TOP CLASS RACING WARMS UP CLOUDY CADWELL PARK
The Mazda MX-5 Championship put on quite a show on Cadwell's winding corners and undulations – Photo: Jon Elsey
Even though the weather all weekend at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire was nothing but overcast skies and low temperatures, the action on track certainly helped to brighten things up as the BRSCC Northern Centre oversaw 22 incredible encounters with an eclectic mix of sportscar, tin-top, single-seater and sports prototype action on the “mini-Nurburgring”.
Will Blackwell-Chambers wasted no time in picking up where he’d left off from Brands Hatch in the Mazda MX-5 Championship as he led from pole in Race 1A from start to finish. By the flag, he held off both James Harris for the win Samuel Smith taking his second podium of the season. Smith then decided to go one better on Sunday morning in Race 2A by taking the lead on the opening lap and never relinquishing it. This would be his first top step visit in a BRSCC paddock as Blackwell-Chambers made it a 1-2 for Mike Comber Racing, with Oliver Allwood collecting 3rd. The top two would then switch places again with Blackwell-Chambers picking up win #5 out of 6 in Race 3A, with Smith and Allwood taking up the podium behind.
Over in the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup, the same could be said about Rob Boston who decided to give himself an early birthday present with victory in the first race by almost 10 seconds as the pack behind scrapped for 2nd place downwards. Luke Herbert would take that 2nd, with pre-Cadwell points leader Jack Harding taking 3rd. Boston then did as he had at Brands by doubling up again in a Code 60-affected Race 2, but wasn’t allowed to run away with it under green flag conditions this time as both Herbert and Tom Roche kept him honest all the way. While Boston looked as though he may be on for the hat-trick in Race 3, he was a little too eager with his use of track limits. This saw him hit with a 5 second time penalty, pushing him down to 2nd as Roche took his first win of season, while Jonathan Greensmith ended the weekend on a high with 3rd.
The combined MX-5 Championship & MX-5 SuperCup Group B races were just as entertaining and satisfying for one George Grant in the SuperCup contigent. A great start saw him take the lead and stay there for the majority of Race 1B before being passed by David Willoughby, who then spun at The Mountain handing Grant his first ever win. Ivan Leary endured pressure from behind to win the Mk1 race with Russ Lindsay and Bryn Griffiths joining him on the rostrum. In the second race, James Blake-Baldwin found himself out of place and on a mission to rejoin Group A after a Race 1 retirement. He was kept company in the SuperCup ranks by Steve Roberts and Richard Styrin, the trio finishing in that order come the flag. As for the Mk1s, former SuperCup frontrunner Johnathan “JJ” Clements led most of the way before apparent technical gremlins saw Matt Pickford steal the win with a couple of laps to go. Clements still made it home 2nd with Anthony Hutchins grabbing 3rd.
As for the 3rd race, Ben Short found himself picking up SuperCup silverware yet again as he and Richard Wicklen ran away with proceedings to come home 1st and 2nd with Jim Hart 3rd. Meanwhile, there was another first time winner in the Mk1 runners as Stuart Brittle hit the top step with Griffiths and Leary also making their second appearance of the weekend on the rostrum.
By contrast, festivities in the BRSCC Fiesta Championship were certainly fast and frantic to say the least. Before the weekend had even started, 3 unfortunate drivers had to call their meetings early in testing on Friday afternoon. Once the racing began on Sunday it was of course the Class C cars that dominated proceedings, but that didn’t stop them from a high-speed scramble for the win in both races. When it was all said and done after penalties had been applied, it would be the Watkins brothers that coveted the top 2 podium steps with Samuel heading older brother Joshua ahead of Lewis Kent in 3rd. Joshua then claimed a win for himself, making him the 5th different Class C winner in 5 races, with former BTCC man David Nye in 2nd and Kent scoring another 3rd place.
Behind them, Jamie White was continuing his domination of Class D as he completed a pair of victories, both times ahead of Stuart Robbins in 2nd place with Luke Bannister and John Cooper sharing a 3rd place each. It would be Chris Horne and John Bateman who would come out on top in both Classes B and A respectively with a pair of 1st places each.
Their younger counterparts in the Fiesta Junior Championship had a much calmer weekend of racing, with a field that included returning champion Harry Gooding in a last-minute switch for the remainder of the season. That said, he didn’t find it as easy as before as Specialized Motorsport’s Nicholas Reeve turned pole position into the second FJC victory of his career. James Waite continued to show further pace in 2nd while Lochlan Bearman was able to banish the woes of Brands Hatch with 3rd place. That said, the one to watch was points leader Jack Davidson – after starting at the back of Race 1 due to a qualifying incident, he charged his way through to 4th by the flag, before putting on a stellar drive to storm to the lead and be the first driver to take their second win. Reeve was able to take another podium in 2nd, with Bearman doubling up on 3rd places.
It appeared to be business as usual for Ed Hayes in the Toyo Tires Porsche Championship as he took another pole position and race victory in the Race Boxster class in Race 1, while Adam Southgate and Richard Avery followed him home on the podium. For the second race, however, Hayes’ win streak was broken as it was Southgate who hit the front and remained there all the way to pick up his first win of 2017. Hayes would still finish 2nd with Avery taking another 3rd.
Over in the 924 Class, once again it was all about Pip Hammond. He stunned the rest of the field yet again by winning Race 1 by an entire lap over everyone else ahead of Ryan Lowry and Peter Smith, before completing the double in Race 2 albeit with Lowry substantially closer this time, even though the gap was still just over 6 seconds. Hammond’s PDC Racing teammate Gavin Johnson fought his way to 3rd place. Meanwhile, Andrew Baker took the honours in both races for the Production Boxster class.
Formula Jedi has always loved racing at Cadwell Park and the small bike-engined single seaters made the most of their trip North with a triple header of races. Lee Morgan started Race 1 from pole and led from reigning champion Rob Sayell. It looked as though he finally had it in the bag for his first win, however Michael Watton had other ideas when he stole victory on the last lap. Morgan and Sayell would indeed join him on the podium. In Race 2, Paul Butcher led for the first half before Morgan took the lead on Lap 6 and happily stayed there to take what was an overdue win after his Brands Hatch troubles. Butcher held on to 2nd with Dan Clowes taking a 3rd place. The top two remained unchanged in Race 3 as Morgan raced away with his second win of the weekend, as Watton joined them on the podium again with 3rd.
It was another weekend in the Alfa Romeo Championship were the Modified class cars sadly failed to go the distance. While Bryan Shrubb’s Alfa 33 took overall pole alongside Invitation class driver Chris McFie in his Fiat Punto for Race 1, he sadly wouldn’t even see the end of the first lap and neither would Chris’ brother Simon in the other Invitation Punto. Chris was left to run away with the victory while behind him, Andrew Bourke continued his run of form with the Twin Spark win from James Browning and Simon Cresswell. With Shrubb back out for Race 2, he would eventually muscle his way into the lead and looks odds on to win, however more mechanical maladies put him out on the last lap, leaving Chris McFie to double up on overall wins. Bourke again topped the Twin Spark class, ahead of Browning and reigning champion Tom Hill.
Finally in a rare treat for the spectators, the Sports 2000 Championships brought sports prototype racing to Lincolnshire and what a sight to behold. The faster Duratec cars hit the track first with Paul Trayhurn winning overall and finishing top Derek Bell Class car, ahead of Class A winner Tom Stoten and 2016 champion Michael Gibbins while Peter Brouwer would be the only Class B car home. In the Pinto race it was a Historic class 1-2-3 as Simon Aldworth took the chequered flag with Charles Fogg and Colin Feyerabend completing the rostrum. Paul Moffatt and Ashley Law won Classes A & B respectively.
A massive thanks as always goes out to all of our drivers, teams, officials, marshals and spectators for a fabulous weekend’s racing. You can find the full breakdown of the meeting’s results via TSL Timing HERE. The next time our BRSCC Northern Centre is in action will be further north at Croft on September 16/17.