THE RETURN TO CROFT


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The fans at Croft are sure to enjoy the spectacle offered by all the Caterham championships. Photo: www.snappy-racer.com

This weekend the BRSCC will run our first meeting at Croft since April 2008 and our Northern Centre is relishing the return to the circuit which is just south of Darlington.

The fourteen-race meeting runs over both days of the weekend and features the whole spectrum of Caterham's domestic motorsport 'ladder'. Adding some variety to the mix will be the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship.

Caterham’s ‘premier’ championship, the BookaTrack.com Superlight R300 Challenge, will get the ball rolling, at 12.30pm tomorrow. 2012 Supersport champion Aaron Head currently leads the points table – from the 2013 Supersport champion David Robinson. After a DNF at the very first race of the year, things could not have started worse for 22 year-old Head, but he bounced straight back and since then, has never finished lower than second; winning the last six races in a row. Head’s speed was perhaps best demonstrated at Rockingham, where a five-second track limits penalty was overcome to snatch the win away from Robinson.

Matters are much closer in the Avon Tyres supported Roadsport Championship. Chris Hutchinson leads by a single point from Jack Sales, who in turn is just another point ahead of William Smith. It is actually the second-placed red car of young driver Sales that has the upper hand though as the dropped scores format gives him a marginal advantage. Dan Gore is also in the frame. The Leeds based driver has featured as a front-runner in many races in both last year’s Academy and into Roadsports this season, but the last round was his strongest performance yet, robbing Hutchinson of the valuable points he needs to stay ahead of Sales.

The Tracksport Championship is also developing into a multi-driver battle for the title. Earlier in the summer, it was quite clearly a two horse race between Stephen Nuttall and Pete Fortune. But everything has changed. Nuttall continues to lead the field, but following a disastrous weekend at Brands for Fortune, his challenge has waned. Young Spaniard Andres Sinclair is now the number one rival for Nuttall, even though he is twenty points adrift. Sinclair has yet to win a race this year, but has rarely been off the podium this season and that consistency may count. Meanwhile, Nick Portlock has taken advantage of Fortune’s ill-fortune to move up to third.

The matt-black car of Jon Mortimer continues to lead the Supersport championship table, bolstered by a first and second place in his races at Brands Hatch. However, as with the other senior Caterham championships, drivers get to drop their lowest two scores of the year for the final championship tally. On that basis, Mortimer and second placed driver James Robinson are neck and neck. Fighting for the third place are Mike Hart and Matt Dyer, though any slips from the drivers ahead could see them quickly promoted. The two are just a couple of points apart and just one after drop scores are considered. Dyer comes to Croft beaming from having taken his first Supersport win at Brands, pipping Hart to the line in the process.

Once again it is the turn of Group 2 of the Pistonheads.com Caterham Academy to take to the circuit first and it will be a surprise if they are not led by championship leader David Webber. The 51 year-old from Farnham had a slip in his impeccable form at Rockingham in July, but was back to his winning ways at Brands last month, taking a comfortable victory from Tim Gascoyne-Day, who made his first appearance on the podium. Webber’s chief rival, Paul Aram, was pushed back into third. Webber is clearly the class of the field, but as experience grows through the grid, his rivals are reeling him in.

In Group 1 of the Academy Olly Wigg and Alastair Calvert are the front-runners. Wigg had looked to be the dominant driver in the early stages of the year with clear victories in the sprints. That all changed at the first round at Oulton Park where Clavert staged an epic comeback to take the win. Since then, 33 year-old Wigg has had the better of Calvert, taking the wins at Rockingham and Brands, but on both occasions, Calvert has been the quicker of the two.

Contrary to the Caterhams, the Mazda MX-5 Championship has been a regular at the North Yorkshire circuit for the last three seasons. Current leader, James Blake-Baldwin is in top form, which has seen him return eight wins from the last nine races. Alan Henderson was the only fly in James’ ointment, winning at Cadwell Park in June. However, Henderson’s consistency has kept him in touch in the points standings and he is currently just sixteen points shy of Blake-Baldwin’s total. Make no mistake – this weekend is a huge one for Henderson. If he is to maintain his title challenge, the County Durham based driver has to make home advantage and support pay on his local track.

Saturday’s weather looks like it could bring rain during the morning practice and qualifying sessions. Sunday looks brighter with sun predicted for most of the day with highs of 17 degrees. You can view a detailed forecast at CROFT WEATHER

The Finals, timetable and entry list for the Croft meeting can be found at CROFT RACE WEEKEND