WEATHER LOTTERY HELPS CROFT PROVIDE A SHOW
Anyone racing at Croft this past weekend would have surely felt as though they were actually racing at Spa-Francorchamps instead, as the North Yorkshire circuit saw a constant mix of dry and wet running throughout both days of racing action. Despite the track remaining damp at least through most of the sessions, it certainly didn’t have an effect on the intensity of the racing that was on show.
Almost 50 Mk1 Mazda MX-5s made the trip for the penultimate BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship triple-header of the year, with points leader Will Blackwell-Chambers hoping to get back to winning ways after remaining absent from the top step since Cadwell Park in May. His response – go for the hat-trick! Race 1 saw WB-C jump into the lead from pole and remain unchallenged throughout to finally end his winless streak. Oliver Allwood managed to take 2ndplace over 5 seconds back, with a comfortable margin to 3rd placed Samuel Smith. The Group B race honours went to Simon Orange after he was able to steal the lead away in the final third of the race from P2 finisher Stephen Foden, while Ivan Leary picked up a well-deserved 3rd place.
David Nye’s two wins in the Fiesta Championship now puts him in line to steal the Class C crown – Photo: Jon Elsey
Group A’s second race was red flagged approximately half way through, but on the restart Blackwell-Chambers was able to take the lead from teammate Smith within the first couple of laps. From there, he would go on to pick up his second win of the weekend, while his MCR team boss Mike Comber took 2nd place and Jason Greatrex secured a fine 3rd. Patrick Collins overcame a Race 1 exclusion to win the second Group B race, but he definitely didn’t have it all his own way after having to wrestle the lead away from Sam Bailey in the closing stages after fighting his way through the front runners. Bailey would end up 2nd with Adam Craig on the final podium spot.
The third race was all about Mike Comber Racing, as the trio of Blackwell-Chambers, Comber and Smith ran away at the front and made it a race of their own for the podium. However, it wasn’t completely as simple as that, as in the closing stages another incredible wet weather performance came from that man Teddy Clark. The Anglesey race winner pumped in the fastest lap of the race and could have finished as high as 2nd, but was just edged out at the final corner and had to settle for 4th. Blackwell-Chambers completed his hat-trick, followed home by Comber and Smith. The last Group B race was incredibly frantic, but through it all a very popular podium emerged. Ben Hancy would claim his first Group B win of the season, but the emotions were reserved for 16 year old Jake Styles who took a sensational 2nd place in only his second ever race meeting! Stephen Foden drove strongly to end up 3rd.
The MX-5 SuperCup title battle also intensified with Tom Roche and Luke Herbert on the front row together for Race 1. Roche promptly showed why he was the wet weather master as he took a commanding win with Herbert in 2nd. Jonny Greensmith completed the podium with 3rdafter he inherited the position held by James Blake-Baldwin when the reigning champion had a self-induced spin in the final laps that pushed him down to 4th. Herbert fought back in a safety car affected Race 2 as he was able to fend off Roche in drier but still damp conditions, giving him increased confidence in his wet weather pace. Roche took 2nd with Jack Harding finding the podium again in 3rd. Another safety car through the opening laps of Race 3 kept proceedings tight, but once the racing was on Roche did all he could to make sure Herbert wouldn’t win another race that weekend. Thankfully, his efforts worked and he claimed his second victory of the meeting, followed by Herbert and Blake-Baldwin, the latter making up for his Race 1 spin.
Heading into the weekend, the BRSCC Fiesta Championship was expected to put on a better showing compared to the slightly tumultuous proceedings of the previous rounds at Silverstone. Two red flag incidents in qualifying followed by Race 1 being suspended until the end of Saturday’s timetable had the drivers and teams feeling rather ominous, but once the restart did get underway the racing was much more satisfactory. Josh Gollin came through it all to win Race 1 in Class C from David Nye and Danny Harrison, with overall points leader Jamie White winning Class D from John Cooper and Stuart Robbins. Chris Horne picked up Class B honours while Tim Bennett used the weekend as something of a well-publicised test session in all 3 races with Class A. For Race 2, Nye headed the way to the chequered flag while Gollin was lucky to hold on to 2nd place after a 5 second penalty for track limits. His saving grace was two time penalties for Harrison for the same reason, leaving him in 3rd. Jamie White again won Class D with Sean Banks topping Class B on this occasion.
For the third race, it was once again Nye in control at the front as he picked up his second win of the weekend and his 3rd of the season. There was no change in his fellow podium visitors with Gollin and Harrison taking another trophy home each. White and Banks were again class winners in D & B respectively, leaving the title battle a very interesting prospect come the season finale.
Equally as interesting were the antics in the Fiesta Junior Championship as a wet qualifying session saw points leader Jack Davidson line up alongside James Hillery, but come the opening laps it was Hillery who would show his wet weather prowess in the lead. That was until a brief visit to the tyres at Hawthorns saw him drop down the order and battle back to 5th. Davidson take another win to add to his tally, while Josh Hislop picked up a strong 2nd place with Nicholas Reeve scoring a crucial 3rd. However, fortunes were very different in Race 2 as Davidson suffered a vital mechanical failure that in turn changed the complexion of the championship fight. Rivals Reeve and Hillery went on to score 1st and 2nd with Hislop taking 3rd, leaving a 4-way duel for the title set for Donington – what a spectacle that will be!
The two guest championships also put on an entertaining display in North Yorkshire. The MGCC Cockshoot Cup would see a Class C whitewash of the podium in Race 1 as Philip Standish picked up the win from Ashley Woodward and Philip Bowden, with Karl Green taking Class B, Brian Butler coming home for Class F and Ian Wright completing honours for Class A. It was another Class C domination in the second race with Bowden in P2 and Peter Burchill scoring 3rd this time. There were further class wins again for Green, Butler and Wright.
A mammoth entry for the DDMC Northern Saloon & Sports Car Championship races provided constant entertainment up and down the field, but at the business end of the grid it was left to Paul Woolfitt’s Lotus Exige to take the win in Race 1 from the Caterham 7 of Barry Smith and the thunderous Vauxhall Monaro of Andy Wilson. However, Race 2’s podium was a very different affair as three completely different drivers took to the rostrum this time. Colin Simpson took his Marcos Mantis to the win, followed home by a pair of BMW M3s driven by Mike Cutt and Kirk Armitage.
You can find the full breakdown of results via TSL Timing HERE.