SILVERSTONE JUNE 19/20 PREVIEW – BRSCC MAZDA MX-5 SUPERCUP
As many expected, the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup produced plenty of fireworks and excitement at the Croft season opener a few weeks ago, which produced new winners amongst the familiar front runners that were sure to be in contention for the title this year. Now with North Yorkshire behind them, the paddock now picks up and moves across to Silverstone’s National circuit, where the long straights and sweeping corners should mean overtaking aplenty all weekend.
To prove just how competitive it’s looking this year, amongst a field featuring plenty of established drivers and winners, two new victors emerged. In the first two races independent runner Patrick Fletcher’s wait for a first win finally came to an end by taking the flag first not just once but twice! Now he’s managed to get a victory under his belt at last, he can start building a Pro Class championship charge and continue his groundwork this weekend. He will have a newfound confidence in the car and his abilities and this will surely see him feeling confident he can continue to lead the pack.
Having taken a season out to refresh himself and come back stronger, Jack Harding made sure no one forgot just how quick he is. A last-minute switch of teams before qualifying on Saturday morning now sees him teaming up with his old rival Luke Herbert in his new team, as the once fierce on-track enemies are now working together to ensure Jack still has a quick race car underneath him. His trio of podiums at Croft put him as the all-time SuperCup podium finisher, which just proves not only how fast he is, but also how consistent he is in scoring strong, valuable results. Jack would love a win to continue his successful reappearance and Silverstone might just be the place to achieve it.
Next in points comes the defending champion, Samuel Smith. Now with #1 on the door, not only is the pressure on for him to live up to that but to also keep up with the likes of Fletcher and Harding, who both gave Sam the runaround at Croft. Two 3rd places and a 2nd were still incredibly good scores to start the season which means he have every chance of still being the man to beat come season’s end. There’s a long way to go and Sam knows he still has more pace to find to keep up, but given how quickly he adapted to the SuperCup last year, we’re sure it won’t take him long to find his winning ways again. The rest of the current top 5 is filled out by James Cossins, the other race winner from Croft who gave a much overdue win to Hills Motorsport to their delight, and Michael Knibbs whose double duty also competing in the MX-5 Championship once again means he will have a lot of track time to work with in order to ensure he’s just as quick as anyone else out there. A 4th place in the second race last time out certainly proves he’s heading in the right direction.
Adam Bessell’s first weekend with Hills Motorsport allowed him to collect a pair of top 5s and will be hopeful that he can continue this good start, while John Langridge was a beacon of consistent finishes by taking a trio of 7th places to currently sit, rather conveniently, 7th in points! John’s SuperCup career has already had its fair share of ups and downs but he’s always a driver to count on being in the fight for strong results, so don’t dismiss him for a second this weekend. Tom Smith, Nick Dunn and Masters points leader Simon Baldwin comes next in the Pro Class top 10 with Tom already appearing to settle into the SuperCup nicely, Dunn finding better form than in some of his previous races and Baldwin proving that he is still effectively the driver to beat on pure pace from the older generation that also contest their own championship within the main competition.
Over with the Clubman class, two drivers immediately made big impressions on their series debuts as Kevin Silvain’s switch from racing Superstock bikes to a Mazda MX-5 got off to an excellent start, with a win and two 2nd places in class helping him lead the points. It could have been fellow rookie and karting graduate Luke Whitworth as he took the other two class victories, but a 7th place in the final race of the weekend means he had to enter the Silverstone weekend in P2. Richard Amos proved last year that he can jump straight into a Mk3 and be quick as he continued to finish one place higher with each passing race, while Clive Powles and Michael Close ensured that solid weekends all round left them in the top 5 spots in the points as the second meeting of the season approaches.