TOUCHING DOWN AT DONINGTON


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It's a superb looking entry in OSS this weekend with 13 different manufacturers represented – Photo: Miranda Young

It’s almost hard to believe that with all of the events we’ve held this year, this weekend marks our first of two club meetings this season at Donington Park. Yet, here we are at the end of August and with the last moments of Summer still around to savour, what better way to salute it than a meeting that’s packed with variety, talent and large numbers of grids to back it up. They will all tackle two days of the National layout with a lot of championships still to play for.

We turn first of all to our pair of Mazda MX-5 championships with the Mk1 crown looking ever increasingly like its edging its way once again towards Tom Roche. So far, he’s failed to win only one race all season with advances made by the likes of Oliver Allwood, Simon Baldwin, James Harris and Michael Fisk to try and stop him. So far Allwood’s the only one who’s nabbed a win thanks to a Roche retirement, but he’ll plan to use this weekend as a warm-up for his Global MX-5 Invitational race at Laguna Seca in a couple of weeks. There’ll be over 40 cars expected this weekend with the entry split into two groups, meaning 4 races in total.

Across the way with their Mk3 compatriots in the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup, there’s a surprise revelation as reigning champion Alan Henderson has elected not to run for the rest of the year, leaving it to be an out and out duel between former Mk1 champions James Blake-Baldwin and that man again, Tom Roche. Both have driven exceptionally all year with just a two point gap separating them, but they’re sure to have many hungry drivers determined to spoil their title charges. Names such as Liam Murphy, Jack Harding and Jonathan Greensmith will certainly mix it up for podium places amongst them.

There’s still a place on the Mazda Road To Indy to settle for our Avon Tyres Formula Ford 1600 Championship runners and riders as Niall Murray bids to continues his phenomenal run of form from recent rounds. One of his chief rivals James Raven has fallen by the wayside, leaving it clear for the likes of Chase Owen, Patrik Pasma and Luke Williams to try and stay with the Irishman. Also a strong contender to watch out for will be the rapid Graham Carroll. There’s separate races for both Post ’89 and Pre ’90 classes, with the latter expected to see Jamie Jardine, Ben Tinkler, Jaap Blijleven and more at the front.

With another grid that’s bursting at the seams, the BMW Race Days Compact Cup are out once more to tackle the sweeping curves and dips of Donington with a capacity grid of some 40 cars entered. It’s ex-British GT champion James Gornall who holds his place at the top of the table from reigning Scottish BMW crown holder Steven Dailly some 14 points back. However, with this field being such a competitive entry, there’s scope for several drivers to win. Indeed, the likes of Ian Jones, Joe Wiggin, Jim Benson, Samuel Carrington Yates, Richard Miles and Declan McDonnell have all done so, while consistency from Jon Watt and Ben Pearson have helped them sit high in the standings despite not visiting the top step so far.

It’ll be sports prototypes galore for three races as the emphatic and awe-inspiring Excool OSS Championship roars into Leicestershire. With 5 classes and a grid comprising of almost 30 cars, this will certainly be one of the championships to watch this weekend. As well as individual class honours, there’s an overall title to contest with the main protagonists being Graham Cole’s Class A Jade, Duncan Williams’ repaired Class B Juno and 2014 champion Josh Smith’s Radical all eager to continue scrapping. You’ll also see cars from makes such as Ligier, Zeus, Aquila, Mallock and MCR fight for bragging rights throughout the weekend.

Sticking with sportscars, it’s looking like a fairly interesting affair in the latest rounds of the Toyo Tires Porsche Championship. An impressive looking 924 entry sees regulars Jamie Callender, Hugh Peart, Linda Warren and more joined by fresh faces such as Philip Waters, Ryan Lowry and David Jones. Meanwhile with their faster brethren in the Boxster class, everyone continues to chase the dominant Richard Styrin, although last time at Anglesey it was Richard Avery who stepped up to snatch two wins from him. Other who will sure want to aim for a winner’s trophy include reigning champion Ed Hayes, Kevin Molyneaux and Garry Lawrence to name a few.

The Alfa Romeo Championship is fresh from its recent excursion to Brands Hatch a couple of weeks ago with many of those drivers that competing coming back out to play. The Twin Spark Cup continues to be the largest of the 3 classes represented with top contenders Tom Hill, Dave Messenger, Simon Cresswell and more all hoping to clinch crucial points to support their tallies. Ron Davidson currently has the Power Trophy class all by himself (at the time or writing), while Christopher Oxborough makes a welcome reappearance in the Modified class alongside Andy Page and Bryan Shrubb.

Last but not least, there’s more single seater action from the rapid and electrifying Formula Jedi Championship. The previous rounds at Brands Hatch were all absolute barnstormers with 4 different winners from all 4 races that weekend. Names to certainly watch out for include Rob Sayell, Dan Clowes, Paul Butcher, Bradley Hobday and Bryony King, while Michael Watton makes a welcome return after an absence from the last few rounds. He will certainly want to prove he’s still got front-running pace, so maybe a win could be on the cards for him.

Once again, there’s sensational variety to choose from this weekend and something that’s sure going whet any motorsport fan’s appetite. Be it sportscars, sports prototype, single seaters or tin-tops, you can be sure that they’ll all be flat out to entertain the spectators and put on some top quality races throughout both days. Sunday is the busier of the two in terms of actual racing, but on the whole there’s more than enough to satisfy here!

It's an interesting weather forecast in store this weekend. It's due to stay dry throughout both days with a high temperature at point of 19 degrees. However it looks as though it's going to remain cloudy and fairly overcast as the same time. As a result, it may at times look as though rain could threaten, it may not necessarily be the case. For a full breakdown of the forecast, you can find it via the Met Office here – DONINGTON PARK WEATHER.

Also, the provisional timetable, final instructions, supplementary regulations and entry list for the weekend can be found here – DONINGTON PARK RACE WEEKEND.

Scott Woodwiss