and Cadwell certainly showed that last year’s eventual vice-champion shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. His domination in Lincolnshire saw him claim a clean sweep of every session, taking the maximum score of 105 points from the weekend (two wins, two fastest laps and the pole position point from qualifying). Leading into Silverstone, Joseph will be hoping to keep this form up, but the competition will surely want to seize the opportunity to try and keep him within reach.
That chasing pack consists almost entirely of the superb influx of rookie drivers and of them, the strongest leaving Cadwell Park appeared to be Will Orton, Albert Webster and Dylan Hotchin. Orton managed to pick up two seconds places on his first weekend and has been testing in between rounds with his Alastair Rushforth Motorsport team to find the pace to close the gap to Loake. He enjoyed battling with Webster all weekend long and the two look very evenly matched when on track together. Webster managed to claim a podium with 3rd place in Race 1 at Cadwell and could have clinched another had he not dropped a wheel onto the grass in the second race and spun at Charlies. That podium instead went to Hotchin, who qualified well and also showed his speed and ability to adapt to circuit racing quickly. All three of them look like they will be the best of this year’s new drivers once again this weekend, but there are certain to be others looking to make gains.
JamSport’s pair of drivers in Bradley Beavers and Jenson Brickley will both certainly have the goal of getting closer to their first podium finishes on their mind. Both managed to break into the top six over the Cadwell weekend and at times showed promising flashes of pace, so they’ll be keen to keep up with those around them. George Davis managed to win the battle of brother and sister as he and his sibling Briannie became the first brother and sister in FJC history to race each other on track at the same time in the championship. A pair of 6th places were George’s reward for his effort and on a faster circuit like Silverstone, maybe a top 5 could be within reach. As for Briannie, her first weekend was certainly one of learning and in particular, getting to grips with working a manual gearbox as opposed to the single gear Ministox cars she’s been used to racing in previous years. Across each session at Cadwell, she managed to find more and more confidence and speed with every lap she drove and Silverstone will certainly give her another opportunity to get quicker.
Jake Triggs had a quieter debut than others as the young Scot began adapting to life in junior circuit racing out of karting and he will want to make more progress this weekend. Sid Smith had a little bit of a bumpy start to his season too as an off in practice followed by a spin in one of the races later in the weekend meant that he was finding out the nuances of a Fiesta Junior race car pretty quickly! But with father Rob also racing this season in the senior level Fiesta Championship, the pair will certainly have plenty of data to pour over in order to find more time on track. Joseph Knight has also shown promising signs, but one or two mechanical issues hampered him and prevented him from showing his true form, something he’ll definitely want to display on a track like Silverstone as he hopes any car troubles are now firmly behind him.
That’s everyone that contested the opening rounds covered, but we’re also delighted to say that they won’t be the only ones that will be dicing on track. Incredibly since Cadwell, four more drivers have joined the grid, one of which was due to compete a few weeks ago in Lincolnshire but was sadly unable to. Mitch Marie will finally be able to contest his first-ever race weekend and he will do so with a brand new team to the Fiesta Junior paddock. Misty Racing makes their first appearance with a significant amount of experience running cars in several club-level championships such as the Hyundai Coupe Cup, several MINI Challenge classes and more recently the Mazda MX-5 Championship and EnduroKA. On top of this, they also have a handful of seasons of running in the Junior Saloon Car Championship, meaning that they are already well versed in the ranks of junior circuit racing. That means they should be able to get up to speed fairly quickly and allow Mitch to make a decent start.
Alex Ley makes his first step up from karting this weekend as Alastair Rushforth Motorsport elect to expand their outfit to a two-car team and with both he and Orton benefitting from driver coaching from former Fiesta Junior racer turned BTCC star Bobby Thompson, he will certainly be hoping to hit the ground running. Alex Sprange has been a rather enthusiastic new addition to the Fiesta Junior family, working hard to get onto the grid after he visited one of our Sampler Sessions last year. Since then, he’s managed to acquire a car and complete a number of test days at Lydden Hill to get to grips with circuit driving. Now he feels he’s confident enough to contest his first race weekend and we’re very happy to have him in the paddock. Last, but certainly, by no means least, we welcome the very latest sign-up to our ranks. Jake Weston started the year elsewhere in junior racing and therefore joins FJC from this weekend with several races worth of experience under his belt already. His pace appears to have been fairly strong and as he will be running with Race Car Consultants alongside points leader Loake, there may even be a chance that he quickly becomes a front running racer. Only time will tell, but the signs look promising after successful testing recently at Blyton Park along with other FJC drivers.
All of this means that we head to Silverstone with a superb 15 car entry, a rise in numbers since Cadwell and proof that the Fiesta Junior Championship is not only alive and kicking but quickly reaching rather rude health indeed! The only way is up from here and all the signs are pointing to this weekend’s racing only adding to the feel-good factor in the paddock right now. Both of our races are set to be live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube courtesy of Alpha Live, so while spectators at Silverstone sadly won’t be allowed, you’ll still be able to watch the potential BTCC and British GT stars of the future dicing together on track for victory. We’re on our way to the Home of British Motorsport!