The National circuit at Silverstone in Northamptonshire never fails to disappoint when it comes to the quality of the racing it provides, and this past weekend that fact was back up further as the BRSCC Midlands Centre made its penultimate trip of 2019 to the Home of British Motorsport with a wide variety of racing disciplines on display.

Saturday’s action was dominated by the 4-hour race that marked the penultimate round of this year’s Fun Cup Championship. Thanks to the random grid draw, If Motorsport were the lucky squad to pick pole position, while Anglesey race winners JPR Uvio started from the back of the grid due to their success last time out, as per the rules. Incredibly, Uvio had moved up to 4th place by the end of the first hour as JPR Axiametrics held the lead from Team Viking and 2 Rent Dominos, with the latter moving up to 2nd past Viking by the end of Hour 2. The Dominos pair of Henry Dawes and Chris Hart then took the lead before Hour 3 was up and it was there they would stay through the final pit stops to the chequered flag. They were the winners of what seemed like a constant back and forth between 2nd placed JPR Axiametrics driven by Kristian Rose, Chris Weatherill and Chris Dovell. Mark Holme and Nick Nunn would round off the final podium spot for Team Viking, as the championship now prepares for its usual annual showdown at the season finale at Oulton Park next month.

In action on Saturday were the two groups of the ever-entertaining first-year racers in this year’s Caterham Academy, as they arrived at the Silverstone National circuit with the prospect of one champion being crowned by the end of the afternoon. That would be in the Green Group where Alexander Conway was on the cusp of taking the title a round early if the results worked out in his favour. Conway ended up starting his race on pole alongside key rival Dimitris Melas, whom Conway needed to finish no higher than 4th in order to put the crown out of reach. Initially, the front row men broke away in a four-car lead group with James Venning and Benjamin Miller and for the rest of the race, it would be this quartet that diced for the lead from start to finish. Incredibly the fate of the title was decided on the last lap of the race, as Conway managed to pass Venning for the lead and crucially not only give himself the win, but also outscore 4th placed Melas by enough points to become the 2019 Caterham Academy Green Group champion a round early, with just Brands Hatch left on the calendar. Venning took 2nd place with Miller in 3rd and although the title had been decided, the scrap for the remaining podium places in the standings will go on to the finale in a couple of weeks.

Over with their counterparts in the White Group, the title situation wasn’t so simple as Tom Wyllys led Blair McConachie by just two points. Wyllys put in a superb lap to take pole in qualifying while McConachie had to settle for 5th fastest as Harry Eyre took up a front row spot alongside the points leader. Incredibly, McConachie was able to shoot off the line and take the lead by the end of the first lap, but it quickly turned into a three-way fight with both Wyllys and Eyre for 1st place. As the race went on, more and more cars joined the leading pack as the three cars at the head of the field continued to swap positions back and forth for several laps. Eventually, Eyre was able to hold on for a few laps and with that, he kept both Wyllys and eventual 3rd place man Chris McMahon behind him to clinch his first win of the season. Wyllys’ 2nd place compared to McConachie’s 5th meant that he was able to extend his points advantage a little further, leaving him in control as the series moves to the finale at Brands Hatch in less than two weeks. Nevertheless, the fate of the White Group crown will be settled in Kent!

On a final Academy note, the long-standing 11-year-old lap record set by Don Lamb wasn’t just beaten but utterly decimated in both races, with the honours going to White Group race winner Harry Eyre with a storming lap of 1’09.318. Let’s see how long this one lasts!

Single seater action was covered by the penultimate rounds of the Avon Tyres National Formula Ford Championship, with many of the main championship contenders joined by a few familiar names rejoining the grid including double Walter Hayes Trophy winner Michael Moyers and double Formula Ford Festival champion Joey Foster. The first race turned out to be deja vu for recent returnee Michael Eastwell, as he led an incredible group of cars at the front of the field in a superb battle at the front. Amazingly, despite everyone else’s best efforts, nobody could best Eastwell as he just beat Moyers to the flag by less than a tenth to claim his 2nd win in as many races. Spike Kohlbecker claimed the final podium spot in 3rd place, while points leader Ross Martin took 5th and Joey Foster retired early on with engine issues. That last part turned out to be pretty significant come Sunday, as Foster put on a sensational performance to charge from the back of the grid through to the front to challenge leader Martin. The pair battled for several laps until Foster made a bold pass for the lead, making it stick and driving on to undoubtedly score the best victory of the season. Martin claimed 2nd place and Race 1 winner Eastwell completing the podium in 3rd.

For the final partially reversed grid, Tom McArthur claimed pole by luck of the draw but fellow front-row man Rory Smith would be the one to beat him away from the line, however at the end of the opening lap it was Martin who stormed through from 6th on the grid to take the lead. Smith chased him hard and eventually took the lead a few laps later, but knowing the championship connotations at stake, Martin decided to stick behind Smith and safely bank the result without taking risks, meaning that he circulated with Smith for the remaining laps. This left Rory to score just his second National Formula Ford win, with Martin in 2nd and Moyers on the podium against in 3rd. Martin’s result was believed to have been enough to not just seal the Triple Crown title, but also the overall National title in the process, however, Martin looks set to be officially crowned at the final rounds at Brands Hatch in just a few days’ time.

Another close title contest continues to rumble on in the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 SuperCup, as Luke Herbert, Jack Harding and Aidan Hills once again dominated the podium places all weekend. All three started together on the grid for Race 1 with Herbert on pole, but as usual the trio instantly began swapping positions at the front of the field. Harding eventually managed to settle into the lead for a few laps, before Hills took over for the remainder of the race to score his third win in the last four races, ahead of Harding and Herbert. In the second race, Harding would start on pole but Herbert’s better start allowed to jump into a lead he wouldn’t end up losing. Despite the best efforts of Harding and Hills, Herbert went on to clinch his 6th win of the season, however, the fastest lap from Harding in 2nd place meant he gained no points on his main rival. The reverse grid for Race 3 put Garry Townsend on pole but he quickly slipped back at the start as the main three once again charged to the front, although this time joined by both Jack Sycamore and Patrick Fletcher. Sycamore proved to be something of a bugbear for Herbert early on with the two drivers dicing back and forth while Harding and Hills tried to make their escape. Eventually, Herbert got past and the battling upfront allowed him to close down and pass both of them to grab the lead and his 7th win in the process. With Harding and Hills again on the rostrum with him, the title will once again be decided on the final weekend at Donington Park where tensions are sure to be high.

That Donington weekend in October will also see two very competitive tin-top championships settled that were also in action at Silverstone too. The first was the Disklok Civic Cup, with points leader Lee Deegan hoping to extend his advantage in the quest for a second title in three years. Keeping to form, Deegan claimed pole and commanded the lead from the start, charging on to pick up yet another win in 2019. Main rivals Daniel Hobson and Jason Ballantyne made up the podium at the flag, with the top 10 reversed for the second race. This meant that Deegan would have to start in 10th, but even this didn’t stop him from carving his way through the cars in front, taking the lead and going on to become the first double weekend race winner of the season. Ballantyne improved to 2nd place while Bruce Winfield put in a superb drive to climb from the back of the field to claim 3rd place in an impressive performance. Deegan effectively now just has to finish the first race at the Donington finale in October to wrap up the title.

The other tin-top contest was the mammoth 38 car grid in the Nankang Tyres BMW Compact Cup, where pole position was taken for the first time in qualifying by an ecstatic David May. However, his joy quickly turned to angst as he lost several places at the start and eventually had to retire with a smoky engine in pit lane. At the front, points leader Tom Griffiths headed double defending champion Steven Dailly and held him off to take victory with the Scotsman behind in 2nd place, while 3rd place went to an ecstatic Rhys Claydon as he picked up his best result to date in his first season of racing. The top two once again went at it for victory in the second race with Dailly tailing Griffiths all the way through. It looked as though Tom had the race sewn up, but a late challenge in the final corners by Dailly allowed him pull alongside and ultimately beat him in a final sprint to the flag to just claim victory on the line. Ian Jones, the third of the main title contenders alongside Dailly and Griffiths, rounded off the rostrum and with dropped scores to come into play, the final two races at Donington should be thrilling!

For sportscar lovers, the BRSCC OSS Championship joined forces with the Irish Global GT Lights to create a superb combined grid. Championship leader Patrick Sherrington looked set to do battle all weekend with former champion Mike Jenvey as the pair lined up on the front row, and this proved to be true in the opening laps of Race 1. However, a turbo pipe problem on Sherrington’s car forced him into the pits and therefore out of overall contention for the win, leaving Jenvey to win on his comeback. Club racing veteran Norman Lackford picked up 2nd place with Alastair Smart in 3rd, and the same result occurred in the second race as a misfire developed on Sherrington’s MCR that sadly put paid any chances of a win, and ended up seeing him miss the third race. Jenvey did indeed go on to win the third race, however, he only just made it across the line as his engine suffered problems of its own on his run to the flag. Norman Lackford’s 2nd place in the final race helped him seal the Class B title, with Robert Gillman picking up the final podium place.

Scott Woodwiss


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