SILVERSTONE TURNS UP THE HEAT ON THE NATIONAL
Jack Davidson saw off all comers to win both Fiesta Junior Championship races easily – Photo: Jon Elsey
A mixture of cloudy skies and bright sunshine coupled with humid temperatures made sure the BRSCC Race Weekend on the Silverstone National circuit was always going to be interesting. This proved to be the case as the racing became heated in more ways than one with 21 races proving an entertaining mix.
With 9 races across 2 days, the Mazda MX-5 paddock was always going to provide a real spectacle and that’s exactly what it did. Starting with the MX-5 Championship for Mk1 models, a 3-way dice for the lead developed in Race 1A between pole man James Harris, Joshua Jackson and Oliver Allwood. While Jackson would drop back at around 2/3rds distance but eventually fight back to 3rd to snatch a nail-biting 3rd place on the line by just 0.002 seconds, it would be the battle between Harris and Allwood that stole the show as eventually the former beat the latter by just under a tenth of a second. In the first Group B race, Patrick Lay overcame a difficult qualifying to charge through to win from Ivan Leary and Michael Close.
For the second Group A race, drama befell 3 of the main frontrunners, the biggest of which was points leader Will Blackwell-Chambers when his bonnet sprung up leaving him to coast into pitlane to fix it before spending the rest of the race fighting it out with James Harris. This was because Harris and Allwood fell foul of an incident in the opening laps, ending Allwood’s race but forcing Harris to rejoin a lap down, meaning all 3 drivers were resided to the Group B race for their final time on track on Sunday. Meanwhile at the front, Joshua Jackson redeemed himself in fine style by coming through to win for the first time just ahead of Martin Tolley and Samuel Smith; the 3 drivers separated by less than half a second. In the Group B race, Anthony Hutchins would fight his way up to take victory from Matt Pickford and Oliver Robinson, with Clive Powles and Russ Lindsay making it a clean sweep of Masters drivers in top 5!
With no Blackwell-Chambers, Allwood or Harris in the final Group A race, it was all to play for. A great race was anticipated, but what occurred what nothing short of spellbinding. Martin Tolley and Samuel Smith led for the majority of the race as the top 10 cars constantly swapped places in a fantastic display of racecraft with little to zero contact. Eventually, rising up ahead of all of them was Joshua Jackson once again, taking his second win in as many races with Charlie Burge stealing an incredible second and Smith 3rd. As for the aforementioned trio above, they made it a race of their own in the final Group B encounter, as the three cars swapped places back and forth until eventually Harris claimed #1 from Allwood and Blackwell-Chambers.
The MX-5 SuperCup by contrast began their encounters with an unfortunate situation as a four car incident at Brooklands and an incident involving Rob Boston (for which he was excluded from the result), Luke Herbert and Steve Roberts approaching Copse brought out a lengthy Code 60. Once the brief remainder of Race 1 was completed, Tom Roche followed up from his Cadwell Park win with victory here from Jack Harding and Ben Short. Roche then extended the streak further in Race 2 to win again as he and Short ran away at the front before the latter ran out of time to complete a pass. Harding would take the flag in 3rd. Despite a briefing early on Sunday morning, Race 3 was still as frenetic as ever but at least provided an entertaining skirmish. Rob Boston drove through from P10 on the grid to take his 5th win of the season with Luke Herbert and Liam Murphy completing the podium.
Over in the Fiesta Championship, their weekend didn’t start drama-free either when a red flag in Race 1 on Saturday halted proceedings early. Once the restart was underway, Lewis Kent drove away to take the win overall and in Class C ahead of fellow Fiesta Junior graduates Danny Harrison and Nathan Edwards. The trio occupied the rostrum again in Race 2, however this time Harrison had to duel with Kent for the entire race to take the win, while Edwards claimed another 3rd. The final race of the weekend was an interesting affair, with Lee Dendy-Sadler taking a long awaited win from Josh Gollin and ex-BTCC man David Nye.
Class D and overall points leader Jamie White surprisingly would hardly see the podium all weekend as John Cooper was the man to beat in all 3 races. His hat-trick of class wins were impressive to say the least with a clear 7.5 second margin in Race 1 with Stuart Robbins 2nd and White 3rd. There was no change to the order in Race 2 with a carbon copy of the top 3 in Class D once again, before Cooper made it 3 in a row on Sunday with Robbins once again in 2nd and Jack Youhill just stealing 3rd from White at the flag. As for Class A, Tim Bennett and Colin Newbold shared the victories while Sean Banks and Derek Robinson took the honours in Class B.
The Fiesta Junior Championship was simply dominated by one man all weekend, as Jam-Sport’s Jack Davidson took two fairly straightforward victories. Having dominated practice and qualifying, the first win came with an advantage of just over 5 seconds, while 2nd place saw a contest between Cadwell Park winner Nicholas Reeve and Scott Cansdale, who was enjoying a welcome boost in pace; both drivers finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. While Davidson’s 2nd win was just as imposing, the star of the show was undoubtedly Lochlan Bearman, who put on a sensational charge from 14th on the grid to take an incredible 2nd place. Reeve would remain in contention to finish 3rd.
Contesting their first points scoring meeting of the season, the Excool OSS Championship exploded into life on Saturday as 2015 champion Mike Jenvey began his year in perfect fashion by taking the overall win as well as Class B. A duel with perennial class rival Duncan Williams raged for most of Race 1 until Jenvey made a pass on Lap 15 into Brooklands, before a mistake from Williams gave Jenvey a comfortable winning margin. Craig Fleming and Richard Wise would complete the podium overall as well as fill out Class B. Williams then went on to set the record straight in Race 2, breaking into a lead he would never lose and extend to some 14 seconds by the flag. Jenvey and Fleming would settle for the podium in that order. Race 3 would then produce a duplicate overall top 3, however this time Jenvey finished within 0.3 seconds of Williams by the flag with Fleming 3rd.
Reigning and 2-time champion Josh Smith kicked off his quest for a 3rd title in perfect fashion, dominating Class C in all 3 races with Mark Abbott and Graham Hill following in his wheel tracks on the podium, while other class wins went to Paul Spencer (Class A) and Neil Harris (Class D).
There was combined action once again from the Teekay Couplings Production GTis as both the Mk2 Championship and Mk5 Series took to the track together. The faster and more contemporary Mk5s would see Dan Rose complete a fine opening race to win by 2.5 seconds from Kevin Glover, also debuting alongside Rose, and stalwart Simon Hill. Rose would do it again in the second race, while Hill went one better with 2nd place over Kevin Glover.
Within the Mk2 Championship, there were 4 different winners between the two classes. George Haynes managed to put one over reigning champion Chris Webb and Brian Reed in the 16V class, before the #1 asserted his authority with victory in Race 2 followed by Haynes and a delighted David Parris. The 8V class also saw cause for celebration as Matthew Eccles enjoyed racing amongst the 16V tail-enders to win the first race from returnee Russell “Rusty” Laidler and Luke Haberman. However, a mishap in Race 2 saw Eccles drop out of the lead, leaving Laidler to take a long-awaited first win. Haberman took second while Eccles survived to take 3rd.
Finally, there was historic racing courtesy of HRDC, as their Touring Greats/ TC63 race provided much entertainment. Despite driving solo for the entire duration of the 45 minute pitstop race, BTCC engine builder Neil Brown peddled his Austin A40 Speedwell better than anyone else to win overall with the Webb/Young Jaguar Mk2 in 2nd and the Riley 1.5 of David Devine 3rd. In the Code 60-affected Allstars/Academy/A-Series Challenge race, Mark Halstead obliterated the field in his Lotus Elan S2 ahead of the Ford Mustang of Alex Thislethwayte and the Lenham GT of James Colburn.
You can find all of the results from the meeting via the TSL Timing website here – http://www.tsl-timing.com/event/172131. Our next visit to Silverstone will be for the British GT “Silverstone 500” next weekend on June 10-11.